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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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                                                            Last Updated on January 2, 2019

                                                            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

                                                            Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

                                                            Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

                                                            Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

                                                            This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

                                                            Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

                                                            What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

                                                            Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

                                                            When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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                                                            How It Leads to Financial Improvement

                                                            It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

                                                            Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

                                                            Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

                                                            It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

                                                            Types of Personal Finance Software

                                                            When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

                                                            Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

                                                            For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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                                                            Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

                                                            When to Use Personal Finance Software

                                                            So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

                                                            Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

                                                            1. You Have Multiple Accounts

                                                            There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

                                                            If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

                                                            Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

                                                            2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

                                                            Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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                                                            There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

                                                            With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

                                                            3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

                                                            Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

                                                            Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

                                                            Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

                                                            4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

                                                            Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

                                                            You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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                                                            How to Get Started

                                                            From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

                                                            Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

                                                            It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

                                                            When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

                                                            Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

                                                            Final Thoughts

                                                            Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

                                                            In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

                                                            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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