5 ways to maximize your savings on Amazon

Published: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 @ 10:23 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 @ 11:25 AM

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Amazon.com is the largest online retailer in the United States. They’ve made it incredibly easy to purchase millions of items that ship straight to your door. It’s convenient, saves some hassle in running errands, and often provides a way to buy items online for less than they cost in physical stores.

If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, it makes good financial sense for you to maximize your savings when purchasing from the company. Here are five ways to can enjoy the convenience of shopping online with Amazon while saving even more money.

Share Your Prime Membership with Others in Your Household

Prime membership offers a serious perk for frequent Amazon shoppers: free two-day shipping on thousands of items. As a Prime member you also receive unlimited streaming of movies and video offered on Amazon Instant Video, and you can also borrow one e-book from the Prime library for free each month.

But Prime also costs users $99 for the year. That leaves you with lots of books to borrow, videos to watch, and purchases to make to get the free shipping if you want to offset the cost of membership.

Unless, of course, you share Prime membership with someone else and split the cost.

Amazon does allow you to add individuals onto your Prime account, but technically they should be members of your household. Here’s what Amazon says about sharing Prime benefits:

"Free or paid Amazon Prime members can share their shipping benefits with up to four additional family members living in the same household. If you purchase a Prime membership for a small business, you may invite up to four co-workers to shop with this corporate account."

It seems that the rules aren’t strict on the same-household stipulation. People sharing your Prime benefits can ship to multiple addresses, so it’s currently possible to add a friend who doesn’t live with you.

But Amazon may make this harder to do at any time, and you’ll need to decide for yourself if flouting the stated guidelines is something you want to do.

ARTICLE: Read Clark's take on Amazon Prime membership

Get a Discount on Prime Membership

Certain groups enjoy Prime membership discounts, too.

If you’re a student with a valid .edu email address, you can sign up for a free trial of Amazon Student. You can also enjoy a discounted membership rate of $39 per year after your initial trial ends. Students can earn $10 to spend on Amazon each time they refer a friend to sign up, too.

If you’re a parent, you may want to give Amazon Mom a try. You’ll receive a three-month trial period that gives you the benefit of free shipping, but this service comes with a $99 yearly fee (just like Prime) that kicks in after your trial ends. Amazon Mom perks include big discounts on staples like diapers and other family essentials.

 

Look Through the Warehouse

The Amazon Warehouse, that is. Amazon has a section on its site called Warehouse Deals, where you can shop for open box and returned items and items that were damaged in transit. Because the items aren’t in “perfect” condition for retail sale, they’re offered here at discounted prices.

 

Purchase Everyday Items with Subscribe & Save

On many household essentials and grocery items, Amazon offers you the option to “subscribe” to the product and offers a discounted price if you do so. This is the retailer’s Subscribe and Save program.

You’ll receive regular shipments of the item you subscribed to, but for as much as 15% off the regular price.

 

Use Tools to Spot Additional Savings

If you’re a frequent online shopper and want to get serious about savings, there are two tools that will help you.

The first is a browser extension called Honey (which works with any online shopping cart, not just Amazon). Honey is a free tool that you can download and activate. Once you’ve loaded up an online shopping cart, you can use this tool to automatically search for and apply discount and promo codes.

The second is a website that helps you track prices of items on Amazon. This can help you identify sales cycles to help you score the best deal. The site is hard to forget thanks to its bizarre name: CamelCamelCamel.

And of course, you can always browse through Amazon’s own coupons to see if you can score additional savings.

Amazon is a great place for consumers to shop for almost anything imaginable. Make sure you get the very best deal and maximize your savings with these tips.

ARTICLE: Amazon offers employees $5,000 to quit

 



About the author: Kali Hawlk is a freelance writer and content manager currently working on building her business and becoming a full-time solopreneur. She's passionate about personal finance, careers and business, and all things Gen Y--and she writes about it all on her blog, Common Sense Millennial. An avid runner, she enjoys getting outside as often as possible when she's not immersed in blogging and helping other small businesses build and manage their online presence. Connect with her on Twitter @KaliHawlk.

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New spam impacts some Gmail accounts

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 4:37 PM

A new form of spam is causing some computer experts to scratch their heads.  

Messages you didn’t send but appear to come from your Gmail account may wind up in your sent messages folder.

The trick lets the spammers bypass Gmail’s spam filters, according to Gizmodo.com.

This doesn’t mean your account has been compromised, in fact, the problem continues for some users who have changed their password, or use two-factor authentication, according to Cnet.com.  

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will be talking to a local tech expert to find out more about how this is happening and what you can do to protect your Gmail account.  

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Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls 

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

Toddler toys, decorative pillows, and water bottles among the latest product recalls

Children’s xylophones, water bottles sold at Costco, and 21 styles of decorative pillows are among the latest recalls announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. 

The Petit Collage musical jumbo wooden xylophones made by Wild & Wolf are under recall because the ball on the end of the stick can detach and pose a choking hazard. 

There is one report of the ball separating and another report of a loose ball, but no injuries.

They were sold at Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters and other retailers.

Don’t let your child use the toy and contact Wild & Wolf at 855-215-5879 to receive a free replacement beater stick. 

Reduce Hydro Pro Water bottles are being recalled over lead paint. 

They were sold in two packs with a dog and lamb design printed on the outside.

No one has been hurt, but the pink paint on the outside of the bear bottles contain levels of toxic lead that exceed federal standards.

Don’t use the recalled bottles and contact Base Brands at 833-600-2887 or return them to place of purchase for a full refund or replacement bottle. 

Decorative pillows by Primark are being recalled because they may catch on fire. 

No one has been hurt, but don’t use the cushions which come in 21 shapes, sizes and colors, click here for full product codes and descriptions. 

Contact Primark at 855-215-5829 or return the pillows to the store for a full refund. 

One million Square D safety switches are under recall because the could shock or electrocute users, although no injuries have been reported.

The power may stay on when in the “OFF” position on several catalog numbers of the general duty switches made by Schneider Electric. 

Contact Schneider Electric at 877-672-1953 or click here to find out how to inspect the switch, receive free service support, and a replacement switch. 

Pressure washer surface cleaners by Briggs and Stratton are being recalled because  the spray bar can fly off and cause an injury. 

One person reported needing sutures on a cut to the knee after being struck by the bar.    There are four other reports of the bars detaching from the central hub. 

3000 PSI Briggs and Stratton and Crafsman branded surface cleaners are involved in the recall.

Stop using the cleaners and Contact Briggs and Stratton at 877-370-7505 to receive a free replacement. 

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Jo-Ann Stores are recalling string light sets which can break and cut you.

Two people have  been cut by the decorative glass jars in the Jo-Ann’s Makers Holiday 10-count LED string lights. 

Don’t use the lights and contact Jo-Ann stores at 888-739-4120 for a full refund. 

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Polaris is recalling Ranger XP recreational off-highway vehicles and Phoenix 200 all-terrain vehicles due to injury and crash concerns.

Multiple model numbers of the 2016 and 2017 Ranger XP ROVs have seat belt brackets that can separate from the frame. No injuries have been reported.

All model year 2014 through 2017 Phoenix ATVs are being recalled because of nine reports of a damaged throttle limiter, with one minor injury.

Stop using the ROVs and ATVs and contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 for a free repair.

For more on these and other recalls visit CPSC.gov.

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Local students learn how to combat scams, fraud

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Students in the Miami Valley are learning to recognize fraud and scams, and finding out how they can protect themselves from these potential money pitfalls.

Several schools in our area teach a free consumer life skills and financial literacy curriculum called FoolProof. 

The goal of the web-based, interactive coursework is to teach a healthy dose of skepticism in a scam-filled world.

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Kettering, Xenia, Franklin, Stebbins, Greenville and Lebanon high schools offer FoolProof classes.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will find out more about what the students learn and what they can teach us about avoiding scams and fraud. 

Watch tonight on WHIO-TV at 5pm.

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Audit-proofing your taxes 

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Audit-proofing your taxes

First, the good news.  The IRS is auditing fewer taxpayers.  

In fact, audits are at an all-time low. You can’t completely audit-proof your tax returns, but there are ways to make your chance of an IRS investigation less likely. 
Failing to report taxable income and cryptocurrency income, are among Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of audit red flags.

Math errors, sizeable donations, home office deductions and deductions of unreimbursed business expenses, for example, commuting costs and clothing, are also going to raise eyebrows at the IRS.

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One of the biggest red flags is income.

The more money you make the more likely you’ll be scrutinized by the IRS, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  

If you make $200,00 or more, there is a one in 80 chance of an audit, and if you make more than $1 million your odds are one in 25, according to Clark Howard’s website, Clark.com.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will have insight from a local tax preparer about ways to audit-proof your tax return tonight on WHIO-TV at 5.

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