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How to Pay Less Than 30% for Almost Anything

How to Pay Less Than 30% for Almost Anything

I’m going to show you a super easy, step-by-step process for ensuring that you never pay more than half price for any new book (even if it’s an absolute best-seller that everyone is trying to buy) or product.

I’m not talking about wasting hours scouring discount and deal sites for great prices either. Amazon already does a great job of offering low prices across a range of items so getting a good price is a given.

Fortunately, with only a tiny bit of extra effort you will be able to squeeze far more out of your shopping budget. Here’s how you do it.

1. Getting Started

We’ve all shopped on Amazon, right? Here’s a typical buying page for a really popular best-seller by Elon Musk:

Amazon Product Buying Page

    There are a couple of important things to notice about this page that will help you save more cash in the coming steps:

    • The List Price is $29.99 but we can buy it now for $17.84
    • It is also available New from $13.69
    • It is available Used from $11.22

    So, right here, right now we can buy a $30 book for about $14. That’s a little under half price already. So far so good.

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    2. Price Tracking & Alerts

    The Amazon marketplace is extremely fluid and volatile. Prices for products can change on an hourly basis, as Amazon competes with other sellers to offer the best prices. This is where we can gain a bit of extra advantage over other shoppers.

    Instead of spending time checking back each day to see what the new price is, we can use an accurate price tracking service that will notify us of price drops (and increases – these will be important later on) in virtual real-time.

    Set up a price alert watchlist of all the items you want to buy for both price drops and increases.

    Here’s a screenshot of the sales and price changes for the aforementioned book using RankTracer – an extremely accurate tracking service that updates hourly so you are never more than a few minutes behind the latest price changes:

    Sales & Price Chart

      Chart showing hourly sales & price changes Amazon book (Tesla, SpaceX …). Courtesy of RankTracer – Amazon Sales & Price Tracker[1]

      Not all products have the same pricing profile, however. It’s important to note that some items swing wildly from day to day, or even hour to hour. Here’s a price chart showing changes for a popular entrepreneurship book entitled ‘The Third Wave‘:

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      Sales & Price Chart for Amazon Book

        Chart showing hourly sales & price changes for Amazon book (The Third Wave). Courtesy of RankTracer – Amazon Sales & Price Tracker

        As you can see, that is a bit more volatile, and prone to changing price more often, and in this instance becoming consistently cheaper. Each product will, of course, be different. The important thing here is to know when the price drops and when it increases. Once you know that, we can take the next step – buying low.

        3. Buy Low

        Looking at the charts above you can see that there are better (and worse) times to buy than others. But, with your price alerts coming in via email, you’ll be able to buy the items you want at the best possible prices.

        I was thinking of buying a new notebook recently, so I tracked a few to see their prices over time. Here’s one for the Samsung Chromebook:

        Chart of Samsung Chromebook

          Clearly buying any time between December 3rd and December 7th would have been ideal, as it would have resulted in an additional saving (on top of the best price you might find shopping on a random day) of just under $250.

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          So we can save money by buying low. Great.

          Unfortunately, buying low is where most people stop going. After all, doing things like this will mean you save plenty of cash on the Christmas shopping. But, if you really want to ensure you pay less there’s one more step to take.

          4. Sell High

          Once you’ve finished reading your book (or no longer need the item purchased), it’s time to sell it back via Amazon.

          Becoming an Amazon seller is quick and easy, and you can get started over at Amazon’s Seller Central website. If you are going to sell less than 40 items, then it is completely free to sign up – although there are small charges per item sold. Selling more than 40 items will require a paid plan that should cost about $39.99 per month, although you can explore the different types of seller accounts at their pricing page.[2]

          With your seller account set up, it is now possible to re-list the products you bought – most likely listing them in Used condition.

          At this point our price tracking comes in handy because it can tell us when prices are high so we can sneak in with a slightly lower offer in order to radically improve the chances of making a sale.

          Take a look at the original screenshot of the Elon Musk book sales page and notice that there were used copies being sold from $11.22. Given that we could have purchased it for $13.69 (according to RankTracer’s price data), and we can sell it back for $11.22, we have effectively bought it brand new for the grand total price of $2.47.

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          Take into account other costs, like Amazon charges, and you are probably still going to get away with paying less than $4. For a book listed at $29.99, that works out to less than 15% of the list price.

          You can squeeze as little or as much out of this process by waiting for the lowest low prices and selling at the highest high prices. But, on average, spending between 10% and 30% of the asking price should make anyone very happy.

          This trick works for any product that can be sold used. Obviously, consumables like food and drink probably won’t fetch a reasonable price in used condition. Simply watch your price alerts, wait for the right time to buy and sell, and start saving money big time.

          I’d love to hear how much money this saves you in the long run. Drop a comment here and share your huge savings stories to make the rest of us jealous.

          Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com

          Reference

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          Last Updated on June 6, 2019

          The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

          The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

          Are you on track for retirement?

          If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

          Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

          But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

          If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

          What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

          Saving for retirement is tricky.

          Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

          Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

          Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

          Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

          20’s – $16,000

          During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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          Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

          30’s – $45,000

          At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

          Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

          40’s – $63,000

          This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

          50’s – $115,000

          During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

          60’s – $172,000

          By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

          Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

          The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

          Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

          First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

          Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

          Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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          How to Save Money Each Month

          By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

          But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

          Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

          Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

          Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

          Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

          Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

          To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

          How?

          By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

          Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

          If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

          Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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          Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

          Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

          When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

          Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

          Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

          If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

          Why?

          You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

          Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

          Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

          Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

          After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

          You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

          By starting a side-business.

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          This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

          The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

          So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

          Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

          Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

          What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

          My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

          Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

          For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

          If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

          Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

          Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

          Reference

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