3 Ways to Avoid Overspending on Amazon

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Don't bust your budget on Amazon. Use these tips to keep your spending in check.

Key points

  • Amazon is a great source for everyday items and big-ticket purchases.
  • It's important not to go overboard when shopping on Amazon given the wide selection.

As someone who's perpetually pressed for time and doesn't love shopping in stores, I tend to turn to Amazon for everything from household staples to birthday gifts to electronics. Not only does Amazon tend to have competitive price points, but as a Prime member, I get free two-day shipping on the items I purchase.

In fact, if I'm being honest, it's pretty rare for a week to go by without me getting an Amazon delivery. At the same time, though, I know I need to be judicious when making purchases on Amazon so I don't go over my budget. Here are three tricks I employ to avoid spending too much.

1. Always have a reason to be visiting the site

Some people shop online when they're bored and have nothing to do. But as a general rule, I won't go onto Amazon -- or any retail site, for that matter -- unless I have a reason for it. That reason could be that I'm looking for new filters for my vacuum cleaner or that I need a new pair of sneakers. But I make a point not to browse the site out of boredom, because if I do, chances are, I'll end up buying something.

2. Steer clear of major sale events unless you have a plan

Amazon Prime Day is often hailed as one of the biggest shopping events of the year. But events like that can also lead to temptation. That's why I won't shop on Prime Day unless I know there are specific items I want that will be on sale. Plus, I won't make a large purchase during a sales event like Prime Day unless I've been expressly saving for it ahead of time.

A couple of years back, I ended up spending $1,000 on Prime Day. But I didn't blow $1,000 on random impulse purchases. Instead, I had my eye on specific items I needed for my home. And I made a point to add money to my savings account ahead of that event so my purchases would be covered.

3. Research other options before making a purchase

Amazon tends to have really good prices -- but it's not always the most competitive retailer. Now I'll admit that if I'm buying something that only costs a few dollars, like school supplies, I won't spend the time researching prices. As a freelance writer, it's not worth losing out on 15 or 20 minutes of work time to potentially save $0.30 on a purchase.

But if I'm buying a bigger-ticket item, I will spend a little time seeing if there's a better price out there. This especially holds true if I'm looking for electronics or something that costs several hundred dollars.

Amazon may be an easy way to shop, but it can also drive a lot of consumers into debt. Follow these tips to avoid overspending in the course of your Amazon shopping. That way, you can enjoy the convenience without wrecking your finances.

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