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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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              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

              Reference

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