Amazon’s rise from online bookstore to merchandising giant has been great for our wallets. Its awesome ecosystem of products and services, including Prime, the Amazon App Store, Prime Video, the Kindle store, and more, keeps expanding, just adding to the temptation.
If you’re an Amazon addict like me, you’ll find you might get a little trigger-happy when it comes to loading up that cart. With the following tips, you’ll be able to save even more on Amazon’s already low prices and learn tricks you can use from now on… and you’ll feel better about the most recent Chardonnay-inspired late night shopping binge, too.
12 hidden features on Amazon that will save you money
Charity begins at your home page
This tip isn’t about your personal savings, but it’s still a fantastic way to make the absolute most of your Amazon purchases. Instead of shopping through Amazon’s main home page, shop through https://smile.amazon.com/. It works exactly like Amazon’s main page, with one smile-inducing difference: You choose one of the countless approved charities from their list and 0.05% of eligible purchase prices will be donated to that charity.
The BEST part is that it costs you absolutely nothing. The prices at Amazon Smile are exactly the same as they are on the main page, and you’ll find all of the same products and deals. It only costs you the tiny bit of effort to set up a shortcut so you remember to go through Amazon Smile. There’s also a Chrome extension that keeps you from forgetting to start from the AmazonSmile page.
Use that last few dollars on your debit gift card
It’s always a hassle when you have a $50 Visa/MasterCard/American Express gift card and use it until it’s down to a $1.93 balance. No worries with Amazon, though! You can use that small balance to purchase an Amazon gift card and send it to your account so it can be used toward future Amazon purchases. Of course, gift cards can be sent via email or mail as well as printed at home.
Watch those price fluctuations
Amazon’s prices fluctuate a lot. This is partly by design, as with all retail, but it’s also a natural result of sellers being able to change prices on the fly to remain competitive. If you’re in the market for something, especially if it’s a big-ticket item, it’s worth your while to take a look at its price history over on camelcamelcamel.com. This site and others like it will alert consumers about price drop alerts and provide information such as price history.
Free shipping: It’s not just for Prime
If the only reason you use Prime is to save on shipping, be aware that Amazon has plenty of other free shipping deals, too. You might have to wait more than two days for your items, but planning ahead can make that painless in most cases. If you don’t need more than $99 worth of speedy two-day shipping in a year, you can trim your budget and drop Prime for now.
Get refunds for price changes
Ever had the sinking feeling of looking up a product you recently bought and seeing that the price has dropped? Don’t despair. Amazon will frequently refund you the difference, believe it or not! It usually has to be within a certain time frame, and it needs to be an item shipped and sold by Amazon, but it is doable. Contact customer service if you see one of these drops. The following screenshot demonstrates the process.
You can also check out services like paribus.co, which automatically scans your online purchases to find those eligible for this type of refund (and not just Amazon purchases, either!).
Stock up on “add-on” staples
Amazon’s add-on items, which you are usually eligible to add to an order of at least $25, put other retailers to shame price-wise. Better yet, they’re also frequently household staples. Planning around your regular orders to maximize stocking up on add-ons really adds up in terms of savings!
Here’s another tip (or two): If you’re short of a $25 qualifying order, adding a pre-order item like a game or book can sometimes work—and since you’re not charged for it until the pre-order ships, you’ll be able to change your mind and cancel it. After, of course, you’ve gotten your sweet add-on deals. There are also rumors that asking Alexa (Amazon’s home digital assistant) to order individual add-on items has been successful.
Keep an eye on coupons and deals
Everyone rushes to take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday deals, but those aren’t the only times you can find great temporary discounts on Amazon. On the contrary, Amazon has great discounts and deals daily. Their Amazon Gold Box link will take you straight there—add it to your bookmark bar today.
Amazon’s Coupons page is also overflowing with extra savings for you to look at, and you can request they be sent directly to your email.
Prime directive: share Prime Shipping
You can’t share your Prime account without running afoul of Amazon’s rules, but Amazon does make it easy for you to share certain aspects of your account – including your free two-day shipping. All you have to do is add up to four members of your household to your Prime account. They’ll need to input their birthday to use the feature, so make sure to refresh their memories!
Import your textbooks
Everyone taking college courses knows that one of the most expensive (and frustrating) parts of back to school shopping is getting your textbooks, especially if you’re stuck with having to buy new ones. This tip will help trim that textbook budget.
Many books, including college textbooks, are priced differently depending on which regional Amazon site you use. Your $200 book might be half that price if you hit up Amazon’s French regional page. Just enter the name of the book you are looking for and hit Enter.
And you don’t even have to do all the legwork yourself. CheapRiver is a fantastic online tool that not only compares book prices across Amazon regional sites but also automatically incorporates shipping into displayed prices and checks the current exchange rates to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Price check with Flow
Flow (powered by Amazon) is an app available on both Android and iOS (it’s built right into Amazon’s own devices). Just use the camera to visually identify an item or scan a barcode and get all sorts of relevant information if Amazon has a matching item in its store. Do you see a great deal on a game in a brick and mortar store, but you’re not sure if it’s competitive with Amazon? Just scan it with Flow!
Install Softonic’s Amazon products
Visit https://en.softonic.com/s/amazon to find and download useful Amazon applications that can greatly enhance your Amazon experience and make things easier for you.
Chat up Customer Service
This is an all-around life pro tip, but don’t be afraid to contact customer service if something goes wrong. Be polite! They can’t always help if Amazon isn’t at fault, but Amazon’s customer service is known to have quite a bit of leeway in certain circumstances.
I have heard stories stating Amazon has given free refurbished Kindles when out of warranty Kindles were broken, Amazon has replaced packages that arrived broken without requiring consumers to return the initial package, and I even know of several circumstances where Amazon replaced orders that were stolen from consumers’ front porches.
Go in with low expectations and good manners and you might just be surprised how far out of their way Amazon staff will go to make your day brighter.