Let's switch gears a little bit and talk about how to save money with Amazon! Is one of your New Years Resolutions to save money? I've had this same resolution the past few years, but never took it serious enough. This year, I really want to start using more coupons, price comparing and using apps to help me save. Not to mention doing more DIY home decor to help me save there.
It's no secret that I'm a huge Amazon fan. Pretty obsessed actually. I always look there first before buying anything – even some groceries! But do you guys know all the ways Amazon can save you money and make your life easier? I thought I did. But, I actually didn't. Until one afternoon when my son took an extra long nap. That's when I really dived into it. And I was totally shocked at all the goodies I've been missing out on! Read on to find out how to save money with Amazon…I bet you will be surprised too!
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Ok, I will start with Amazon Prime. But I'm not going to bore you with the free two day shipping details because you probably already know that. I will say this though, if you are an avid Amazon shopper, it really pays to be a prime member. The services and programs offered to Prime Members actually help you save money in other areas of your life. You can also share a prime membership with two adults in the same household. Just keep in mind that one person will not get all the benefits. But they will get the fast shipping for sure. And, if you are a student, you can sign up for Prime Student which gives you a 50% discount.
So – let me explain how Prime can save you some money. I'll also discuss ways to save money on Amazon without being a Prime member.
To start – let's talk about Prime Pantry. You can fill up a 45 pound box with regular sized pantry items, like rice and cereal, and get it shipped to your door within 1-4 business days for a flat $5.99 shipping rate. BUT, WAIT! Amazon Prime Pantry usually has great deals. Like this one – ‘save $6 when you buy 5 select items'. Did you see what just happened there? You just got free shipping. 🙂 Most people are probably going to buy at least 5 items. There were other deals going on at the time I wrote this post, like ‘Take $5 off your next purchase of $40 or more' and ‘15% off favorite items.' And Prime Pantry has coupons too! Go to the section called Offers and Deals, where they show you everything on sale and all the coupons.
In order to make the most of prime pantry, you really need to know your prices. I went to the grocery store recently to compare prices for us. Here are some examples of how you can save money.
My grocery store sells the big box of goldfish crackers on SALE for $8.99. My kids eat them like there is no tomorrow. You can also buy 5 of them at once and save an additional $5. (But we wouldn't have the room to store them!)
Prime Pantry sells the same sized box for $6.26. That's a $2.73 difference! Even with the buy 5 deal, it works out better.
Here's another one. The Kraft Mac and Cheese single servings. My store sells them in a 4 pack only for $3.99. Again, you can save $1 on each one when you buy five.
Prime Pantry sells them in an 8 pack for $7.48. Less Money!
Ok, here's one more.
I love the Meyer's collection of soaps and cleaners. My store sells the 16 oz. dish soap for $4.99. At prime Pantry, you can currently get this same size of Meyer's Dish soap for $3.49. That's a pretty big difference!
I also spoke to an Amazon customer service rep about stacking the coupons on Prime Pantry and this was their response : “Certain promotions and offers can be stacked, however it will always be noted in the terms and conditions if it can be combined with other offers. ” So – you might as well try to use all the discounts at once too for even more savings.
If you are a parent, then Amazon Family has some great deals for you. I was surprised to learn that some of my friends with young kids didn't even know about this. You can save up to 20% on subscriptions for diapers, wipes and baby food when you subscribe to 5 items to be delivered at the same time to the same address. It even includes items like kids vitamins and diaper pail bags. That's a huge savings that can really add up.
Not to mention, its very convenient to have a monthly delivery of all that stuff. I don't even have to think about it and the diapers just show up at my door. You also get a 15% discount on certain items from your baby registry. I'm also a fan of the Amazon Elements baby wipes. They are more affordable than the seventh generation wipes I used to use, and just as good in my opinion. And they come with a flip-top!
Prime Music/Prime Video/Prime Photos/Prime Reading
Here's a way to cut the costs on all those subscriptions you may have. As a Prime member, you get access to over 2 million songs, ad-free with Prime Music. So instead of paying for a Spotify or Pandora subscription, you can just use this. Want even more music? You can try Amazon Music Unlimited for an additional fee.
Instead of paying for cloud photo storage every month, just use Prime Photos. You get unlimited storage for photos and videos, FREE with your membership.
My husband and I have seriously been talking about cutting the cord. The cable cord that is. There are so many great options now for a la carte cable. More than half of all those channels we get through our cable provider we don't even watch. Why pay for what you don't watch? Prime Video can take the place of your cable. You get access to thousands of movies and shows at no additional cost. And Amazon's own shows are pretty darn good. You also have the option to purchase additional channels, like Showtime. This could be a good option if you are looking to cut the cord and save some of that money every month.
This next one is one of my favorite perks! I love reading magazines but it can quickly add up to get all those subscriptions. Prime Reading gives you access to a rotating collection of popular books, audiobooks and magazines that you can read free. I'm always looking for new decor and craft magazines since I seem to devour them so quickly. I've seen HGTV magazine, Southern Living, Elle Decor and more available through Prime Reading. It's so worth it if you are magazine lover like me. Keep in mind, it's not guaranteed that a specific magazine you want will be offered in Prime Reading, but they have a lot of good ones and its fun to check them out! You can only have a certain amount of prime reading material at one time. (I think it’s 10?) But you can easily return the items you already read to free up space.
If you are a book reader and own a kindle, Prime members get access to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. You get to “borrow” the books for free, with no due dates. This can really save you if you tend to buy books a lot. And – check out Amazon First Reads below. Special perks to Prime Members!
I have to admit, I didn't know about Prime Samples! How many times have I bought a full sized product only to discover I didn't like it and that money went down the drain? With Prime Samples, you can either buy single samples or choose a sample box. The sample boxes are a collection of items, like fitness, luxury beauty, Aveeno products etc. When you purchase a sample or sample box, you get credit to use towards the full size product. They have a lot of options for products such as beauty, fitness, grocery items and baby.
I love trying new beauty products so this is a great way to not spend a lot of money on something you might not like. And if you do like it – you have a credit to use!
Early Access to Lightening Deals/Prime Day
Lightening deals are deals on certain products for a certain amount of time. It counts down the time left for each deal. You can find lightening deals by going to the Today's Deals page. Prime members get 30 minutes early access to these deals. You can score some good deals if you have time to look. They tell you what percentage off you are getting and how many people purchased. Some of my favorite clear organizers have been lightening deals. You can also watch deals and be notified via email when they start so you don't miss out.
You may have also heard of Prime Day. Amazon's version of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (although they have deals on those infamous dates too). Prime Day is exclusive to Prime Members only. They usually announce during the year what day will be prime day. You can expect major discounts on tech stuff, books, TV and a lot of other stuff.
Prime Rewards Card
If you are a Prime member and you really shop at Amazon a lot, it might be worth it to get their Prime Rewards Visa Card. You get 5% back on all amazon purchases, 2% back at gas stations, drugstores and restaurants and 1% back on everything else. You can redeem your points for products at Amazon.
But what if you Aren't a Prime Member?
Ultimately, you really need to decide if the prime membership cost is right for you by weighing the pros and cons. Prime might not be for everyone. If not, there are still ways you can use Amazon to save you money. Read on…
Subscribe and Save
You do not have to be a Prime member to use Subscribe and Save. I love it and use it every month. I use it with Amazon Family for the diapers and wipes, but I also use it for other things I want to buy in bulk. The trick with subscribe and save is to also make sure you have 5 items in your subscribe and save cart each month. That ensures you get the 15% discount. Otherwise, it's just a 5% discount. It also can be a bit of a learning curve to figure out the delivery schedules and what works for you. But, you can always cancel products and skip months when needed. Again – you really have to know your prices here. For instance, I prefer to buy the generic toilet paper from the grocery store. It's cheaper for me that way than ordering through Amazon. Subscribe and Save will mostly be brand name items. However, I do get a cost savings with other items, like the diapers and wipes, razors, toothbrush replacement heads, kind bars, certain kids snacks etc. Next time you are at the grocery store, take out your phone and snap some quick photos of the items you buy regularly and their prices. Then when you get home, you can price compare on amazon's website.
Or, try looking for a barcode scanner app. There are tons of them and you can check prices on the spot.
Are you an avid book reader? Just join Amazon First Reads. This program gives members the opportunity to download (either free or at a reduced price) one of six editors' book picks a month in Kindle format before the official publication date. Also, you can shop for hardcover book editions at exclusive prices. Each month, you'll get a email newsletter announcing the new titles. If you are not a prime member, you get the kindle edition at a reduced rate. If you are a prime member, you get the kindle edition for free.
Amazon will give you a credit for reloading a gift card to Amazon using your checking account. Sounds like a no brainer, right? You have to load $100 to get a $10 bonus (for Prime Members only), but otherwise you get a 2% credit every time you reload with your checking account. Also good to note – there is no service fee or expiration date. This would be a good way to stick to a monthly budget too.
Deep Discounts on open box items! You can score some pretty good deals here if you have the time. Anything is better than paying full price, right?
Renewed products are discounted, certified refurbished, pre-owned and open box items that are tested by suppliers to work and look like new (unless otherwise noted in the details page). These products come with a minimum 90 day warranty.
Amazon outlet is great for bargain hunters! You can find pretty good deals on certain products. For instance, a lot of my favorite clear organizing containers have been sold through the outlet. The deals are only available for a certain period of time. They will also tell you how many other people purchased the deal (so you know if it's a popular deal) and also what percentage off is being offered. It's so fun to look through the outlet offerings!
Don't forget to check out Amazon's Coupon page! You can just google ‘amazon coupons' and the page should come up. Some coupons are only available for your first purchase or first subscribe and save, and some may only be offered to Prime Members. But, it's just another way to save a little cash!
Amazon Trade-in is a program where you can send in your used products to Amazon. You send the items to Amazon using a free pre-paid shipping label. Amazon checks the item, appraises it and notifies you within 2 business days if the item was rejected or accepted. If accepted, you get an Amazon gift card for the appraised amount. If rejected, the item gets shipped back to you (free).
The items have to be in the same condition as the item on the trade-in search results page. There are a number of categories available for trade in, like cell phones, laptops, cameras, video games and books. If you search the trade-in items, you may find a match for an item you have just laying around the house. Why not trade it in for something you will actually use?
Apps/Browser Extensions to Save you Even More!
These free apps will help you save even more money using Amazon. Read on to learn more about them and click the links to be taken to their homepage.
CamelCamelCamel is a free website/browser extension that tracks the prices of million of Amazon products, alerting you to the best time to buy. You just enter the url of any product from Amazon, and it gives the price history. You can sign up to be alerted when the price drops.
Ibotta / EBates
I love Ibotta! I've been using this app for quite some time now. Anytime I go the grocery store, I scan my receipt to the Ibotta app for extra savings. You can use Ibotta to get cash back from certain stores when you buy. And, Ibotta partners with Amazon for cash back offers. For instance, you can earn 3% cash back when you buy from Amazon Grocery. You can check out all the Amazon cash back offers on the Ibotta website. ***Note that some of the offers are exclusively for prime members – but not all. Right now – Ibotta has a deal that if you sign up for Prime through Ibotta, you get a $20 amazon gift card. Cool!
Ebates is also a winner in my book! I use them very frequently and have saved so much in cash back. They also have an Amazon section with cash back offers. They have an app and a browswer extension so when you are shopping online, it's a no brainer to just click through the ebates portal to get your cash back. Check it out HERE.
This is a browser extension. The Honey extension “appears” at checkout and looks for the best possible coupon codes available. It also tells you some history behind the pricing of an item and if it's the best time to buy. How many times have we been at checkout and the codes we spent forever looking for don't even work??? This solves that problem. I haven't personally played around with Honey too much yet, but the reviews seem pretty good and it was featured on the Today Show. It's definitely one that I'm going to use more often.
This is another browser extension and is recommended by Consumer Reports. Whenever you are looking at an item on a website, like Amazon, the Invisible Hand “appears” and tells you if that same item can be found cheaper somewhere else, like ebay. It will also alert you about other offers, like if there's a discounted gift card available on Raise.
Ever received a gift card to a store you don't like or shop at? Yep. Me too. Now, you can actually sell your unwanted gift cards to Raise (you won't get the full amount though). But, you can also buy discounted gift cards! I would get clever with this and buy the gift card you need while you are in the checkout. That way, you know the exact amount you need. They have gift cards for everything! Grocery stores, coffee shops, Target, Department Stores, Restaurants and yep, Amazon. You can also sign up to be alerted when specific gift cards become available. It's important to note that Raise gives you a 1 year money back guarantee for the cards you buy. And here's one more thing – Ebates right now is giving 1% cash back through the Raise website. So essentially, you are earning cash back while you are buying discounted gift cards. 🙂
You might also want to check out gift card granny for their discounted gift cards!
Phew! That was a lot to cover. There is one more thing I forgot to mention – all these things can help save you time. To quote Mark Cuban – “What is more Valuable than your Time?”
I hope this helps you discover some new ways to save money this year. Thanks so much for reading! Oh yea, and stay tuned for some new fun DIY projects coming up!