16 Amazon shopping hacks
During uni, you probably use Amazon a bit more than you'd like to admit (no judgement here). But, with these handy hacks, you can save yourself a fair amount of money on there. Amazing.
Pretty much anything you'll need to buy during your time at uni will be available on Amazon.
It's a ridiculously useful site, but if you find a huge chunk of your Student Loan is disappearing on there, it's definitely worth learning these tricks to save money on your Amazon shop.
Over the years, we've become pros at paying less on Amazon (if we may say so ourselves), and there are tonnes of nifty tricks you can use to reduce your online spending. Read on for our top tips.
16 Amazon hacks every student needs to know
These are the best ways to save money on Amazon:
Get a free trial of Amazon Prime Student
Best of all, you'll get the first six months free, then 50% off a full-price Prime account (costing you £39 a year). Time your trial right and could even use it to watch the Premier League for free on Amazon Prime Video!
If you're automatically charged the £39 fee after the six-month free trial and you don’t want to pay, you can ask for a refund (provided you haven’t used any of the perks since being charged, of course).
Your Amazon Prime Student account will be active for four years or until you graduate – whichever comes first – but don't stick with it unless you're actually using the perks and saving money.
I keep a spreadsheet to make sure that Prime is worth it.
For the postage and packaging benefit specifically, I see how much the delivery of an item would usually be, put it in the spreadsheet and then tot up the costs for all my orders across the year to see if I've saved money.
In my opinion, you need to order 20 or more items a year to make it worthwhile – but even then it's not an exact science, as often you could have bought the item for less elsewhere.
Jake Butler, Save the Student's Money Expert
Track the Amazon price history of your item
The price you find on Amazon might seem like a great deal if it’s advertised as 30% off, but is it really as much of a steal as they're making out?
Camelcamelcamel is a site which tracks the price of every item as it's appeared on Amazon over the years. By entering your item's URL into the search bar, you can find out if it's usually cheaper than its current price.
In fact, Amazon themselves have even admitted that their prices on Prime Day (a huge annual sale they hype to the max) aren't necessarily the lowest they'll ever be, despite strongly implying that the deals aren't to be missed.
As a result, you might find it’s worth waiting for the item to drop in price again (you can even set a price drop alert to notify you when this happens). You should also shop around to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere. Which leads us onto our next point...
Compare Amazon prices with other retailers
Amazon offers the cheapest prices available online... sometimes. Often, though, other retailers will manage to undercut them with an even better deal.
Finding these cheaper deals obviously isn't easy, but we know of one website which does all the searching on your behalf.
Search for a product on Idealo, and it will scour the web to compare Amazon's prices with other major (and some minor) retailers.
Idealo usually takes delivery costs into account before searching, but be sure to always double check on the site of the retailer before hitting buy!
Check out Amazon's warehouse deals
The Warehouse section on Amazon features heavily discounted items that have been returned, are warehouse-damaged, already used or refurbished.
These items will all still be in good condition, but likely don't meet Amazon UK's tight standards in order to be sold on as 'new'.
Although items bought from the Amazon Warehouse won't come with a manufacturer's guarantee, they will have Amazon's own guarantee which is usually decent enough.
Use your student discount on Amazon
This goes without saying, right? In your pursuit of the lowest price possible, Amazon's student discount should be one of your first ports of call.
From time to time, Amazon offers discounts off things like books – extremely handy considering you'll be stocking up on textbooks all year round.
Make sure you keep an eye on your emails to see if they've sent you a code.
Check Amazon EU against UK prices
Depending on the strength of the pound (among other factors), you can often find that items are cheaper on Amazon EU than they are on the British site – especially electricals and gadgets.
Hagglezon is a pretty good site (with an admittedly basic design) which compares items from Amazon UK with Amazon sites across Europe, including Italy, Spain and Germany. Hagglezon converts EU prices into pounds to compare products sold overseas with UK prices.
Bearing in mind that delivery from the continent is likely to set you back £5 – £10, so this trick is best saved for when you can get the product itself for at least £10 less. If the saving is less than a tenner, stick with the UK price as you'll be eligible for free delivery with Amazon Prime Student.
Share your Amazon Prime account
Technically, you can use family or friends' Prime accounts for free delivery if they're nice enough to share their deets with you.
This may sound like a bit of a shady tip, but Amazon hasn't prohibited it as part of their T&Cs. So, until that day comes, it's a great way of saving money.
That said, they have started a program called Amazon Household which allows you to invite one other adult living in your household to join your Prime account. But, in reality, it's just as easy to share your details, and there aren't currently any rules in place to stop you doing this.
How to get free delivery on Amazon
Believe it or not, taking your basket total above £20 can actually save you money! Baskets of £20 or more automatically qualify for free shipping (if they're sold or fulfilled by Amazon – this doesn't apply to purchases from third-party sellers), whereas delivery costs can be anything between £1.49 – £6.
Therefore, if you’re only a few quid away from reaching the £20 finish line, it might be worth throwing something extra (which you actually need) in your basket in order to meet the threshold.
The limit for free delivery is lower for books – spending £10 on them will qualify you for free delivery.
Alternatively, you could be super sneaky and use a little trick we've heard of that can push your basket over £20 without costing you anything – adding an as-yet-unreleased game or DVD to your basket.
Once the item you actually wanted has arrived, cancel the pre-order you have for the other item. In theory, you should be refunded for the pre-order that never arrived, and you'll have got free delivery without actually paying £20 or more.
PLEASE NOTE: This hack is far from foolproof. We've seen loads of reports of Amazon blocking people from using it to get free delivery, and are now refusing to refund customers for the pre-order on the basis that part of the overall order has been despatched.
As such, we'd recommend only pre-ordering something that you'd like to buy anyway – just in case you can't get it refunded and have to end up buying the item.
Get a refund from Amazon if the price drops
The opportunity to save doesn't disappear once you've placed your order! Keep an eye on the price of your item for seven days after you complete your transaction.
If the price drops within those seven days, Amazon will often refund the difference if it's an Amazon-own product (and not from a third-party seller).
Just reach out and ask!
Get free digital copies of vinyls and CDs with AutoRip
Big fan of vinyl records and CDs? If you've bought any physical albums on Amazon over the years, the good news is that you'll be entitled to a free MP3 rip of everything you've purchased, no matter how long ago you bought it.
Or, if you've got a mate who's a big fan of vinyls, you could get them one as a gift and get a free digital copy for yourself. 😉
Head to Amazon's website to find out more about AutoRip – you might be surprised by how much you get out of this one.
Get a replacement for a damaged product and keep the original
If your item is damaged or faulty, you may be able to get a full refund or a replacement item sent out without having to return the faulty item you already have.
As a few examples, they won't accept the return of downloadable software products, prepaid game cards and some health and personal care items. You can see the full list of unreturnable products on Amazon's website.
Jump on to their live chat function or email the customer service team and they'll hopefully arrange for a replacement to be sent out ASAP. Or, if that's not possible, they should issue you a refund in full.
Get Amazon vouchers for free
Businesses know just how popular Amazon is, and they're smart enough to capitalise on this. You'll notice that loads of companies will offer Amazon vouchers as an incentive to buy or sign up to something.
This is particularly common with phone, TV and broadband providers – you can expect to see at least one broadband provider offering Amazon vouchers when you're on the hunt for a deal. But try not to let this sway your decision too much. Check out our guide to the best broadband deals for the full lowdown.
If you've already settled your bills, check out our guide to earning free Amazon vouchers from simple tasks like collecting receipts and taking pictures of job adverts.
Subscribe and Save on Amazon
Amazon has a 'Subscribe and Save' option where you can subscribe to a product that you buy frequently (e.g. dishwasher tablets or coffee) so that it’s not only delivered routinely at a time that suits you, but it's also at a discounted price.
We’d recommend agreeing to the Subscribe and Save option if it's available on your item – even if it's not something you want to order more than once. Just bag the discount and unsubscribe as soon as the transaction’s gone through.
Choose No-Rush Delivery for free credits
If you're not in too much of a hurry to receive the items you've bought through Amazon Prime Student, we'd recommend selecting the 'No-Rush Delivery' option at checkout.
All this means is that you'll get your items a day or two later than normal. In exchange, you'll get a discount off your order, or some promotional credit on your account that you can use on future purchases.
The amount you'll receive will vary by transaction, and your credit will only be available for a limited time (you’ll be given details at check-out) so remember to use it while it lasts.
Look out for lightning deals
These generally used to be held back for special occasions like Christmas and Black Friday, but now it’s Christmas every day on Amazon...
Lightning deals are a small selection of heavily discounted products that are on sale for a limited time only.
The discounts are usually quite decent, but it’s always worth doing your research first (remember Camelcamelcamel!) to make sure they’re at their lowest price.
Get a refund if Amazon delivers an order late
Did your item miss its 'guaranteed' delivery date? If so, get in touch with customer service and ask for a refund on shipping costs.
At Amazon, they pride themselves on their delivery speed – if your order arrives late, they'll be keen to make it up to you. Take advantage of that!
We've even heard of them giving out free months of Prime to keep people happy, so don't let a late delivery go without saying something.
Read about the student who's turned a knack for fashion and online shopping into a nice little money earner on Instagram.