Written by Nikki Ducas

If you’re like me, you like a good deal and hate leaving money in the store. The same holds true when I shop online, or even more so since I have more time to “shop around” and compare prices. With the holidays right around the corner and all the uncertainties of COVID-19 still upon us, I’ve been picking up necessities here and there and started my Christmas shopping in September when I’ve been able to grab a good deal. Shopping online has saved me time and money. I have found these four tips and tricks for shopping smarter on Amazon to be helpful.


Prime benefits

Prime membership is currently $119 annually or $12.99 a month and student membership is $59 annually or $6.49 per month. To qualify as a student, you need a .edu email address. EBT and Medicaid cardholders who verify a valid EBT (including WIC, TANF or SNAP) or Medicaid (including Medi-Cal) card are eligible to receive Prime benefits at a discounted charge of $5.99 per month for a maximum of four years. To maximize your benefits split the cost with one other adult to share shipping, streaming access to movies and TV shows, Prime Reading and more for free.

Get alerts when prices drop, track items that are out of stock and find daily deals.

If you are eying a particular item, create an account with CamelCamelCamel.com and get notified when the item dips below the price threshold you set for it. You can also set up an email alert and get notified when your item is available. This is easy to set up directly on Amazon’s item page, simply click the “Email me” button on the right of the item’s heading. Take advantage of deals and discounts by shopping Amazon’s Deal of the Day, Amazon Deals & Discounts page on Facebook, and using Honey.com for coupon codes that automatically apply available discounts at checkout.


Save on shipping

As a Prime member, I’ve been able to buy gifts and pay a nominal fee to have it wrapped and sent directly to my recipient. This saves me a box and a trip to the post office. Be even more environmentally conscious and choose free Amazon Day Delivery. By selecting this option at checkout, Amazon packages your orders together in fewer boxes and delivers on the day of your choice. Both of these options reduce your carbon footprint. You can also get paid if you don’t need your order tomorrow. Choose free No-Rush Shipping and Get a $1 reward for select digital purchases on your prime delivery option. Amazon will automatically apply a $1 Prime Video, eBooks, digital music and apps reward to your account when the order ships. Offer redemption requires customers to be in the U.S. Not a Prime member? Do what my mother-in-law does—she groups orders together to get free shipping on items that say, “Ship for free with $25 purchase.”


Give when you shop

The Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from customers’ eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charitable organization selected. I have found this as an easy way to give while shopping for stuff I need to buy anyway.

By letting your fingers do the shopping, you are maintaining your social distance, finding the best deals and reducing your carbon footprint. Another bonus I’ve found is that I am only buying what’s on my list. No more tempting impulse buys at checkout!