10 Secret Strategies to Save Big Bucks at Amazon

If you shop the world’s largest mall, you need to learn a few tricks that can save you 10 percent or more on every Amazon purchase.

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

If you want to be sure you never run out of toilet paper or laundry soap, use the Subscribe and Save feature available on many household items.

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.

More Money Talks News


  • I have amazon prime and it saves a lot of time. I usually get my stuff within 2 days.

  • D Lowrey

    One thing the article didn’t mention about the affiliate program…there are about 10 states where you can’t become an affiliate. My state Colorado is one of these.

    • James Jones

      That is good to know, I would be interested in why your state and the others are not allowed to participate in the affiliate program.

  • Hi Stacey, really great tips for shopping Amazon! We have prime, use the subscribe and save feature as well as utilize the filters to help find the most discounted items. I shop a lot for skin care products and it helps me find the best prices.

  • Ted Bundy

    Please make a video on how to setup Amazon Associates. My reading of their operating agreement states that you need a website. So a video on how to setup a free qualifying web site would be helpful.

  • Scott Grover

    I must correct one thing: the 15% discount on Subscribe and Save only applies if you have 5 different items on Sub & Save sent to one address each month. Otherwise, the discount is a measly 5%. That is a big change from before, as is the hike from $25 to $35 to get supersaver free shipping on an order. Plus, there are far fewer bargains and a hefty raise in many prices of small ticket items than before. I still shop with them selectively, but I have found better deals on other sites for my needs.

  • Medicine-is-My-Game

    Thanks, this is a huge help!

  • Sheila Bergquist

    Amazon has gotten tricky with the affiliate thing. If they connect someone to you (and don’t ask me how they do this…but it has happened to several of us) they won’t give you the commission.

    • guest1xprq11

      If you have Prime and they are one of the users you can not get the referal.

    • Christy Potter

      I am a blogger and was an Amazon Affiliate and the same thing happened to me. Someone who lives in my apartment complex and reads my blog ordered something from Amazon through my site. I had no idea, but Amazon got nasty with me, basically accused me of fraud, and wouldn’t give me the commission. I canceled my Associates account and only buy online books now through Barnes & Noble.

  • MJ

    One thing to add that I always do is if there is something I would like but don’t really “need”, I add it to my cart, then save it for later. Then every time I go on amazon I can look at my cart and it will tell me if the price has changed, increased or decreased. I watch a lot of items this way, and if one day there is a big price drop, I will buy it. I have saved a lot of money this way. Item prices change daily, even hourly, and I have caught some amazing deals doing this.

    • James Jones

      What a great idea.

  • luana wilchek

    The reason I do not shop on Amazon is that they outsource their phone represenitives to a forign country. So does Virgin mobil and Dell. If I know a company outsources work I take my money elsewhere.

    • James Jones

      While I can appreciate someone wanting to do that, to many companies outsource to other countries. You won’t be buying much of anything if you follow that guide.

  • Sarah

    Another thing is to check the price after you make a purchase. If it drops within a couple weeks after you purchase the item, use their contact form to let them know and they’ll credit you the difference.

    • James Jones

      Thanks. This is awesome to know. I use amazon a lot.

  • Frans Keÿer

    “secret” in the sense of “not secret at all”

  • “What’s not to love about Amazon?”

    How about their egregious abuse of their employees? I’m not just talking about the temps who don’t get paid for the time they spend waiting in security lines; that’s the sort of stuff you expect from any big company. I’m talking about the packers in their warehouses who have to meet outrageous, ever-increasing quotas; who get fired if they sit down and rest for a few minutes of an 11-hour shift; who are forced to keep working in temperatures over 100 degrees, and forbidden to open the doors for ventilation lest they steal something, resulting in 15 workers collapsing in a single day . (There’s an article with more details on Salon.com, but I can’t link to it here lest my post be removed. Search for “Amazon worker abuses” and you’ll find it.)

    I will still buy from third-party sellers on Amazon, but only if they fulfill their own orders. I won’t be a party to the deplorable conditions in Amazon’s warehouses.

  • NoCellPhones

    This was a very helpful article. I do shop Amazon.

  • Tom

    Subscribe and save is great, especially if you have a number of items you regularly use so you can swap in/out to make sure you always have 5 in order to get the 15% discount. You can even add in some items that you might not think of as subscription (like some automotive products) and get a one-time 15% off. But, you have to pay attention to what you are ordering and shipping dates – don’t want to get overstocked on perishables or have a box sitting on your porch while you are on vacation. You can change items and dates any time except after an order is in processing

    Grab the free music downloads ASAP so you don’t forget them, bet I got a dozen free songs last year. Deal of the day and lightening deals are great if you have the time to scout for them. Prime is a no-brainer.

    One more tip not listed in the article – if you find an item that ships free with Prime, don’t forget to check the other sellers on the right side of the screen. Some have lower prices and free shipping (or lower total of both). Only downside is you are dealing with a different vendor so shipping may be slower and returns more difficult.

  • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

    Also with the amazon prime, is Amazon is now doing promotion in exchange for waiving your two day shipping, for a while it was $1 credits towards future video or MP3 purchases, right now it is $5 credits towards Amazon pantry shipping. So, if you have prime, and you don’t absolutely need what you are ordering in the next two days, then it is definitely worth seeing what promotion they are running to woo you off the expedited shipping.

  • Janet

    This isn’t really a savings deal, but if you sign up for AmazonSmile you get all the savings and products that Amazon sells but a% of your purchase gets donated to a nonprofit of your choice and it doesn’t cost you a penny more. WinWin!

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,066 more deals!