How to Save Money on Amazon
Thanks to its great combination of selection, service and low prices, Amazon has approximately 244 million active customers. However, most shoppers don't know all the ways to find even better deals on the Web's leading retailer.
Signing up for Amazon Prime isn't a bad way to start, as that gives you free two-day shipping and a library of free streaming movies, TV shows, music and e-books. But there are also programs for students and parents, deals based on where you live, short-term coupons and even ways to pay less for Prime. Here are five ways to save big on Amazon.
1. Short-term deals
There are a few different ways to get immediate and daily discounts through Amazon. From the home page, clicking Today's Deals on the top of the screen takes you to your Gold Box, which includes daily deals and Lightning Deals. The Deal of the Day features sales on electronics, video games, tools, home goods and more.
For instance, we could have picked up a Polk Audio soundbar for 50 percent off. The Lightning Deals section displays bargains for about 4 hours at a time, and include products ranging from jewelry to TVs (and more). We noticed we'd missed the 92 percent off on a Glam Rock Women's Rose-Gold Plated watch, but an Anne Klein dress would be on sale soon.
If you sign into your Amazon account, you'll get Quick Picks deals that are chosen for you based on previous search and purchase history. You can also get a Daily Deal email alert.
These deals are even beefier this time of year, as Amazon leads up to Black Friday.
2. Student discounts
College students, or others with a functional .edu email address, can access Amazon Student discounts. These deals will be emailed to you daily. It's free to join, but you cannot be in the Amazon Mom program (see "Bargains for parents") as well. There's even a dedicated Amazon Student app that will help you scan bar codes for prices or electronically trade in e-textbooks.
The perks include free two-day shipping for six months, sweepstakes eligibility and deals such as 25 percent off Logitech peripherals. We especially like the 50 percent off Amazon Prime memberships, which give students access to free movies, TV shows, music and e-books for just $49 a year. Plus, through Amazon Student, you can earn a $10 bonus for every friend you refer to the program.
Note: This program is only good for a four-year term, whether you're done with your degree or not.
3. Price drops on returned goods
Amazon Warehouse Deals are open to everyone. These are products that have been returned, so they may be open-box, like new or pre-owned. Regardless, each item is backed by Amazon's return policy. We found some impressive and tempting deals through this program, including $280 for an ASUS Transformer Book T100 (normally $350), and $11.22 for a 24-pack of Duracell Procell AAA products (normally $19). We weren't as keen on the 50 percent off grocery items that are approaching sell-by dates.
4. Bargains for parents
Those basking in the glow of motherhood, and who also happen to be Amazon Prime members ($99), can get extra discounts through Amazon Mom. Actually, the program is open to moms, dads, grandparents and any other caretaker of children. All you need to do to enroll is enter your child's name, birthday and gender (or make one up). You cannot, however, also be enrolled in the Amazon Student Program.
Amazon Mom gives you all the Prime benefits you're accustomed to having — including free movies, TV shows, e-books and music — as well as free two-day shipping. But you also get 15 percent off baby-registry items (up to 30 days before your due date), 20 percent off a diaper subscription service through the e-tailer and other discounts on baby health and personal care items. For instance, we found a coupon for 40 percent off baby sneakers and 10 percent off a SodaStream. New members are eligible for a three-day free trial.
5. Local coupons
In much the same way that Groupon or Living Social can bring you specific coupons for places in your area, Amazon Local boasts that you can save up to 75 percent on restaurants, spas, entertainment and more. We were pretty tempted to click on the 38 percent off on a two-night stay for four in the Catskill Mountains.
The Amazon Local program is active in 41 states in select cities, excluding Alaska, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. There is also a limited assortment of coupons that are nationwide, such as saving 50 percent on purchases from ProPlants.