For many people, Amazon is an online shopping playground.
But for savvy spenders and budgeters, the internet retailer can also be a savings tool, especially if you know the right tricks.
Whether you’re looking to boost your budget and stretch your savings, or just seeking to go on a shopping spree, these tips will get you more bang for your buck.
Look for price drops and get alerts
Since Amazon rarely has sales as retail stores do, many people think the prices don’t change at all.
But they do change. And often.
So how do you know when the item you want is on sale (Or at least, Amazon’s version of a sale)?
The answer: CamelCamelCamel.com.
With CamelCamelCamel, you can see how an item’s price fluctuates, so you know if you’re getting a good deal at the present moment.
Even better, you can set alerts for the item you want, and CamelCamelCamel will send you an email when your merchandise is available at a bargain.
Skip the credit card for large-ticket items
Some Amazon-specific cards are popular among avid shoppers.
Depending on the card, you can get such perks as $100 Amazon gift cards, 1-5% cashback on Amazon purchases, and various other perks.
However, with any credit card, there are some drawbacks. One is that you have to qualify, which means you need decent credit. Two, many credit cards can have high APRs and expensive interest payments. Three, even simply applying for a credit card can ding your credit.
As an alternative for large purchases, consider an online personal loan that you can pre-qualify with no impact on your credit score.
Buy gently used items on Amazon warehouse
Have you ever returned something to Amazon that is in great, but not perfect, condition?
Ever wonder what happens to these goods?
Oftentimes, Amazon re-sells them at a bargain in what’s known as an Amazon Warehouse Deal. There are lots of discounts to be found.
In the Warehouse, you’ll find “quality pre-owned, used, and open-box products” at reduced prices. It’s a great way to save a few bucks if you don’t mind a little wear and tear on your new purchase!
Trade your electronics in
Got an old Amazon e-reader, tablet, or other electronic device you’re not using?
Good news: you may be able to trade it in for gift cards and discounts. Simply go through the online process and Amazon will instruct you how to box and ship your old items in exchange for gift cards.
Is Amazon trade-in worth it? It can be, especially if you’re just going to throw out your old tech anyway.
One quick tip: at some point, Amazon will ask you to “Accept the Adjusted Value,” which instantly pays you what Amazon assumes the item is worth. Usually, this is a low-ball offer; better to send it in and have it evaluated instead.
Easily Know if Prime is Paying Off
Many people love Amazon Prime for its free two-day shipping and other benefits, including a video subscription and access to free books.
But is it worth the costs, at $139 per year? (Or $178.88 per year, if you pay the monthly costs), is it worth the costs?
Not unless you shop a lot. Especially considering Amazon already offers a free, slower shipping option for purchases of $25 or more.
Another way to think about it: to justify that $140 per year membership, you might have to make around 10 or more purchases, all of which must critically be delivered in less than two days.
Use Amazon Coupons
That’s right—Amazon has coupons.
They work just like newspaper coupons. Except they’re easier since you can just click instead of a clip.
So before you click that Buy Now button, give the coupon section a look.
Spending too much? Use these tricks to cut back
- Use the Wish List. To avoid impulse shopping, add the item to your list and come back a day or two later if you still want it.
- Remove your credit card info from Amazon. Having to re-enter your information might be just enough to give you time to think before you click.
- Always price compare. Sometimes, other marketing places like Wal-Mart.com will have the item you need for cheaper.
- Turn off one-click ordering. If you’re impulse shopping too much, you can simply disable this feature.
Use These Tips to Drain Your Bank Account Less
Joking aside, Amazon’s prices are often hard to beat. So if you can control your spending, shopping online can save you money.
Just be sure to always mind your budget and savings. If you’ve already got multiple sources of credit card debt from shopping on sites like Amazon, consider looking at a bill consolidation loan, which may lower your monthly payment.