I’ll admit, the convenience of having almost anything delivered to my door has gotten to me. I’ve made an embarrassing number of purchases over the past year through Amazon when I really should have driven to a local store and picked up a single sub-$20 item. If my problem ended there, I’d be fine. For whatever reason, however, I feel terrible when I order a single pack of batteries or box of trash bags off of Amazon. I’ll spend several minutes looking for more things that I can add to “make the order worth it” and quickly rack up a hefty total before checking out. While I get a lot of value out of the additional items I purchase, I’ve still spent several hundred dollars on things I don’t really need.
If year-ago me had known all of the Amazon tricks that today-me knows, I could have saved quite a few of those dollars. Amazon is sleek and convenient and low-cost on the surface, but it turns out if you go a little bit deeper it becomes even more low cost. Once you know how and where to look, you can get incredible deals on almost any product on Amazon. All it takes is a little time and effort. Here are some of the best (and easiest!) tricks that I use in order to save money on Amazon.
My Four Favorites:
1. Amazon Coupons
Coupons are probably the easiest way to start your journey to becoming an Amazon expert. Each day, Amazon offers a rotating selection of coupons you can click on to add to your cart. They’re automatically applied when you go to check out, meaning that it’s really as easy as clicking once on a relevant coupon. Amazon doesn’t have coupons for every category, but if you’re buying the kind of thing you’d buy at a grocery store, there’s a decent shot you can save a few bucks by using a coupon. Kelly and Matt have a guide on how to find Amazon coupons in this little known section of their site.
2. Amazon Warehouse Deals
This is where you get great deals on quality used products. When a product can’t be sold as new, it goes to a little-known section of Amazon called Amazon Warehouse. These products have damaged boxes, were returned or were otherwise deemed imperfect. In practice, there’s almost never anything wrong with the product you’ll get, and it’s not uncommon to save 50% or more. The selection of products available through this portal is staggering, so be sure to use the search tools to narrow things down to products you’re actually interested in.
Just like with Amazon Warehouse, Amazon Outlet is full of discounted products that don’t belong in the regular Amazon storefront. It’s full of the sorts of things that your local store would have on clearance: older models of products, overstocked products, markdowns, and closeouts. Just like with Amazon Warehouse, it’s best to head to the Outlet portal with something specific in mind. With so many products on Amazon, a dizzying number of things are relegated to being sold on Outlet at any given time.
4. Amazon Underground
Amazon offers a ridiculous selection of free apps and in-app purchases through its Underground app marketplace. Many of the offerings are things that you’d otherwise need to purchase. DuckTales Remastered, for example, has a $10 price tag outside of the Underground app. Inside, it’s free.
16 More Amazon Money-Saving Tricks:
Amazon Prime Day
Once a year, Amazon holds a local sale for Prime members. Be sure to check it out for some hefty price drops on products.
Subscribe and Save
You can buy things like diapers, batteries, or toilet paper through a subscription. You’ll save up to 15% and have regular deliveries of home supplies you need.
Use Third-Party Tools to Track Deals
Sites like CamelCamelCamel.com can help you track the price of an item. You can use them to send an alert when prices drop below a certain level. All you have to do is check your e-mail, log on to Amazon, and buy the item at a fantastic price!
If you’re more into getting the right products than the cheapest one, ReviewMeta can help you determine which testimonials are fake. An alarming number of sellers use fake reviews to help boost their products unfairly. RevewMeta gives you the power to fight back!
Today’s Deals (or Gold Box deals) last for a limited time. They’re often deep cuts on new products, so be sure to check in to see when products you need are on sale. Use CamelCamelCamel for help tracking things you know you’re going to buy.
Amazon offers a handful of amenities for families, including 20% off a diaper subscription, unlimited photo storage, and more. While it’s not much more than the regular subscription discount, every little bit helps when you’ve got an extra mouth to feed!
If you’re not quite ready to start a family, look into Amazon’s Student discount. This is more-or-less a prime membership with a much lower cost (about half off). There are a few features you won’t be able to access, but it’s still a great program for anyone with a .edu email who’s looking to get free shipping and other Prime benefits.
Start A Prime Trial
Even if you’re not ready to pony up and pay for a year-long membership to Amazon Prime, you can still enjoy it for a few weeks. Start a Prime trial to enjoy special discounts, free shipping and more. If you live in a household with more than one Amazon account, consider rotating around Prime trials for a few months.
Trick Amazon Into Offering You Savings
If you put an item into your cart and leave Amazon for a few days, magic can happen. It’s not guaranteed, but Amazon will frequently send you an e-mail with a promotion for up to 20% off the specific items you’re in the process of buying.
Use A Browser Extension
A number of web geniuses have cooked up programs that automatically find coupon codes for you. Addons like Honey will look through your shopping cart and compare the items you’re purchasing with a database of discounts and coupons. It’s not perfect, but it can save you quite a bit of money over time.
The MyHabit portal is kind of like the Outlet portal for fashion. It’s full of designer clothes offered at incredible discounts, up to 70% off. The deals start at 9 AM and last for a couple days. While the portal is primarily pointed at clothes, you can also get toys, beauty products, and a few other things.
Use Slower Shipping
Amazon Prime members get free 2-day shipping, but if they choose to get their items slower, they’ll actually earn free credit. By waiting an extra day or two for your item you can accumulate a couple dollars towards your next purchase. This adds up.
Get Free e-Books
Amazon stores your purchase history. If there are any books in that history, you might be eligible for free digital versions of those books. Check out the Kindle Matchbook program and see if you have any free or discounted e-books waiting for you.
Trade In Old Electronics
If you’re upgrading a phone, smart watch, or game system, you can trade it into Amazon for a hefty gift card. Amazon offers up to 2/3s of the sale price of certain items for trade ins. In other words, if you’re replacing a smart watch that costs $150, you might be able to send it to Amazon and get $100 of credit.
Use Cash Back Programs
While there are portals you can use for extra cash back when you purchase things from Amazon, the safest way to earn money on each purchase is with an Amazon Visa. You’ll get 3% back on every purchase you make from Amazon with your card. Best of all, the money you earn is automatically applied to your Amazon account as soon as it’s available in the form of a gift card.
Get Used Textbooks
Amazon Student isn’t the only thing young people can look forward to. Amazon offers a textbook center that offers used textbooks, digital textbooks, and textbook rentals. While you might not be able to find every book you need through this service, you can often save 50% or more on educational materials through this portal.