Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Amazon How To Find Good Deals and Avoid Bad Ones

If you've read my Etsy How to Find Good Deals and Avoid Bad Deals post you know that these aren't posts with a list of fun deals they are instead designed to help you know when and how to use Amazon and when to skip over it, and find a local store instead. Here are the top 10 dos and do-nots of Amazon hope you enjoy them!

10. DO Amazon Prime 
Do you know what Amazon Prime is? Most of us that follow one deal site or another have heard of it but here's the short of how it works. Amazon Prime members recieve FREE 2-Day shipping on any order any amount. Which is way worth the $79.00 a year you pay to sign up. They also offer a huge variety of free streaming on movies, and tv shows, just like Netflix. You can stream using your computer or gaming system. You can pay to sign up, sign up as a student for 1 free year on selected order (if you can show you are 10currently in college) and/or sign up as an Amazon Mom (which is free to any parent for up to 1 Year). So see the terms of agreement and sign up here.

9. DO NOT Non-Perishables 
Amazon just added a huge food section to their website, everything from produce to boxed meals. Most items such as the popular Kraft Mac & Cheese 15 box pack for $22.59 makes these boxes just over $1.50 each. I never pay more than $1.00 at the store. You can always find these on sale at one store or another and price match at Wal-Mart or Target! Making these... regular price. Not worth ordering the large container of them.
Most non-perishables are either the same price you can buy them in-store or slightly more expensive. The difference is that Amazon will show you the "suggested retail" price which most grocery stores do not. Thus it looks like a lot better of a deal then it really is. There are very few exceptions I have found so far one of which is a variety of toddler snackes inclding the Gerber Graduates Lil' Crunchies. So enjoy the great deals but perhaps pick up your non-publishable foods from your local stores during sales and case lot days, you'll save a bundle!

8. DO Diapers
Unless you buy the Sunday paper, clip the coupons, head straight to Wal-Greens to get the coupons from their personal fliers, pick out the perfect filler items, and then combining all the deals ring up your diapers at 0.45 cents a package (yes it's possible and those of us crazy enough to spend or Sunday doing it, get those deals)....  BUT if you don't, Amazon is the next best thing. But don't just go grab a box of diapers and call it a good deal there's an entire protocol here:

1. Find the right size and brand diaper. For this example I'm using Pampers size 4. Large box 192 count retails for $52.66 Amazon's flat price $47.19.

2. Now on the right hand size of the page click "subscribe and save" which signs you up for auto delivery. Pick re-ship every 6 months which drops your price down to $37.75 for the box of 192. After you've placed your order you can go into "my subscriptions" and cancel this re-ship. You can do it instantly after you place the order if you do not want additional shipments at this price.

3. Scroll down just a tiny bit before continuing on from the product page, and right underneath the stock status in green you'll see a "Your Coupon Book" click and clip coupon for $1.00 off. Which brings your total down to $36.75 for the box of diapers. The same box at Wal-Mart is $47.95 so this really is a great deal!

7. DO NOT Purchase From Third Party Vendors With Out Checking Their Stats
Many items you purchase on Amazon are not actually sold by the company Amazon. Instead they are sold by third party vendors. Many are packaged and shipped by Amazon, but not all. amazon actually works a lot more like E-Bay than most people realize. So how can you tell? There are 2 ways to tell and one set of stats to check. If the item says "Prime" next to it, it's packaged by Amazon regardless of who it was sold by:

Second if you go to the "items new from" link to see all the sellers offering the same item, then you can see who is selling them, who has the best price, what the shipping costs are, and what the sellers ratings are all on one page! Some will even specify "Sold by _____" and Fulfilled by Amazon. this means you have the Amazon guarantee on it, it will ship 2nd Day, and will have Free Returns available.

If you do choose to purchase an item from a seller other than Amazon check out their rating. Is it 97% positive? Or is it 80% positive? Read a few of the ratings, I guarantee I've read at least a handful of them obviously written by the manufacture or the seller, a friend of the seller etc. They are very flowery and unlike what customers actual say about products. Make sure the seller doesn't have 20 negative and then 40 positive flowery almost or actually FAKE reviews.

6. DO Collectibles
Amazon is a wonderful place to find collectibles. Many sellers have used, new, and hard to come by collectibles to offer, and many even have arranged for Amazon to fill their orders! I have been ordering the hard to find Skylanders for my family from Amazon, since we've not been able to find them in-stores and on E-bay they sell for nearly double what I'm paying on Amazon! I also found some collectors Barbies for my grandmother for Christmas that were very reasonably priced for their value. Just know the actual value and also what you are willing to pay for any collectible before you go hunting for it!

5. DO NOT Assume It's A "Good Deal" 
Just because there is a price listed as the "suggested retail" or "retail" price don't' assume that's what you'd actually pay for it ANYWHERE! Look at the price and ask yourself "Would that really be that much in store?" Better yet go to another site and search for the same item... if it's really a good deal snag it. if it's not... hold off you'll find one.
4. DO Sterling Silver Chains & Jewelry
Chains are my favorite bit of jewelry to buy on Amazon. here's a perfect example: This 16" box chain in 14k white gold is $79.00 on Amazon and Free Shipping, and the same chain on Fred Meyer Jeweler's website is $258.75 with $5.95 shipping. that's a huge price difference! The chains are both quality 14k white gold 16" box chains.

3. DO NOT Rely on 2nd Day Delivery
Free 2 Day Delivery is absolutely fabulous and it's usually righto n spot. However, don't count on it for those big moments in life. Neither FedEx nor UPS guarantee their 2nd day shipping. Thus neither does Amazon. Amazon can only ship so many different ways and since no company can always get it there on time, you have to realize some packages will come late. If you NEED it there order it over night and pay the $3.99 upgrade. Otherwise realize you're running the risk. Amazon will refund your money and return the item if it's not delivered on time, but that may not save your big day.

2. DO Music
At any given time Amazon has over 3,000 free songs you can download, dozens of albums under $1.00, plus over 5,000 albums at $5.00 or less! That's a lot of music at amazingly low prices! Go Here To See Free Music. Then feel free to browse around to find other great deals. There are several reasons I've switched from buying music on my iTunes to buying it on Amazon, and one of the biggest reasons is that my Amazon music loads to my iPod. My iTunes purchased music does not transfer to ANY computer world wide, and as many devices as I want! Amazon does.

1. DO NOT Forget The Gold Box
Just recently amazon started letting you know if one of the items you were looking at was on sale in the Gold Box! The Gold Box is Amazon's Daily Deal and they add flash sales = sales that last only a few hours or until gone. They offer a 24 hour deal or a deal that lasts all day. And several hundred deep discounted deals. Random items in every category that are discounted to move quickly! Make sure when browsing these you check them all out not just the flash deals! See all the deals in Amazon's Gold Box.

Come back tomorrow for the best information on the letter 'B'. 

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