3 Amazon Pitfalls I've Stopped Falling Victim To

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  • Amazon is one of my favorite sites, but it can easily lend to overspending.
  • Through trial and error, I've learned what it takes to avoid wasting money.

I waste less money and benefit more thanks to changes in my shopping habits.

When I found out the cost of Amazon Prime would be rising, I contemplated canceling my membership -- for about four seconds. Then I realized there was simply no way I was giving up my Prime membership because I rely heavily on Amazon to function as a human.

As a busy working mom who has little time or patience for in-person shopping, I turn to Amazon every time I need a gift for a child's birthday party, replacement socks for my kids (for some reason, those are pretty much disposable in my household), school supplies, and so forth.

At the same time, though, I've been known to rack up quite a large credit card tab in my day on Amazon. And as a budget-conscious consumer, that's just not cool. Thankfully, I've learned how to avoid falling into the trap of overspending on Amazon -- namely, by steering clear of these common pitfalls.

1. Getting automatic deliveries of items I don't need

Amazon's Subscribe & Save program is wonderful in that it lets you set up recurring deliveries for items you use regularly. These days, I get a monthly shipment of coffee pods, snacks, household products, and body wash so I don't have to worry about running low -- or running out.

But there are certain items I have set to auto-ship that I don't necessarily need all the time. So now, I make a point to review my Subscribe & Save items before they're processed to go out. That way, if there's an item I don't need right away, I don't have to pay for it upfront and store it in my home for no reason.

2. Assuming Amazon has the best price

Amazon often has the best prices around -- but that's not a given. I used to just assume the deal I was getting on Amazon was either the best or good enough. But during the holidays, I noticed several instances where Amazon definitely didn't have the best price on apparel and toys. And as much as I'm not a fan of shopping, I've started taking the time to comparison-shop before making Amazon purchases.

Granted, I won't do this for an $8 item. But if I'm spending $50 on a birthday gift for someone, I might do a quick search to see if Target or Walmart has the item for less. 

3. Getting sucked into sales

Amazon often runs promotions that can lead to impulse spending. So what I've taken to doing is instituting the 24-hour rule. 

If I'm tempted with an Amazon deal and the item in question is an impulse buy, I make myself wait a full day before completing the purchase. If, at that point, I feel it's still worth the money (and the item is still on sale), I move forward. Often, waiting prevents me from clicking that "buy now" button and getting stuck with yet another charge on my credit card.

I'll be the first to admit that I'd be lost without Amazon. But that doesn't mean I'm a fan of spending money needlessly in the course of using the site. Avoiding these pitfalls has helped me avoid going overboard at a time when everything's gotten so expensive. And while I am paying more for my Prime membership these days, I can justify that due to the convenience and gas savings it allows for.

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