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3 Amazon Shopping Tips That Will Save You Money

3 Amazon Shopping Tips That Will Save You Money

Amazon is arguably the most popular eCommerce retail website in the world. It’s pretty hard to beat in terms of product range, discounts and sales, free delivery, speed of delivery, support, and pretty much anything else.

With such a fantastically competitive offering it’s easy for us Amazon shoppers to become complacent and assume we’re already getting the best possible prices on everything we buy there. But we’re not. Here’s why!

With so many different sellers on Amazon – there are currently a few million third party sellers competing via Amazon’s online marketplace – it is virtually impossible to search through every new offer all the time. There’s so much information there that the truly awesome deals can get hidden in all the white noise.

That’s why, if you’re serious about saving money when shopping for top quality products, you have to start making use of the some online tools and services that can do the job for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of free services that can save hundreds of dollars (possibly more) on your next big shop.

Find The Best Deals On Amazon Best Sellers

Ok, so it’s quite easy to find lists of best selling items all over the Internet. From the NY Times best-seller lists, to Amazon’s top 1000, lists of top selling products are ubiquitous. But finding the best deals and biggest discounts on these best selling items is not so commonplace. Fortunately, there’s a freely available tools that does just this.

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RankTracer’s Amazon best seller page not only returns a list of the best selling products on Amazon, it also goes through each product and finds the best deal or discount to return to you at the same time. This means that your best seller list now has extra information directing you to the biggest available savings on those products.

Here’s an example of their results showing the biggest deals on the best selling books:

amazon-best-sellers-books

    So far so good. But what if you don’t necessarily want to buy one of the top 10 items in a given category?

    Fortunately, this tool offers two methods of searching for discounts on products; the first is ‘by category’ (i.e. books, electronics, clothing, etc) and the second is by keyword (i.e. ‘pressure cooker’, or ‘frozen princess doll’). This makes it a cinch to narrow down the search to any specific product you like and find the best available deal on it.

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    I decided to look for discounts on a gift for my niece (she loves Frozen), and here’s a few deeply discounted items I found:

    amazon-best-sellers-frozen-crocs

      amazon-best-sellers-frozen-toybox

        amazon-best-sellers-frozen-dress

          Not bad for twenty seconds worth of effort, right? That’s about $48 in savings over three products. Not bad considering the total list prices for all three comes to $94.97 – making those discounts a touch over 50%.

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          But what happens if there is a specific thing you want to buy but there’s isn’t currently a discount or sale on offer? Well, if you don’t mind being patient and waiting a bit you can either check back each day or you can automate the process of tracking a product’s price over time and receive alerts when the price drops.

          Track Product Price Drops

          There are a bunch of Amazon product price tracking tools available online. The one I use is CamelCamelCamel because it is quick and easy to use and, above all, free. To get a feel for the type of data they can provide on Amazon sales prices, here’s price data for the same ‘Disney Frozen Enchanting Dress – Elsa‘ item shown in the previous section:

          amazon-best-sellers-ccc-frozen-dress

            What’s super interesting about this graph is that it show the dress actually went down to as low as $6.14 sometime in late October/early Novermber of 2015. Basically, the current price ($15.77) is about average – it’s been a lot cheaper and it’s been more expensive too.

            It’s worth noting that RankTracer’s Amazon best seller page actually returned a better price for this item. CamelCamelCamel quotes a best price of $15.77 today, whereas RankTracer quotes the best price at $13.49.

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            Go To The Source

            If you’re serious about really finding the best bargains available it may be time to go straight to the source. Amazon’s staff do a fantastic job of coming through popular products and finding the ones that offer simply massive discounts (sometimes more than 60%) and add ’em all to their Gold box deal page.

            You can also make use of their wide range of filters and search criteria to help find items you’re interested in. The problem is that there is no real search feature and the list is created by someone else – meaning you may not find the items you’re after. I narrowed down the Gold box deals to girls fashion hoping to find the Frozen dress:

            amazon-best-sellers-goldbox-girls

              Hmm, not ideal.

              So while the Gold box page offers incredibly low prices and massive deals that will save you plenty of cash, it can’t offer every product in their catalog and so can end up being of limited use. But, if you’re searching for gifts and not specific items then this page is absolutely perfect.

              So those are my top three tips for getting the most out of your Amazon shopping. How much money have you saved by using the above-mentioned tools and resources? What other strategies do you use to save money on Amazon? Share your tips in the comments.

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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!

              More About Personal Finance Management

              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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