Save Money on Amazon – Part I: Basics

by

I created Shopping Suggest to make shopping at Amazon.com easier. One of the main feature right from the beginning was the advanced search. The term is pretty self explanatory – you have various search options such as keyword, category, price and minimum review score which you use for the search. The Shopping Suggest tool then takes you to Amazon.com and shows you the desired products.

The next question is, how can such a tool save you money? Easy. Shopping Suggest offers you a few options to save a few bucks. They are:

  • Maximum price (and minimum price)
  • Discount
  • Shipping

So when you are looking at the main search tool, the most interesting options for a penny pincher are the following ones, marked with red X:

The search options for saving money!

Price – By setting the maximum price to whatever you want, the search result page will show only items cheaper than that. You can also use the minimum price if you want to weed out dirt cheap items. And a pro-tip: you can set maximum price to 0 to find free items on Amazon. However, don’t expect to find too many $0 products – how could Amazon stay in business by “selling” a lot of those?

Discount – The discount option is interesting. Theoretically, it should show you products that have the selected percentage off their prices. But Amazon’s system is flawed so it does not work very well. On some categories the discounts are shown correctly, on some they are not. As a general rule, I have found that the deeper into a category tree you travel, the better the discount works. Try it out yourself and let me know how you like the discount option!

Shipping – By default, all forms of shipping (paid and free) are taken into account. But there are options to choose:

  • Free (US) shipping
  • (Paid) international shipping
  • Free international shipping
  • Free one and same day shipping for Prime customers

So, whether you are ordering to US or overseas, there is an option to get free shipping for your order. But this is also important: regardless of the “shipping” option you choose here, free US shipping will be granted if your order total is above $35 or you have a Prime membership. Obviously, Amazon pushes people for the Prime deal because it’s recurring money for them. But for various reasons, it’s also a winning situation for you if you buy a lot from Amazon.com.

The options laid out above fully concentrate on the money saving part. However, this is not all you can do to pinch your penny. The “Extra options” part in the bottom part can be of tremendous help, if you know when to use it.

The Extra options you might be interested in!

Prime Eligible – Will show you all the products that are Prime eligible. To be honest, most products on Amazon.com are good for Prime. But few are not, including magazine subscriptions and gift cards. The biggest advantage of the Prime service is free fast shipping on all items. The downside is, you need to pay 99 bucks a year for that. If you are interested, there is also a free 30-day trial for Prime!

Prime Pantry Eligible – A sub-service of Prime, Pantry allows the shipping of some (non-perishable) groceries for a flat fee of $5.99. The groceries will be shipped in one box and the maximum weight is 45 pounds. This option will obviously work in some categories (such as Grocery & Gourmet Food) better than in others.

Subscribe & Save Eligible – The Subscribe and Save is a feature for getting day-to-day household items shipped to you on a regular basis. You set a subscription for, say, toilet paper. Then, every month or so, you will get a load of toilet paper shipped to your place. The price should be cheaper than if you did a separate order every month. Again, this option works wonders in some categories, but not in all of them.

Recurring Delivery Eligible – Similar than Subscribe & Save, but for registered Amazon Business customers. Automatic deliveries with competitive pricing is promised. Use this only if you’re a business – individuals should go for the Subscribe & Save option!

Only Items With Coupons – Also Amazon has items that you can buy for a discounted price if you have a coupon. Well, to show only these items, use the Coupons search option. Also keep in mind that not all coupons are available to all members, some are Prime-exclusive.

As you can see, there are ways to chop off some dollars from the total price. You just need to know how to. Using the above options gives you a chance to save a buck or two – you can even try using many options at the same time. What I want you to do next, try out my advanced search tool for Amazon.com. Then, in the comments below, tell me what you think about it!

To see the part II in the post series, click here!

Akseli Niemelä

The creator of Shopping Suggest, a tool that makes shopping at Amazon easier. Also takes photos now and then. A sportsman, can do a bar muscle-up on a good day. Has lived in Russia. Send email to firstname (at) akseliniemela.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *