Guest Post by Davonne Parks, executive editor of
With the holidays approaching, many of us are trying to figure out how
to purchase nice gifts on a limited budget. While there are many ways
to do this, I have personally found that
is a great place to save time and money.
I have yet to search for an item on which I wasn't able to find.
I've purchased books, bikes, a projector screen, and much more from
Amazon.com for a fraction of the price I've found in stores.
The items we
purchase most from Amazon.com are books. I'll regularly see a book at a
book store for $20, then go home and search for it on Amazon.com, and find
the same exact thing, brand new, for $6 including shipping. This is a
great way to make the most out of every dollar when purchasing gifts
for other people!
Start By Choosing An Item
Do a simple search on for the item you desire. After searching,
you will probably find several versions of the same item. The easiest
way to go through these is to right click on the item you’re interested
in, then left click on “open link in new tab.” This will open the
desired link in a new tab without moving you from the page you were
already on, so that you can continue opening the other items in a new
When choosing between similar items, you will want to take special note
of the price, product description, and costumer reviews. Then you can
easily go through each tab, one by one, and X out of the items you
decide against, thus eventually narrowing it down to your final choice.
Amazon.com vs. An Individual Seller
Once you find your desired item, you will need to choose between
purchasing the item from Amazon.com itself and purchasing from an individual
seller who is listed on Amazon.com.
Many items sold by Amazon.com have free
shipping on orders of $25 or more (Super Saver Shipping). I usually
have a list in mind when I purchase from Amazon.com and I wait to purchase
until I have a $25 order so I can take advantage of the free shipping,
since that's generally a little cheaper than the seller price after
adding the seller's shipping charges.
If you do choose to buy from a seller, there are a few ways to ensure a
positive transaction. Click on “new” or “used” to the right of the
product image and browse those selections. They're usually listed from
cheapest to most expensive for buyer ease.
Some things to notice are the shipping rates (listed directly below the
item cost), and the seller's information. Their basic information is
listed to the right of the item price.
It's important to look at how
many sales they've had and their percentage of positive responses. A
rating, or response, is what the costumer gives after receiving his/her
product (this is similar to the eBay system). I generally only buy
items from sellers who have had several hundred transactions, and at
least 98% positive feedback.
You can click on “positive” underneath the
seller's name and read the reviews. This will allow you to see why they
received any negative responses, and you can decide if it's worth
buying from that particular seller.
Making The Purchase
Once you've selected an item to purchase, click on “add to cart.” From
there, you can continue shopping (repeat above steps) or click on
“proceed to checkout.”
Amazon.com will then guide you through the steps of creating an account and
completing your order. After you enter your information once, Amazon.com
saves it for future use, so after the first transaction the checkout
process will be much faster. (For a list of accepted payment methods, go
You can also set up one-step checkout at this time, which will save
time in the future by setting a default address and payment method that
will automatically appear the next time you place an order.
The on Amazon.com lists items that have been selling much faster than
normal, which usually means they're having huge sales on those items.
For more tips on maximizing your savings on Amazon, check out .
has great deals for every taste and budget, so learn to maximize your
savings by shopping online, and you just might find you'll rarely have to fight the crowds
at the mall again!
Davonne is the executive editor of , an online Christian magazine for young women. December’s . She also helps run while her daughter is in morning pre-school, and she is learning how to coupon and CVS efficiently.