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Tips

Shopping on Amazon can be a great approach to saving money in the most convenient way possible. Before you click that order button, read our tips below to find out how to save on your next Amazon purchase.

save money on amazon

If you’re like 80 million other Americans, you shop on Amazon at least a few times a year. In fact, if you belong to one of the roughly ⅔ of all households in the country, you’re likely to even be an Amazon Prime member.

The popular website–known for its two-day shipping, and now same-day delivery, options–offers everything from toilet paper and diapers to big screen TVs, food, clothing, and more. If you want it, chances are high that you can buy it on Amazon. With the website giant making it easy to purchase everything you need in one place, often with one click, it begs the question: Are there ways that you can save money when shopping on Amazon?

You’re in luck, because there certainly are. Below, we’ve laid out our favorite 14 Amazon hacks, all of which can save you a pretty penny every time you shop online. Let’s take a look.

1. Get a Prime Membership

If you already shop on Amazon but don’t have a Prime membership, it’s worth looking into. Yes, you’ll pay $99 annually (or $12.99 a month, if you’d rather go that route), but the savings can be substantial.

On shipping alone, you can expect to save approximately $5-$12 per order. Members receive complimentary two-day shipping on most items sold from Amazon, with some items even being offered with Prime one-day or same-day delivery (also for free). If you want expedited shipping, a Prime membership can save you even more, giving you options like $2.99 one-day delivery.

Prime members also enjoy a number of other perks, outside of just saving on shipping. For instance, you can access a large library of movies, shows, and music through the website, your phone, or even your smart TV. Instead of getting a movie on-demand or at Redbox, I often browse Amazon Prime’s library through my Firestick. I always find interesting shows, new releases, and movies worth watching, without paying a penny.

2. Save on a Prime Membership

If $99 a year sounds too pricey, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to save money on your Prime membership.

If someone else in your home already has a Prime membership (or is considering one), ask if they’d want to go halvsies. Prime members can share their membership with another adult in their household, free of charge.

If you’re a student (or anyone with a .edu email address), you can get a free six-month Prime membership. Once that trial is up, you’ll get a 50% discount on a Prime membership, which will give you access to discounted textbooks, school supplies, and anything else that is sold on Amazon.com.

3. Discounted Gift Cards

Ok, now that you have your Prime membership and can get free shipping, it’s time to save on the things you actually buy. The first way to do so is by utilizing discount Amazon gift cards.

You can snag discounted gift cards to sites like Amazon through websites such as GiftCardGranny.com. Since Amazon is a popular option, you won’t save as much as you would buying gift cards from other stores; however, you can easily trim anywhere from 1-5% off of your total spending price by buying a discounted gift card to start.

Another way to get discounted gift cards is through your credit card rewards program. Some cards will allow you to redeem your cash back earnings for gift cards, often offering a bonus redemption. For instance, you can occasionally get a $25 gift card for only $20 worth of rewards.

Since your rewards are technically free money anyway, this is like a double bonus!

4. Use a Cash-Back Site

If you shop online (through Amazon or any other store), you can use cashback websites to net you even more on the things you’re already buying. Companies like Ebates and Swagbucks will offer you as much as 10% back on your Amazon purchases, just for clicking through from their site.

This is a great way to save money on your Amazon purchases, as well as everything else you buy online. The cash back can add up quickly!

5. Use the Amazon Credit Card

If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you may want to consider applying for the Amazon Rewards Signature Visa. This nifty card will not only snag you a $50 Amazon gift card just for signing up, but you’ll earn cash back on every single thing you buy through the site.

For purchases made at Amazon.com or Whole Foods, you’ll get 3% back. Restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores earn 2% back on every dollar spent, and you’ll earn 1% back on everything else. If you upgrade to the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa, you’ll bump that up further and earn 5% back on your Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

Want to redeem your earnings? Easily apply them at checkout the next time you buy something on Amazon.com, or even cash them in for a statement credit.

6. Use a Card With Price Protection

Not to be confused with purchase protection, some cards offer a great perk called Price Protection. This feature allows you to file a claim if an item you purchase with the card drops in price during a certain time frame (30-90 days, depending on the product).

Amazon product prices change all the time. If you utilize a card with price protection every time you shop on the site, you can easily take advantage of the lower prices that may come around after you buy.

Want to make the process easier? Use an app like Sift to track your purchases and the listed price, alerting you to eligible price drops. The app will even facilitate the claims process for you!

7. Track Prices With Sites

Don’t have a card offering price protection? Then use a site like CamelCamelCamel to track your planned purchases and alert you to price drops.

Simply enter the product name or URL in the search bar and set up a price alert. Say you want to buy a certain DVD player but refuse to pay more than $60 for it. You can set up a $60 alert on CamelCamelCamel, and they will email you as soon as Amazon drops the price to $60 or below.

The website can be used to track all of your repeat or planned purchases, ensuring that you pay exactly what you want to pay for each item.

8. Be Flexible

If you’re willing to be a little flexible in your purchases, you can easily save some dough on Amazon.

Many products on the site are posted with various options. Whether this means opting for a different pattern, another color, or even an alternate size, you can usually find a cheaper price (by at least a few dollars) if you’re willing to be a bit flexible.

9. Sneaky Shipping

Even if you’re a Prime member, overnight shipping often comes at a premium. Ranging anywhere from $2.99 to $10.99 per item, expedited shipping options on Prime products can get your order to you in a snap, but they’ll do it for a price. Oh, and if you want your entire order to arrive ASAP? You’ll pay the upgraded shipping fee for each and every item in the order. Or will you?

Some Amazon shoppers have reported a potential shipping hack, where you can upgrade only one of the items in your cart to overnight shipping, leaving the rest with default shipping. When Amazon packs your shipment, there’s the chance that they save themselves the effort (and cost) of a second box/postage by sending everything to you expedited.

Now, this isn’t a guaranteed method, but it is worth a shot. If you would like for your order to arrive a bit sooner, you can give this a try. Who knows… for only $2.99 more, you might see your entire order arrive the next morning.

10. Get Credits for Slower Shipping

Not in a huge rush for your item? Going out of town and won’t get to open the box for a few days anyway? Then consider the no-rush shipping option that’s often offered to Amazon buyers.

When checking out on a Prime item, you’ll often have a few options: standard Prime shipping, expedited shipping, and a no-rush option. If choosing the latter, you can expect your item to arrive later than the usual Prime two-day service. However, in exchange for the slower speed, you’ll see your account credited with a dollar amount.

This credit can usually be applied to Amazon Pantry purchases or even media downloads. It’s easy to save quite a bit of cash on your next order by building up some of these no-rush credits.

11. Take Advantage of Lightning/Daily Deals

Every single day, Amazon offers special deals on select items. Whether you’re looking for toys, electronics, household goods, clothing, craft supplies, or anything else, you can find a daily deal to match.

These deals, offered on the Amazon Daily Deals page, are available for a limited period of time each. There’s often a limited number available at the promotional pricing, so once they sell out, you’ll have to pay the “normal” price.

Some deals, called Lightning Deals, are offered for even less time. Luckily, you’ll usually be able to preview these deals before they go live so you can plan your purchase.

12. Take Advantage of Amazon Prime Day

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of Amazon Prime Day. This exciting sale day, often held in the summer, means flash sale after flash sale of exciting deals and discounts.

Members can preview the deals before they go live, snagging incredible bargains like 33% off a Roomba or $0.99 magazine subscriptions (and everything in between).

13. Use Coupons

Did you know that Amazon offers coupons? Simply visit the Amazon coupon page to see which offers are currently available. You can search by product, by category, or just browse the newest discounts available. You can then “clip” the coupons, and they’ll be applied to your cart when you go to purchase the item.

This is an easy way to save dollars by buying online, in addition to the money you’re saving in gas by not trekking out to the store.

14. Subscribe & Save

There are some things that we buy on repeat. Diapers, paper towels, vitamins, contact lens solution, and even ketchup–all of these are consumables that we buy time and time again. Well, if you’re willing to subscribe to those items (saving yourself the time and energy of remembering them at the store when you run out), Amazon will reward you in price.

Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program can save you as much as 15% per item, simply for scheduling future shipments in advance. You can set the frequency of the shipments and cancel at any time. The more items you subscribe to, though, the more money you’ll save on the shipment as a whole.

Considering the number of people who shop on Amazon.com every single day, it’s no wonder that folks are always looking for ways to save money. While some of these Amazon shopping hacks can take a bit of effort and finesse, they also grant you a great way to get the things you need (fast!) while also trimming the final bill down a bit.

What’s your favorite way to save money when shopping on Amazon? Sound off below!

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So, you’re thinking about adding some plastic to your wallet. You want to take advantage of as many bonuses and offers as possible, and you definitely want to earn cash back where you can. You may even be thinking about travel hacking, where you open a number of new accounts in order to reel in a number of introductory point, mile, and cash back offers. Where do you look first?

524 rule

Chase offers a wide variety of credit cards with different perks, including low-fee balance transfers, travel rewards, rotating cash back categories, and even 5% back at Amazon. They are one of the more prominent card issuers, and frequently issue large sign-up bonuses to encourage new customers. Chase, however, has an interesting rule that makes them stand out when it comes to travel hacking.

The 5/24 Rule

You may have heard about their 5/24 Rule, especially if you’ve spent any time researching card hacking.

Simply put, if you’ve opened up 5 new accounts in the last 24 months, you’ll be denied for most Chase credit cards. This rule is all but inflexible, even with calls to customer service to beg them to reconsider. This is unfortunate, as it could lead to you missing out on some of the largest sign-up bonuses seen on credit cards to-date.

One important note: there are numerous reports that being pre-approved in a Chase branch for these cards leads to approval for the card. Anecdotally, I traveled to New York City last November and was approved in-branch for the Chase Sapphire Reserve at 12/24 accounts. So, this work-around could be a possibility if you live near a Chase branch.

Check Out Its Brother Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you’re considering taking on the travel hacking game (beware: it requires strong organization skills and a lot of attention to detail!), Chase should be high up on the list of issuers to pursue. You’ll be applying for credit cards regularly, so you’ll quickly exceed the limitations for the 5/24 rule. For example, in the last 24 months, I’ve applied and been approved for 15 cards. In the world of travel hackers, that’s not even on the high side of new accounts.

Cards Not Under 5/24

The following cards are reportedly not under Chase’s 5/24 rule:

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa (I was approved last month at 13/24)
  • British Airways
  • Fairmont
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Disney (both Rewards and Premier)
  • AARP
  • Marriott Business (note: there are conflicting reports on this but I was approved last October at 11/24)

Note that these credit cards will still result in a hard pull and the opening of a new account. So, if you’re interested in them, you should prioritize them after you’ve put yourself past the 5/24 threshold.

Which Card First?

First of all, a disclaimer: if you’re getting into travel hacking, here’s the criteria you need to meet:

  • Have an excellent credit score (I would put this at 720+, if not 740+)
  • Pay off your credit card statement balances in full each month
  • Be disciplined and organized with your money
  • Be able to meet the minimum spend on a new credit card without being financially irresponsible
  • Be unafraid of spending time doing research — there are no shortcuts here!

I would prioritize Chase cards as follows:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
  3. Chase Ink Preferred
  4. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
  5. Chase Marriott Rewards
  6. Chase Freedom
  7. Chase Freedom Unlimited
  8. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Note that there are more than 5 on this list, so you’ll have to do some research as to which card is right for you. The Chase Sapphire and Ink lines earn Ultimate Rewards points. These offer flexible and valuable redemptions across a number of airlines and other travel partners. The Chase Freedom line offers cash back perks as statement credits. The other branded cards like United and Marriott offer brand-specific points and miles.

I’ve prioritized the United and Marriott cards ahead of the Freedom cards for a few reasons. First, it’s possible to change your credit card to the no-fee Freedom cards after some time. So, if you’re a Sapphire Preferred cardholder and you’d like to discontinue paying the fee, it’s possible to change that card over to a Freedom.

Second, the bonuses for those two branded cards are relatively valuable at the moment. The United offer at 50,000 miles is higher than it was in 2016. The Marriott points are now eligible to transfer to Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express at a good rate (3:1).

If I were just getting into travel hacking, I would be going straight down this list. You may be put off by the Ink Preferred being a business card, but applying for a business card isn’t as daunting as it might seem. Many people run small self-owned business through eBay selling or Etsy shops, and it’s perfectly reasonable to have a business line of credit for those expenses. The process is nearly exactly the same as a personal application; you’ll just need to provide some information about the type of business you operate.

To 5/24-ers and Beyond

My advice to the unfortunate folks who are past 5/24: don’t worry about it. While some of these bonuses are stellar (the previous Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus at 100,000 points was great while it lasted), the sheer number of other card issuers and bonuses means that there’s no shortage of great perks to be had.

Lately I’ve been focusing my efforts on airlines like Delta and American, as well as Membership Rewards points through American Express. New cards are constantly being rotated in and out. So, it’s more important to be able to jump on the higher bonuses when available, than to worry about getting back under 5/24.

Best of luck out there, and happy travels!

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This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer.

The temptation to spend money is everywhere, especially during the holidays. There is something magical about lights glowing, soft Christmas music playing everywhere, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season that seems to make money fly right out of everyone’s wallet.

Whether you enjoy the busyness of the holiday as much as I do, or not, it’s likely you have a few gifts to purchase during the week leading up to Christmas. You may, like me, still have some items still unchecked on your list, or you might be one of the 19% of holiday shoppers who haven’t started their holiday shopping. Either way, you can get your holiday shopping faster than Santa can fill stockings by trying these suggestions to curb your holiday spending. (note: the same principles apply year round)

  • Make a list, and check it twice: I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. A holiday shopping list is the ideal way to keep your spending in check. Just like a grocery list it will keep you from forgetting you already bought a gift for Great Aunt Sylvia or worse leaving someone off your list.
  • Take advantage of FREE Shipping Day: Today only, December 17, is “Free Shipping Day” at many etailers. For a complete list go to FreeShipping.com If a retailer isn’t on that list, try calling their stores or customer service line. Some companies, such as Land’s End at Sears, offer free shipping if you order from the store. What could be a better way to finish your gift list from the comfort of your own home.
  • Look, but don’t touch: When you touch an item you are more likely to buy it, according to Time magazine. Keep your hands in your pockets, or if you can’t keep from touching look at the sticker price first, so you can shock yourself into not buying.
  • Concentrate on the recipient: While it should go without saying, putting yourself in your recipient’s shoes will allow you to walk away from overspending. I found myself dreaming of a particular toy that I have not been able to find for one of the kids. After considering a web-wide hunt for said gift, I realized it was my own nostalgia that colored my perception of the “perfect” gift. I could give a gift that was similar for half the cost, and the kiddo would still be thrilled.
  • Shop after the holiday: If you don’t have small children, or will be visiting far-flung relatives after 12/26, consider going shopping on 12/26 when the products in many stores are reduced significantly.
  • Don’t try to do it all! Most of us have precious little free time. Use your free time to be with your family, or friends instead of focusing on hunting down the perfect gift, or squeezing in 5 holiday parties in 2 days.
  • Opt out. Many families are scaling back, but you might consider opting out of gift exchanges altogether. This only works well for adults, or families with older children, so proceed with caution. Some families choose a vacation over exchanging gifts.

Do you have any tips for curbing your spending?

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The $155 That Almost Wasn’t

This article was written by in Tips. 4 comments.

It was only back in April that Flexo wrote about MissingMoney.com. I had heard about it once before through a friend on Twitter who said he’d had some success and so I figured, “What have I got to lose?” They don’t charge anything, it’s just a convenient way to get at some abandoned money that should be yours in the first place.

I searched for myself in the three different states in which I’ve lived and found an entry tied to an old street address of mine for “More than $100”. I had to continue the process on a different site for that State, but since all they really needed was my name, it wasn’t that much of a hassle, and I never felt I was being scammed.

clear-visionIn my case the funds I was missing out on were submitted by Daimler Chrysler, which means it had something to do with the aftermath of totaling my car back in 2001. Ultimately, in order to claim the missing money, I needed to mail (or submit via a form on a Web page) some proof that I used to live at that address. Something like a utility bill or a bank statement. I don’t keep those sorts of things any longer than I have to, which to me means, “throw away as soon as you’re not using them anymore.”

However, crashing your car isn’t just an event, it’s a process that can go on, at a minimum, for weeks. A lot of paperwork is generated. I started keeping everything in a folder so I could prove the facts of the case at a moment’s notice. I figured seven years is a good amount of time to hang on to something that important, so in 2008, while pruning the filing cabinet, I very nearly got rid of the folder. Luckily, something stopped me, and a few months later, I was able to scan and e-mail the actual police report that described the accident, and included my address.

A couple of weeks later I got a check for $155. Naturally, I deposited it and made a $155 payment to one of my two remaining credit cards. If I’d received that money when I was supposed to in 2001… well, I can’t say exactly what I would’ve done with it, but some of it probably would’ve gone toward beer.

(Photo by C.P. Storm)

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Ben Stein’s Tips for New College Students

by Luke Landes

College classes have already begun around the country, and it’s not too late to start listening to Ben Stein. He has some great advice for those matriculating. His son is just starting college, so I would imagine Ben has been giving this topic a lot of thought lately. Make friends with your teachers. While seeing […]

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Ten Questions to Ask Before Getting Hitched

by Luke Landes

Perhaps she calls you “her sweeitie” and you call her “lover.” Maybe you don’t have cutesy names for each other, but if you’re planning to get married, hopefully you know each other very well. This encompasses a little more than favorite restaurants, medical allergies, and middle names. There should be some serious discussions about life […]

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12 Steps for the Paycheck Type to Become a Millionaire

by Luke Landes

Here is Kiplinger’s predictable 12-step program for becoming a millionaire, which inevitable contains “… and wait” somewhere. This guide is geared towards corporate workers who live and die by the paycheck. 1. Keep your eyes peeled for better ways to do your job. While Milton Wadams was slowly finding himself out of a job, thinking […]

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Tips for Purchasing a Musical Instrument for the Non-Professional

by Luke Landes

As I mentioned earlier, I finally picked up the Martin D-15 acoustic guitar I’ve been planning to buy since August last year. Here are some tips if you’re thinking about buying a musical instrument. First, if you are buying an instrument for your son or daughter just starting out, you may find out later that […]

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Bad Job-Hunting Tips You Must Avoid, Part 2

by Luke Landes

Penelope Trunk from Yahoo Finance published an article busting job-hunting myths. I looked at several of her un-tips yesterday and in Part 2, I’ll finish off my thoughts. Bad Rule No. 5: Don’t have typos in your résumé I’m not recommending that you misspell words on purpose, but I am recommending that you chill out […]

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Suze Orman’s 5 Tips for 2007

by Luke Landes

We’re rolling into the new year, a perfect time for gurus to repeat their favorite nuggets of advice. Suze Orman, who writes a column for Yahoo Finance, has published the five best financial moves for 2007. Here are her tips, which don’t have much relationship to 2007 specifically, but are good ideas in general. 1. […]

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