Shopping. I used to love it. These days I’m sort of a shopping-hater, which is primarily because I am a much more frugal and conscientious spender these days than I ever was in the past. However, this is also because over the years I have become much more aware of the fact that retail stores the world over employ literally hundreds of snaky tactics (one example: upselling) to attempt to get us all to spend more time and money in their stores.
It really annoys me to think that stores (at least the big ones) spend tons of money every year to hire people specifically to figure out how to get me to spend more money. It bothers me to know that everything from shelf placement to lighting is crafted purposely to get me to spend more while I’m shopping. I guess I’m a Scrooge that way. 🙂
Stores are sneaky
Now, I know that many of you are probably screaming at your computers right now “Go shopping with a list!” And that’s sound advice. But still, even if you have a list, have you ever noticed that you sometimes have to look really hard to find the cheapest variety of something at the store? A classic example of this at our local grocery store is green chiles. The hubs and I cook with them a lot. We live just two blocks from the grocery store, so when we are cooking if we need something one of us might walk over there quick. One day I went and they were out. Literally, I could not find any cans of green chiles on the shelf. So we went without them in our meal that night.
The next day the hubs and I went to the store together. This time he led and we walked to the location in the store where he always picks up green chiles. And it was a totally different spot from the spot where I had been buying green chiles. Same aisle, but completely opposite ends of the aisle. He had managed to find the location where the generic cans of green chiles are kept. Whereas I had only seen one brand in one place and assumed that was the only type the store carried. Sneaky!
It’s stuff like the green chile madness that makes me hate brick-and-mortar stores. Enter Amazon. Over the years I have been doing more and more shopping on Amazon. Now, I have to admit that I have not yet endeavored into the world of grocery shopping on Amazon, but I think that would be cool some day if it were to become available in my area. I think we’re probably a long way from that though, since right now Amazon doesn’t even have a distributor in our state (which I am totally not complaining about, since it allows us to get away with having no sales tax on our Amazon purchases).
What I buy
These days I am buying dozens of household items on Amazon. In order to get the best price (or at least beat the price you would pay at your local store) you often have to buy in bulk, but as long I know we will use it and it won’t go bad, I am cool with buying in bulk. Examples of everyday household items that I have bought recently on Amazon are bar soap, granola bars, mascara, dog shampoo, cleaning supplies, etc, etc. As long as I don’t need it immediately and I don’t feel it will get messed up in the mail and the price is cheaper, I buy it on Amazon.
But is it always cheaper?
Sometimes the price that I pay on Amazon is almost even with what I would pay at local stores. However, as long as I feel that with the no sales tax factor taken into account I’ll come out ahead, I buy it on Amazon. However, I know that not everyone out there can buy on Amazon without sales tax. Here are three other ways to save money on Amazon purchases:
1) Amazon offers access to vendor coupons (similar to what you might get in a newspaper) on their site that you can “clip.”
2) Use Swagbucks (referral link) as your default search engine and whenever you have enough points, trade them in for Amazon gift cards.
3) Lastly, we have an Amazon.com Rewards Visa, which allows us to accumulate 3X points on all Amazon purchases. You can then turn around and redeem those points for future Amazon.com purchases.
Between all of these things I usually find myself redeeming some rewards, coupons, and/or gift cards with my Amazon purchases as well.
My conclusion is that I totally love doing a large part of my shopping on Amazon! By doing my shopping that way, it essentially means that we only have to go to Wal-mart about once a month or every other month when we need to buy something that it would probably not be cheaper to buy on Amazon, like liquid laundry detergent. We are buying more things in bulk so we run out less often, which saves time shopping. These days I spend very little time in stores unless I’m buying groceries. It’s totally awesome and a great time-saver.
What do you think? Are you using Amazon or any other websites to buy any household items?
Note: This post contains affiliate links.