1. Sign up for Amazon Prime
to save money on shipping. Amazon usually offers at least one month free trial. When you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping on any order you make, regardless of the dollar value of the order. (Amazon’s free Super Saver shipping option requires a minimum $25 order.)
If you don’t need your item for 10 days or longer and if your order total meets the $25 minimum shipping requirement for free Super Saver shipping, then Super Saver shipping will work just fine for you. But if you need your item faster or if your order is less than $25, you’ll have to pay extra for shipping. An Amazon Prime membership does away with both these complications.
Another (even better) way to get Amazon Prime benefits:
Save even more by signing up for the Amazon Mom Program. You don’t have to be a mom to sign up–you must simply be a caregiver to a child. Currently, Amazon is not requiring proof of caregiver status, so there’s no delay in reaping the benefits. When you sign up for Amazon Mom, you’ll get 3 free months of Amazon Prime. In addition, you’ll receive exclusive discounts, including 30 percent off select diapers and wipes.
2. Check out Amazon’s Gold Box and Lightning Deals at least once a day. You may want to check back even more frequently because the Lightning Deals only last a short time. And, if a Lightning Deal is extremely popular, it may become sold out before the deal time expires. So if you see a deal you want, grab it before you miss out. (I have missed out on such deals more than once because I took too long to think, and it’s been really frustrating.)
3. Check out Amazon’s special Lightning Deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials. You can find some really great bargains here, such as a couple of software packages I landed for 83 percent off retail. (Whoo Hoo!) But this kind of deal can sell out extremely quickly, so you’ve got to be monitoring the deal the moment it starts and grab it up immediately, if you’re serious about it. (In one case, I was monitoring an item the moment it became available, but I was too slow completing the order, so missed out. Yes, things really can sell out that quickly, although it is not necessarily the norm.)
4. Sign up for the Amazon.com Rewards Card. You earn points through this program for all Amazon purchases you make, which you can then cash in for a variety of rewards. Currently, you can get triple points on anything purchased with the Amazon.com Rewards Card on Amazon’s website. You should refer to Amazon for exact details, as the rules and points offers will likely change.
(A few of the current rewards being offered, according to the credit card website, are $25 Amazon Gift Card for 2500 Rewards Points, $50 Amazon Gift Card for 5000 Rewards Points, and $75 Amazon Gift Card for 7500 Rewards Points.)
5. When purchasing an item on Amazon, check out the “other buying choices” at the right hand side of the page. And don’t just look at the top “featured” vendor, because that one isn’t often the best price available. Depending on the item, you can get some extremely good deals by purchasing from one of the third-party vendors listed under “other buying choices.”
I’ve seen plenty of books sold for 1 cent plus shipping among third-party vendors. This can happen for a variety of reasons: sometimes, the vendor wants to offer you a deal to “get you in the door” so that you’ll want to buy with him again. Other times, the vendor has his inventory control system set to automatically change his prices to undercut his competitors–and when this happens many times in a row, the buyer can end up with a crazy-good deal!
Be aware that third party vendors may offer new or used items for sale on Amazon.
Although you may get varying levels of customer service from third party vendors, there tend to be relatively few problems, as Amazon holds third-party vendors to a very high level of expectations.