How to Maximize Your Savings at Amazon.com

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How to Maximize Your Savings at Amazon.com

Envelope with Top Secret displayed
Secret Sales at Amazon. Getty / DNY59

If you shop online, chances are you have shopped or at least browsed Amazon.com. What began in 1994 as an online bookstore has grown into a massive e-commerce website.

Amazon's growth and success is attributed to many things including expanding into several categories and product lines, increasing its partnership with brands and retailers, keeping prices competitive, and constantly offering new innovative strategies to lure customers to come back.

However, every company has a weak spot and one that seems to plague Amazon.com is their inability to clearly communicate to customers about all the numerous money-saving programs available.

To help muddle through Amazon's promotional maze, here a list of the different money-saving programs available. For every product category that they sell, it seems they also offer a way for customers to save on their purchases.

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Find Savings on Daily Deals, Amazon Outlets, and Open Box and Used Products

Amazon Screen Shot
Amazon.com

The Daily Deals page, known as Gold Box, is a grouping of the different deals available each day. You can access the page through the Daily Deals link located on the top-left of the Amazon homepage. (See image)

As you scroll down the page you will see several different promotional sections listed below:

  • Deal of the Day and the Bonus Deal of the Day on the top of the page, each displaying a product that is deeply discounted. Deal of the Day products are generally on sale for 50-70% off and the Bonus Deal for the Day is more often than not discounted at 70% or more off.
     
  • Next you will see the Lightning Deals which are limited-time discounts (usually for just hours) on a smorgasbord of products. The deals in this section include how long the displayed prices will remain and the percentage of how many have been sold. Curious shoppers can also take a peek at future deals and past deals.
     
  • The Savings and Sales From Across Amazon section comes next and these are the best deals on products from all over Amazon. The deals are deeply discounted, and the prices are generally available for more than a day. It is not uncommon to see items priced with 80 percent or more savings.
     
  • Scrolling down the page, the next set of deals are the Digital Deals and these can be both short and long term discounts on select Amazon digital products including eBooks, videos, music, games, and software.
     
  • Next comes the Top Coupons section which again are various products sold on Amazon that have a coupon saving's offer available. Shoppers might find coupons for animal products, furniture, travel accessories, toys and more. The items with the coupons can come from any or all Amazon product categories.

    To view the value of a coupon, shoppers must click the "Clip Coupon" button located under the product listing.
     
  • Amazon Local Deals come next. This area is similar to Groupon and LivingSocial, with deals available locally, including restaurant deals.

Amazon Outlets
- The Amazon Outlets link is located on the top of the Gold Box page.

Just like your favorite brick & mortar outlet stores, this is where you can expect to find low prices on markdowns, clearance items, overstocks, and more. Many of the categories are broken down by the percentage amount of the discount.

For example:
Headphones

  • 40% or More Off
  • 50% or More Off
  • 60% or More Off
  • 70% or More Off

This makes it easier to browse the biggest deals first.

And finally there is the Open Box and Used Product page. The link to this page is on the top navigational bar on the Gold Box page. This is where shoppers will find deep discounts on open-box items like TVs, laptops, tablets, home audio, kitchen & dining, home goods, outdoors, and more. This is a great area of Amazon.com for serious bargain hunters to visit regularly.

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Earn Free Products Through Amazon Vine

Amazon Vine Voice Logo
Amazon.com

 This is a neat program that many shoppers do not know about because it is by invitation only. The program was launched in 2007 in an effort to get customers to write top-quality product reviews that were unbiased and most importantly, reviews that shoppers could trust. In return,  Vine Voice reviewers develop followers and although they are not paid, they do receive free products to review.

There is no way to join Vine Voice because it is by invitation only and based on various criteria, including writing skills, and how many Amazon shoppers found the reviewers past reviews helpful.

What I like best about the program (other than the free products) is that the Vine Voice reviewers are under no pressure to write only good reviews and are in fact encouraged to truthful reviews.

If you shop a lot on Amazon.com, get busy writing useful reviews then start watching you email box for an invitation to join Vine Voices.

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Amazon's "Make an Offer" Program

Make an Offer. Amazon.com

Make an Offer is a feature that's available for Sports Collectibles, Entertainment Collectibles, Collectible Coins, Fine Art, Historical & Political Memorabilia and more. This feature lets you make an offer to buy an item for less than the current price from participating sellers.

How It Works

When you submit an offer to a seller to purchase an item for less than the current price, Amazon will send the seller an e-mail with your offer and provide a copy of the message to you. Sellers will respond through e-mail within 72 hours after an offer is submitted. They may choose to lower the price of the item to match your offer, reject your offer, or negotiate an alternative price with you.

If you and the seller have agreed upon a price, and you would like to purchase the item, click the link in the e-mail to add the item to your cart. The steps to place an order are the same as placing any other order on Amazon.com. Just make sure you've verified that the price in your shopping cart is the agreed upon amount before placing your order.

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Amazon's AutoRip Music Program

Amazon AutoRip Introduction Page
Amazon.com

Amazon's AutoRip was first introduced in January 2013. The way it works is that when you complete a qualifying purchase of a physical AutoRip album (including CDs, vinyl, and other formats), a free MP3 versin of that album is added to your music library.

To purchase AutoRip Music:

  • Sign in to Amazon using the same username and password you use to sign in to Amazon Music.
  • If you don't have an Amazon Music account, you can create an account for free after you purchase your AutoRip album. AutoRip is available to U.S. customers only.
  •  Find eligible albums, which appear with an AutoRip logo on the album product page.
  •  Place the album you want to purchase in your cart and checkout.

Normally, this happens right away, but if you purchase an AutoRip album as a pre-order, the MP3 version of the album is added to your music library on its release date.

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Amazon's Complete This Album

Woman listening to Ipod
Cultura/Sofie Delauw/ Getty Images

Complete This Album is a nice money saver for shoppers purchasing digital music from Amazon.com. How it works is, if you've previously purchased one or more songs on an album from the Digital Music Store, you may have the option to buy the rest of the songs at an adjusted price.

You can select the "Buy Remaining Songs" button on an eligible album's detail page if you previously purchased individual songs on that album from the Amazon Digital Music Store.

Amazon will automatically reduce the album's price by the amount you paid for the songs you already purchased. The adjusted price displays on the detail page together with the number of remaining songs you'll receive with your order.

The "Buy Remaining Songs" option is only available for the exact album you previously purchased songs from. You won't see it for other albums that also include the songs, or for music that you didn't purchase directly from the Digital Music Store.

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The Perks of Joining Amazon Student

Overhead view college student studying with laptop grass
Hero Images / Getty Images

Amazon Student is a membership program created especially for college students.

How it Works

Amazon Student members receive six months of free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime on eligible purchases and e-mail alerts for discounts and promotions. Discounts and promotions will be e-mailed to your Amazon.com e-mail account or made available on the Amazon Student membership page.

Amazon Student members will automatically continue receiving free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime when their free period is over with automatic renewal of $49.

Your Student Prime benefits can't be shared with another account, but if you continue with a paid membership, you'll also receive access to thousands of Prime Instant Video titles, Prime Music, and a Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

If you don't wish to continue with paid Prime benefits you can set them to not automatically upgrade at any time during the free period.

After you graduate or at the end of your fourth year of Amazon Student Prime benefits, whichever comes first, your subscription will automatically upgrade on its anniversary date into a full paid subscription for Amazon Prime which is of $99.

Once the paid membership is selected, you'll no longer be eligible for the free period even if the paid membership is canceled.

So What Are The Perks Again?

  • Get exclusive deals and promotions for Students including eligiblitity for sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests.
  • Receive a $10 credit for referring friends via email and social networks with no limit on the number of referrals made.
  • Get free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and store your photos securely and access them from anywhere
  • Get unlimited instant streaming of movies, TV shows, and music.
  • Get free two-day shipping on textbooks and tons of other stuff.

Want to see what college students are saying about Amazon Student before you sign up? Visit the Student forum at Amazon.com.

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The Perks of Joining Amazon Mom

What is Amazon Mom?

Amazon Mom is a Prime membership program created especially for parents and caretakers of small children.

The program is open to anyone, whether you’re a mom, dad, grandparent or caretaker. New members are eligible for a 30-day free trial that includes a free trial of Amazon Prime in addition to Amazon Mom exclusive benefits. To receive these discounts, you must be in the Amazon Mom 30-day free trial or be the primary holder of the Amazon Mom and Prime account for $99 a year.

Prime Benefits Provided During the 30-Day Free Trial

  •     Free two-day shipping on millions of items.
  •     Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows.
  •     Unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs and hundreds of playlists.
  •     A Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Other Amazon Prime benefits, including the ability to invite up to four household members to share your Prime shipping benefits for free.

Amazon Mom Exclusive Benefits During the 30-Day Free Trial

  • 20% off diapers with a Subscribe & Save subscription. This discount includes a 5% Subscribe and Save discount plus a 15% Amazon Mom member discount. The maximum discount on diapers is 20%, regardless of the number of Subscribe and Save items arriving on your monthly delivery day.
     
  • A 15% baby registry completion discount. The 15% baby registry completion discount is available 30 days before your child’s arrival date and can be redeemed on eligible items from your Amazon.com baby registry.
     
  • Access to Amazon Mom exclusive discounts and deals.

Benefits After the 30-Day Free Trial

At the end of the 30-day free trial, Amazon Mom members will continue to receive the Amazon Prime and Amazon Mom Free Trial benefits listed above for $99 a year.

Eligibility

Any customer who has ever received Prime shipping benefits through Amazon Mom or Amazon Student is ineligible for the Amazon Mom free period.