Costly mistakes if you shop on Amazon

Using Amazon can indeed save you quite a bit of money. But you have to exercise a certain amount of prudence. Here are some top rules for getting the best deals.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/03/dont-make-these-5-costly-mistakes-when-shopping-on-amazon-says-money-saving-bargain-expert.html

Don’t make these 5 costly mistakes when shopping on Amazon, says money expert

(Photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

With no shortage of convenience and all the products you could possibly need, it’s no wonder shoppers love Amazon. In fact, the e-commerce giant constitutes over 50% of all online sales in the U.S.

But size is a double-edged sword. With so many deals to sift through, it’s hard to tell if what you’re purchasing is really the best deal.

Here are five common mistakes you may be making when you shop on Amazon:

1. You ignore price-color bias

Amazon has a dynamic pricing system when it comes to products that come in different colors. Supply and demand conditions may fluctuate if some colors are more desirable than others (with the less popular ones priced lower).

So if it makes no difference to you whether your tape dispenser is “aqua turquoise blue” or “lime green,” you can save a few bucks by choosing the cheapest one.

Tape dispensers Amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon
2. You overlook the offers page

Most shoppers tend to ignore Amazon’s offers pages, which can be accessed by clicking the link below the product description on the right-hand side of a product page. (It will usually say something like “New (2) from $8.99,” depending on how many offers there are and what prices are available.)

Take a look at the Verona Electric Range:

Range price page Amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon

The listed price is $2,899, but by reviewing the offers page (below), you’ll notice that another offer for this product is listed at $2,499.95, which would save you $450.05. Also keep in mind that the best deals don’t always appear at the top.

Range offer price Amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon
3. You don’t comparison shop

By comparing similar deals, you might find that a completely different brand offers better value for your money.

Consider finding a high-end product that normally cost more than you want to spend, being discounted down to the price you would have paid anyway. In this instance, you might not be paying less, but you could potentially purchase a better product for the same price.

This Hamilton Beach Electric Searing Grill, for example, is listed at $64.99, plus a $2 coupon.

Hamiton Grill Deal amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon

Sounds pretty attractive, right?

In fact, it actually is a good deal. But what if you were told that there’s a similar grill that sells for quite a bit more, but is currently discounted to pretty much the same price?

The Cuisinart Griddler is only $1 more expensive at the moment, but usually costs closer to $72. With more promising customer reviews and better features, the second option might be your best bet in terms of quality and price.

Grill deal Amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon
4. You don’t time your purchases

If you don’t mind buying last season’s goods, you stand to save a huge amount of money — especially on seasonal items.

There are three primary timing events to look out for:

  1. Price drops due to competition at the start of seasonal events (i.e., upright vacuum cleaners often see a handful of great deals in April, ahead of spring cleaning season).
  2. Price drops due to clearance sales at the end of seasonal events (i.e., snow blowers are often heavily discounted in April and May as retailers clear out the unsold stock).
  3. Price drops due to new releases (i.e., 2018 models of high-end OLED TVs are selling for around $800 less on average because newer 2019 models have hit the market).

It’s also worth looking at price-checking sites like CamelCamelCamel.com, which will tell you when prices for certain products tend to be lower or higher.

5. You don’t take advantage of coupons

More often than not, our focus is purely on price-related deals. We tend to look for discounts along the lines of “save 15% with this price cut” instead of available coupons, which can be found by scrolling down to the “special offers and product promotions” section on the product page.

Take a look at this George Foreman Rapid Grill:

Foreman Grill coupon Amazon screenshot
Go Penny Go/Amazon

The retail price is $69.99. But by checking the coupon box, you can save 5% (approximately $3.50 discount). There will typically be more than one coupon per product, so don’t forget to review the restrictions for each one to see which one is right for you.

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