Amazon is one of the most popular e-retailers with more than 300 million users and $136 billion in net sales in 2016. Anyone who has perused the site will tell you it’s easy to get carried away with so many products at your fingertips.
If you’ve been feeling guilty about your spending on the site, here’s the good news: there are several ways you can get better deals on your purchases and even get some money back. Here are 12 strategies you can use to help you save money without giving up your Amazon shopping habit.
Amazon warehouse deals is a business of Amazon that sells pre-owned or open-box products at a discounted rate.
For example, a box might have been damaged during shipping, so the customer returned the item. That item is inspected and then gets posted at a discounted price on warehouse deals.
If some products are used or refurbished, how do you know they’ll be in decent condition when you buy them? The products are graded as like new, very good, good, or acceptable, and listing comments are provided to help you better understand each unique product’s condition. Note, however, these products do not have a warranty.
Amazon Outlet Deals
When Amazon needs to sell inventory quickly, select items are moved into the outlet page of their product category. Here is an example of the outlet deals for electronics. The items found on this page may be overstocked, marked down, closed out or on clearance, and can be discounted by as much as 60%. These deals appear across a range of categories, including clothing, jewelry, electronic devices and more.
If you are shopping for everyday items on Amazon, the “subscribe and save” program can save you money. With it, you can subscribe to regular monthly deliveries of products. There are two levels of discounts offered. The lower discount amount of 5% is given when you’re subscribed to one to four products. Then, once you’re subscribed to at least five different products, you’ll unlock the higher discount of 15% off. To qualify, all items must be delivered within one month to one address. On top of the discount, you get free delivery. Cherie Lowe, personal finance blogger at thequeenoffree.net, says, “I personally use subscribe and save to purchase all of our paper towels, toilet paper, Kleenex, deodorant, face soap, vitamins and more.”
This is the official affiliate program of Amazon and it’s free to join (however, you will need to have a website or blog of some sort). The way it works is you create links to Amazon products and display them on your blog or website. When people click your links and buy products from Amazon, you earn referral fees up to 10%. You can check the rates for specific product categories below.
Your earnings are paid to you once you hit the minimum threshold via direct deposit, check or Amazon gift cards. The minimum threshold for checks is $100, while it is $10 for direct deposit or Amazon gift card. Learn more about how it works here.
If you are buying from Amazon often, you should probably join Amazon Prime.
For $99 a year, Amazon Prime gives you free, unlimited two-day shipping. If you use Amazon often, the shipping savings can far exceed the cost of your yearly membership. Other delivery perks are free, same-day delivery on about 1 million items and free, two-hour delivery on specific everyday items.
Shipping and delivery perks aren’t the only reasons to consider Amazon Prime. As a member, you can use the Kindle library and stream video and music content available on Amazon for free. Plus, there’s free cloud storage for your pictures.
You can get a free 30-day trial to see whether it is worth your while.
Amazon continuously runs various specials on select products they sell. These can be easily accessed on the Today’s Deal page and include Lightning Deals, Deals of the Day, Savings & Sales, coupons, and Prime Early Access Deals. You can save on a wide variety of products so it’s wise to look for your items here before going and paying full price for them.
Many people trade in their used and unwanted electronics, books, DVDs, computer games and CDs for an an Amazon Gift Card equal to the value of their trade-in.
The popular service requires no registration and no need to list a product and wait for it to sell. All products receive an immediate online offer with Amazon and free shipping for you to send your items to their warehouse. However, Amazon reserves the right to reject your item once they receive it and check it out.
The Amazon Trade-In program can also save you money. There are thousands of second-hand items online for you to browse and purchase, often under the Amazon warehouse deals.
Amazon Price Trackers
Another way to save money while shopping on Amazon is to use a third-party price tracker.
An example of this is CamelCamelCamel, which can be used to search for a product using an Amazon URL or keywords. The website does the work for you by analyzing a history of prices for any products you enter. It converts these prices into an easy-to-follow chart, so you can see the historical low and high prices of each product. By setting price drop notifications on products you are interested in, the website informs you when they are at or close to their past lowest prices.
Coupons are a great way to save money, so why not apply them to Amazon? With a simple browser extension such as Honey, which is compatible with FireFox, Safari and Chrome, all the work is done for you. When you go to Amazon checkout, the Honey extension looks for and lists any coupons associated with the product. Honey also alerts you to savings as you shop.
If you are spending the money anyway, why not earn some perks through a rewards credit card? Here are some cards that will be beneficial when you are shopping on Amazon.
This card offers two major advantages when shopping on Amazon – 5% cash back for Prime members or 0% financing options.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can upgrade to the Amazon Prime store card, which allows you to earn 5% back on eligible Amazon.com purchases.
You can choose to take your 5% cash back or can opt to take advantage of special financing without interest. The following terms are available:
- Purchases over $149 can receive six months with 0% APR
- Purchases over $599 can receive 0% APR for 12 months
- Select items qualify for 24 months with 0% interest
These are not introductory rates but promotional periods that begin on the date of a purchase. However, if you are going to use this option, be sure you can pay off the purchase in full by the end of the promotional period, because otherwise interest will be charged to your account from the original purchase date.
This card has no annual fee and an APR of 26.24%. As an added bonus, a $10 gift card is loaded as a credit when you sign up.
Another product for Amazon shoppers, the Amazon Rewards Visa, gives you 3% back while shopping at the online portal, 2% at drugstores, restaurants and gas stations and 1% back on all other purchases you make. If you have an eligible prime membership, you can upgrade the card to get 5% back from Amazon purchases.
This card also has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and an APR of 14.74% to 22.74%. Lastly, you get a preloaded $50 Amazon Gift Card when you’re approved for the card.
The Discover it cash-back card provides 5% cash back on select categories that rotate each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. They set a cap on quarterly category purchases which changes. Amazon is typically included as one of their categories twice per year.
Discover it also automatically provides a 100% match on all the cash back you earned in your first 12 months of using the card at the end of your first year. This equates to 10% cash back on all items purchased, including those from Amazon. As for costs, Discover it’s APR is 11.49% to 23.49% and it has no annual fee.
Join a shopping rewards program
A shopping rewards program also could save you a lot of money on Amazon. Here are three programs to consider:
My Points rewards you for shopping with points that can be converted into gift cards, cash via PayPal or travel miles.
Swagbucks is another online rewards program. Once you sign up, you can start earning immediately through Swagbucks’ Internet browser extension. Your rewards can be converted into Amazon gift cards. “There are numerous other ways to earn Swagbucks from referring your friends, to taking surveys to using their site as a shopping portal and more,” Lowe says. “It only takes 500 Swagbucks to snag a $5 Amazon gift card, and if you use the site regularly, you should be able to do that in a short period of time.”
By shopping through Ebates, you earn cash back on any purchases you make. These can be converted into cash through PayPal or sent directly to you as a check. Ebates offers up to 10% cash back on Amazon purchases.
Paribus refunds when you overpay
Paribus is an app for your mobile device that checks your purchase history at select merchants including Amazon, and determines if you are entitled to a refund due to prices dropping after you made a purchase. If you are, Paribus keeps up to 25% and you keep the rest (75% or more).
Get the most for your money on Amazon
With these tips, it is possible to save as you spend at Amazon. From rewards credit cards, to coupons and all of Amazon’s deal and discount programs, you are well served to do your homework and take advantage of these options.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.