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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 May 7, 2019

                                                            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                                            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                                                            When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                                                            Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                                                            Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                                                            You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                                                            Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                                                            1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                                                            Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                                                            But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                                                            • Will you spend more time with your family?
                                                            • What does retirement mean to you?
                                                            • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                                                            Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                                                            Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                                                            2. Figure out When to Invest

                                                            “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                                                            It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                                                            The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                                                            A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                                                            Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                                                            3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                                                            Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                                                            Why?

                                                            Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                                                            Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                                                            Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                                                            Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                                                            4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                                                            Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                                                            If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                                                            You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                                                            1. Vanguard
                                                            2. TD Ameritrade
                                                            3. Charles Schwab

                                                            5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                                                            Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                                                            Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                                                            That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                                                            Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                                                            A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                                                            6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                                                            The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                                                            Robo Advisors

                                                            Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                                                            Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                                                            Bonds

                                                            Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                                                            Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                                                            Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                                                            1. Treasury bonds
                                                            2. Government bonds
                                                            3. Corporate bonds
                                                            4. Foreign bonds
                                                            5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                                                            6. Municipal bonds

                                                            Mutual Funds

                                                            Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                                                            One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                                                            Real Estate

                                                            Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                                                            Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                                                            This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                                                            But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                                                            Savings Accounts

                                                            Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                                                            7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                                                            Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                                                            So how can you master delayed gratification?

                                                            By building your discipline.

                                                            Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                                                            Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                                                            8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                                                            I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                                                            It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                                                            More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                                                            But, how can you invest yourself?

                                                            Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                                                            Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                                                            But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                                                            Retire Happy with Excess Money

                                                            The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                                                            It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                                                            I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                                                            Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                                                            One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                                                            Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

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