Amazon is incredible. In a matter of minutes, you can search for a product, read reviews on it, and order with a few clicks. Within a few days, it’s on your doorstep. Most of the time, we would expect higher prices for that level of convenience, but Amazon has a lot of ways that you can save a considerable amount of cash.
Prime Exclusive Deals
Amazon Prime is most well-known for free two-day shipping. However, there are many other benefits, some of which end up being solid deals in and of themselves. Prime members get early access to Lightning Deals – steep cuts in price that are only available for minutes or hours. It’s much like being rushed to the front of the line during Black Friday sales. Speaking of deals, Twitch Prime – Amazon’s gaming service – nets a 20% discount on games for the first two weeks after release, as well as many free games.
You also get free access to Amazon Music, which is basically Spotify premium, but free. That can save about $120 per year. If you purchase a hard copy of a CD, then Amazon will provide a digital copy free through their AutoRip service. Similarly, Kindle copies of most hard copies of books are available for free or up to $2.99 through their Matchbook service. Additionally, Amazon has partnered with Audible to offer free audiobooks to Prime members, which can save almost $180 a year when compared with Audible’s subscription cost.
Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, also owns The Washington Post. As a result, all Prime members are eligible for a free digital subscription for 6 months, which saves about $60.
Finally, the Amazon Credit card provides a $70 Amazon credit upon approval, and then 5% back on all Amazon purchases, 2% on restaurants and gas, and 1% on everything else. By taking advantage of the above deals, Prime members can easily save over $500 in a year, which makes the $99 yearly fee worth it, and then some.
While Prime is an excellent deal in and of itself, there are ways to get it even cheaper or to bolster the benefits received – without paying anything more.
If you have a valid .edu email account, then you can get Amazon Student, which comes with a six-month free trial and is then $49.99 for each year after, up to four years.
Amazon Family works similarly but has a three-month trial instead of a six-month one. Family comes with more perks – including discounts on registry items, and 20% off diapers through their Subscribe and Save program. (Subscribe and Save offers discounts of 15% on items automatically re-ordered each month.) Of course, there is also a free trial available for regular prime as well.
Deals Pages and “Hidden” Amazon Webpages
Amazon Gold Box is a service dedicated to helping customers to find deals. On the main page are several tabs outlining the different kinds of deals available to customers. The Deal of the Day offers a discount on a single item, normally of around 40% off, that is only available for that one day.
Lightning Deals are only available for a limited time, and they end when either the inventory is depleted or the clock runs out of time. Their Best Deals is a page dedicated to ongoing sales, promotions and discounts, and is often a good place to start when short on time. Quick Picks are recommended items that Amazon selects based on your profile and purchase history. Quick Picks come with a coupon, but it is typically available for only one day. Digital Deals is a pretty self-explanatory page, and offers reduced prices on digital services, as well as a free app of the day.
There are several webpages where you can often find incredible deals if you know where to look.
Amazon’s Outlet, for instance, isn’t even on the homepage. Outlet has a wide selection of closeouts, overstock, and clearance items with the price reduced considerably. Amazon’s Warehouse Deals is similar, but instead of overstock, it offers discounts on returned or refurbished items. This does mean that the items are often open box, and that they may not be covered by Amazon’s guarantee, but if you’re willing to take a risk, the extremely low prices may be worth it. The Deals and Bargains page (which is different from the Gold Box above) is a showcase of currently offered deals from several departments, normally electronics and office supplies.
Coupons and Promo Codes
Amazon has an entire page dedicated to coupons available on their site. These coupons work pretty much like regular coupons, without the scissors. You digitally “clip” a coupon to attach it to your account, and then when you check out, the coupon is applied. As with real coupons, the amount saved isn’t much, but it can help you save a little bit here and there. Promo codes work similarly to coupons, except that they are issued by a seller or Amazon, and either require you enter the promo code at checkout, or they are applied automatically.
Like many other retailers, Amazon offers price matching. If you buy an item, and you find that it is being offered by another store for a lower price, Amazon will give you a gift card for the difference. All you have to do is call Amazon, and provide a copy of the webpage showing the reduced price, if available. If there is not a webpage, but a brick and mortar store, then Amazon will call the store, who can then verify the price.
Say you’re looking for a new mouse for your computer, but you only want items that are 50% off. You can filter the search to include only those items discounted to your preference by typing [&pct-off=50-], without the brackets. If you want to indicate a range, say from 50-90% off, then the search term would be [&pct-off=50-90]. This is an easy way to ensure that you are only searching for items that are currently on sale for low prices.
Finally, there are outside websites that can help you track deals to get the best price. CamelCamelCamel, for instance, tracks prices and alerts you when there’s a deal to your specification. Jungle-Search.com searches through all the various deal pages listed above to help you locate the best deal, which can save you both time and money. Moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/cheap-amazon-loopholes works similarly as Jungle-Search, but also compares prices with other websites and against Amazon’s history to help you find the best price.
If you are just looking to receive the best deals to your email everyday then check out Ninja Deals.
Amazon is certainly convenient – being able to buy nearly anything from the comfort of your home and have it within a few days has changed the face of shopping. But, amazingly, Amazon can also be one of the cheaper options, both on and offline, if you know where to look.