A few years ago, I planned to purchase a book on Amazon for one of my grandsons. When I learned that he already had the book, I never completed the purchase. For years afterwards, I received notices from Amazon every time the price for the book went down. Amazon seemed to never forget my interest in that book. Last year, I was purchasing a sweater on Amazon, but didn't like the color which was displayed in the ad. When I checked out the other available colors, I learned that the price changed depending on the color. Who knew? On another occasion, I discovered that the price of some clothing can change depending on the size. Now, before purchasing anything, I see if there is a way I can save money using a variety of Amazon tips and tricks. Below are the most important lessons I have learned while shopping on Amazon, and some of these tips may work on other online sales sites, as well.
Tips to Save Money on Amazon and Other Online Stores
Join Amazon Prime or your favorite shopping service - With four adult children, eight grandchildren and a number of other relatives, I shop frequently on Amazon and, occasionally, at Macys.com, Walmart.com and other online shopping sites. Belonging to Amazon Prime means that most of the gifts I buy, and have shipped directly to our grandchildren, arrive quickly and the shipping is free. For about $5, I can even have the items gift bagged. Macy's will also provide free shipping for many gifts; Walmart and Target will provide free shipping at certain price points. Check with the services you prefer and make sure you are getting the maximum benefit from that store. Read their list of perks carefully. For example, some people do not realize that belonging to Amazon Prime also means access to many free movies and television series through their streaming service. Determine how much you expect to purchase from that company each year and decide if paying to join their "club" will save you money on shipping and/or discounts which are not available to non-members.
Leave items in your shopping cart, especially if you are not in a hurry - Choosing an item and then leaving it in your virtual shopping cart could mean you will eventually get offered a lower price for the item. Do not expect them to lower the price within a few hours. However, if you are not in a hurry and can wait a few weeks, you could get a better deal.
Try all the different color options - Whether you are buying clothing, shoes, small kitchen appliances, or other electronic devices, check the item out in every color option. Some colors are more popular and more expensive than others. If the color doesn't matter to you, it is possible to get a better deal by choosing a less popular color. Other small changes can make a difference in the price, too. I purchased two necklaces last Christmas in the shape of the first initials of some friends. Much to my surprise, the letter "S" for that particular necklace design was half the price of the letter "L." I have no idea why, but it was quite a surprise. When the necklaces arrived, they were exactly the same in color, size and pattern, except for the shape of the letter.
Take advantage of online coupons - Often, the Amazon ad itself will say that there is a discount available, if you check the box or enter the code they provide you. All you have to do is copy and paste the code into the proper box or, in some cases, simply check the box. Make sure you take advantage of it! While on the site, you can also do a search for "Amazon coupons," (Ad) and get more coupon codes.
My Capital One credit card also has a service which lets me know if there are any discounts available for that item, and it automatically applies them, whether I am using my Capital One credit card or not! If you purchase the item frequently, and are willing to subscribe and have them ship the item to you on a regular schedule, you may also get a discount.
Another Amazon price tracking site, called camelcamelcamel.com, will alert you when an item reaches your desired price and will tell you its price history. This is another great way to know that you are getting the item at the best possible recent price.
Take advantage of cash back and rewards credit cards - Amazon will give you up to $100 in free spending when you sign up for their credit card. You will also accumulate 5% cash back on every purchase. You can get a direct payment for the "cash back reward" when it grows large enough, or apply it to a future purchase, or apply it to your bill. That's a very quick and easy way to save money on your purchases!
Do comparison shopping - Before purchasing an air purifier for our home, I checked out the brand I wanted on both Walmart.com and Amazon (Ad). The one on Walmart was on sale and also included free shipping. Do not get so tied to one company that you are afraid to shop around. I saved nearly $50 by switching to Walmart for that purchase. You can also comparison shop right on Amazon. They often have items available from "Other Sellers on Amazon," and sometimes you can purchase the item from one of these other sellers for less money. Watch out, though. You may not get fast, free delivery, so you want to take that into consideration. If you save enough money, though, it may be worth it.
Consider buying used items - Amazon lists their used and returned items as "Renewed" (Ad) or "Warehouse Open Box" (Ad) items. If you are willing to buy a used or refurbished item, you can still get a refund if it disappoints you and you return it shortly after receiving it. Check out the details carefully before making the purchase, but it may be the perfect way to get a good deal.
Look at specialty departments for interesting gifts - Amazon also has a section called Amazon Handmade (Ad) and Amazon Launchpad. (Ad) The first one is similar to Etsy and is a fun way to discover handmade and personalized gifts. Of course, you will want to shop around and look at similar items on Etsy, too. Amazon Launchpad is a good way to find new, innovative products which are unique. Both of these departments are a great way to find that special gift from the security of your home.
Think twice before buying a protection plan - If you made the purchase using a credit card, you may already have an extended warranty. Make sure you understand the benefits provided by your various credit card companies and then use the one which has the best benefits ... extended warranties, cash back or other benefits.
Essentially, you want to make sure you save money and get the most out of every online purchase. Not only are you saving time and money by not running around from store to store, but you also can save money by doing many of the same things you would do in a store ... comparison shop, find unique gifts, and use coupons. Best of all, you can do it all safely from your home.
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