We love a good deal and the convenience of Amazon, but not every bargain magically floats to the surface. The online retailer offers several ways to save money that you may not know about, and with a few strategies you can save even more.
Use Amazon's Outlet Store
Amazon doesn't conceal their outlet store outright, but most people don't know it exists. Buried within their other shopping categories, their virtual outlet shows you products discounted anywhere from 30-60% off their MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price). If you don't want a specific item, but rather a good yet cheap TV, blender, SD card, or whatever, the outlet store will show you the biggest markdowns in pretty much any shopping category on the site.
Buy from Amazon Warehouse Deals
Somewhat in conjunction with the outlet store, Amazon Warehouse Deals offers significant discounts on open box and refurbished items. All products get tested at Amazon to ensure they function. Once posted, the online retailer cautiously described the condition of the item. I've ordered quite a few items through Warehouse Deals that claimed to have cosmetic damage and found myself hard-pressed to find a single scratch. While no company dodges errors, Amazon Warehouse Deals boasts a great track record with almost two million reviews. You get to take advantage of Amazon's standard return policy, too, so if you run into a problem you can just send it back. Overall, it's a great way to save a lot of money—especially on rarely-discounted products—without the risk usually associated (or imagined) with used or refurbished gear.
Set Up Price Alerts
You may not always find the price you want when shopping on Amazon, but with prices fluctuating daily you may get 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.
Get an Affiliate Buddy
Amazon has an affiliates program called Amazon Associates that gives you up to a 15% 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 notice and remove your commission when they do. 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% 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.