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Save Money at Amazon.com…with a Camel?

Save MoneyI’m a big fan of Amazon.com.  As an Amazon Prime member, I operate under the belief if Amazon doesn’t carry it, I don’t really need it.  Amazon is my online shopping BFF–though we did hit a bump in the road once that threatened our bond.

Ultimately, I came through the frustrating experience with new shopping habits that have literally saved me hundreds of dollarsAnd I’m going to share my secret with you.

It all started a few years ago when I was searching Amazon for birthday gift ideas for my son.  I found a $30 building set that I thought he would love, but I wanted to get my husband’s opinion before I purchased it.  A few hours later when I looked up the item to send the link to my husband, the price was $36.  That’s strange, I thought.  I could have sworn the price was $30.  Later that evening my husband and I looked the toy up again, and it was $39!  In less than 12 hours, the price had increased by almost $10!  At that point, even though I really wanted it, I wasn’t buying it out of sheer principle.

I started paying attention then and realized that the prices are always moving up and down at Amazon.com on almost every item!  These price changes can be frequent and drastic.

I did some research online and found several websites that will monitor the prices of items on Amazon.com.  My favorite is camelcamelcamel.com.  It’s a silly name for a website, but it does wonders!  Just enter the web address of any item on Amazon to pull up a chart showing the price history of the item.  The website allows users to input the price they are willing to pay for an item and will send an email the minute the item drops to that price.

Price watching isn’t helpful on items that must be purchased right away.  But if I don’t need something immediately, (I’m already watching some potential Christmas gifts) I load it into camelcamelcamel.com and wait.

Last year I found the perfect microscope for my son.  It was $65 when I first saw it on Amazon.com.  I started watching it on camelcamelcamel.com and just a week later got an email letting me know it had dropped to $50.  That’s when I went in and bought it.  A few days later I saved $10 on a Just Dance DVD for my daughter.  These were items I was planning to buy no matter what, but because I could wait for a while I ended up saving $25 on just 2 items!

Price watching can save even more money when used on expensive items.  I watched a digital SLR camera for a few weeks and ended up spending $75 less than the average price.

Instead of feeling punished or manipulated by the changing prices at Amazon, I now see it as more of a game.  By the way, I did go back and buy that building set I had indignantly refused…but only after the price dropped back down to $30.   Camelcamelcamel.com has helped me win the game when it comes to Amazon’s fluctuating prices, and it feels good!

Do you have any other helpful tips to help shop Amazon.com?

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7 Responses to Save Money at Amazon.com…with a Camel?

  1. Isis Hargrave November 25, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    I had no idea about this! I have come to be quite the couponer lately and this just helps the cause. 🙂

  2. Julie November 25, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    This is fabulous!!! I’m sharing this with my mom since we give her our Amazon wishlists for when they do their christmas shopping! 🙂 THANKS!

  3. Kelly F. November 25, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    Thanks for the great tip. Does it take the shipping costs into account? I know a lot of vendors whose orders aren’t fulfilled by amazon, and therefore don’t qualify for free shipping with a minimum purchase, will lowball their prices to make up for the minimum per item shipping requirements in their vendor agreement.

    • Becky
      Becky November 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      That’s a great question, Kelly. I am almost always watching items that qualify for Prime and free shipping, so I never thought much about shipping costs. I looked on the Camelcamelcamel website and found that it does not keep track of the shipping costs of items, except it does note items that qualify for free shipping through Amazon. If you watched an item that did not qualify for free shipping through Amazon, it would be wise to take the shipping cost into account before deciding to purchase either from Amazon or a third party vendor. However, I think you could still find some good deals by watching the price even when the shipping cost is a factor.

  4. Jessica December 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    I am an Amazon addict as well, and I’m so happy you did a post on this! I knew there had to be a way to track their price changes! Thanks so much!!

  5. Becky August 1, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    UPDATE- this just saved me money again! Yesterday I got an email that the Misfit Shine activity tracker I had been watching went down to $79 from $99. I snatched it. That’s a $20 saving thanks to price watching with camelcamelcamel

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