Since Amazon hiked the price of its subscription, you might be looking to cancel your Prime membership, but you should check what other Amazon benefits are included in your monthly price as it’s definitely not limited to just free shipping.
For many online consumers, Amazon is a one-stop shop for everything from diapers to television sets. The e-commerce giant is widely known for its vast product selection and low prices. In fact, consumers rated Amazon their second-favorite online store in the National Retail Federation's 2022 Favorite 100 Retailers list. Its Amazon Prime service — with free, two-day shipping on all eligible items, as well as access to digital storage for your photos, video streaming and much more — keeps customers coming back often.
But even Amazon regulars may overlook these nine lesser-known ways to save big on purchases big and small. Take a closer look.
Get Free Two-Day Shipping Without Spending on Amazon Prime Yourself
There's a way for some folks to reap the benefits of Amazon Prime without having to fork over the $139 annual membership fee. Prime members are allowed to add one adult in their household to their Prime account free of charge. The second adult must have his or her own Amazon account and must use the same billing address as the primary Prime account holder. (Caution: Both individuals will have access to credit card information associated with the Prime account.) Once the new household member has been verified, he or she gets access to free two-day shipping, video streaming, online photo storage and the Kindle owners' lending library.
- SEE ALSO: 5 Surprising Perks of Amazon Prime
Not a Prime Member? You Can Still Score Free Shipping
If you don't order from Amazon often enough to warrant spending $139 a year for Prime, there are a couple of other ways to get your occasional orders delivered free. When you order $35 worth of eligible products, your entire order qualifies for free economy shipping, which typically takes five to eight business days.
However, if you are struggling to find enough items to get your total to $35, try using the site FillerItem.com to find add-on items that won't put you over your budget, recommends smart shopping expert Trae Bodge. Simply enter the remaining amount that you have to spend to reach the $35 threshold. You'll then be shown a list of products available on Amazon that are eligible for free shipping.
Get Discounts on Recurring Purchases
If you regularly buy certain household items, such as diapers, hair care products and cleaning supplies, from a brick-and-mortar retailer, you can save time -- no more standing in long checkout lines — and money with Amazon's Subscribe & Save program.
By registering for the program, you can schedule regular deliveries of your favorite products. Save 15% on every order by scheduling five or more products to be delivered together on a recurring schedule. If you schedule fewer than five products, you'll get a 5% discount on your entire purchase. Keep in mind that product prices, delivery fees and taxes may change over time after you've set up your recurring shipments, notes Howard Schaeffer, general manager of deal site Offers.com. If you decide you don't like the service, you can cancel your subscriptions at any time.
Before You Check Out, Peruse the Coupons Page
You never know what you’ll find on Amazon's coupons page, accessible via the site's Today's Deals tab. It's worth a look to see if coupons exist to cut the price on the items in your shopping cart. Examples of coupons available to Amazon members when we checked the page included 38% off Amazon’s Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, 26% off Bose Headphones and 26% off an Amazon Basics Two-Slice Toaster.
Note: Certain coupons can only be redeemed by Prime Pantry and Subscribe & Save program members.
Skip Sales Tax and Shipping Fees at Selected Third-Party Sellers
Multiple third-party sellers, in addition to Amazon itself, may carry an item you seek on Amazon.com. Before you buy, compare Amazon's own price, including tax and shipping fees, to the total price tag of various third-party sellers.
According to Amazon's policy, it's up to each third-party seller to decide if it wants the e-commerce site to charge sales tax on its behalf unless the seller resides in a state that requires sales tax to be charged. When it comes to shipping, the seller's product listing should explicitly state if a fee will be charged. Some charge, some don't.
To ensure a hassle-free experience, there are a few things shoppers should do before placing an order with a third-party seller. Read other customers' reviews of the seller, and inquire directly with the seller about its return/exchange policy.
Prime Members, Opt for No-Rush Shipping to Receive a Site Credit
It's no secret that one of Amazon Prime's biggest perks is free two-day shipping. However, if you're a Prime member who doesn't need your item right away, opt for no-rush shipping on your next order to receive a promotional credit to your account once the items from the order have shipped. The credit is based on the number of items in your order that are eligible for no-rush shipping. It can be used toward a future purchase.
Get the Best Deal on Your New TV
Television sets sold and fulfilled by Amazon -- not by a third-party seller on the site -- are eligible for price matching. If you purchase a TV from the e-commerce site and find the same model for a lower price on Amazon or another qualifying retailer's website within 30 days of purchase, you can notify Amazon to receive a refund of the price difference using the original method of payment.
- SEE ALSO: Things You Can't Return to Amazon
Save on Used Electronics
- You can score deals on popular technology, such as smart watches, wireless surround-sound speaker systems and tablet computers, by shopping Amazon's Warehouse Deals section. The items offered in this section are either open-box (the product was previously sold, opened but not used, and then returned) or pre-owned (the product was previously sold, opened and used at least once before being returned). Each item is inspected and certified before being listed for resale. Amazon categorizes these products as used-like new, used-very good, used-good or used-acceptable.
- SEE ALSO: Worst Things to Buy on Amazon
So how much can you save? We found an Ameriwood Home Modern End Coffee Table in the Warehouse Deals section for just $24.59, while on Amazon.com it's selling for $66.44 — a $41.85 difference.
Before you buy, however, make sure you fully understand the product's return policy (Warehouse Deals items sold by third-party vendors are subject to the seller's return policy), and find out if the original manufacturer's warranty still applies (it can be void on certain used items, including new and refurbished electronics), advises Jeanette Pavini, a Coupons.com savings expert.
Opt for Amazon Prime Student, if You Can..
College students can make a big saving on their TV subscription with Amazon Prime Student, which offers a free six-month trial and then costs you $7.49 per month — half the price of a usual monthly subscription. This price includes a generous two-month free trial of Kindle Unlimited. Prime claims with a student subscription you can also rent textbooks and save up to 90%. Students also get Amazon Music Unlimited free for 30 days and a discounted subscription fee of $5.99 per month, saving $2 monthly.
Dodge Future Price Hikes
Amazon has already hiked the price of its Prime subscription by $2 extra, from $12.99 to $14.99 per month. But there is a way you can dodge another hike — by ‘gifting yourself’ a new Prime membership when your current one is about to come to an end. About one day before you should cancel manually, to prevent auto-renewal, you can redeem your gifted membership which will be priced for another year at the ‘current’ rate.
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.
- Vaishali VaruContributor
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