If you are a frequent reader of the site, you may notice that I am a frequent user (and big booster) of Amazon.com. Since I use Amazon so much, I’ve figured out a few money saving tips over the years. Well, if you want to get picky, not all of these tips are “money saving” ideas, some of them just enable you to spend your money in a more “efficient manner.” Anywho, I’ve been saving these up for a while, and I figured Cyber Monday is as a good a time as any to post them, so here goes:
1. Get an Amazon.com Credit Card
The first of my Amazon money saving tips, is in fact, not technically a money saving tip, but in my opinion, a good idea if you are a frequent Amazon shopper. When you first apply and are approved for an Amazon.com Credit Card, you are entitled to a $50 Amazon gift card instantly. So, that in and of itself, saves you a bit of dosh on your next purchase. When you shop at amazon.com, it would also behoove you to use this card because you get 3 points for every $1 you spend at the site. The card is fee free, points don’t expire, and there is no limit to the number of points you can earn. All in all, it’s a worthwhile investment IMHO, even if just for the free $50 Gift Card.
2. Get Prime (for $16 year)
With it’s free 2 Day shipping on all qualified purchases, unlimited video streaming for eligible titles, and free Kindle book lending, Amazon Prime is a tantalizing proposal at $79/year. Despite said advantages, I’ve always found the $79 a little bit of a pricey expenditure for one person, that’s why I’m going to tell you a way that you could theoretically get Prime for as little as $16/year. What’s not known to everyone is that as an Amazon Prime subscriber you can get share Prime with up to 4 additional members for no charge. Surely that’s a great benefit to Mom and Dad, Uncle Jessie, Aunt May and whoever else might be interested in receiving the bounties of Prime. Now a munificent individual might want to just to give these Prime benefits away as gifts, but if you’re interested in bringing your Prime cost of ownership to as little as possible, you could theoretically split the $80 membership fee five ways among your family members (or like-minded friends), thereby bringing down your yearly total to a cool $16 (rounded up for easy division). At a theoretical $16/year, Prime is unequivocally worth it.
3. Become an Amazon.com Associate
This one is a no-brainer, and unlike my other tips, it actually saves you money. If you sign up to become an amazon.com affiliate at amazon.com/associates, then if someone clicks your link (that one’s mine) and buys something at amazon, you get a minimum of a 4% commission on each purchase. Sounds like a pittance for sure, but there are more than a few deal sites making some serious cabbage off of these type of commissions.
4. Buy Stuff with Gift Cards and Save up to 10%
OK, this one is probably the most complicated item on the list, but if you do it right you can usually save 10% on any purchase on amazon.com. First things first, you need to become an amazon associate (see Step 3 above). Second, you need to buy a gift card for your prospective purchase using your associates ID. But wait, there is a catch, YOU CANNOT BUY ANYTHING USING YOUR OWN ASSOCIATES ID AND RECEIVE A COMMISSION. So, while there is no way to directly enrich yourself using your associates ID, you could theoretically get around this prohibition by asking your spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle or good friend to make a gift card purchase on your behalf (for which you could then theoretically reimburse them). You get a cool 6% commission for every gift card purchase, and at least 4% commission on most purchases using said gift card (that’s 10% baby). If you read this, and you still don’t understand what I’m saying, you can try reading this longer explanation over here.
5. Turn It Over or Trade It In on the Amazon Marketplace
Let’s say you got a sweet deal on Season 1 of Homeland this week ($20.00 for the Blu-ray or DVD is not too shabby), how many times are you really going to watch that series? My guess is probably once. So, unless you’re the sentimental type, I suggest watching that Emmy award winning Showtime drama and then flipping it faster than you can say Abu Nazir. The newer a TV series, book, movie or CD is, the higher it’s value on the resale market usually is (though CD’s are tough to resell at the best of times unless they are collectible). By reselling your once viewed DVDs and the like on the amazon marketplace, you can reduce your cost of ownership to a fraction of your original purchase price (used and new copies of Homeland are currently selling in the marketplace for up to $18.99). If you’re not into peddling your wares online (though amazon makes it incredibly easy), you may bypass the marketplace altogether and opt for a predetermined amount in Amazon Gift Cards (Season 1 of Homeland will currently net you $12.50 in GCs).
6. Keep Track of the Deal Sites
Popular deal sites like SlickDeals, FatWallet, BensBargains and XPBargains keep track of the best deals on a multiplicity items, many of which are sold at Amazon.com. Some sites, like SlickDeals, even have entire forums just devoted to Amazon deals. The other thing is, Amazon tends to watch these sites too, so if you see an incredible deal at Wal-Mart or Best Buy, it’s a pretty good bet that Amazon will soon offer a similarly priced deal. In short, it’s a good idea to monitor these sites if you’re interested in scoring an incredibly good deal on something that you may or may not necessarily need.
7. Add It To Your Cart… and wait
Often times, you might want to buy something at amazon.com, but for one reason or other you just don’t have the intestinal fortitude to pull the trigger. In those cases, and in all cases, I recommend adding that item to your cart. The reason is, once something is added to your cart, amazon alerts you to the last known price for that item, each time you come back to the site. So, for instance, today when I checked my cart, I learned that the price of the Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX ED VR Nikkor Wide-Angle Telephoto Lens has decreased from $659.00 to $639.00. Kaching! Well, I’m still not going to buy it, but it’s nice to know that I might have saved myself $20 if I was so inclined. If you don’t want to accidentally buy something on your way to check out (or the little numeral at top of your cart annoys you), you can save those almost impulse purchases “For Later” and you’ll still be alerted about price drops each time you view your cart in a new session.
8. Use a Website to Monitor Amazon Price Drops
If checking and re-checking your cart is a little tedious for you, you can also enlist the services of a third party site like Frozen Warrior to monitor price drops on your desired item(s). Sites like these are especially good for TV purchases, because Amazon currently has a TV Low Price Guarantee. According to the policy, if Amazon.com (or another qualifying website) beats the price you paid for your TV within 14 days of the ship date, they will refund you the difference. In other cases, where the item you buy isn’t a TV, Amazon may still match the price drop on your purchase (you’re more likely to have success if amazon.com has lowered the price themselves, and the price drop is closely contemporaneous with your purchase). The latter is not official policy, but a call or email to customer service can never hurt.
Did I miss anything?