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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 September 2, 2020

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              Personal 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. 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 to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

              4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

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

              1. Be Clear About the Objectives

              Any goal 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’s for. It could be anything, including your child’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 that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

              2. Keep Goals 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 beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

              It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as 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.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

              Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

              For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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              4. Short Term Vs Long Term

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

              As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a 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.

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

              How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

              Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-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.

              Ensuring Healthy Savings

              Self-realization is the best form of realization, 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 spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

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

              If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

              2. Pay Yourself First

              Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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              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 manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

              Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

              3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

              Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

              Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

              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. 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 counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

              • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
              • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
              • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

              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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              5. 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.

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

              6. Maintain a Journal

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

              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.

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

              Making Smart Investments

              Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

              1. Consult a Financial Advisor

              Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s 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.

              2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

              Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

              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[2].

              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 compared to equity instruments.

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              3. 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.”

              Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

                4. 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 and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                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

                Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                More Tips on Financial Goals

                Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                Reference

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