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Amazon has become the go-to place for buying almost anything. Whether you’re in the market for a new MacBook or a food processor, the convenience of using one of the world’s largest online retailers makes it a one-stop shop for all our consumer needs.
The prices on offer are typically a bit cheaper than those on Main Street, but did you know it’s possible to find huge discounts and save yourself a fortune? It’s all about knowing how and where to look. Use these tips and tools and you’ll quickly find you’ve got money left over for spending on fun trips, new technology, and gifts for your partner!
1. Look Elsewhere
Before we get onto specific Amazon-related tips, it’s worth spending ten minutes to ensure sure that Amazon really is the cheapest place to make your purchase.
There are countless “shopbots” out there which will constantly scan hundreds of online retailers for a specific product and present you with the prices. One of the best is MegaShopBot — it’s like a shopbot for shopbots.
It will let you search by category and select which price comparison sites you want to scan. The price comparison sites offered change depending on which product you’re looking for.
2. Amazon Outlet Store
Your next port of call should be Amazon’s Outlet Store. It’s a little-known part of the site that Amazon isn’t particularly fond of advertising.
If you’re a shopaholic, you’ll be well familiar with the concept of an outlet store. They sell goods directly from a manufacturer to a consumer and thus allow for large discounts. They are also a great place to find end-of-line and soon-to-be-upgraded products.
It’s not uncommon to find discounts in excess of 50% on the Amazon Outlet; just make sure to take some time to browse before you commit.
Prices on Amazon frequently fluctuate. The OnlinePriceAlert service lets you enter your product and target price; as soon as the price drops low enough you’ll get an email alert. If the price isn’t reached within 30 days, the alert will be automatically cancelled.
The site claims to have saved shoppers nearly $1 million since 2008.
Like OnlinePriceAlert, CamelCamelCamel also aims to alert you when prices hit your desired level.
However, you still haven’t necessarily got a good deal just because you got an alert. An item might look cheap if it costs $40 today and it cost $45 last week, but it’s possible that it only cost $25 six months ago.
CamelCamelCamel’s historical price charts are the answer. The site displays a historical guide to Amazon’s prices as well as new and used third-party offerings. As you can see from the example below, it’s currently a great time to splash out on a new MacBook from a third-party site — it’s the second-cheapest it’s ever been!
5. Check Other Countries’ Amazon Sites
Depending where you live and what you want to buy, it might be possible to make your purchase from another country’s Amazon site. This is a really useful trick if your home country’s currency is particularly strong at any given moment.
It works well for European residents, but people who live in Canada and Mexico can also benefit from using the United States’ site. Just make sure you have a clear grasp on delivery costs and import taxes before you hit the buy button.
If you are in Europe, use Curiua to compare the prices across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. If you’re outside Europe, you might have to do your checking manually (please let us know if you know of any similar North American tools!).
6. Subscribe and Save
Amazon’s Subscribe and Save service allows you to get household items shipped to your door on a regular basis. It’s ideal for things like toilet paper, kitchen cleaning fluids, bin liners, and pet food.
You’ll automatically be given a 5% discount on anything that you subscribe to — i.e., anything that you agree to have delivered on a regular basis. If you subscribe to five or more items, that discount will be boosted to 15%.
If you don’t want to subscribe, there is a little-used trick that you can implement. Because the service doesn’t have a minimum subscription length, you can place an order, grab the discount, and immediately cancel the reoccurring delivery. Customer 1, Amazon 0.
7. Used Items and Other Retailers
Despite what endless television ads might make you think, you don’t always have to buy new. This is especially true with entertainment-related items such as CDs, computer games, and books.
No matter what you’re buying, it’s always worth checking out the used options. Just make sure that you fully research the reseller’s ratings and reviews before parting with your cash.
Similarly, you might not be aware that Amazon isn’t the only site selling new items. Like with used items, it’s always worth checking out who else is offering the product.
Click on Other Sellers on the product listing to see your options. In the example above, you can see Microsoft will charge you $299 for an Xbox One, whereas buying from a seller called Amazing Tech Deals NY will only set you back $289.
8. Third-Party Search Tools
The last genre of tools to use are the discount search engines. They specialize in finding the discounts that are often hidden away in the depths of the site’s search results.
Three of the most popular are the ones offered by HotDealSpy, JungleSearch, and MoneySavingExpert, although they all serve the same purpose. Enter your product, the discount you want, and your maximum and minimum price, and let the tool do the rest.
It is possible to do the same thing manually by adding &pct-off=[0-100] (replacing [0-100] with your preferred discount range) to the end of the search URL, but the automated tools are simpler to use.
Your Tips and Tools?
Amazon is clearly a wonderful service, and there are some great deals to be had if you know how to look. By using these tips and tools you can find those great deals and save money on all the things you want to buy.
As always, we’d love to hear from you. How do you beat the system and get the best deals on Amazon? Have you discovered a tool or trick that we’ve not covered? Which of our eight ideas do you rely on most frequently?