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How to Save Money on Amazon.com

Amazon is already a great place to shop that can save you a ton of money, but there are even more ways to save. Like any store, Amazon often runs promotions, sales, and specials that can provide even bigger savings, but you have to know how to find them. Some offers are predictable while others are more or less random, but if you know where and when to look you can save big. Here’s how to save even more when shopping on Amazon.

The Friday Sale

Every Friday Amazon has a sale offering a number of items at discounts of up to 50% off. To score one of these deals you can check the Friday Sale page [3] every Friday or click on the “Today’s Deal” link at the top of any Amazon page. If it’s Friday, they will list the sale there. You never know what’s going to show up so it’s worth checking every week.

Lightning Deals

If you can’t wait until Friday for a sale you’re in luck. Each day Amazon has a number of lightning deals. What makes these deals different is that they are only offered for a very limited amount of time and usually have a specific number of promotion codes that can be used. Once time runs out of all the promotion codes have been redeemed, the deal is dead. These deals can be amazing, and they can go amazingly fast so you have to act quickly. I’ve occasionally seen items on sale for upwards of 85% off! Check out today’s lightning deals [4].

Utilize Super Saver Shipping

One of the things I love about Amazon the most is the free super saver shipping. For most items, if you spend at least $25 you’ll qualify for super saver shipping. Even if the deal on the item isn’t spectacular, the fact that you can get free shipping will often make it a better buy compared to what you can get elsewhere. One problem I’ve found, especially when buying books, is that you can add a couple items to your cart and end up a few dollars short of qualifying for super saver. Well, if you’re really trying to pinch pennies and don’t want to tack on another $12 book you can use the Amazon Filler Item Finder [5]. Just enter in the dollar amount you need to qualify for the free shipping and it will generate a list of items that qualify.

Sign Up for Amazon Prime

You’ve probably seen the promotion that pops up every time you’re checking out on Amazon about joining Amazon Prime, but probably never thought much about it. Well, if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon and would like faster shipping than super saver provides, this might be for you. Amazon Prime costs $79 a year, but qualified items will receive free two-day shipping. Really in a rush? With Prime you can get items shipped one- day for just $3.99. If you don’t purchase a lot of things from Amazon or don’t care about shipping times, then Prime probably isn’t that much of a deal. But for those who do, free two-day shipping adds up fast. To sweeten the deal even further, college students can get one year of Amazon Prime for free [6]!

Buy Used

This one may be obvious, but there can be huge savings to be had if you buy used, especially when it comes to books. Do you really need a brand new book if it’s something you’ll likely just spend a few weeks reading before putting it up on a shelf? Probably not, so scouring the used item sellers can often save up to 50% of what Amazon is offering it for. One thing to keep in mind is that the items will ship separately, won’t qualify for your free super saver shipping, and some sellers may charge so much for shipping that the savings on the item itself make it not a deal at all. At the very least it’s worth checking to see if any used items are being sold to see if you can save a few more bucks.

Shop Warehouse Deals

Did you know Amazon has a warehouse full of open-box and like-new products being sold at even lower prices? I didn’t until just recently. If you check out Amazon’s Warehouse Deals [7] you’ll find thousands of items that are simply open-box items or may have been returned with something as little as a minor scratch. Amazon checks each item thoroughly and make sure it works, identifies the product quality, and then discounts accordingly. Shopping via the warehouse allows you to deal with Amazon directly while often giving you the same discounts you could receive by buying used.

I hope these tips help you save a little extra next time you shop at Amazon.com.

This is a guest post by Jeremy Vohwinkle, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor,creator of Generation X Finance [8], and Financial Planning [9] editor at About.com. Be sure to follow Jeremy via RSS feed [10] or on Twitter [11].

(Photo: akiraohgaki [12])