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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 August 20, 2019

                                                            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                            How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                            Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                                            In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                                                            5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

                                                            Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

                                                            1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                                            Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                                            It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

                                                            Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                                                            2. Keep Them Realistic

                                                            It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                                                            It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                                            3. Account for Inflation

                                                            Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                                            Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                                                            For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                                                            4. Short Term vs Long Term

                                                            Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

                                                            As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                                            More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                                                            5. To Each to His Own

                                                            The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                                                            It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

                                                            By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                                            11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                                            Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

                                                            • Ensuring healthy savings
                                                            • Making smart investments

                                                            You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                                                            Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                                            Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                                            This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                                            1. Track Expenses

                                                            The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

                                                            Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

                                                            2. Pay Yourself First

                                                            Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                                                            Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                                            The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

                                                            Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                                                            3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                                                            Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                                                            Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                                                            At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                                            Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                                            You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                                            4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                                                            Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                                                            If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                                                            Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                                                            All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                                                            5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                                            In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                                            Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                                            Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                                                            If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                                                            If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                                            So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                                            6. Talk About It

                                                            Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

                                                            Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                                            7. Maintain a Journal

                                                            For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                                            So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                                            Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

                                                            When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

                                                            At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                                                            Making Smart Investments

                                                            Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                                                            8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                                            Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                                            Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                                            9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                                            Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                                                            Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

                                                            Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                                                            It is here where that classification will help.

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                                                            So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

                                                            10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                                            Einstein once remarked about compounding,

                                                            Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

                                                            So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                                            Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                                            11. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                                            All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                                            If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                                                            If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                                                            Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                                            The Bottom Line

                                                            This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                                                            As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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