It might be easier to ask, "Who among us does not use Amazon.com?" Let me tell you, shopping on Amazon the right way is more than clicking items and loading up your cart.
Once you learn a few tricks, you’ll find sales and price cuts that you never imagined possible. Here are five insider secrets to save money on Amazon.com.
1. Shop the Amazon Warehouse and Outlet
Some of us like to browse. We prefer used bookstores, vintage clothing shops, and second-hand furniture stores. Amazon Warehouse is just that kind of place. Here you’ll find returned and lightly used products that are still functional but don’t qualify as "new."
Conditions range from "Refurbished," "Like New," "Very Good," all the way down to "Acceptable" and the product information includes notes on what defects or blemishes to expect on a particular item.
As you might expect, you’ll find a treasure trove of electronics from video games and widescreen TVs to smart watches and Bluetooth speakers.
For example, Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones have $400 MSRP and are currently on sale for $300. But check the used section for this item and there is "Used - Good" Amazon Warehouse Deal for $213.39. The used headphones have small cosmetic imperfections, but at a 44-percent discount, it’s a bargain.
This marketplace does have its risks. On the one hand, the items aren’t in perfect condition, and most electronics do not come with warranties. Amazon does honor a generous return policy, and you can sometimes procure a warranty or protection plan from Square Trade, depending on the item.
Amazon Warehouse lets you use Amazon Prime for free deliveries. You can also visit Amazon Outlet, a similar market for clearance and overstock items. Click here to learn more about Amazon Warehouse and Outlet deals and gotchas.
2. Find Amazon coupons
The word "coupon" conjures up images of cutting apart newspapers at the kitchen table. Amazon coupons are much simpler than that. You don’t have to collect and organize little slips of paper the way your grandmother does. Instead, you can just visit Amazon’s coupon site, collect the ones you want, and redeem them with a click. Your savings will be applied automatically to the final bill.
You can also use the coupons’ subscription service to keep the discounts flowing. The word "subscription" may sound suspect, but there is no additional fee. Amazon will help you keep track of your coupons on products you regularly buy. This is particularly convenient for cyclical household items like diapers, toothpaste and tortilla chips.
Just like old-fashioned coupons, Amazon offers a wide range of savings, and Prime members receive especially appetizing offers that others do not. Click here to get instant savings by using Amazon's coupons.
3. Get mail-in and online rebates
Perhaps you remember when we’d send a slip of glossy paper bundled with receipts to some random address and waited for weeks to get a rebate. Those days are long gone.
Amazon makes this process much faster and more predictable, and with so many holiday promotions running, it’s a great time to check for any possible rebates.
When you request a rebate, you just enter your order number and your email address and the system will track the rebate for you. If you’re concerned whether the rebate will work, you can track the status instantaneously. It really makes it super simple to get a rebate. Click here to learn more about mail-in and online rebates available at Amazon.com.
4. Check for price drops
Many customers don’t realize that many Amazon prices fluctuate, based on supply and demand. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, there’s no banner over the front door to announce a major sale, so unless you’re paying close attention, a sudden drop in prices can be difficult to spot.
That’s where CamelCamelCamel comes in. The website tracks the ever-changing prices on Amazon. With a free account, you can set up notifications on your favorite items. The moment a coveted pair of shoes or toy dips in value, you’ll know when to place your order. Click here to learn more about the benefits of CamelCamelCamel.
5. Price-matching TVs
This game is a little trickier. First, you have to be in the market for a new television. Second, you have to do your research. But because Amazon has a low-price guarantee, it’s possible that you could nab an incredible deal on your next TV.
Here’s how it works: You buy a television from Amazon, and you jot down the price. For the next 30 days, you can visit the websites of qualifying Amazon competitors, like K-Mart or Sam’s Club, and find the same make and model of television.
If you find a lower price, contact Amazon and you will be refunded the price difference. Click here to learn more about saving money using Amazon’s price matching guarantee.
Looking for more ways to save this holiday season? Wondering what other ways you can reap Amazon rewards? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.