The Best Amazon & Amazon Prime Hacks You Can’t Live Without!

I love Amazon.com. If I order something online, there’s a 90% chance I’ll get it from Amazon.com. We have Amazon Prime too, so almost everything can be at our house within two days. We use Subscribe and Save to get a discount on things like diapers, tissue paper, toilet paper, and other nonperishable necessities.

Our local Costco is 20 minutes away. Our local Home Depot is about 20 minutes away. If it’s not urgent, I buy it on Amazon and it saves me an hour-long trip. We still go but now we don’t need to lug massive packages back.

A few years ago, I ordered a massive 280 lb. snow blower. Not only was it delivered to my door with nice folks wearing white gloves but it was cheaper than anywhere else. (this thing was not fitting in my car!) I looked extensively.

One day, in the near future, some drone army might do the delivery with their robotic white gloves!

So in all that time, I’ve learned a few tricks about getting the best out of Amazon.com. I’ve read all the articles out there claiming to be Amazon “hacks,” where they just list membership benefits, tell you about the Fire stick, or tell you to check out Warehouse Deals or enlighten you about “subscribe and save.” Seriously, everyone knows about subscribe and save. Those posts are nice reminders, but those aren’t exactly hacks.

Warehouse Deals is where Amazon sells any open-box and used products. You can often save big bucks because this is where they sell any returns and trade-ins. You get free shipping with Prime plus a 30-day return policy. It’s certainly worth a look, there are hundreds of thousands of products here.

The next place is Amazon Outlet, where you can find big discounts on markdowns, clearance items, and overstocks. Warehouse is for used and open box items, Outlet is where Amazon is looking to empty their warehouse. Both can result in big savings.

Table of Contents
  1. Amazon Cash Promotion: Add $25+, Get $5 Amazon Credit
  2. Remember All Their Awesome Prime Services
  3. Take the No-Rush Shipping Bribe
  4. Consider the Amazon Prime Credit Card
  5. Visit the Treasure Truck!
  6. Avoid Sales Tax with Third Party Sellers
  7. Discounted Prime for EBT Holders
  8. Delete Search History
  9. Complain About Shipping Delays
  10. Find Any User’s Wishlist
  11. Squeeze Last Cents on Prepaid Gift Cards into Amazon Gift Cards
  12. Earn Reload Bonuses
  13. Twitch Prime
  14. Smile πŸ™‚

Amazon Cash Promotion: Add $25+, Get $5 Amazon Credit

Amazon is pushing their Amazon Cash program – you get $5 Amazon Credit when you add $25 or more to your Amazon Balance. To add cash to your account, you get your barcode and go to a partner store (CVS Pharmacy, GameStop, etc.) to load into your account. It’s a couple extra steps but if you’re going to be at a partner store, you might as well get $5 for your trouble!

Learn more about Amazon Cash

Remember All Their Awesome Prime Services

I had to get the party started by singing the praises of Amazon Prime… just in case you were one of the last few people holding out.

Amazon Prime is the best. You get two day shipping, a ton of streaming content in music and video (TV, movies, etc.) plus photo storage and even special discounts, like 20% off new release video games and diapers. Oh, and you can get one free kindle book each month from the Kindle Lending Library.

There are a few versions of Prime. There’s regular Prime, Amazon Student, and Amazon Family.

They’re all pretty much the same idea except Amazon Student is a 6-month trial whereas the other two are 30 days. Amazon Family also gets 20% off diapers and 15% off a baby registry.

Amazon Prime Refund: By the way, if you happened to sign up for Prime and lost track of the trial period (it’s 30 days), you can request a refund if you don’t want to continue past the membership but they billed you. Just go to Manage Your Prime Membership and click End Membership, if you haven’t used any Prime services then they’ll automatically refund you. If you have, you will have to go through the contact page and request a refund. It’s harder to get it after you’ve used services but still worth a shot.

Take the No-Rush Shipping Bribe

no-rush-shipping-credit

With Prime, you get free Two-Day shipping. Amazon, in their brilliance, often offers a bribe (especially during high demand periods) if you are willing to accept No-Rush shipping, which takes an additional 3 days.

My favorite was the bribe has been $1 credit for eBooks, digital videos, and more. I will order individual items, separately, and opt for No Rush Shipping so I can get a $1 credit each time. They will usually all ship in the same box, so I’m not hurting Mother Nature with more boxes.

I’ve read tips from folks who say you should order a bunch of items with the slower shipping but then select 2-day shipping on the last one, thus getting all your items within 2-days plus the credits. Personally, this feels more like trickery (or thievery) than savviness but I don’t begrudge anyone who does it.

Best part? Those $1 credits get used up by my lovely wife on books for her Kindle or movie rentals.

If you ever need to look up how many digital credits you have, click here. It will also tell you when the credits expire!

Consider the Amazon Prime Credit Card

We take a much closer look at the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa to see if it’s worth it, but the short answer is a resounding “yes!” if you shop a lot on Amazon.

You get 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods, 2% at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; and finally 1% on everything else. The cashback comes as Amazon credit by default but you can have it set to a statement credit or transfer to your bank.

As of 2018, it appears that you can only use up to $20 of digital credits per purchase. I recently tried to buy a Playstation 4 game for digital download and it limited me to just $20 of my available $29 in credit under Software / Video Games. $20 is better than $0 but worse than my full balance. πŸ™

Visit the Treasure Truck!

The Amazon Treasure Truck is a mobile Amazon.com store that offers one fantastic deal. It moves around and isn’t available everywhere but you can find out the deal of the day in your area (if they’re around) by signing up for texts. Just go to https://amazon.com/treasuretruck and sign up.

The truck itself is a little bit of fun for the kids too. When you show up, even if you’re buying anything, they give out little toys. We stumbled onto one the other day and they had bouncy balls, brass coins, colored pencils, and other fun goodies for the kiddos.

Avoid Sales Tax with Third Party Sellers

amazon-other-sellers-estimated-tax

Amazon.com collects tax in 45 of the 50 states. It used to be that they only collected in areas where there was a “nexus,” like a fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland. They don’t collect it on third-party sellers who fulfill through Amazon. πŸ™‚

You get all of your Amazon benefits, such as free 2-day shipping with Prime, without the sales tax since the seller is out of state and thus not subject to sales tax.

There doesn’t appear to be an easy way to look up the state of a seller but the price listing now shows you estimated tax (and shipping), so you can make a quick comparison.

Discounted Prime for EBT Holders

If you receive government assistance, defined as having an EBT card, you can get Amazon Prime for just $5.99 a month rather than the $139 a year ($11.58 a month).

You get all of the benefits of Prime with only one exception – you don’t have Household sharing. You can only get this price for 48 months and will have to qualify every 12 months.

Learn more here.

Delete Search History

If you live in a household, chances are you share the same Amazon Prime account (no sense paying for two!). During the holidays, this can make shopping for loved ones difficult because Amazon will show recommendations to everyone that’s logged into the account.

How do you avoid this? Delete your search history.

You can do it easily by going to your browsing history page here and deleting items. You can also purge the whole list on that same page by clicking on “Manage history” at the top right and clicking “Remove all items.” You can turn off browsing history too from the same drop down.

If you want it to track but just not right now, search in incognito/private mode on your browser so you aren’t logged in.

Complain About Shipping Delays

If your ordered package doesn’t arrive by the scheduled time, let Amazon know. If you had Prime two-day shipping, it might result in a membership extension or a credit to your account. It doesn’t matter if the delay isn’t their fault (like weather), because they made the guarantee so they will own up to it. If you don’t feel comfortable holding them responsible for things out of their control, then only complain about the delays you want to. πŸ™‚ The best way to complain is via the contact form.

We recently ordered a few items and due to some weird UPS delay, it arrived a week later. I initiated a quick chat with Customer Service, took a few minutes, and they credited us with a free month of Amazon Prime.

I’m glad it was messaging chat because it let me mix in a little passive aggressive faux outrage (I wasn’t upset about it showing up late, heck I usually take the bribe!).

Find Any User’s Wishlist

Did you know that you can find the List and Registry of any Amazon.com customer? You can search by name or, more accurately, by their email address.

Just go to the Wishlist search page and surprise them on their birthday. πŸ™‚

Squeeze Last Cents on Prepaid Gift Cards into Amazon Gift Cards

Ever have a few of those prepaid VISA gift cards with like 50 cents left? You just want to get rid of them but feel bad about tossing fifty cents or a dollar? Squeeze the last few cents out by using them to buy Amazon.com Gift Cards – Email Delivery. Send them to yourself, copy out the code and paste them in your account. Boom, trash the card. πŸ™‚

(50 cents is the minimum, unfortunately)

Earn Reload Bonuses

When you “reload” your Amazon gift card balance, you can earn an extra Amazon credit bonus. Simply go to the Reload Your Balance and look at the banner at the top.

If you’ve never reloaded before, you should see a Reload $100, get a $5 reward on your first reload offer:

If you’ve reloaded before, you might see a Earn a 2% reward when you use your checking account to reload your gift card balance offer:

Either way, unless your credit card is giving you 2% cashback, this is a great deal.

Twitch Prime

Do you like games? Do you enjoy watching people play games? Twitch Prime is included with Amazon Prime.

Also… if you fancy yourself a gamer, you could stream yourself and make some cash. Ever wonder how much Twitch streamers make? πŸ™‚

Smile πŸ™‚

Lastly, and this won’t save you any money, but sign up for AmazonSmile. They donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. It’ll cost you nothing, other than remembering to go to http://smile.amazon.com/ or installing a browser extension) and helps a charity out.

Do you have a favorite hack I missed? Or one on this list that you didn’t know about? Let me know!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

How to Cancel Subscriptions You No Longer Use

With the advent of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, not to mention food delivery apps, people have more subscriptions than ever before. But what happens when you're no longer using a subscription? Find out how to cancel your unwanted subscriptions.

What is the Average Household Budget?

Ever wonder if you're spending too much or too little on something? Curious what others are spending on it? We look at the BLS' data on consumer spending and breakdown the categories so you know what others are doing.

Are No-Penalty Add-On CDs the Future?

Navy Federal Credit Union has a no-penalty add-on CD, which are two CD features I've never seen combined before. Banking products are becoming increasingly flexible and I discuss why I think that is.

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Empower Personal Dashboard, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

65 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kyle
8 years ago

I can never keep track of when to check on price drops with Amazon. I use a cool site called Paribus to do that for me! You grant them access to your email box, and they will track price drops and file claims for you. They take a 25% cut… but you can bump that down to 20% if you use my referral link: https://paribus.co/ I use Paribus because I wasn’t keeping track of price drops myself anyway. Just last week they contacted Amazon on my behalf and I got refunded over $3! It feels like free money, especially because… Read more »

Kyle
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

Oh I understand Jim! I should have thought to ask before I just pasted that in there. Sorry about that!

8 years ago

I love Amazon too! I never knew about the ability to find others wishlists like this – so thanks! It will come in handy. Also, the ability to get rid of cash gift cards at Amazon comes in handy too – and often recommend that to folks who have those lying around.

8 years ago

I second the recommendation of Paribus. They saved me over $200 on a TV I bought recently.

Kyle – beware. By posting your Paribus referral code here, you are likely violating their terms of service, which specify you can only distribute it via social media, email, or text: “You may also share your referral code via email, text, and/or social media…Referral codes should not be published or distributed where there is no reasonable basis for believing that all or most of the recipients are personal friends (such as coupon websites, Reddit, or Wikipedia). “

Kyle
8 years ago
Reply to  Shaun

Thanks Shaun! Jim edited my link to avoid spam problems, but you’re right. I was violating terms, and I should have checked before posting that. Thank you for pointing that out!

8 years ago

Great post Jim. I love Amazon. Like other readers too I’d recommend Paribus. I’d also recommend signing up for Bing Rewards. It takes like 5 min each day to max out the points, but I estimate every 18 days I score a $5 Amazon gift card. I also use Swagbucks to score giftcards as well. I earn about $25 – $50 a month in giftcards that I use for Amazon or Target.

8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

Haha! Good job! I just manually surf on Bing web and mobile. Takes me less than 5 minutes to max out.

Maybe you can just open another account under a different email?

8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

Dammit Jim!

Now my Bing account has been suspended! I didn’t use an autosurfer, but just randomly typed characters to do the search bonus as quick as possible. I guess having a lot of searches that look like “aaaaaaaa” is a red flag for the Bing team.

That’s what I get for mocking you. Karma.

8 years ago

I’ve been complaining about being an Amazon Mom for years now. (It’s not a big complaint, just laughingly noting how sexist it is.) Good to see it is now Amazon Family. What snowblower did you get? I looked there myself in March of last year and just didn’t pull the trigger. Lately they’ve been bribing me with $5 off of Amazon Pantry, which costs $5 to deliver (so free delivery) instead of the video credit. Maybe I’ve maxed out the number of video credit bribes they’ll give. That’s a great idea for the Pre-paid credit cards. I’m going to do… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Wang

I misread the article originally. I thought you spent $280 on a snowblower. I was looking at the complete other end of the spectrum ;-).

Chase Freedom had Amazon has a rotating 5% category so I stocked up on gift cards since I’ll eventually buy something at Amazon. You can also buy Amazon gift cards at like Staples or some supermarkets and use a credit card that offers 5% cash back. 5% doesn’t seem like much but it adds up if you spend a lot there.

Norma Walker
8 years ago

i buy Amazon gift card at Kroger then you can get 2x and sometime 4x the points that can be used toward gas pay with the credit card that gives you 5% back.

We also love Amazon and have used the Prime services from “Mom” and “Student” programs for years. The prices are so competitive, and I love that I can avoid impulse purchases at retail stores and streamline my errands with Subscribe & Save. It’s hard to over-spend when almost all my real-life shopping happens during a weekly trip to ALDI. Another good tip is to use the web site camelcamelcamel.com to see the price history of any Amazon product. It’s nice to see if the current price is relatively high or low, especially for bigger purchases. We also ordered a big,… Read more »

8 years ago

I am a huge fan of delayed shipping. I am always getting things. When the kids have off on vacation, I usually purhcase a movie for them for free. I am happy and they are happy.

8 years ago

Thanks Jim. This article personally made me $10 from using the tip about complaining when not receiving a prime item in the agreed upon 2 days.

Glenda
8 years ago

I’m a fan of Amazon prime and Amazon smile. Is there any way to use the app and have it credit my charity or do I have to go through the browser?

As Seen In:

65
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x