Like most people who live in the United States and have access to the Internet, I shop on Amazon. My guess is that many of you readers fall into the same category. So seeing that we’re all in this together, I’d like to share 7 Amazon hacks to get a better deal on our purchases there. Don’t worry, these are all legal and legit so won’t get anyone into trouble.

Here goes:

  1. Swagbucks – We’ve written about Swagbucks before so I won’t go into the details again here, but of all the topics on this list, this one has saved us the most money on Amazon. Using Swagbucks through the past 4-5 years, we’ve accrued over $1500 in free gift cards, and it was largely what paid for all of my textbooks through grad school!
  2. Price matching – This tip admittedly isn’t a sure thing, but there are certain instances where Amazon will honor a price match from a competitor. It’s not like the price matching at physical retailers like we’ve discussed before, but sometimes it just never hurts to ask.
  3. Bypass the Sales Tax – There was a collective wail of despair a few years ago when Amazon started charging sales tax. However, what you may not know is that Amazon only has to charge sales tax for products sold BY Amazon in states where they have operations (which is most states by now probably). What this means is that 3rd Party merchants selling on Amazon will not charge you sales tax if they aren’t based in your state. So when you do your Amazon shopping, be sure to compare the other sellers in the Amazon Marketplace that aren’t based in your state, many of them still offer Prime shipping benefits but won’t charge you sales tax.
  4. Amazon Prime Sharing – A little known secret is that Amazon Prime shipping benefits can be shared amongst family and coworkers. Up to 4 people can share one paid subscription, but only the shipping benefits are shared with the other 3 people. That’s the best part anyway, isn’t it? The master account will need to add the other people’s Amazon accounts to their Prime account and they will all need to verify their birthdays to link up.
  5. $1 No-Rush Credit – Once you’ve gotten hooked up with your Amazon Prime account, this tip will come in handy. Recently Amazon announced a new Free No-Rush shipping option for their Prime customers. By choosing the slower speed, they will credit your account with a $1 credit for Amazon digital media per order. In my experience, the shipment still arrives fairly quickly…I’ve never had to wait longer than a week. So the hack is simply to break up your big orders into multiple small ones so you get the $1 for each order instead of only $1 for the one big one.  You’re welcome, music lovers.
  6. CamelCamelCamel – If you’ve shopped on Amazon much, you’ll notice that the prices fluctuate sometimes like the stock market. It’s aggravating when you buy something only to see it drop in price the next day. To the rescue comes Despite an utterly nonsensical and totally irrelevant name, this website is like the stock market tracker for Amazon products. You can view the historical prices for every product graphed out, and you can even set alerts for when the product hits a specific price point that you want. If you’re an avid Amazon shopper and you’ve got a penchant for obsessing over the stock market, CamelCamelCamel might just be the best thing you’ve ever seen…or the worst…
  7. AmazonSmile – Amazon launched a parallel site not long ago where the customer can select a nonprofit charity to be a beneficiary of 0.5% of all qualifying sales. Nothing really changes for the customer. All the wishlists, prices, Prime benefits, etc. remain the same but the only difference is that now 0.5% of the sale will go to benefit a charity of your choice! The nonprofit that I work for has received over a hundred dollars from this program in just the last few months. It’s a no-brainer! Just visit and do your shopping there.

Bonus Hack!

3% Amazon Rewards Visa Card. As a bonus hack, I just wanted to mention something in case some of you have the Amazon Rewards Visa Card like we do. In addition to the $30 sign-up bonus, the card gives you 3% cash back on all Amazon purchases, 2% of all gas purchases, and 1% for everything else. Additionally, the card allows you to redeem your reward points directly within Amazon when you check out. But the tip I want to share with you today is that you should NEVER redeem your rewards in the form of Amazon purchases. You ALWAYS want to take it as a cash back or statement credit. Here’s the reason why. You get a 3% reward every time you make a purchase with the card, but you don’t get any reward when you use the points to make the purchase. In other words, say you’ve accumulated $100 of rewards. If you used the $100 to buy something on Amazon, you would have spent $100. However, if you paid for the purchase like usual and got the 3% bonus, you would now have $103 in rewards. You can then redeem the reward as a check or statement credit and you would have an extra $3 in your pocket.  Keep this tip in mind if you have other reward cards that operate similarly.  (For more thoughts on credit cards, check out a previous post called: Credit Cards: Friend or Foe?)

I’m sure there are lots of avid Amazon-shoppers out there.  What other tips can you share with us on saving at Amazon?  Share with us in the comments below!