How to save money while shopping on Amazon

Expert says used items on Amazon in good condition is one option

How to save money while shopping on Amazon

It is no secret that many of us spend a lot of money on Amazon’s website, but there are ways to keep that spending down.

Money savings expert Andrea Woroch recommends deleting your payment information from your Amazon account as a way to keep from overspending.

“The time it takes for you to go get your credit card, re-enter those details, that may be enough time for you to realize, ‘Oh, wait, what am I doing here? I really don’t need this item right now,’” Woroch said.

Other ways to shop and save on Amazon include buying used items, but make sure they’re in good condition. Check out Amazon’s outlet store because it can offer thousands of marked down, overstocked items. You can also consider refurbished deals.

Woroch said refurbished deals are often electronic gadgets that have been purchased, opened and can’t be resold as “brand new,” so they’re sold at a discount.

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Amazon also offers coupons, but Woroch reminds people to check the box to make sure the coupon deal is actually applied to the total price.

Since there are often multiple sellers offering the same product at different prices, Woroch recommends using a digital tool called Cently.

Woroch says you download Cently to your browser and look for its “Amazon best price” feature, which helps detect if the product or the seller is the cheapest option available. It will also let you know if there’s a cheaper option available.

To check and track price fluctuations on Amazon, consider using websites like Honey or Camel Camel Camel.

“Now you can make a better buying decision. You can say, ‘OK, you know what, I’m going to wait for that price to drop again when demand goes down, or maybe buy it at a less popular shopping time when less people are online,’” Woroch said.

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If you question whether the cost of an Amazon Prime membership is really worth it, Woroch says it is if you’re using all the benefits that come with it, like the streaming options. If you’re paying for it just for the free two-day shipping, it might not be worth it because so many other retailers now offer free shipping.

Costco and Sam’s Club also have large shopping destinations both online and in store. Woroch suggests buying essentials there like toilet paper and paper towels, but don’t assume they have the cheapest price. She recommends looking at the price-per-unit to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and compare prices with your local supermarkets.

Her other advice: Avoid buying perishables in bulk that you might end up throwing away before you can use it all; gas prices are often the cheapest if you’re willing to wait in line; and the travel deals at Costco can be very good.

Another great buy is restaurant gift cards.

“Buy gift cards to restaurants in bulk and you can get something like $100 in gift cards for just $80. This would be a great thing to do if you know a certain restaurant that you like going to. Buy a bunch of gift cards ahead of time and then that’s 20% savings every time you go out to eat,” Woroch said.

She also wants shoppers to know that you don’t need a membership to take advantage of Costco’s pharmacy prices.

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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.