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Guest Post: Saving Time and Money With Amazon.com

1AmazonLogo

Guest Post by Davonne Parks, executive editor of Pierce My Heart

With the holidays approaching, many of us are trying to figure out how
to purchase nice gifts on a limited budget. While there are many ways
to do this, I have personally found that Amazon.com
is a great place to save time and money.

Why Amazon.com?

I have yet to search for an item on Amazon.com which I wasn't able to find.
I've purchased books, bikes, a projector screen, and much more from
Amazon.com for a fraction of the price I've found in stores.

The items we
purchase most from Amazon.com are books. I'll regularly see a book at a
book store for $20, then go home and search for it on Amazon.com, and find
the same exact thing, brand new, for $6 including shipping. This is a
great way to make the most out of every dollar when purchasing gifts
for other people!

Start By Choosing An Item

Do a simple search on Amazon.com for the item you desire. After searching,
you will probably find several versions of the same item. The easiest
way to go through these is to right click on the item you’re interested
in, then left click on “open link in new tab.” This will open the
desired link in a new tab without moving you from the page you were
already on, so that you can continue opening the other items in a new
tab too.

When choosing between similar items, you will want to take special note
of the price, product description, and costumer reviews. Then you can
easily go through each tab, one by one, and X out of the items you
decide against, thus eventually narrowing it down to your final choice.

Amazon.com vs. An Individual Seller


Once you find your desired item, you will need to choose between
purchasing the item from Amazon.com itself and purchasing from an individual
seller who is listed on Amazon.com.

Many items sold by Amazon.com have free
shipping on orders of $25 or more (Super Saver Shipping). I usually
have a list in mind when I purchase from Amazon.com and I wait to purchase
until I have a $25 order so I can take advantage of the free shipping,
since that's generally a little cheaper than the seller price after
adding the seller's shipping charges.

If you do choose to buy from a seller, there are a few ways to ensure a
positive transaction. Click on “new” or “used” to the right of the
product image and browse those selections. They're usually listed from
cheapest to most expensive for buyer ease.

Some things to notice are the shipping rates (listed directly below the
item cost), and the seller's information. Their basic information is
listed to the right of the item price.

It's important to look at how
many sales they've had and their percentage of positive responses. A
rating, or response, is what the costumer gives after receiving his/her
product (this is similar to the eBay system). I generally only buy
items from sellers who have had several hundred transactions, and at
least 98% positive feedback.

You can click on “positive” underneath the
seller's name and read the reviews. This will allow you to see why they
received any negative responses, and you can decide if it's worth
buying from that particular seller.

Making The Purchase


Once you've selected an item to purchase, click on “add to cart.” From
there, you can continue shopping (repeat above steps) or click on
“proceed to checkout.”

Amazon.com will then guide you through the steps of creating an account and
completing your order. After you enter your information once, Amazon.com
saves it for future use, so after the first transaction the checkout
process will be much faster. (For a list of accepted payment methods, go
here.).
You can also set up one-step checkout at this time, which will save
time in the future by setting a default address and payment method that
will automatically appear the next time you place an order.

Additional Helps

The Movers and Shakers
page
on Amazon.com lists items that have been selling much faster than
normal, which usually means they're having huge sales on those items.
For more tips on maximizing your savings on Amazon, check out this post by Pro
Bargain Hunter
.

Amazon.com has great deals for every taste and budget, so learn to maximize your
savings by shopping online, and you just might find you'll rarely have to fight the crowds
at the mall again!

Davonne is the executive editor of Pierce My Heart, an online Christian magazine for young women. December’s Pierce My Heart theme is on giving. She also helps run her husband’s computer business while her daughter is in morning pre-school, and she is learning how to coupon and CVS efficiently.

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23 Comments

  • Camie says:

    Free shipping day for Amazon.com is December 18th

  • nancy says:

    I do almost all my shopping on Amazon. I can do it at night after the kids go to bed. Almost everything will go on sale at some point. What I do is add everything I might want to my shopping cart under buy later. Everday I log in and look at my cart. When things go on sale, a note will pop up that says xyz has decreased from 456 to 123 since you placed it in your cart. Then I know it”s time to order. Of course, it works the other way too! So, if it’s deeply discounted you should grab it! Here is a great deal today…Playskool busy balltivity for 10.99. That’s discounted 69%!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015ZV8R8?ie=UTF8&tag=babycheap-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0015ZV8R8

  • Laura Lee says:

    I love Amazon, and have had so much success with them and their third party sellers. I recently found an incredible deal for a Christmas gift for my daughter, and thought it too good to be true. And it turned out to be. I found myself for the first time calling Amazon’s customer service to get help with the seller, and Amazon was AWFUL!! My call went to one of those foreign call centers where I couldn’t understand the lady AT ALL. All she kept saying was “I understand. I urge you to contact the seller.” She couldn’t answer any of my questions. Very frustrating.

    Then I called the seller (despite swapping emails with them) and they were wonderful and eventually honored their deal for me. Which was wonderful news since we then had our van robbed that very night, and lost some valuable items! They saved me a bundle and I will shop from Amazon again. Just avoid customer service!!

  • Michele says:

    I love Amazon, too. As a small-time seller, I want to make two points additional points. One is that the seller’s shipping charges are set by Amazon. Third-party sellers do not make up their own shipping rates. Secondly, the feedback system is different than eBay’s in that it is used much less infrequently. I have sold over 50 items on Amazon yet only have 1 feedback. That is pretty typical. Most buyers do not leave feedback on Amazon unlike on eBay. So I urge people to consider even smaller sellers on Amazon. Just because there isn’t much feedback doesn’t mean they haven’t sold a lot.

  • Nathan says:

    Great article! I do tons of online shopping and use ebay or amazon for most of it. Another great place to look is Craigslist. It’s especially useful for those in larger cities since there are typically many more listings. You do have to be very careful of scams though.

  • Nathan says:

    Great article! I do tons of online shopping and use ebay or amazon for most of it. Another great place to look is Craigslist. It’s especially useful for those in larger cities since there are typically many more listings. You do have to be very careful of scams though.

  • Chris from St. Mary's says:

    I ordered something for my Mom last week. Amazon is having a promotion where you get a one-year subscription to Bon Appetit ($8 value) for purchases of $50 in Home and Garden until Dec. 31, 2008. The webpage doesn’t state this, but the email you get after you order gives you instructions for getting a $8 rebate instead if you wish.

  • Nancy says:

    We love amazon, too!! Great deals there:) check out http://www.camelcamelcamel.com which is a site where you can upload your wish list and then get notices when an item falls to a certain price, or just track its price adjustments throughout a time period to know if you’ve got a crazy deal or not:) Love it!

  • I agree, Amazon almost always has the best price and shipping is always fast. Love me some Amazon.com!

    Occasionally I will find something less at Walmart.com. But the Walmart price has to be much lower to entice me to do the “ship to store” option and go in to pick up…

  • Glor says:

    We use the amazon.com visa card year round for all of our purchases – gas, groceries, etc. Of course, we pay off our balance completely each month, so no interest charges. We then get a $25 gift cert for the site for each $2000 spent on the card. At the end of the year, I have extra shopping money that came from all of the purchases we would have made anyway.

  • SK says:

    I highly recommend selling used books and videos via their site. It is so easy. I always check to see what a book or video is selling for before I donate to the library.

  • Kansas Mom says:

    We also sell books, CDs and videos on Amazon, though it has to have a low price (from other sellers) of at least $3 before we think it’s worth our time. (Otherwise, I just put it on PaperBackSwap.) It’s true that very few people give a rating.

  • I did all my extended family shopping at Amazon and shipped it right to them. For the boys, I used a coupon from Learning Express. Love that store 🙂

    Erin

  • Davonne says:

    Thanks for posting my article, Crystal!

    And, thanks for the comments, everyone else! I’ve never sold anything on Amazon, so I especially appreciate the insight from a seller’s perspective.

  • Becky says:

    I did all my Christmas shopping on Amazon. I’m an online shopper, but because of mypoints, i often choose Target and Barnes & Noble instead. Amazon’s Black Friday deals were too good to pass up, and it made it easy to purchase presents for the whole family in one transaction, no matter their different likes (although i did throw in DVD’s for everyone, with those being as low as $2). I even got a birthday present out of the way (it’s only a week later).

    Tabs are my best friend. I like to have one window per theme. Like i was doing my Amazon shopping in one window with many tabs, and reading blogs and checking my email in another window. Helps keep me organized and a bunch of buttons in my taskbar really annoys me.

  • Becky says:

    Oh and it’s a good idea to check out their Gold Box. I couldn’t decide what to get my husband for Christmas then i was browsing through the hourly sales and saw the perfect thing at 5p. I had to make sure to be done with my errands and back home by then, but i saved 40% off their already discounted price. Besides that, i was done with all Christmas shopping by 9a. I’m a procrastinator that hates malls and crowds so this was a huge sigh of relief this year.

  • Casey Taylor says:

    I’ve used Amazon Prime for several years. Pay like $75 once a year and get “free” 2day shipping on all books and many other items.

    You can also legitimately split this fee with four other people. If you use it for business stuff, you can list the fee as a business expense. I don’t think I could live anymore w/out my Prime!

  • Tara says:

    I just have to say that I purchased most of my gifts last year on Amazon (I haven’t even started yet this year, how lame!) and the best gift I got my husband was Larry Burkett’s Budget For Young Couples book – for $1! I had a little money leftover and it was a complete afterthought, but it turned out to be the most beneficial buy I’ve made for us because we paid off all our student loans by August and have saved up a nice down payment for a house to boot! Thank you Amazon, and thank you Larry Burkett!

  • Audrey says:

    Another way I save money on Amazon.com is by adding items to wish lists. I make lists for my boys for Christmas and their birthdays, and check them regularly. If one of the items goes on sale, it displays there. Last year an item my mother-in-law bought my son for his birthday went on sale for over $20 less then what she paid for it at the store. We ordered the cheaper one from Amazon.com, and returned the more expensive one to the store.

  • Carrie Kirby says:

    Thanks for the Movers and Shakers page tip! Amazon has so many great deals. I have been taking advantage of the “free magazine” rebates.

  • Rebecca says:

    I love amazon. It saves me money on what I buy and what I don’t buy. One thing I do is, when my kids see a commercial on TV and say “I want that!”, I’ll say, lets look at the recommendations on amazon and we’ll see if you still want to put that on your Birthday/Xmas list or spend your allowance. Many times it has horrible ratings and the kids move on. My 8 year old has also sold some of his books on Amazon. They were bought by a library on New Orleans, so he felt good about earning money and giving a library a good deal.

  • Laurenlulu says:

    I wanted to add- If you buy something from Amazon.com, and they lower the price after you’ve bought it, they will adjust the price down for you. I have done that several times, with no problems. I love Amazon, but its hard not to get sucked in… things are just such good deals!

  • Priscilla says:

    I’m commenting about the Post by: Laurenlulu

    FYI: I believe Amazon has changed their price protection…it isn’t as good as it use to be. Last year (2007) ‘if’ the price changed within 30 days of placing your order, they would credit you the difference, ‘if’ you brought it to their attention. Now Dec. 2008, you can only get the difference ‘if’ there is a price change within 7 days of your purchase. I think this change was made in the fall of 2008.

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