10 Secret Strategies to Save Big Bucks at Amazon

What’s not to love about Amazon?

OK, I am sure someone can tell me why they don’t love Amazon, but I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I am a fan. In fact, thanks to Amazon, my husband and I did 99 percent of our Christmas shopping for the kids last year while sitting in bed watching “Fringe.” If only they had offered Sunday deliveries then, we never would have needed to go to the store.

Amazon pricing already tends to be a bit lower than that of brick-and-mortar stores, but there are even bigger bargains to be found. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson is about to clue you in on the secret ways diehard Amazon shoppers shave even more money off the store’s prices.

Watch the video and then keep reading for more details.

1. Amazon Associates

Amazon Associates is the website’s affiliate program. It is really geared toward bloggers and small businesses, but anyone can sign up.

The key to making it work for you is to find a friend who is a regular Amazon shopper and also willing to sign up. See, you can’t earn an affiliate commission on your own purchases but you can on someone else’s.

So 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 15 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, you can 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.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret. 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 $79 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 that “Fringe” my husband and I were watching while Christmas shopping? Yup, that was streaming free compliments of Amazon Prime.

Maybe you aren’t sure you spend enough at Amazon to justify shelling out $79. 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, that month right before Christmas.

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, assumedly to entice you to buy.

5. Amazon Mom

Moms are big business for retailers. All those diapers and wipes and baby supplies add up quick, but you can get 20 percent off with Amazon Mom.

Unlike Amazon Prime, Amazon Mom is free to join, plus you get a free three-month subscription to Prime’s free two-day shipping option. In addition, you get 20 percent off diapers and wipes as well as 20 percent off other household items when you Subscribe and Save to five or more eligible products. However, in order to continue all of the benefits, you have to join Amazon Prime after the three months is up.

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 $39 a year, you get the same benefits of a Prime membership plus special student offers and promotions.

One difference is that you can 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 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.

7. Unearth the deep discounts

Every day can be like Black Friday on Amazon if you know where to look.

  • Used items. Amazon allows third-party sellers and individuals to sell used items through its site. Some of these “used” items are actually brand new and sold at deep discount. Look for items that are eligible for Prime or Super Saver shipping. In addition, watch out for those penny books that come with $15 shipping and handling charges.
  • Deal of the Day. Every day, Amazon has a new deal. You can find it by clicking on “Today’s Deal” next to the Amazon logo at the top of the page. As I write this, the current daily deal is 50 percent off Ravensburger puzzles and games.
  • Lightning Deals. These are also found on the Deal of the Day page. They offer a limited number of deeply discounted items for only a couple of hours. Examples of past lightning deals include 71 percent off the “Cloud Atlas” Blu-ray edition, 82 percent off a men’s Sturhling Aviator Swiss Quartz watch and 55 percent off bocce balls.
  • Outlet Department. The Amazon Outlet can be buried on the site and may be difficult to find unless you stumble on it. Here’s a direct link to the Outlet, and that’s where you’ll find some of the best deals on new items.

8. Warehousedeals.com

Warehousedeals.com? What’s that all about? Aren’t we talking about Amazon here?

Sure, and Warehouse Deals is the quick link to Amazon’s warehouse where you can find all their refurbished and open box items. Let’s see what’s there right now: iPad minis for $273, Platinum Keurig coffee makers for $136 and the second season of “House” for $9.

9. Amazon freebies

If you watch our Deals Section, you probably already know that Amazon regularly offers promos including free music downloads, free apps, free e-books and free streaming video credits.

In addition, look for items that come with built-in freebies. One of the most common deals to find on Amazon is a free instant video for streaming with the purchase of select movies.

10. Get your swag on

Finally, one of the best ways to save on Amazon may be to go off Amazon. A number of rewards and survey websites let you earn points that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards.

Swagbucks.com seems to be all the rage right now, but MyPoints.com – one of the Web’s oldest rewards sites – also offers Amazon gift cards. Another option is to shop through Ebates.com and get up to 8 percent cash back depending on the department of your purchase.

So those are 10 ways the pros pay less when shopping on Amazon. What is your favorite way to save? Leave us a comment or visit our Facebook page to share your savings strategy.

Editor’s note: This post was corrected on Dec. 10, 2013, to mention two tiers of savings for Subscribe and Save.

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Comments & discussion

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  • http://www.8vom.com/ Melvina Roselyn

    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.

  • http://www.raveaboutskin.com/ Lisa

    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.

  • 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.