The holiday season is here again. That means Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving and Christmas sales galore!
Whether you celebrate all of holidays or not, our bank accounts still seem to shrink as we get closer to the end of the year. 🤔
After the end of year holidays, we immediately start spending money on everything we need to conquer our New Year resolutions: gym clothes and equipment, self-help books, beauty items and more.
If you’re anything like me, whether you are buying something for your self or loved ones, you first turn to Amazon.
As an Amazon addict, I mean shopper, I want to share with you 6 tips to help you save money this holiday season.
1. “Subscribe & Save” Confusion
I’m not sure when Amazon first introduced the “Subscribe & Save” option but I do remember my first experience with it.
If you are not familiar with “Subscribe & Save,” when adding everyday items in your cart, the option is automatically set for purchase as a subscription.
Imagine my surprise when a month later, an item that I ordered previously came in the mail again. Then upon checking my credit card, the same amount had been deducted.
After reaching out to customer service, I was told that I had selected, unintentionally mind you, the subscription option. I immediately went into my settings and opted out of it.
We’ve all made the mistake of not realizing we were actually setting up a subscription to get the product every month because “Subscribe & Save” is auto-selected.
Next time you order from Amazon, take another look at the price box. If you only want it once, make sure to click “one-time purchase.”
An extra minute reviewing your selection can save you unnecessary calls, emails, time money and stress. We all want to save money this (and every) holiday season!
Click the link below to find out more and avoid checkout confusion.
2. Returning Your Gifts
Isn’t it so frustrating when you carefully review the size chart, read the reviews, order your special outfit and it still comes too small? (Or too big?)
That is what returns are for. The process or contacting Amazon for returns or replacements is fairly straightforward if you are returning an item right away.
However, things can get so busy, especially during the holiday season, and we don’t get around to returning our items until a couple months later. It’s not as though we are passing Amazon stores while running errands day to day.
After a certain time period, the return window for Amazon closes. If that happens, go ahead and contact Amazon’s customer service department. You can communicate with them via email, phone or even chat.
It is usual for Amazon to allow you to return the item provided an extended period of time hasn’t passed and the item is still in good condition. However, please note that you may be charged a shipping fee.
Bonus tip: to lessen the amount of returns you make, keep in mind that many of the reviews your read on Amazon are fake and untrustworthy.
Try to avoid products that have only positive reviews or 5 stars. You want to get a balanced opinion of the item you want to order for yourself or loved ones.
Finding the right gift for your family may not be simple but they will appreciate it. During the holiday season is the perfect time to reconnect with family and friends and deepen your appreciation of each member of your family.
Below is a great FREE tool you can use to help you focus on why you love each member of your stepfamily, even when you face challenges. This 10 Things I Love About My Stepfamily worksheet will also help you and your family draw closer together.
3. Getting The Wrong Item (or Getting it Late)
Depending on how long the return window has been closed, you may not be able to receive the full refund of the item. Your case may be even more difficult to resolve if you have bought from a 3rd party vendor on Amazon.
If that is the case, contact the seller directly to find out if you can still return it with free shipping. You may also be able to negotiate a refund or replacement.
If you do not resolve your issue with the vendor, contact Amazon and let them know. I have always had favorable experiences with them if something went wrong with my order.
Bonus tip: I personally do not like the hassle of exchanges. So if the item is inexpensive or if you really like it, why not consider gifting it? This would mean one less person to shop for during special occasions.
If your items comes after the promised delivery date, you can contact Amazon about the inconvenience and they may give you a partial payment that you can use towards another item.
Once again, contact their sales representatives and let them know what problem you experience in a polite manner. You never know what they may agree to!
4. Amazon Prime Time (Proverbs 21:5)
I have been an Amazon customer for a while now and to be honest, I’ve never felt a need to be a permanent Prime member. Yes, it does offer a lot of perks, but those monthly fees add up.
It can get expensive to have especially if you are only making major purchases during the end of year holidays.
I have found that signing up for it during certain times such as Prime day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday works perfectly for me. I usually unsubscribe during the rest of the year.
Bonus Tip: To save cost for your entire family including stepchildren, why not just one of you sign up for Prime and let everyone order through that account?
This way, only one person pays the fees, and you can recoup your funds from your family. Everyone will get free shipping for the price of one membership.
This takes advance planning. Get everyone together, let them find all of the products they want and add to one cart, sign up for Prime and order everything at once.
The bible principle at Proverbs 21:5 is a great principle to keep in mind when trying to save money;
The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor. (Christian Standard Bible)
However, please keep in mind that for a low yearly fee, not only do you get free shipping, but you also get Amazon’s streaming service and deals on products that persons that aren’t Prime members don’t have access to.
Prime members can take advantage of Amazon’s Free No-Rush shipping and get instant discounts. Members can also earn rewards towards future orders.
5. Get Your Stepchild Involved in Gift Shopping (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Shopping for kids gets harder to do as they get older. They get to that age where you have no clue what kind of clothes, books or music they like.
You can approach this 3 ways. Allow them to create a public wish list on Amazon that you can look at and decide what you want to get the.
They can also set up a sub-account under your account. That way they can choose the items they want which takes the guess work out of shopping for what they like and will actually use.
Note that they cannot order anything on their sub-account without your approval first. To do this, go to: Managing Your Account › Account Settings› then follow the instructions for adding another adult, teenagers, or children.
The final option was discussed above. Allow your stepchild and other members of your family to pool all their items in 1 person’s cart, sign up for Prime, and order everything at one time.
Choosing hen and if to allow your stepchild to shop with you on Amazon will depend on your families needs or the current season. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 brings out;
There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven (Christian Standard Bible)
When shopping for them, keep in mind that they do not need to get the latest smartphone, laptop or other electronic in an unopened box. You can shop the Amazon Warehouse for discounted open-box and refurbished tech.
Not all of the products are used and you can get great deals there or in their Outlet section on overstocked items.
Either way, you will save money, buy something your stepchild will love (since they most likely chose the item) and get to spend time with your stepchild.
To be on the safe side, you can always just get your family and friends Amazon gift cards so that they can buy their own gift.
For more tips on how you can enjoy fall activities on a budget, check out this post on Wholesome Fall Activities for Families on a Budget.
6. Avoid Thefts (Ephesians 5:15)
It’s time for the final tip to save you money and time during the holidays. I’m sure we’ve all seen those videos by now. You know, the one that shows someone (even neighbors) stealing an Amazon package on someone’s front porch.
One suggestion is to send your package to a nearby Amazon Hub Locker. Locations can be found when you select a shipping address during checkout or when you add a new address in your Amazon account.
You can take advantage of this service and pick up your own packages or even return them at these self-service kiosks. However, note that if you use the Locker option you only have three calendar days to pick up your package.
If you don’t collect it in time, they return it to Amazon and you receive a full refund.
Another option, one I just bought for my mom, is the Ring video doorbell. You can connect your Ring doorbell with Alexa and then enable announcements to be alerted when your doorbell is pressed or motion is detected.
Simply having a security system such as this deters thieves from stealing from you. However, if they do take your Amazon purchase, it will automatically record them, send to the police and recover your item.
We want to take every precaution to protect the items we have spent our hard earned money on. As Ephesians 5:15 warns,
Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise (Christian Standard Bible)
Enjoy Your Holiday Season!
I hope these tips help you. I would love to know what other holiday shopping hack you use? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Whatever you do this holiday season, stay safe, be joyful, grow spiritually and spend with those closest to you!