Amazon is one of the leading global retailers, with net sales of about $469.8 billion in 2021. You can buy just about anything from this online retailer, but sometimes that choice can get overwhelming.
With such an extensive portfolio of items, it can be hard to keep track of all the tricks for getting the best deals. However, we can definitely give you a place to start!
This article will break down several ways to save money on Amazon, ranging from finding coupons, promotions, and discounts to using third-party tools to save money.
What is the Amazon shopping experience like?
Amazon is an extremely popular shopping site, owing to the huge number of items sold on the platform. Both first and third-party sellers sell items on the website.
First-party sellers are vendors who sell their commodities directly to Amazon, who then sell them to customers. Third-party sellers are independent retailers who manage their own inventory and sell directly to customers using Amazon's platform. They account for 56% of the total sold units on the Amazon marketplace.
Here are some of the top items sold on Amazon.
The broad selection of items is the second-most-popular reason customers choose to shop at Amazon, with fast, free shipping being the reason cited by most consumers.
Many customers prefer online shopping due to the wealth of discounts and deals they can take advantage of. A recent report indicates that 60% of customers seek coupons and discounts to offset high prices across multiple shopping categories. Additionally, 45% switch brands to save money, and 53% check out various stores to land the best price.
The value-hungry customer should understand that finding these coupons and deals takes some effort. While a platform like CouponFollow makes the work easier by aggregating coupons that anyone can use at multiple retailers, the available savings don’t end there.
Amazon has a few other opportunities that any value-chasing customers can use to save money. A few are obvious, but others are a bit more tricky, and only those willing to dig deep can find them.
How to save money on Amazon
Keeping on top of all the tricks and tips to save money on Amazon could become a full-time job. Assuming you’ve got other ways to spend your time, why not use our comprehensive list to start making savings.
Join Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is Amazon's paid subscription service that costs $139 per year, or $14.99 per month. Amazon recently raised the rates, and all existing members will have to pay the new amount from March 25th, 2022.
Amazon Prime has 200 million users globally.
Prime members enjoy many benefits and perks, but one significant one is the free one or two-day shipping on most items sold on the platform. Amazon offers free standard shipping on select orders above $25 or more to all customers, but expect to get these fulfilled within five to eight days.
Joining Amazon Prime won't save you money automatically, as it depends on your shopping habits. If you occasionally buy an item or two on Amazon, Prime isn't for you. However, if you are a regular shopper that purchases more than three items on Amazon every month, consider signing up for it.
Regular shipping costs can quickly add up and easily top the monthly subscription amount needed to join Amazon Prime. Free shipping takes longer, and waiting for a week is unappealing to consumers used to rapid delivery. A recent survey shows that 44% of consumers were willing to wait for two days to get fast deliveries as opposed to only about a quarter who are okay with waiting 3–4 days.
Shipping rates for items on Amazon start at $3.99 for Domestic Standard to $6.99 for Domestic Expedited. Going with these amounts, you only have to make four purchases to make it worthwhile to sign up for Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime isn't just about saving on shipping, as members enjoy several other perks that save you money. There are frequent Prime deals exclusive to Amazon Prime members in the form of discounts on several items on the marketplace. Also, Prime-specific coupon codes are available for members to leverage and get discounts on purchases.
Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest sales events on the internet and features exclusive deals and discounts for Amazon Prime members only. It includes lightning deals that run out fast and sales that last the entire event.
Additional benefits for Amazon Prime members include:
- Amazon Prime gaming, a rebranding of Twitch Prime where gamers get free monthly games, in-game loot, and a free Twitch subscription.
- Amazon Prime video for unlimited streaming of movies and video.
- Discounts on Amazon Pharmacy.
- Exclusive access to next-generation gaming consoles, i.e., PS5 and Xbox Series X.
- Free grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh.
If you’re a student, you’re also eligible for a 50% discount on Amazon Prime membership via Prime Student.
For more tips on how to save money in college, check out our article on ways to save.
In summary, if you use Amazon services regularly, we’d recommend investing in Prime membership.
Benefits are numerous, and you stand to save a lot on purchases, subscriptions, and delivery fees. The perks may only be worth a dollar or two, but all the benefits add up and justify the monthly subscription fee.
Make bulk orders for fast and cheaper shipping
All items on Amazon have a shipping cost specific to the item and your location. As such, it's hard to predetermine shipping costs without adding the item to your cart and proceeding to checkout.
For non-Prime customers, some orders are eligible for free shipping as long as they total $25 or more. Eligible items are labeled "Free Shipping," and they're often fulfilled and shipped by Amazon. These orders take between five and eight days to be fulfilled.
The trick here is to make sure your order hits the $25 threshold. If you make purchases on Amazon, plan to make them all at once to qualify for free shipping. Note that an eligible item has to be in your cart for all the items to qualify for free shipping.
If you do this and find that free shipping doesn't apply, it could be for a few reasons. First, you might have removed an eligible item from the cart, or some of the items might have a special handling fee.
Watch out for lightning deals
Amazon has tons of lightning deals throughout the year that offer huge discounts. These offers are available on the "Today Deals" page and during Prime Day.
While everyone expects deals on Prime Day, you can still score huge deals on regular days without having an Amazon Prime membership.
Before shopping on Amazon, check out the "Today Deals" page and see what items are available there. These items change once stocks are depleted and are available one per customer. If stocks aren't exhausted, they'll be available for the specified period, usually six hours.
These deals have details such as the available variations of the item, promotional discount amount, final price, a status bar showing the percentage of deals claimed, and a timer showing how long before the deal runs out.
If you are interested in any item and add it to your cart, you have 15 minutes to complete the purchase, or the item will go back to the queue and become available to other customers.
To better land these deals, watch them ahead of time and get notifications once they go live. Set up desktop notifications or browse them on the Amazon app. You'll be alerted when they go live and can quickly make the purchase before they run out.
Due to the 15-minute limit imposed on lightning deals, you might not have enough time to shop around. If you plan to include the promotional commodity with other items, add those to your cart beforehand. Once the deal goes live, you can quickly add the item to your cart and proceed to checkout.
Understand that lightning deals have discounts that apply to the list price, not the cost price. You'll see many items on Amazon with discounted prices, say a $30 item marked with a discounted price of, say, $25. When this item appears on Today's deals advertised as 50% off, note that you'll pay $15 and not $12.25.
This is key to managing expectations and knowing what you'll pay for a lightning deal item once it is live.
Take advantage of Amazon coupons
Amazon has a tool that sellers can use to create coupons and boost sales. There are always coupons on Amazon that you can clip and get discounts on purchases.
You need to know where to look and how to use these coupons.
Amazon has a section that's usually under the radar that contains coupons. This fantastic page is available to anyone with an Amazon account and will show you all the coupons available at that moment.
Some of the coupons here are available to Prime customers only, and these are often the premium ones. Having a Prime subscription is an advantage here, too, since you get an opportunity to score bigger discounts.
To use a coupon, clip it, which means clicking on a button that loads it to your account and automatically applies it during checkout.
While the Coupons page is a great resource, you'll need to watch out for the coupon flag when browsing through items. This shows if a coupon applies to that specific item or not.
Not all Amazon coupons are only available in-house, you can also search for third-party ones on different sites. A top coupon aggregator is Coupon Follow, which has many coupons you can use when shopping at Amazon and other retailers.
Coupon Follow makes your work easy by compiling all coupons you can use on Amazon on their dedicated page and letting you select one that applies to your specific purchase.
Also, watch some of the top third-party Amazon resellers, as they often have coupons on their social media pages and newsletters.
Enjoy the benefits of "No Rush" shipping
We all want our items shipped as fast as possible, and Amazon knows this. It's almost impossible to get everyone's order processed within the same day due to logistical limitations and the volumes Amazon moves every day.
Did you know that if you can wait a little longer for your shipping, you stand a chance of scoring some rewards on Amazon?
Amazon has a "No-Rush" shipping option for patient customers or those who make purchases they don't need right away. These incentives are designed to get more customers to opt for slower shipping and reduce the pressure on faster shipping channels.
You cannot predetermine what items will appear with the No-Rush shipping option, so stay savvy during check-out. Look for the shipping option dubbed "No-Rush" and select it to see the ETA for your order.
The benefit of picking this option is a $1 digital credit. It might not be much, but it can quickly add up to significant amounts if you pick it up several times. You can check your digital credit balance in your Amazon account and decide when to redeem the amount to save on purchases.
Use Amazon’s trade-in program
Do you have old tech items that you no longer use?
The Amazon Trade-in program is an excellent opportunity to browse and send in lots of eligible items in exchange for a gift card you can use to make purchases. Customers who upgrade to new devices also qualify for lots of discounts.
To trade in an item, browse the different categories to see if what you're looking to trade in is eligible. Select it and answer a few basic questions that explain the item's condition. This will let the platform set a preliminary price that Amazon might adjust once the item gets to their warehouse and is assessed physically.
On assessment, Amazon could adjust the item's price, and you have the option to accept this new price or let the device go to recycling. Once Amazon starts to process your trade-in, you can’t get your item back if you don’t like the price they offer you. As such, it's essential to answer the questions as accurately as possible to avoid any surprises once the physical assessment is done.
Items that are in excellent condition get the highest payouts. Amazon provides a paid UPS shipping label when you complete the online form. Even if your item isn't accepted and returned, Amazon will pay for all shipping costs.
Amazon uses ground shipping to accept the item, which can take a while. Once they’ve received it, you’ll need to wait for at least 12 days for an email with Amazon's response. The email will explain the trade-in status details, and if accepted, you'll receive a gift card worth the indicated amount.
If you have an old Amazon device that you'd want to trade in, for instance, an Amazon Kindle or Amazon Echo, take it to an eligible Amazon specialty retail location. If the device is in good condition, you'll get store credit instead of a gift card.
Sign up for repeat deliveries
If you buy similar items repeatedly from Amazon, like prescriptions or pet food, sign up for the Subscribe and Save program to score discounts. It's no different than regular shopping, except you commit to receiving the items delivered at regular intervals, say after five weeks.
Amazon offers between 5% and 15% discounts on selected items with this program.
To sign up, check out the Subscribe and Save page. Here, you'll find thousands of eligible products. Select the quantity and schedule that suits you.
The "Manage your subscriptions" option lets you skip deliveries or reschedule them, and you can also cancel if you no longer need the item. Before each delivery is made, Amazon will send an email to remind you of the quantity and price of the item, as this can vary from time to time.
You'll get a 5% discount off the purchase price when you sign up for the plan. After your first delivery, you can even cancel the subscription if it’s no longer working for you.
The 15% discount applies if you receive more than five products under auto-delivery to a single address.
Don't miss out on Amazon Prime Day
The highlight of being an Amazon Prime member is Amazon Prime Day, the annual two-day sales event. It originally started in July 2015 to celebrate Amazon's 20th birthday but has grown to become one of the most anticipated sales events on the internet, along with Black Friday.
Prime customers enjoy a wide collection of discounted items across all categories and can take advantage of lightning deals that run for a limited time.
If you're looking to buy an item on Amazon around the time Amazon Prime Day runs, save it for the sales event, as there is a high probability that it'll be discounted, and you could save a lot of money.
With such a storm of deals, it's easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on an opportunity that strikes once a year. Understand the tips and tricks to get the best out of Amazon Prime Day and save more.
- Before the event, have a wishlist of items you are looking to buy. This will save you from impulse shopping, which can take up your money and leave you with very little left to buy what you actually need.
- Check out Amazon's Prime Day sneak peek to see some of the items that will be discounted. If you see items on your checklist, click on "watch" to get notifications for when they go live.
- Check what the items you have on your wishlist normally cost on Amazon (and at other retailers!) before you get to the day. You can use multiple third-party tools to track price history and know if a discount is worth it or not. Some retailers overprice items and then heavily discount them to get customers to buy.
- To get more savings, leverage some of the tips here, like free shipping and Amazon coupons, to stack your discounts and get the items on your wishlist at very low prices.
Use price tracking software
Amazon sells many items, which makes it hard to keep track of how prices change over time. It's hard to know if discounts are worth it or when prices drop.
CamelCamelCamel is a robust, free website that tracks Amazon prices and notifies you when there are significant price drops.
Its primary function is to track the prices of items that can go back several years. Look for any product on Amazon, and you can view how the price has changed over time in graphical form. You'll see how expensive or cheap an item is, how often the price has changed, and whether third-party sellers offer it at a lower cost.
This is an excellent resource to use before you buy any product.
You can set up email notifications when prices hit certain thresholds as part of the tracking. This is useful if you're looking to buy certain items and are willing to wait for the right price rather than overpay for them.
Additionally, the tool has top price drops by category for the day and week. This is a great feature you can use to score heavily-discounted items and identify them rather than browsing through Amazon manually.
Tracking prices might be too much work for small items, but it can save you lots of money on bigger ones. A price-tracking tool is great for any considerable purchase, as you'll know when to get the best deal.
Take advantage of Prime Try for fashion items
This is yet another perk Amazon Prime members enjoy.
Prime Try is an exclusive program where you try eligible items, such as clothing, shoes, and accessories, before buying. You get seven days to try the items at home and only pay for what you like.
Eligible items are highlighted on Amazon, and most of these orders are fulfilled within 4 to 6 days. The try-on period starts the moment you receive the items.
Once you try and determine what you'll keep, go to "your orders" and mark what you want to keep and what should be returned. If you don't complete this before the trial period elapses, Amazon will charge you for the entire order.
Make sure you return the items you don't want using the prepaid return label. Amazon will confirm with an email and close the order on receipt of the items being returned.
Note that Prime Try only works with credit cards.
This is a great way to make sure the clothes, shoes, and accessories you buy fit perfectly. We all understand the frustration of purchasing these items online, only to find they aren't what was advertised or they don't fit well.
Use Prime Try rather than waste money on items that don’t actually fit.
Sign up for an Amazon Credit Card
Amazon offers several credit cards, with the main one being a store card that you can use exclusively for Amazon purchases. This card has a buy-now-pay-later feature where holders can pay for large items over time with no interest.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is available to Prime members only and offers many benefits. It's offered in partnership with Chase.
On sign-up, you get a $70 gift card bonus and 5% cashback on all purchases made on Amazon. Also, users get 2% cashback on restaurants, gas stations, and qualifying purchases, plus 1% on all purchases.
While the card has no annual fee, it rides on the Amazon Prime membership's yearly subscription fee, which, as you know, comes with a lot of other perks.
Comparing this card to other credit cards, it's an excellent pick for anyone who shops heavily at Amazon.
Donate to charity through Amazon
With the rise of socially-conscious spending, many shoppers are looking for ways to donate to notable causes.
AmazonSmile is a separate portal from Amazon that offers similar items at the same price but donates 0.5% of the cost of select items to a charitable cause of your choice.
This is an excellent way for shoppers to get the items they need and still donate to charity at no extra cost—talk about killing two birds with one stone.
There's no cost to the charity involved, and the whole amount received from the donation goes to your charity of choice.
Set up an account on the AmazonSmile hub or sign in using your existing Amazon account to donate. All the benefits available to Prime members are available with this account, so there is nothing to worry about.
The site has more than 1 million eligible charities listed, and you can select a preferred one and have all your donations go to them. Note that your charity must have registered with Amazonsmile, or the donation will automatically be routed to another one.
Make sure that the item you're looking to buy qualifies for AmazonSmile.
Watch out for Amazon Treasure Truck
Treasure Truck is a special program in the US and UK, where Amazon gets a product and sells it on a truck that's always on the go.
This product is usually a popular one, such as the PS5, and one has to sign up for the program to get alerts on the whereabouts of the Treasure Truck. Except for very exclusive items, the products sold are heavily discounted, from 30% to 40% off.
When the truck is in your area, you'll receive a notification and click on the message to see the available deals. If you're interested in what is available for sale, select a location, pay for the item, and Amazon will tell you when to pick it up.
Cently is a valuable tool that automates the process of finding deals all over the internet and applying them to purchases.
Install it on your browser and get discounts and coupons that can save you money easily. It's available as a browser extension and finds the best deals and discounts across thousands of websites and automatically applies them at checkout.
A single click does all of this.
With Cently, you focus on shopping while it does all the savings for you.
Setting it up is easy as you can install it from Cently's Chrome web page. Add it to your browser and activate it when shopping on Amazon.
While shopping, click on "save money." The tool will check the internet and try various codes to find what works, and it'll apply any it finds and allow you to proceed to checkout and pay the discounted amount.
Score savings with these shopping hacks
Amazon is like a jungle, and only those willing to dig deep can get the most value out of this marketplace.
Some of the top tips for saving money when shopping on Amazon have been listed, but don't stop here, as there are other loopholes that you can exploit to save even more. From the list, some will require effort in checking out prices and signing up for different programs to enjoy the benefits.
One thing is clear if you regularly shop on Amazon, it’s worth investing in Amazon Prime. Many of the discounts we’ve featured hinge on this, and the benefits outweigh the costs. Even if you’re not a regular Amazon shopper, you can enjoy multiple benefits on other services across the Amazon world.
If you're looking to save on Amazon and several other online retailers, check out CouponFollow. Here, you'll find many coupons and promo codes to use for purchases, so there’s always a discount at your fingertips.