Millions of Americans are in love with shopping on Amazon.com. It’s terrifically convenient, and pricing can often be lower than in brick-and-mortar stores.
However, if you know a few tricks, there are even bigger bargains to be found. Following are 10 secret ways die-hard Amazon shoppers shave even more money off store prices.
1. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is the website’s affiliate program. Every time you send someone to Amazon, you get paid a percentage of whatever they spend. It’s really geared toward bloggers and small businesses, but according to Amazon:
All you need to join is a Web site that does not violate intellectual property rights or promote sexually explicit materials, violence, illegal activities, or discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
The key to making it work is to find a friend who is a regular Amazon shopper and also willing to sign up. You can’t earn an affiliate commission on your own purchases, but you can on someone else’s.
So, the plan is that you and your friend both sign up as affiliates. Then, when you shop on Amazon, you use their affiliate link and when they shop, they use yours. It’s an easy way to make up to 10 percent cash back on each other’s purchases.
2. Subscribe and Save
Basically, it works like this: You agree to receive regular, automatic shipments of certain products, and in exchange you get free shipping and a discount. The discount starts at 5 percent for a single item and climbs to 15 percent if you subscribe to five eligible items.
Since you can cancel at any time, some people sign up for Subscribe and Save, receive one shipment at the reduced price, and then cancel.
3. Amazon Prime
For heavy-duty Amazon buyers like me, Amazon Prime is the way to go. It costs $99 for an annual membership but you get free two-day shipping, which can more than pay for the price of the membership.
Plus, you can borrow from an extensive Kindle library for free, and stream video for free. There’s also free streaming music and free unlimited cloud picture storage.
Maybe you aren’t sure you spend enough at Amazon to justify shelling out $99. You’re in luck: Amazon gives you a free one-month trial before they charge you — a one-month trial that may be perfect for, say, the holidays.
4. Deal tracker sites
Regular Amazon shoppers know that prices at the online store fluctuate all over the place.
That’s where deal tracker sites come in handy. Websites such as CamelCamelCamel.com and TheTracktor.com can show you historical Amazon price data, as well as send alerts when a price on a certain item reaches a preset amount.
You can price watch on your own by clicking “Save for Later” on the items that interest you. Creating a wish list is another option. Sometimes, if you put an item in your cart and leave it there for a few days, the price will drop — presumably to entice you to buy.
5. Amazon Mom
Moms are big business for retailers. The cost of all those diapers adds up quickly, but you can get 20 percent off a diaper subscription with Amazon Mom.
In addition, Amazon offers a one-time 10 percent discount — up to 15 percent for Amazon Prime members — on select items from your baby registry 60 days before your child’s arrival date.
6. Amazon Student
Why should moms get all the savings? Poor college kids need a break too.
Amazon Student is essentially a reduced-price version of Amazon Prime. For half the price of Prime, you get the same benefits, plus special student offers and promotions.
You can also get a six-month free trial of Amazon Student compared with the 30-day trial offered to Prime members. During those six months, you don’t get access to free video or music streaming, or the Kindle lending library. But with six months of free two-day shipping, it’s hard to complain.
To get an Amazon Student membership, you need an .edu email address or must be able to otherwise verify your enrollment status.