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6 Things You Should Buy On Amazon And 5 Things You Shouldn’t

6 Things You Should Buy On Amazon And 5 Things You Shouldn’t

We are addicted to online shopping and why shouldn’t we be? Twenty years ago, if we wanted to buy a new television, we went to three or four different stores, compared brands and prices, and then made our decisions. When we needed to do our Christmas shopping, we hit the mall, fought for a parking space, and trudged through crowds and long checkout lines. It was exhausting.

Then along came our salvation — major retailers opened up online stores, and Amazon, which once only sold books, expanded into the universe of “everything.” Gleefully, we get online and do all of the comparison-shopping we want — or do we?

Amazon has become the largest player in the field of online shopping. It is just so easy to go to one website for absolutely everything we could even hope to need or want, purchase our items, have them gift-wrapped and shipped if necessary, and worry about the credit card statement later. Yet, many economists say that online shopping is one of the biggest reasons for credit card debt today.

Surprisingly, the consumer associations found out that a lot of us do not take the time to run a quick price research and shop around. In the case of Amazon, it is just too convenient not to do so. However, comparing prices from different retailers can save you a lot of money. Doing some research online before buying anything is a good habit to get into. Comparison-shopping is a smart move on everything from buying milk to choosing a new credit card; using websites like CompareCards can help you locate the best cards for your needs like 0 percent balance offers or cards with no annual fee.

However, I did some research for you. Here are six types of products that are much cheaper to purchase on Amazon, and five that you’d better get somewhere else.

Good Buys on Amazon

The thing about a company like Amazon is that there is an entire department that does nothing but run comparisons on popular items, in order to make their pricing highly competitive. So, in recent years, many of the items that were typically more expensive on Amazon are now either the same or less than other major retailers. While food, dog food, and paper products are still higher on Amazon, many others are not:

1. Diapers

New parents are often baffled by the amount of cash spent on baby essentials. The good news is you can reduce the spending a lot if you start stashing on Amazon. Here’s Amazon’s price on the 216-count package of Step 1 diapers:

Pampers Amazon

    And here’s Walmart’s:

    Pampers Walmart

      Today, Amazon beats Walmart, even if only by a small amount!

      2. Small Kitchen Appliances

      This category as appeared on almost every list of things never to buy on Amazon, but things have changed a bit today. Here are three random items selected from Amazon’s list:

      Ninja Master Prep

      Ninja

        And Walmart’s Price

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        Ninja Walmart

          Exactly the same, but with Amazon you don’t need to leave the house and spend extra money on gasoline.

          And Amazon’s price on the Presto Cool Daddy Cool-Touch Fryer

          Amazon

            And Walmart’s:

            Walmart

              And here was quite a shocker. The Hamilton Beach 6-speed classic stand mixer on Amazon was a full $20+ dollars less! Anyone looking for small appliances should certainly check Amazon’s prices rather than just assuming they will be higher!

              3. Household and personal care items

              A quick researched proved that Amazon offers a bit cheaper prices that Walmart on different household and personal care items like washing powder, detergent shampoos and more. Rather than shop online for such things as shampoo, conditioner and lotions, local members-only warehouse stores and dollar stores have huge variety for far less than online retailers as a whole. Laundry detergent was something possible worth checking, so a comparison was run on Tide Pods Detergent. Amazon’s price was $17.97 for a 72-count package, while Walmart’s was exactly the same. Further, Amazon price members pay no shipping ever, although Walmart does now have such a “club.”

              Tide Amazon

                Walmart Price:

                Tide Walmart

                  4. Small Electronics

                  Small electronics are a mixed bag for Amazon. While they meet some prices of Walmart and BestBuy on such things as MP3 players, they are pricier on others. The Kindle Paperwhite 3G, for example was $10.00 more on Amazon:

                  Kindle

                    BestBuy’s Price:

                    Best Buy's price

                      While BestBuy’s price represent a “sale,” it should also be noted that this chain will match any price on any item sold by another retailer!

                      5. Larger Electronics

                      Televisions are always a popular item for comparison. The one selected her was the Samsung 32-inch, 720p LED TV. Comparing Amazon, Walmart, and BestBuy, Amazon came out ahead!

                      Amazon

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                      Amazon TV

                        While the text says “click for product details, when you do, you will discover that, indeed, Amazon does have new ones at the $183.15 price.

                        BestBuy

                        BestBuy

                          More expensive, but, there is that price match guarantee!

                          Walmart:

                          Walmart TV

                            6. Books

                            Most comparison lists claim that Amazon is higher than big box book stores. While there are not many left, there is Barnes and Noble, and here are the price comparison on three books that are new releases.

                            Amazon: Sister Mazie, Pirate Hunters, and In the Unlikely Event:

                            Amazon Book 1

                              Amazon Book 2
                                Amazon Book 3

                                  Barnes and Noble:

                                  b1

                                    b2

                                      b3

                                        Amazon hold its own against the big box store!

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                                        And now let’s take a look on the things you should get in your corner store or Target instead of ordering through Amazon.

                                        1. Food

                                        Yes, you can now order fresh food delivery through AmazonFresh if you live it Seattle, Los Angeles, San Fransisco or San Diego area, NYC and Philadelphia city center. Because Amazon only delivers fresh groceries to a few cities on the west coast of the United States right now, comparing prices on fresh foods with grocery store chains across the country is impossible. However, there are plenty of boxed and canned food items that are shipped by Amazon, and in general they are more expensive than the items in stores and at other online retailers. Here is the pricing on Kellogg’s nutria-grain bars at Amazon:

                                        Amazon Food

                                          Walmart does not sell boxes of 48-count Nutri-Grain bars, but it does sell 16-count boxes, 3 of which are equal to Amazon’s box. Here is its pricing:

                                          Walmart food

                                            3 boxes of at $4.78 each comes to $14.34, beating Amazon by $5.00!

                                            Want to save even more money on food? Here are some great hacks for spending less on groceries at the supermarket.

                                            2. Power Tools

                                            Other online retailers continue to beat Amazon prices quite handily. For example, there is the most recent pricing for a Black and Decker 20-volt cordless drill/driver at Amazon:

                                            Amazon Tools

                                              And here is the price at CPOOutlets.com, a discount online retailer:

                                              Tools

                                                3. Paper Products

                                                Paper towels and toilet paper really should be picked up locally, but for those who just must shop online, here is a comparison price just on one type of paper towel – Viva.

                                                Amazon Price:

                                                Amazon Paper

                                                   

                                                  And here is Walmart’s price:

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                                                  Paper

                                                    Amazon’s price is for two 12-count packages. The equivalent for Walmart would be three 8-count packages for a total of $26.91. That’s a $7.00 price difference!

                                                    4. Dog Food

                                                    Walmart beats Amazon here too. Consider this bit of comparison shopping!

                                                     Amazon price for Kibbles ‘n Bits:

                                                    Dog Food Amazon

                                                      And Walmart’s:

                                                      Walmart Dog Food

                                                        If we compare the price per pound, Amazon’s cost is $.54, while Walmart’s is $.51, that’s $1.35 less per 45 bags, times how many bags are purchased in a year?

                                                        5. Clothing

                                                        Name brand clothing continues to be more expensive on Amazon than at other discount clothing retailers. And if you know the item you are shopping for, there is no reason not to just “Google” it and compare. For example, it was quite easy to compare the price of a men’s Nike cord body mapping polo shirt, priced on Amazon at $45.99.

                                                        Amazon:

                                                        Nike Amazon

                                                          And here is the price on eBay, with no bidding:

                                                          Ebay

                                                            Comparison online shopping is easy to do, and, really, if you want the best bargains on anything, you are well-advised to closely check. Going to Amazon, or to other big retailers (BestBuy, Home Depot, Walmart) will is more certain, in terms of product availability, but if you take the time to “Google” the item you want, you will discover a number of discount outlets that are carrying your item at a hugely discounted price. And when you do shop the “big boys,” understand that their prices change quite often, dependent upon what they find their competition is doing. Shipping costs must always be considered as well, as you compare the total price you will actually be paying. But above all, be wise, lots of little savings over time accumulate to bigger ones!

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                                                            Elena Prokopets

                                                            Freelance Writer

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                                                            Published on September 17, 2018

                                                            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                                            How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                                                            Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

                                                            With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

                                                            So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

                                                            1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

                                                            It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

                                                            You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

                                                            So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

                                                            2. When you want something big, wait

                                                            Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

                                                            It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

                                                            We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

                                                            A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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                                                            So, you get the itch.

                                                            You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

                                                            Here’s where you have to take a step back.

                                                            Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

                                                            Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

                                                            It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

                                                            The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

                                                            3. Live smaller than you can afford

                                                            You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

                                                            You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

                                                            That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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                                                            Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

                                                            Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

                                                            The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

                                                            But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

                                                            4. Practice smart grocery shopping

                                                            Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

                                                            But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

                                                            Create a grocery budget

                                                            Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

                                                            Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

                                                            I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

                                                            Make a list… and never deviate

                                                            Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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                                                            You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

                                                            These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

                                                            Eat before going grocery shopping

                                                            It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

                                                            If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

                                                            After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

                                                            Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

                                                            However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

                                                            This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

                                                            5. Cancel your gym membership

                                                            Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

                                                            The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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                                                            Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

                                                            I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

                                                            Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

                                                            Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

                                                            For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

                                                            Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

                                                            There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

                                                            It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

                                                            I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

                                                            Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

                                                            The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

                                                            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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