Everybody will have used Amazon at one point or another. It’s the largest internet company in the world by revenue, so a lot of money is being spent. However, you don’t have to spend as much as you think, because there are plenty of ways to cut down your spending on Amazon, but still getting all the items you know and love.
A study reported by Business Insider found that Amazon Prime members spend an average of $1,300 a year on Amazon, while non-Prime members spend an average of $700. Based on those numbers, it’s clear Amazon lives up to the hype of being the e-commerce giant it’s made out to be. And that it’s a favorite for many families to do their a majority of their online shopping on. Which is why we wanted to step in with our best tips and tricks!
We’ve rounded up the 6 best ways to cut down your spending on Amazon, from becoming a deal detective, to earning your own Amazon gift cards. There should be something in here for everyone – even the biggest Amazon connoisseur.
Earn Amazon vouchers by taking pictures
There’s an app on your phone which has taken side hustlers by storm, as it pays you in Amazon vouchers for not much work. I’ve even caught the bug, and racked up over $120 in the process in just a few months.
The app is called JobSpotter. It’s powered by Indeed (the job website), and it pays you in Amazon vouchers for simply taking pictures of job ads or hiring signs in store windows anywhere you go. All you need to do is take a picture of the sign itself, and the storefront to get paid in Amazon vouchers.
This is a clever way for Indeed to source new job advertisements by letting the general public do it for them, but in return, it can mean huge pay-outs for you. Each sign that you snap can pay you anywhere from 10 cents up to $2 or $3, so there is potential to make a nice little bonus for taking a few seconds out of your day.
You can do this anywhere in the world too, if you are ever on vacation, you can still be snapping signs and have the money added to your account. The app specifically favours signs from independent stores and retailers over the big names. You’ll still get paid if you snap a sign at the mall for Macy’s, but just not as much.
You also get paid a higher amount for signs that either haven’t been snapped in a while or haven’t been found at all, so if you live in a rural area, you’re most likely to make the biggest profit from this app.
There is a new feature on the app that allows you to see a local map at all the signs that have been found in the past, so you know where to find them. It also tells you whether it will be a high point sign (if it hasn’t been snapped in a while), or a low point sign (if it’s been found recently). High points generally means over 100 points, and low points means somewhere under 100, but the cent to point ratio is 1:1.
If you round up those dark green dots in your local town, you could be earning between $1-3 per sign you snap, so within a short space of time, you should have a healthy Amazon gift card balance. You can claim at any time (there isn’t a minimum), so whether you earn a few bucks or $100s, it’s a nice little earner.
Shop at the best times to buy on Amazon
As Amazon is such an online powerhouse, it’s tricky to know when exactly the best time to buy is. There are so many independent Amazon sellers too, which could mean a good deal pops up at any time. There are however certain points of the year where you can guarantee to find cheap prices and good deals on Amazon, specifically for its own brand products.
It’s always a good time to be buying on Amazon around the Black Friday season. This happens the day after Thanksgiving every year, and although every store you can think of takes part, Amazon is a big player.
In past years, strong discounts can be found on its own products. The Amazon Echo Dot dropped to its cheapest ever price (at the time) of $29.99. Considerable discounts were also found on the Echo, Kindles and Tablets. This year, we can expect similar strong discounts on its own brands, with the new generation items taking centre stage.
Quite a lot of independent stores will also drop their prices on Black Friday to be competitive with Amazon. So, if you aren’t looking for its own brand products, you might find a bargain. In the past, Amazon has been cheapest on toys, make up and smaller appliances.
This is a relatively new event happening just on Amazon’s website. This year it was close to 48 hours’ worth of deals, with most of them lasting over a day – making them more easily accessible than Black Friday. There was also plenty of ‘Lightning Deals’ which would only last for 15 minutes at a time. These would be for more obscure items, but it’s still worth looking at.
Of course, in order to claim the deals on Prime Day, you’ll have to be a member of Amazon Prime. If you’ve never signed up in the past, you should be able to get a free 30-day free trial. If you’ve used your free trial and the only option is paying $12.99 a month, it might be worth waiting until the day to see if there is anything that you want to buy. If there is something you need, and you’re saving over $13 on it, then it might be worth signing up for a month and getting the deal (and a month’s worth of free 1-day shipping).
Prime Day usually happens around mid-July, and in the past have run on a Monday and Tuesday, so the next one, we think it will be on the 13th and 14th of July 2020.
Is it really a deal? Check historical prices!
Continuing on from the “best time to buy” frame of mind, there are tools that help on a product specific basis. From the face of it, it doesn’t seem like it would be much use checking what prices used to be on Amazon, but in fact it’s a powerful tool. By looking back, you can in fact check whether now is a good time to buy.
One way you can do this is by using a website called CamelCamelCamel. Although the website might look old, it’s quite simple to use. All you have to do is type in the name of the product or paste in the Amazon URL into the search bar, and it will come up with historical pricing data. Most products have the past 1 year in pricing, so you are able to look back at the pricing trends.
The key use for this tool is to look at where the pricing graph is now. Where does it stack up against historical pricing? Should you purchase now, or does it look like a sale is coming? Here’s a few example price graphs, so you know what to be looking for:
Below is a price graph for the past year for a Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon. As you can see throughout the year, it has mostly stayed at the RRP of $249.99. Those drops on the graph indicate price reductions, and there have only been 7 in the past 12 months.
Now would suggest it is the right time to buy, as although it was gone cheaper, this is one of the only times in the year it has dropped in price, and the price drops historically don’t last very long.
Now for the flip side, below is a pricing graph for the Echo Plus (2nd Gen). Its RRP is $149.99, and it has dropped in price 8 times during the past year. As you can see, we’ve just missed a price drop and it has returned to its normal price, which will mean now is not the time to buy. We can see that the price does drop quite regularly, so hanging back until it drops again is the best option.
What to do if you’ve just missed a price drop
If the graph of the items you’re looking to buy looks similar to the Echo Plus, and you’ve just missed a price drop, there is something you can do. On the same page, you will be able to set a price alert, where they will email you when the product drops below a certain price.
You can set whichever price you want before they email you too, which means if you’re not in desperate need of something, you can track it down to a price that you would buy it at. There is a lot more data to look at, but this is what it’s most useful for.
Use the Amazon scanner app before buying
If you have downloaded the Amazon app on your phone, there is a handy feature that will allow you to see what the price of that product is on Amazon. In the search bar, you will see a camera function, which has a built-in barcode reader. If you scan a barcode of an item, it will see if it matches an item on Amazon, and gives you details of pricing on it.
This comes in especially handy if you are out in the mall and are looking at buying something, simply scan it on the app to see what the price is on Amazon. If it’s cheaper instore, then you can purchase it from there. But quite often, you will find it cheaper ordering through Amazon. Even if it’s a few dollars here and there, it’s still a saving (and you can use your gift cards you’ve earnt from JobSpotter).
Split the cost of your Prime
Did you know that two adults (and up to four kids) can share the benefits of Amazon Prime while only paying for one subscription? It’s a cool trick, and it means you can split the cost with your friends/family members. Although, there are some caveats.
First off, you need to find a friend/family member who has a subscription to Amazon Prime. You may need to do a little schmoozing, as you’ll need to get them to add you to an Amazon Household account. Amazon household lets you share all the perks with one other adult (who was a separate Amazon account).
This person will need to be someone you live with. Because the terms are unclear on this, it’s fairly flexible. If you live with a partner for a few days a week or your parents on the weekend, you’ll be fine to join up. The same is said for roommates too.
Once you’re on the Amazon Household page, it’s easy to set up. Just get your friend who has access to prime to send you an email to join their household.
This offer requires a little bit of trust from the person that you’re sharing an account with, as once you’ve accepted the request, in order to access the benefits, both account holders need to authorise each other to use all payment cards associated with their Amazon account. You won’t have to spend any money (and it won’t change your primary payment method), but in order to link, you need to have each other’s payment details on your accounts.
Once you’ve pinkie swore that you won’t use their card, you’re good to go! You’ll both have access to Prime benefits (including 1 day delivery and Prime video) for the price of one.
Always get the best price on Amazon.com
Because there are so many individual sellers on Amazon, it may mean they are priced cheaper than Amazon itself when selling products. So by switching to a different seller, you can save a lot of money, and still get the same product.
You can find out if an Amazon seller is cheaper by using Cently’s Amazon best price feature. Once the plugin is downloaded, whenever you look at a product on Amazon, it will say if you can buy it cheaper with a reputable seller, and what the saving is on screen. If you can make a saving, simply click the banner and check you’re happy with the shipping, and one click will add it to your basket.
If you look for a product where the price listed (usually from Amazon) is the cheapest, Cently will tell you on screen that you’ve got the best price.
This is a very handy feature to have installed, as most Amazon sellers are part of Prime shipping, so there isn’t a delay in when you’ll receive the item - just how much you pay. Don’t worry about the quality of the item too, Cently compares like for like on condition - so you’ll still get brand new products, unless you’re looking for used.
Those are our tips to use the biggest online retailer to your advantage. Remember though, it’s always worth doing a quick check of the web for other deals and discount codes on Coupon Follow. Although Amazon’s free shipping and Prime deals can be good, that doesn’t mean it will always be the cheapest.