Showing posts with label online shopping tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online shopping tips. Show all posts

Friday, March 12, 2021

Amazon Savings Tips - How to Save Money Shopping Online

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, 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, 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 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.

In addition to shopping on Amazon, you can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

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Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Shop Online Safely and Conveniently

In 2006, the online shopping sales volume for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) amounted to about $608 million in sales.  By 2015, the amount of shopping done online on Cyber Monday totaled over $3 billion.  While there is no question that it is convenient to shop online, especially for retirees who may find it difficult to get to a mall and buy gifts for their loved ones, some people still do not feel safe shopping online ... and many of them have good reason to be cautious.

What can you do to make your online shopping experience as convenient as possible, while minimizing their risk?

Tricks to Make Online Shopping More Convenient

Take Advantage of Online Sales - Just because you cannot make it to a mall, does not mean you will miss out on the sales.  While not every online purchase is a great deal, it is still possible to take advantage of sales while shopping online.  The first thing you should do is sign up for emails from your favorite retailers and follow them on social media like Facebook or Twitter.  Between the emails and your Facebook account, you will know quickly if they are having an online sale.  You can also use a service like to be notified of discounts on your favorite items.  PriceGrabber, Bizrate and also help you find the lowest prices on items you want by sending you the current cost of that item at a wide variety of stores, which allows you to make price comparisons.

Try Leaving an Empty Online Shopping Cart - Many consumers have found that, when shopping on sites like Amazon, if they search for an item and put it in their "shopping cart," but then close the page without purchasing the item, they are often notified a few days or weeks later when the item has been reduced in price.  Whether you are shopping for Levi's, Nike's, an iPhone, the latest video game, or a new DVR player, this is a great way to get discounts on items that you do not need to buy in a hurry.

Shop for Discounted Gift Cards - There are websites such as Gift Card Granny and CardCash that sell gift cards for department stores and other businesses at a discount.  It could save you a little shopping money.  At the very least, it is worth checking out.

Consider Amazon Prime if You Mail a Lot of Gifts - At a cost of $99 a year, Amazon Prime is not right for everyone.  However, if you find yourself spending over $100 a year on shipping costs for items you buy for yourself or send to family members in other parts of the United States, Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on most items, as well as other benefits such as free e-books, video streaming, and unlimited photo storage on Amazon Drive.

Look for Free Shipping on Other Sites - Some websites offer free shipping on purchases over a certain dollar value.  You can also check out, which eliminates the delivery charges from over one thousand online retailers, including Target, Kohl's and JC Penny.

When in Doubt, Call the Online Representative - Many websites have real people you can call for help with their website.  For example, at the bottom of the page on the Macy's website, there are the words "contact us."  If you click those words, the page that opens up gives you a phone number you can call 24 hours a day to get additional help.  Other sites have their phone number displayed prominently near the top of the page.

How to Stay Safe While Shopping Online

Avoid Shopping on Unfamiliar Sites -  Amazon, Walmart, Kohl's, Target, Macy's, Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ann Taylor and JC Penny are all examples of well-known companies with websites which are reliable and legitimate. (Some of these companies have legitimate links to their sites from this article, for example). There are many other honest companies with good, user-friendly websites, as well.  However, make sure you are familiar with the company before doing any shopping online.  At the very least, ask a friend if they have shopped on the site or check them out through the Better Business Bureau.  Whenever you visit a brick-and-mortar store you like, ask them if they have a website where you can shop.

Do Not Shop Online Using Public Wi-Fi - While it might seem fun to sit at Starbucks with a cup of coffee and do all your holiday shopping, you could be putting your credit card numbers and personal information at risk.  Stick to your home internet connection and make sure your computer security is kept up-to-date.

Make Sure the Site URL Starts with https - Most ordinary websites have a URL that begins with just http; shopping websites should have the letter "s" at the end, which means that it is secured and your financial information is more likely to be protected.  While you are examining the URL, be certain it looks right to you.  If you are shopping at, for example, the full URL is  If the word Amazon is misspelled or there appears to be some other problem, you could be on the wrong site.  Be especially concerned if the URL for the website does not contain the business name at all, but just has a series of letters and numbers instead.

While there are no guarantees that you will completely avoid any problems while shopping online, the above steps will greatly reduce them, making you much more secure while shopping from home.

If you are interested in more tips for retirees, including retirement planning, where to retire, Social Security, Medicare, medical issues and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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