Amazon is a dominant global provider, and often remains the cheapest source for items even when you factor in postage charges. Want to save more money when using the mega-site? Here are a few suggestions.
Combine Postage (And Make Sure It's Combined)
The most basic Amazon shopping tip of all is worth repeating: you'll generally pay less for postage if you order multiple items at once. However, there's one important caveat: make sure the item is being shipped by Amazon itself, and not one of its associated retailers. In the latter case, you'll still end up slugged with postage for every item. That might still represent a saving, but you need to check.
One trick you can also use to reduce postage is to order goods to a US address (such as a hotel) if you're planning a holiday. That can save you money, but one word of caution: your hotel may hit you with a parcel delivery charge. Factor that into your thinking before placing an order.
Use Amazon's Outlet Store
Amazon doesn't conceal their outlet store outright, but most people don't know it exists. Buried within its other shopping categories, its virtual outlet shows you products discounted anywhere from 30 to 60 per cent from the recommend retail price. It's definitely worth checking out, though you'll have to be selective about which categories you buy from (electronics, for instance, are usually blocked from shipping to Australia).
Set Up Price Alerts
You may not always find the price you want when shopping on Amazon, but with prices fluctuating daily you might see it it at some point down the line. It's annoying to have to check the site for a better deal on a daily basis, so avoid all that hassle by setting up price alerts with OnlinePriceAlert. All you do is enter the URL of an Amazon item, your email address, and the target price. (You can do this through their bookmarklet, too, to avoid going directly to the site.) When the price drops to your target, you'll get an email. It's as simple as that. (Remember, the price will be in US dollars.)
Find Affiliate Buddy
Amazon has an affiliates program called Amazon Associates that gives you up to a 15 per cent referral fee on any purchases people make with your affiliate links. While you can try purchasing from yourself to get an extra 15% off, Amazon tends to detect this behaviour and remove your commissio. A better idea is to get an affiliate buddy. Basically, find another friend who shops on Amazon frequently and give them your affiliate code. Whenever they buy something, they use your code. In return, you do the same for them. This way you each get 15 per cent back on whatever the other buys. It may not always be perfectly even, but it's a good way to generate some extra savings without cheating the system.
Get Free Android Apps And Kindle Discounts
To promote its app store, Amazon chooses one premium app to offer for free every day. This option was blocked to Australian users until 2013, but we can now take advantage as well.
The Kindle Daily Deal is similar, providing one heavily discounted book on a daily basis. you enjoy reading on an electronic device of some kind (as Kindle apps are available for practically everything), you'll also want to check the Kindle deals as well.
Lifehacker's weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.