Most of us shop at Amazon, tempted in by low prices or one of the many extras. And it’s often the case that once you’ve started shopping with the online giant you don’t stop.
That’s generally how it is for me. Not all the time, but the majority of my spending is via Amazon. A few clicks and then the next day the package is at your door. My headphones broke yesterday and today I should receive a new pair later today thanks to my Prime membership.
But it’s easy to get complacent with Amazon. Just because it’s usually cheaper, it isn’t all the time. You might actually you might be paying more for the convenience with a number of your purchases.
However there are a few tricks I use to make sure this doesn’t happen. And a handful more to save even more money.
- Watch the price history
- Set price alerts
- Check it’s not cheaper elsewhere
- Top-up for free credit
- Earn cashback when you shop
- Wait for the big sales
- Get Prime – including a 30-day free trial
- Use Lightning and Daily Deals
- Cheat to get free delivery on orders under £20
- Earn free digital credit
- Use Amazon coupons
- Subscribe and save up to 15%
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Watch the price history
Almost every time I shop on Amazon I head over to Camel Camel Camel. This fantastic website tracks the prices of every item sold, whether by Amazon itself or a third party.
The prices on Amazon are “dynamic” which means they move up and down all the time – often in reaction to price elsewhere. Camel Camel Camel allows you to see the average selling price and look for any patterns in fluctuations.
So if you don’t need something urgently it might indicate if you should wait – and what price you should hold out for.
1. Set price alerts
The easiest way to do this is to use Camel Camel Camel for price alerts. Simply enter the price you want to pay and you’ll be emailed when the price drops to or below that figure.
2. Check it’s not cheaper elsewhere
Whether you buy now or wait, the lowest price on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s the lowest price everywhere. Use sites like Idealo to make sure you’re not missing out on further savings at another retailer.
3. Grab free credit when you top-up
Amazon regularly gives away free money. Yes you need to spend a bit of cash to get this bonus credit, but if you shop at Amazon regularly you will spend it at some point anyway.
The most common offer is to buy an Amazon gift card or top up your Amazon account. You’ll then get free Amazon credit on top.
Usually this extra credit can only be spent on items sold or fulfilled by Amazon, but that should be easy enough to find. And though the gift card or top up will last 10 years, the bonus usually expires in a few months.
4. Earn cashback each time you shop
On Prime Day this year I picked up an Amazon Platinum Credit Card. Though the deal which gave me an extra £20 bonus comes and goes, you can still get money back every time you shop on Amazon with one.
I think it’s mainly worth it if you have Prime as this boosts your cashback from 0.75% to 1.5% on Amazon spend. You actually get 3 points for every £2 spent. On other spending it’s just 0.5%, whether you have Prime or not.
You get the payout as a £10 Amazon voucher each time you earned 1,000 points. That’s roughly £666 spent, so this is only for regular and high spenders. There are also better options for cashback credit cards if you shop elsewhere.
5. Wait for the big sales
The lowest prices at Amazon are usually during November’s Black Friday or July’s Prime Day. This won’t be for everything, and obviously you often need to buy things now, and not wait a few months.
But if you can time it for these big sales, you’ll not only pay less, you might also be able to pick up further discounts. This is especially the case for Amazon devices like Kindles and Echo speakers.
6. Get Prime – including a 30-day free trial
Of course the best of the deals on these days and throughout the year are usually reserved for Amazon Prime members.
Prime costs £79 a year, or £7.99 a month, but everyone is entitled to a 30-day free trial. You’ll not just get exclusive offers and extra savings. There’s also free next-day delivery and film and TV streaming.
Sadly the days when you could take out the trial every 12 months seem to have gone. Amazon now says only “new members” can sign up.
However if you or other members of the household are yet to take advantage, then it’s well worth it. I’ll also refer you to the trick above… wait until there’s one of the big sales so you can max out the benefits.
Students get an extended six-month trial and then half-price membership for three years. If you were savvy enough to pick up an NUS card as a non-student then don’t forget to use this before your card expires.
7. Check out daily and Lightning deals
Every day Amazon runs these limited time and limited quantity offers. These happen every day, but there are a significant number more during Prime Day and Black Friday – with bigger savings too.
There’s a huge amount of randomness here, making it tough to keep track. You will have missed that thing you want at some point!
The only way to track them is to check the tab on Amazon’s website each day. There you can see the deals of the day, available all day, and the Lightning Deals, which might only be available for a few hours.
It’s worth clicking ahead a few pages to check out the upcoming deals. You won’t know the price, but if there’s something you like the look of you can “watch it”.
When the deal you wants goes live you don’t ha e to refresh the page. It’ll change to active automatically so it’s worth having the webpage open beforehand. Then simply add to cart as soon as it comes along. Do that and you’ve then got a limited time to buy it.
If you missed out then join the waitlist. If someone had it in their basket but didn’t buy it in time it’ll become available again – if you’re fast it’s yours.
Once more Prime members have an advantage. You’ll get 30 minutes early access to all lightning deals.
8.Get free delivery
You can get free next day delivery with Prime, but if don’t want to pay for that delivery will cost extra on many orders.
Standard delivery takes three to five working days and costs £4.49 for most items, or £2.99 for books, music, DVD, video games or software. But it can go up to £5.99 for priority or one-day delivery.
However you can get free or cheaper standard delivery by spending £20, or £10 if you buy books. And there are a couple tricks to get you up to that total.
The cheapest is to add clothing to your order as these are, on the whole, the only items you can return for free if you don’t like them. Just check the item you add does specify this. It’ll have to be sold or fulfilled by Amazon.
Or if you’re not far off £20 look for “add-on” items. These are generally just a few quid – but cheaper than paying £4.49, and hopefully it’ll be something useful like batteries.
9. Earn digital credit
Another one for Prime members. At checkout look for “no-rush” delivery. This means you get standard rather than next-day delivery. But in return you get £1 digital credit to spend on videos, MP3s, ebooks or apps.
You used to be able to do this on any order and split things down to get multiple credits when you bought more than one thing. However recently it only seems to appear on baskets over £20.
Occasionally the credit will be for another Amazon service such as free Amazon Pantry delivery.
10. Order items sold or fulfilled by Amazon
If Amazon itself ships your order then I’ve found you get better customer service is something goes wrong. I tend to go via the web chat function, but you also phone or email.
How’s this money saving? Well it can stop you having to buy things again when they break. From CDs that never arrive to headphones that broke within warranty, I’ve been able to get refunds or replacements really easily.
11. Use Amazon coupons
Hidden away on Amazon are a number of coupons which you can activate to apply to your purchase.
It’s a random collection of products so it’s well worth a look to see if you can save some extra.
12. Subscribe and save
If you’re buying toiletries or food then it’s worth seeing if you can save with a regular subscription. If you order one items this way you get 5% off, and it goes up to 15% off of you order six.
There’s a certain amount of flexibility. So you can choose how often you want them delivered, and pause future deliveries if you don’t need them yet. I’ve used this feature for products as diverse as flour and tissues.
For regular deals and offers at Amazon, check out my regularly updated deal page.