Amazon had an epic year in 2020. That’s because amid the pandemic, many shoppers turned to Amazon to get their everyday essentials delivered right to their doors rather than facing in-store shopping and the associated health risks. And while it’s still acceptable — and safe — to continue to shop for essentials on Amazon this year, you may be wanting to cut back on all of the impulsive “add to cart” purchases that you may not really need.
Stop Browsing Out of Boredom
“Many people fall into the trap of impulse shopping on Amazon when they browse without purpose, or when trying to kill time or when they’re bored,” said Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert. “Even small purchases add up when you’re buying without thought or consideration regularly.”
If you find yourself meaninglessly scrolling through Amazon, pause and put your phone or computer away before you buy something you don’t need.
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Make It Hard To Mindlessly Spend
“Considering it’s so easy to buy with a single tap of the finger or click of the mouse, it’s really important to set hurdles for such impulse purchases,” Woroch said. “For instance, delete payment information or shipping information so that you have to manually enter these details whenever you’re about to buy something. The time it takes or extra effort may make you realize you don’t need the item.”
Think Twice Before Clicking ‘Buy’
Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether an item is something you really need when you’re caught up in the moment.
“Walk away from the potential purchase to give yourself some time to think it over,” Woroch said. “When you’re shopping online or via your mobile device, add the item to your cart but then click out of the browser or app for a few moments. If it’s an unnecessary item, chances are the urge to buy it will pass and you will dodge that impulse purchase.”
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Don’t Just Buy From the Default Seller
“Shoppers often overlook that there are multiple buying options for a particular product sold on Amazon from a variety of third-party sellers, and the site doesn’t automatically list the cheapest option,” Woroch said. “It requires a bit of digging to find the least expensive product price on Amazon, but there are tools that can help you. Just download Cently to your browser and their Amazon Best Price feature will automatically alert you if there is a cheaper buying option from an alternative reputable seller for the same item on Amazon.”
Earn Cash Back From Your Amazon Purchases
Even if you’ve cut out mindless purchases, chances are you may still be spending a good chunk of change on Amazon. One way to cut down on your overall spending is to get some of that cash back in your pocket.
“There are a variety of ways to earn cash back when shopping at Amazon,” Woroch said. “For example, link your Amazon account to the free cash-back app Fetch Rewards to earn points good towards free gift cards to Amazon or other retailers like Target or Walmart. If you do most of your shopping on Amazon, check out the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which offers 5% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Food Market purchases. You can even get a $70 Amazon gift card upon approval when applying for the card.”
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If you don’t have the Amazon Visa — and don’t want to open another credit card — consider making your Amazon purchases with a cash-back card you already have so that you will earn money back on every purchase you make on the site.
Manage Your Auto Deliveries
“The ‘subscribe and save’ feature offering 5% [savings] on purchases is a nice benefit for Amazon Prime members, but it also leads to overspending and can cost you more in the long-run,” Woroch said. “First of all, the 5% savings may still not be cheaper than if you shopped around.”
Retailers like Target and Walmart now offer free curbside pick up or free delivery with a minimum order amount, so it may be just as convenient to order from them, and they may have the same item you want for cheaper than Amazon. In addition, you might be getting unnecessary automatic deliveries.
“When you set up the subscribe and save, it’s set up on auto-delivery and most people don’t manage the frequency for their deliveries or end up setting up auto-delivery on items they really don’t need, which ends up being a waste of money in the long-run,” Woroch continued.
Don’t Just Buy Something Because It’s on Sale
Even if an item is a “necessity,” make sure you actually need it before purchasing simply because it’s a daily deal or lightning deal.
“Check to see if your supply of the current product is low instead of buying more units on top of what you already have,” said Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback.com. “By taking these few extra minutes, you will not only save yourself money but also space in your home.”
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Set a Monthly Limit on Your Amazon Spending
Budget for Amazon spending just as you would any other line item in your monthly budget. Mason Miranda, credit industry specialist at Credit Card Insider, suggests this hack for making sure you never go over your allotted amount: “Preload an Amazon gift card at the start of each month with the amount you’ve budgeted for Amazon. Once your gift card is used up, you’re done.”
Have a Designated Day To Shop
“To curb your Amazon habit, it could make sense to designate an Amazon shopping day, whether it’s once a week, twice a month or once a month,” said Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. “Having only one day to shop on Amazon will encourage you to plan your shopping list. And because you can only shop on that one day, that will help to curb those random impulse purchases.”
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Last updated: Oct. 6, 2021