Amazon http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9/all en-US Amazon Prime Benefits and How to Avoid the Price Hike http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-prime-benefits-and-how-to-avoid-the-price-hike <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/amazon-prime-benefits-and-how-to-avoid-the-price-hike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-465517439.jpg" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime</a> is set to raise its annual fee from $79 to $99. To be fair, this is the first rate hike since it launched nine years ago. Still, customers and fans are letting their feelings about this be heard loud and clear on Amazon Prime forums and the feedback isn't pretty. Rather than grumbling about this change, let's examine the benefits that come with Amazon Prime and the discounts available. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know?ref=seealso">Amazon Deal Hacks You Don't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>Benefits of Amazon Prime</h2> <p>There are quite a few benefits included in Prime Membership &mdash; not just the 2-day shipping which is its most popular perk.</p> <h3>1. Two-Day Shipping</h3> <p>This is the central benefit of Amazon Prime that is well-known by everyone who uses it. For the entire year, members receive free and unlimited two-day shipping on almost everything sold by Amazon with no minimum purchase required. (There are <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=short_url?nodeId=13819201">exclusions</a> to this.) Given the ugly prices of shipping on many sites, this is a significant savings for frequent shoppers, even with the annual fee hike. If Amazon delivers after the two day mark, Amazon Prime Members<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201117450"> may be eligible for a free one month extension</a>.</p> <h3>2. Streaming Television and Movies</h3> <p>Amazon Prime members have free access to unlimited streaming of over 40,000 movies and television episodes through <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Video/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2858778011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Instant Video</a>. Granted, the selection doesn't include the newest properties, but it provides plenty of options.</p> <h3>3. Kindle Owners' Lending Library and Kindle First</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=154606011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The Kindle Store</a> boasts 500,000 Kindle titles. Amazon Prime members can borrow one book a month for free to read on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HCCNJU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007HCCNJU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Kindle</a> or Kindle mobile app. Think of it as a personal mini-library with all of the latest and greatest titles at your fingertips. Additionally, Amazon Prime members receive a free <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/kindle/botm/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Kindle First</a> book every month. Each month, Amazon Publishing editors select four new books each month that will be released the following month. Kindle First subscribers can choose one of these four titles for $1.99 to read a month before it's released to the general public. Amazon Prime members get their Kindle First choice book for free.</p> <h3>4. Share the Shipping</h3> <p>Amazon Prime Members can <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200444180">share their shipping benefits</a> with up to four additional household members. Small business owners who subscribe to Amazon Prime can invite up to four co-workers to shop with the corporate account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a>)</p> <h3>5. Amazon Prime Music Streaming</h3> <p>Amazon is considering the possibility of getting in on the <a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/music/amazon-prime-music-streaming-news/#!APPql">streaming music</a> act. The company is rumored to be in negotiations with a number of record labels though the details are fuzzy at best, and the agreement, if there is one, may take quite a while to unfold. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ways-to-listen-to-music-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso">Free or Cheap Ways to Listen to Music</a>)</p> <h2>Discounts on Amazon Prime</h2> <p>Here are a few ways to get Amazon Prime free or at a discount.</p> <h3>1. Amazon Student</h3> <p>It pays to be a student. With a .edu email address or<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&amp;docId=1000896051&amp;ref=sm_st_join_no_edu"> proof of student status</a>, you can sign up for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Student</a>, which offers Prime Membership at a reduced price of $49. Amazon Student provides all of the benefits of Amazon Prime plus special deals and promotions and a $10 refer a friend credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-list-of-student-discounts?ref=seealso">Student Discounts</a>)</p> <h3>2. Amazon Mom</h3> <p>Moms, Amazon Prime has you covered with<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> Amazon Mom</a>. For three months, moms have a free trial of that includes 20% off diapers, wipes, and family essentials that are ordered through the Subscribe &amp; Save Program, free two-day shipping, and 30 days of instant-streaming video. After the trial, Amazon Mom costs $99 and includes the discounts listed above, all Amazon Prime benefits, and a 15% baby registry completion discount.</p> <h3>3. Credit Card Benefit of Amazon Prime</h3> <p>American Express has a deep and ever-evolving relationship with Amazon. Amex's Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday cards offer one year of free Amazon Prime if you use the card to buy a new membership and fulfill the minimum spending requirements. (<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review">Click here for more details and Wise Bread's review of these American Express cards.</a>)</p> <h3>4. Try It for Free</h3> <p>Everyone loves a free sample. Amazon Prime provides a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">free 30-day trial</a>. Amazon automatically registers people who take advantage of a free trial after the 30-day mark. To cancel, you must<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201118030"> take action and contact Amazon</a> prior to the trial's end.</p> <h3>Other Ways to Save on Amazon Shipping</h3> <p>Amazon Prime isn't the only way to save on Amazon shipping costs. Shipping is free for all orders that total $35 or more. (<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/help/id=sss">Some restrictions apply</a>.) Amazon also has a<a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> Subscribe &amp; Save Program</a>: pick eligible items that are subscription eligible and then choose the quantity and delivery frequency of each item. The Subscribe &amp; Save Program doesn't require any upfront fee and can be cancelled at any time without penalty. If you choose to have 5 or more Subscribe &amp; Ship items delivered on the same day, there is a 15% discount on the entire order.</p> <p>All these benefits and discounts make <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime</a> a great value for those who are frequent shoppers. Also remember that many items on Amazon cost less than those found in brick-and-mortar stores and they're delivered right to the door, no lugging required. If Amazon Prime still feels like less than a bargain, some viable competitors such as <a href="https://www.shoprunner.com/non_member/home/">ShopRunner</a> are on the rise and eager for disgruntled Amazon Prime members. (And if you're a current Prime member who hasn't renewed at the higher rate yet, get one year FREE membership!) After all, where there's a will to save, there's always a way!</p> <p><em>Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber?&nbsp;Will you maintain your subscription even after the price hike? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-prime-benefits-and-how-to-avoid-the-price-hike" class="sharethis-link" title="Amazon Prime Benefits and How to Avoid the Price Hike" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon amazon prime free shipping online retail Tue, 25 Mar 2014 19:03:51 +0000 Christa Avampato 1132981 at http://www.wisebread.com Amazon Raises Free Shipping Minimum to $35 http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-raises-free-shipping-minimum-to-35 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/amazon-raises-free-shipping-minimum-to-35" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-5389268-small.jpg" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you heard? Amazon&#39;s Free Super Saver Shipping for $25 orders is a thing of the past. You now <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1001427161">need to spend $35 to qualify for free shipping</a>. This marks the first time in a decade that Amazon has changed the order minimum for free shipping in the US.</p> <p>Note that this policy change doesn&#39;t affect <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime</a>, which gets you free 2-day shipping (no order minimum!), plus a slew of other perks, for $79 a year. If you&#39;re a frequent online shopper, you&#39;ll easily recoup the membership cost in shipping savings. And with the holiday season just around the corner, this would be great time to check out Prime &mdash; especially the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">30-day free trial</a>.&nbsp;Did you almost forget to send Great Aunt Marcy a garlic press? She never has to know.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-raises-free-shipping-minimum-to-35" class="sharethis-link" title="Amazon Raises Free Shipping Minimum to $35" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Amazon free shipping online shopping Wed, 23 Oct 2013 10:36:03 +0000 Amy Lu 1044968 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping-3331486-small.jpg" alt="man shopping online" title="man shopping online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shopping on Amazon is already a money and time saver. Check the Sunday ads for brick-and-mortar electronics stores such as Best Buy, or browse a bookstore, and chances are you can find the same items on Amazon for less. But there are so many methods for finding deals on Amazon that most of us don't know all of them. These simple tricks can take your Amazon savings to a whole new level. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-new-parents">Amazon Rewards Visa, a Top Credit Card for New Parents</a>)</p> <h2>1. Subscribe &amp; Save</h2> <p>Many food items and household supplies belong to the &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Subscribe &amp; Save</a>&quot; program, which means that if you order regular deliveries of this product, Amazon will ship it free and give you a 5% discount. If an item qualifies for Subscribe &amp; Save, you'll see that option in the blue box in the right-hand margin of the order page, right below the regular order option.</p> <p>But that 5% off is just for starters. Mir Kamin of <a href="http://wantnot.net/">Wantnot.net</a> pointed out that if you schedule five or more subscriptions in one month, you'll get 15% off on all of them. You can also get a larger discount for subscriptions if you join one of Amazon's special groups &mdash; more on that in Tip #3, below.</p> <p>What if you only want one delivery? No problem! You can cancel future deliveries right after you order and still claim the discount. To cancel, select &quot;My Account&quot; on Amazon, then &quot;Your Subscription,&quot; and you'll find the option.</p> <h2>2. Free Prime Trials</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DBYBNEE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Prime is a $79-a-year service</a> that gives members free two-day shipping on orders of any size (instead of free shipping on orders of $25 or more like regular customers get), plus some free content such as free streaming videos and the right to borrow e-books from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.</p> <p>Whether Prime is a money-saver at $79 a year depends on your habits, but using Prime for free is definitely a saver. Right now, you can sign up for a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;nodeId=200444170&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">30-day free Prime trial</a> that confers all the benefits of a paid membership. At the end of 30 days, Amazon will charge you $79 for a one-year membership, unless you turn off auto-renewal.</p> <p>One more money-saving tip for Prime members: You can <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;nodeId=200444180&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">share your Prime free shipping benefits</a> with up to four other people.</p> <h2>3. Amazon Mom and Amazon Student</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/laptop-baby-3997348-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>Amazon offers extra discounts to members of these two membership programs. Right now is an especially good time to sign up for <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Mom</a> because Amazon is offering new sign-ups (who meet certain conditions) a free three-month trial of Amazon Prime. During this trial you can enjoy Prime's shipping benefits, but you don't get the free streaming video content or e-book borrowing. Amazon Mom members with Prime, whether paid or free-trial, also get 20% off diapers and wipes purchased through Subscribe &amp; Save, and 20% off five or more subscriptions per month. That's an extra 15% discount compared to what common citizens get. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-books-diapers-and-much-more-with-an-amazon-membership-program">Save With an Amazon Membership Program</a>)</p> <p>You don't have to be a mom to join Amazon Mom &mdash; Amazon says it's offered to all caregivers, one per household, and no proof is required.</p> <p>If you join <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/student/signup/info/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Student</a> right now, you'll get six months of free two-day shipping and some other discounts (but again, no streaming content or e-book borrowing), and then if you want to pay for Prime, you'll get 50% off the first year, bringing the cost down to $39.</p> <p>To qualify for Amazon Student, you need a .edu email address or other proof of student status.</p> <h2>4. More Buying Choices</h2> <p>An oft-overlooked way to find lower prices on Amazon lies in the &quot;More Buying Choices&quot; box, which you may see in the right-hand margin of an item page just below the regular ordering box. This is an opportunity to order the same item through sellers other than Amazon, sometimes at a lower price. Make sure to check the shipping cost &mdash; even if you qualify for free shipping on Amazon, you may have to pay for shipping from these sellers, which might lead to a final cost that's higher than the Amazon price. Fortunately, you can sort the other buying choices by &quot;Price + Shipping&quot; to make sure you find the overall best deal.</p> <h2>5. Amazon Warehouse Deals</h2> <p>This is where <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;me=A2L77EE7U53NWQ&amp;node=1267877011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">you can save on open-box</a>, used, refurbished, or warehouse-damaged items, often at big discounts.</p> <h2>6. Free Apps and Kindle Books</h2> <p>The Amazon <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/mobile-apps/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2350149011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Appstore for Android offers a free app</a> of the day.</p> <p>There are usually a number of Kindle books offered for free on any given day. Start in the Kindle Store <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Kindle-Store-eBooks/zgbs/digital-text/154606011/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">category called &quot;Top 100 Free&quot;</a>. Or, type &quot;Kindle freebies&quot; into the product search box on Amazon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-things-to-do-with-your-kindle">Free Things to Do With Your Kindle</a>)</p> <p>I don't have time to browse through tons of free books every day on Amazon, so I rely on some favorite bloggers, like <a href="http://www.mashupmom.com/">Mashup Mom</a>, to highlight free books I might like. There are also blogs that focus on free and cheap Kindle books, like <a href="http://www.pixelofink.com/">Pixel of Ink</a>.</p> <h2>7. The Kindle Daily Deals Page</h2> <p>The Kindle <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;docId=1000677541&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Daily Deals page</a> features Kindle books for $4 or less. You can subscribe to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/gss/detail/9791850/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=154606011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1600377842&amp;pf_rd_r=04049GRP8KBFMYY5MQZA&amp;pf_rd_s=left-2&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">the Kindle Daily Deals email list</a> to stay abreast of the offers.</p> <h2>8. Today's Deals</h2> <p>One of the places to start when cruising Amazon for deals is the &quot;Today's Deals&quot; tab at the top of the page, to the right of the Amazon logo. This is where you find the Gold Box these days, but instead of just one &quot;Gold Box Deal,&quot; you'll find a lot of deals on this page now. A single &quot;Deal of the Day,&quot; a number of &quot;Lightning Deals&quot; all good for limited times throughout the day, links to the Outlet, any special sales going on, and other savings opportunities can all be found on this page.</p> <h2>9. 7-Day Price Guarantee</h2> <p>Amazon used to guarantee its prices for 30 days. This year, it changed to a seven-day policy. So, if the price of an item drops within a week after your purchase ships, contact Amazon and they will refund you the difference. This policy is not posted on the Amazon site, but a customer service agent confirmed it to me. <a href="http://www.groovypost.com/howto/request-amazon-price-change-refund/">GroovyPost offers step-by-step instructions</a> on getting the refund.</p> <h2>10. Amazon Deal Sites</h2> <p>Jungle Deals and Steals is <a href="http://jungledealsandsteals.com/">a blog that highlights nothing but Amazon deals</a>, every day. There used to be a number of search sites that turned up deep discounts on Amazon, but most of them have either disappeared or didn't produce impressive results for me.</p> <h2>11. TV and Cell Phone Price Matching</h2> <p>Amazon does not match competitor prices in most product areas, but it does for <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;nodeId=201133150&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">cellular phones and televisions</a>. For cell phones with service plans, if you find a better price within two weeks of purchase from select retailers, Amazon will refund the difference.</p> <p>The same goes for TVs, with a much longer list of qualifying retailers. Instructions for claiming a partial refund if you find the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;nodeId=200726210&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">TV cheaper elsewhere are here</a>.</p> <h2>12. Special Offers</h2> <p>When you click on a product page, before you add it to your cart, look for text that says the item is eligible for special offers. It might be a &quot;Buy three, get the fourth free&quot; promotion, for example.</p> <h2>13. Coupon Codes and Clippable Coupons</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/coupon-3936985-small-ggnoads.jpg" width="605" height="303" alt="" /></p> <p>You don't generally find a coupon code for a straight discount off anything at Amazon, but there are a lot of codes out there for specific item categories. The <a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/view/amazon.com?c=5025143">Amazon section of RetailMeNot</a> lists a code for 20% of a $100 boots purchase (NEWFALL2), for example. And Amazon itself sometimes shares codes for free MP3s or streaming movies.</p> <p>On <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2231352011&amp;pf_rd_i=20&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1578335542&amp;pf_rd_r=10C6TTB4FT92RJA128KS&amp;pf_rd_s=center-5&amp;pf_rd_t=701&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon's coupon page</a>, you can click to &quot;clip&quot; coupons for various products. These coupons may be similar to the ones you're used to clipping from the Sunday paper, like $1 off toilet paper, or they may be for a 15% discount off a book or electronics item.</p> <h2>14. Timing</h2> <p>During certain times of year, you'll see sudden price drops on seasonal items. For instance, unadvertised price drops on toys make the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas the best time of the year to stock up on toys. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <p>Deal blogs are a good place to find out about these price drops. You also might find them on the &quot;Bestsellers&quot; list for the target category. Chances are, a toy that suddenly got cheap will pop up here. You can find &quot;Bestsellers&quot; at the top of a category page, just to the left of the category name, and below the search box.</p> <h2>15. Add-On Items</h2> <p>Amazon recently started selling <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;nodeId=200876660&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Add-On Items</a>, which are small things at low prices that you can only get if you're buying $25 worth of products from Amazon. If you come across an Add-On Item you'd like to buy (they're marked &quot;Add-On Item&quot; with a blue label), you can put it in your cart and wait until you have $25 worth of products to qualify for it. Or, you can make up a $25 order completely of Add-On Items.</p> <p>Are Add-Ons really a bargain? Amazon says that Add-On Items are new, low-priced items that they wouldn't sell otherwise, but customers have noticed that some items that were sold previously for the same price are <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/forum/amazon%20discussions%20feedback/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;cdForum=FxLCMW9UN2N6QR&amp;cdThread=Tx3Z33B3PZ96BF&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">now listed as Add-On Items</a>. This annoys folks who are paying for Prime to get free shipping on any size order, but now have to order at least $25 worth of stuff if these items are included.</p> <h2>16. The Outlet</h2> <p>Type <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=517808&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon.com/outlet</a> to get to this page, which offers categories to browse by percent markdown. Amazon says the Outlet is for &quot;clearance deals, overstocks and more,&quot; but I've found the savings to be hit or miss, since when I start out browsing there I often end up on items that don't appear to have major markdowns.</p> <p><em>Any Amazon deal hacks I've missed? Please share them in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know" class="sharethis-link" title="16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon deals discounts online shopping Wed, 18 Sep 2013 10:36:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 987953 at http://www.wisebread.com Hard Copy or Ebook? Amazon's New Service Allows You to Buy Ebook Versions of Hard Copies You Own for Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/hard-copy-or-ebook-amazons-new-service-allows-you-to-buy-ebook-versions-of-hard-copies-you-own-for-c <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hard-copy-or-ebook-amazons-new-service-allows-you-to-buy-ebook-versions-of-hard-copies-you-own-for-c" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tablet-5268717-small.jpg" alt="women reading book and ebook" title="women reading book and ebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Starting in October, Amazon will be offering a new feature called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;docId=1001373341&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=topamazon0b-20">Matchbook</a> that will allow you to buy ebook versions of hard copies you've purchased from them for $2,99, $1.99, $0.99, or even free! This applies to any book purchase you've ever made from them...since 1995! Over 10,000 books will be available when Matchbook launches in October, and hopefully more publishers will be signing up.</p> <p>Earlier this year, Amazon announced a new service called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=5946775011&amp;tag=topamazon0b-20">AutoRip</a>, which automatically offers a free MP3 album of any CD you buy from them, as well as any album you've purchased in the <em>last 15 years</em>. Just open the Cloud Player and it will automatically search for eligible albums and download it.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hard-copy-or-ebook-amazons-new-service-allows-you-to-buy-ebook-versions-of-hard-copies-you-own-for-c" class="sharethis-link" title="Hard Copy or Ebook? Amazon&#039;s New Service Allows You to Buy Ebook Versions of Hard Copies You Own for Cheap" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon books eBooks Tue, 03 Sep 2013 15:29:04 +0000 Lynn Truong 981704 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Secrets to Saving Money at Amazon.com http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-secrets-to-saving-money-at-amazoncom <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-secrets-to-saving-money-at-amazoncom" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3259609570_409750c010_z.jpg" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on saving money at Amazon.com, the best items to buy now, and how to get the best hotel deals.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://bargainbabe.com/2013/03/05/secrets-to-saving-money-at-amazon-com/">13 Secrets to Saving Money At Amazon.com</a> &mdash; To save money at Amazon.com, buy used items and discounted gift cards. [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/march-family-shopping-roundup-best-items-to-buy-now">March Family Shopping Roundup: Best Items to Buy Now</a> &mdash; Now is a good time to buy winter sports gear and garden supplies. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/03/06/how-to-get-the-best-hotel-deals/?ss=personalfinance">How To Get The Best Hotel Deals</a> &mdash; Get the best hotel deals by budgeting for amenities. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/starter-home-vs-forever-home">Should You Buy a 'Starter Home&quot; or Wait?</a> &mdash; If the price difference between your 'starter home' and your 'forever home' can be saved up in a year, you should wait on buying a home. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/03/75-reasons-youre-unhappy-and-75.html">75 Reasons You're Unhappy (And 75 Solutions)</a> &mdash; You may be unhappy if you are lazy or have no excitement in your life. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/01/pf/college/graduate.moneymag/index.html?section=money_pf&amp;utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fmoney_pf+%28Personal+Finance%29">Get your kid to graduate in 4 years</a> &mdash; Get your kid to graduate in four years by having them pick a supportive school. [CNNMoney]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Small-Bedroom-Decorating-Ideas-28397520">Cozy, Not Cluttered: Maximize Bedroom Space in 7 Simple Steps</a> &mdash; To maximize bedroom space, invest in multifunctional pieces. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2013/03/06/handling-a-relationship-with-a-co-worker/">Handling a Relationship with a Coworker</a> &mdash; Before you start a relationship with a coworker, check your company's policy on dating. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/03/06/8-things-you-should-fight-for-every-day/">8 Things You Should Fight For Every Day</a> &mdash; Make it a point to fight for positive change every day. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/03/10-ways-youre-wasting-other-peoples-time/">10 Ways You're Wasting Other People's Time</a> &mdash; If you are late or you don't answer messages, you are probably wasting other people's time. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-secrets-to-saving-money-at-amazoncom" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Secrets to Saving Money at Amazon.com" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon Amazon.com best money tips online shopping saving shopping Thu, 07 Mar 2013 11:00:30 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 969766 at http://www.wisebread.com Save on Books, Diapers, and Much More With an Amazon Membership Program http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-books-diapers-and-much-more-with-an-amazon-membership-program <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-on-books-diapers-and-much-more-with-an-amazon-membership-program" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2507355507_e0a8cff9d6_z.jpg" alt="Amazon box" title="Amazon box" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since its inception, <a href="http://amazon.com">Amazon</a> has dominated cyberspace in terms of print book sales and nowadays, e-book sales. It is a frugal source of literature for millions of bookworms looking to stock their shelves (or Kindles) with books. For the rest of us, it's a good source for everything else, from tools to toiletries. Recent programs &mdash; such as Amazon Prime, Mom, Student, and Local &mdash; have made Amazon&rsquo;s wares even more affordable to customers who fit within these demographics. Thinking of becoming a member or subscribing to one of these services? Check out the following to determine whether one of Amazon&rsquo;s membership programs is right for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/filler-strategies-for-amazon-s-free-super-saver-shipping">Filler Strategies for Amazon's Free&nbsp;Super Saver&nbsp;Shipping</a>)</p> <h2>Amazon Prime</h2> <p>The biggest program that Amazon offers is <a href="https://www.amazon.comprime" target="_blank">Amazon Prime</a>. For $79 per year, Prime members have access to a vast array of deals and freebies. For instance, why pay extra for shipping if you can get free two day shipping on most items on the website? This is the most-raved about benefit offered to its members, and this alone makes it worth the monthly or annual cost if you purchase enough physical goods in the span of a year. And instead of paying for a video streaming service such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">Netflix or Hulu</a>, Prime offers unlimited streaming of over 25,000 television episodes and movies. Both Hulu and Netflix charge $7.99 per month for streaming, but can they claim the same added benefits as the Amazon Prime program? Clearly Amazon Prime is the winner when you factor in everything else.</p> <p>Let's not forget that you can save money with the Kindle lending program, which offers Prime members one free book per month through the Kindle Owner&rsquo;s Lending Library. With over 180,000 books to lend out, you&rsquo;re guaranteed a steady supply of exciting digital literature at no additional cost.</p> <p>Unsure if you want to take the leap with Amazon Prime? Check out the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/prime">free trial offer</a> listed on their website.</p> <h2>Amazon Mom</h2> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/mom" target="_blank">Amazon Mom</a> started as a simple concept &mdash; give mothers more discounts for products mothers buy a lot of, such as diapers and baby wipes, as well as the benefits of Amazon&nbsp;Prime. It offers 20% discounts on &ldquo;diapers and wipes subscriptions,&rdquo; as well as exclusive, family-oriented deals sent via email. Although it sounds like a great deal, it's probably not too cost-effective for mothers of kids older than 10 or 11, as the discounts are mostly targeted at younger families. </p> <h2>Amazon Student</h2> <p>Though many companies offer small student discounts, few can compare to the Amazon Student program. Amazon is very college student-friendly in terms of discounts on school supplies and textbook offerings (they even offer a textbook buyback program). Through <a href="https://www.amazon.com/student" target="_blank">Amazon Student</a>, members get partial access to Prime benefits (e-book lending and free, two-day shipping) at a lowered cost of $39 per year for four years (assuming you graduate upon the fourth year, after which the rate rises to Prime&rsquo;s regular $79 per year). Only those currently enrolled in college with a valid .edu email address are eligible for Amazon Student.</p> <p>Note that Amazon's textbook buyback program isn't always the best option. Sometimes you could get a better deal through <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-to-school-saving-on-college-textbooks">other buyback programs</a>, such as through Chegg.com or BookScouter.com.&nbsp;</p> <h2>AmazonLocal</h2> <p>Created to compete with daily deal giants such as LivingSocial and Groupon, <a href="http://local.amazon.com" target="_blank">AmazonLocal</a> lists a variety of restaurant, entertainment, and product deals as well as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-groupon-getaways-a-good-idea">getaways</a>. By entering your zipcode, you may browse deals based in your region (or on a national level, if your state isn&rsquo;t listed). Discounts generally range between 20-75% off the retail or actual value of the item, vacation package, or event. It&rsquo;s as easy as subscribing to AmazonLocal, browsing through the updated selections, and purchasing vouchers when you find something you like. They even offer a 24/7 customer service hotline for those who are new to AmazonLocal or have questions. The only downside is that, due to its newness, AmazonLocal does not operate on as great a scale as its competitors, and it's advised that you always compare deals through other outlets before finalizing your decision to purchase a deal. Getting AmazonLocal's deals does not require paying a fee.</p> <p><em>What about you? What&rsquo;s your favorite Amazon money-saving tip? Tell us in comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-books-diapers-and-much-more-with-an-amazon-membership-program" class="sharethis-link" title="Save on Books, Diapers, and Much More With an Amazon Membership Program" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-kehoe">Kelly Kehoe</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Entertainment Shopping Amazon Amazon deals amazon local amazon membership amazon mom amazon prime amazon student Amazon.com Thu, 06 Dec 2012 10:48:35 +0000 Kelly Kehoe 955768 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save Money on Amazon http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-amazon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-money-on-amazon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7658209104_7e79e7223c_z-1.jpg" alt="Best Money Tips: Save Money On Amazon" title="Best Money Tips: Save Money On Amazon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on saving money on Amazon, cashing in on creativity, and saving money today.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Save-Amazon-24910582">9 Ways To Save Money On Amazon</a> &mdash; Save money on Amazon by shopping the sales. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2012/10/05/6-ways-to-cash-in-on-creativity/">6 Ways to Cash in on Creativity</a> &mdash; If you love photography, consider selling your photographs to make extra money. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbabe.com/2012/10/03/twenty-ways-that-you-can-save-money-today/">Twenty ways that you can save money today</a> &mdash; Save money today by canceling your cable TV and using coupons. [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/10/teaching-kids-financial-self-discipline.html">Teaching Kids Financial Self-Discipline</a> &mdash; To teach kids financial self-discipline, play games with them that reward waiting. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://money.msn.com/frugal-living/post.aspx?post=392735c7-3640-4d0d-b2ca-5a525a5414cf&amp;ref=bfv">On the road? 13 ways to eat cheaply</a> &mdash; Eat cheaply on the road by buying the Entertainment Book or splitting your dinner with someone. [MSN Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/save-20-a-day-in-4-easy-steps/">Save $20 a Day in 4 Easy Steps</a> &mdash; Want to save $20 a day? Live on a cash budget. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/freeze-vegetables-eat-local-year-long-save-money.html">How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables for Off-Season Enjoyment</a> &mdash; Blueberries and strawberries can be frozen without blanching. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/columns/practical-economics/archives/3-signs-the-housing-recovery-has-arrived.html?si=1">3 Signs the Housing Recover Has Arrived</a> &mdash; The fact that sales of new and existing homes are climbing shows the housing recovery has arrived. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-tips-to-navigate-technology-for-toddlers">7 Tips to Navigate Technology for Toddlers</a> &mdash; Find educational apps for your toddlers to help navigate technology for them. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/subscription-gifts-for-kids/">8 Subscription Gifts for Kids That Keep Giving</a> &mdash; Give the kid in your life a subscription to Little Passports, USA Edition. [Money Crashers]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-amazon" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Save Money on Amazon" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon best money tips shopping Mon, 08 Oct 2012 10:00:42 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 954955 at http://www.wisebread.com Amazon Will Give You 5% Off for Price Checking Saturday: But Is It Fair? http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-will-give-you-5-off-for-price-checking-saturday-but-is-it-fair <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/amazon-will-give-you-5-off-for-price-checking-saturday-but-is-it-fair" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/barcodescanner.jpg" alt="woman scanning bar code" title="To Scan or Not to Scan?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Amazon is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000749751">offering shoppers 5% off on purchases</a> this Saturday &mdash; December 10 &mdash; if they use the retailer's Price Check app on the same product in a brick and mortar store. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-best-mobile-shopping-apps-for-your-phone">16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone</a>)</p> <p>This effectively means that Amazon is trying to get customers who walk into a store intending to buy, say, a Barbie Cruise Ship, to leave the store and buy on Amazon instead. The program also encourages shoppers to inform Amazon of the prices that other retailers are charging for the items they look up. Shoppers can get a 5% discount on up to three items Saturday, with a maximum discount of $5 per item.</p> <p>Some small business owners are outraged.</p> <p>&quot;The Amazon promotion encourages consumers to take the resources of their local businesses in order to save themselves money and allow Amazon to profit,&rdquo; said Katherine O. McHenry, shopkeeper at <a href="http://www.buildingblockstoys.com/">Building Blocks Toy Store in Chicago</a>.</p> <p>As McHenry sees it, Amazon is encouraging customers to use local stores as a showroom only.</p> <p>&quot;I think consumers have a responsibility to 'buy it where they try it,'&rdquo; McHenry said.</p> <p>McHenry is not alone &mdash; <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/12/retail-group-lashes-out-after-amazon-announces-price-check-app-promotion.html">retailer associations nationwide have decried Amazon's move</a>.</p> <p>Then there is the fact that Amazon asks &mdash; but doesn't require &mdash; customers to tell them what other stores are charging.</p> <p>&quot;With every in-store price you share, you help insure our prices remain competitive for our customers,&rdquo; Amazon says.</p> <p>Is it nice to ask your customers to spy on the competition? Then again, Amazon's prices are always right out there for everyone to see, so maybe they feel that turnabout is fair play.</p> <p>What do you think of this promotion? It's surely a boon to shoppers to be able to get up to $15 off holiday shopping this weekend. And despite McHenry's understandable frustration, it's not as if comparison shopping is a new thing. Apps like Amazon's Price Check just make it a lot easier.</p> <p>Do you feel any responsibility to the store where you physically checked out an item? What if the staff spends time demonstrating the item or helping you figure out what you need? Is it different if you visit the showroom of a national chain versus a local shop? Is there something inherently evil or crass about using a price check app?&nbsp;</p> <p>Personally, I feel like it's tacky to go to a local store to see or play with a specific item, knowing that I intend to buy it elsewhere. I wouldn't waste the staff's time with questions if that was my intention. But my goodwill towards local business only goes so far &mdash; if I browse in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-local-businesses">local shop</a> and happen to see something I like, I'm not going to say I won't buy it online months later. And if I'm browsing at a national chain, all bets are off.</p> <p>I have used price check apps in stores, but only large chain stores. I recently pulled out my Droid and used the ShopSavvy app at Kohl's to check the price of that Barbie Cruise Ship I mentioned. At the time, Kohl's sale price beat Amazon's &mdash; and I had a 20% off coupon besides, so using the app helped me buy in confidence.</p> <p>But I don't know if I would use that same app in a local toy store. I would probably be embarrassed that the owner would see me.</p> <h3>Price-Checking Apps</h3> <p>If you aren't afraid to price compare at will, here are the smartphone apps that make it possible:</p> <p><strong>Amazon Price Check </strong></p> <p>For <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-com-Price-Check/dp/B005QTZSRA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;s=mobile-apps&amp;qid=1323404991&amp;sr=1-2">Android</a> and <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/price-check-by-amazon/id398434750?mt=8">iPhone</a>, free. Scan a barcode, snap a photo, or say the item's name, and the app will tell you what Amazon charges for it.</p> <p><strong>ShopSavvy Bar Code Scanner </strong></p> <p>For <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.biggu.shopsavvy&amp;feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5iaWdndS5zaG9wc2F2dnkiXQ..">Android</a> and <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shopsavvy-barcode-scanner/id338828953?mt=8">iPhone</a>, free. Scan the barcode, and the app will attempt to tell you what the item sells for online and in nearby physical locations. I say &quot;attempt,&quot; because I have not successfully had ShopSavvy find me an item in a nearby store. It found the item at the store I was in, but the price was wrong.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Google Shopper</strong></p> <p>For <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.google.android.apps.shopper&amp;feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5nb29nbGUuYW5kcm9pZC5hcHBzLnNob3BwZXIiXQ..">Android</a> and <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-shopper/id416091721?mt=8">iPhone</a>, free. Point your phone at a barcode, or the cover of a book or DVD, and Google will search for price comparisons from online merchants.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazon-will-give-you-5-off-for-price-checking-saturday-but-is-it-fair" class="sharethis-link" title="Amazon Will Give You 5% Off for Price Checking Saturday: But Is It Fair?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon shop locally shopping apps smartphone apps Fri, 09 Dec 2011 11:35:01 +0000 Carrie Kirby 820006 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/clutter_1.jpg" alt="Stuff at a yard sale" title="Stuff at a yard sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to sell your crap? Although it may seem daunting at first, it&rsquo;s cathartic and well worth the effort. Four years ago, I sold everything I owned to capture my dream of <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/">traveling the world</a> with an open itinerary and no return date in sight. Today, I couldn&rsquo;t be happier about that decision and how it all came to pass.</p> <p>But one of the hardest steps in the process was actually getting rid of everything I owned. In reality, I didn&rsquo;t purge absolutely everything: I have four boxes sitting in a friend&rsquo;s garage (in addition to <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/what-to-pack-for-full-time-travel/">what I travel with</a>, which all fits into a bag). These boxes now feel like time capsules, filled with items that I once deemed priceless or irreplaceable. After four years on the road I know I can easily live without these things, and to be honest I can&rsquo;t even fully recall what&rsquo;s in my precious boxes anymore. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-space-survival-strategies">Small Space Survival Strategies</a>)</p> <p>Life without stuff is so much simpler.</p> <p>Not everybody has such ambitious dreams of purging everything and taking off for greener pastures. Sometimes all that&rsquo;s needed is a good spring cleaning, especially if you&rsquo;re up to your eyeballs and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-did-your-ipod-come-from-the-story-of-stuff-0">drowning in &quot;stuff</a>.&quot; The popularity of reality TV shows helping people get rid of their crap is evidence that many of us get caught up in the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/impulse-shopping-a-controllable-handicap">impulse shopping</a> and accumulation rampant in our society.</p> <p>So are you drowning in crap? Do you need a little space in your life? And would you like to make some money from selling the crap you no longer need?</p> <p>When I sold my crap, I didn&rsquo;t have any help or guidance in so doing. Heck &mdash; I figured I was the only person in the world crazy enough to sell everything and travel the world full-time in the first place.</p> <p>Interestingly though, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">my process of getting rid of everything I owned</a> wasn&rsquo;t far off from what Adam Baker recently did &mdash; and wrote about.</p> <p>Adam&rsquo;s recent e-book &quot;<a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=809495&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=80780">Sell Your Crap</a>&quot; applies a science to getting rid of the excess baggage in your life and even helps you to profit from the venture. For the one purchase price, you get four separate modules, each serving its own purpose:</p> <h2>The Main Guide</h2> <p>This 67-page guide is your starting place, and it helps you differentiate between &quot;stuff&quot; and &quot;crap.&quot; The guide makes a good case for why too much crap is bad, why we ultimately don&rsquo;t need it, and the benefits of getting rid of it.</p> <h3>Figuring Out Perceived Needs vs. Real Needs</h3> <p>What do you <em>need</em> in life? I&rsquo;ll bet if you look around you right now, you&rsquo;ll see many items that you need &mdash; or at least think you need. Perceived needs and real needs can be quite different. But again, we&rsquo;re conditioned to think we need more than we actually do. This is part of the reason selling everything can be so cathartic.</p> <p>Through the main guide, you get tips on how to see your place with fresh eyes &mdash; and ultimately with an eye for decluttering it.</p> <p>One of the tricks is to decide what you&rsquo;re keeping, not what you&rsquo;re getting rid of. Inadvertently, that&rsquo;s exactly what I did; I knew I could only keep enough to fit into the corner of a garage, so I made all decisions accordingly.</p> <h3>Removing Obstacles to Decluttering</h3> <p>Although there&rsquo;s some necessary tough love in &quot;Sell Your Crap&quot;, Adam also understands how tough this process can be, emotionally and intellectually. Some of the obstacles he observes can include emotional attachment, the idea that we might need it later, or having an inflated sense of value (and inability to get what you want for the item because of it).</p> <h3>Getting Down to Business</h3> <p>The main guide is your starting point for selling your crap, and in getting down to business you learn how to separate everything into categories, then further break down each pile. By doing everything in organized batches, it&rsquo;s much easier to accomplish what (at the outset) appears to be an overwhelming task.</p> <p>Adam also provides practical tips for not slipping back into &ldquo;binge&rdquo; mode and retracing your steps by accumulating more &ldquo;crap&rdquo; later on.&nbsp;</p> <p>I found the main guide to be quite motivational (heck, it even made me consider what&rsquo;s in my bag and wonder if I could further downsize). And because Adam intersperses the practical lessons with personal stories, it&rsquo;s an easy read.</p> <h2>Specific Modules</h2> <p>The other three modules in &quot;Sell Your Crap&quot; are very specific to selling your belongings using various methods. They are written from personal experience and outline (with screenshots) exactly how to use each marketplace to its full potential.</p> <h3>eBay Guide</h3> <p>This massive 171-page module is a truly comprehensive guide to navigating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-of-top-ebay-sellers">eBay</a> from start to finish. I&rsquo;d even go so far as to suggest that it&rsquo;s also a great tool for anybody wanting to start a business that involves using eBay as a merchant tool.</p> <p>In baby steps, you learn about:</p> <ul> <li>How to properly set up your eBay and PayPal accounts</li> <li>How to do effective searches</li> <li>Research techniques</li> <li>Calculating shipping costs</li> <li>When and how to list items</li> <li>Options for fees (and how to minimize them)</li> <li>Creating effective and searchable titles</li> <li>Photo and description strategies (with a 10-step formula for creating valuable descriptions)</li> <li>Various types of auctions</li> <li>Troubleshooting</li> <li>Dealing with delinquent bidders</li> <li>Canceling auctions</li> <li>Tips for buying postage and tracking shipments</li> </ul> <p>Like I said, it&rsquo;s comprehensive.</p> <p>I must admit, after somebody hacked into my eBay account and bought $8,000 in Halloween costumes, I lost my lust for eBay in an almost-impossible attempt to prove who I was and reinstate my account. But I also know that I&rsquo;m in the minority in my dislike for eBay, and that many of my challenges arose from being out of the country and rurally situated at the time.</p> <p>I must also note that most of the advice in the book around shipping options is very U.S.-centric, so international readers won&rsquo;t get as much value from this portion of the module. Then again, most eBay users are located in the U.S., so I&rsquo;m in the minority.</p> <h3>Craigslist Guide</h3> <p>When I sold everything, I heavily used <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-shopping-101">Craigslist</a> given its user-friendliness and local appeal. I liked not having to deal with shipping; instead Craigslist buyers usually pick up the items. This makes Craigslist a great forum for selling larger things like furniture.</p> <p>The challenges of Craigslist (as outlined in this 49-page module) include lack of seller information, no PayPal links, limited geographic reach, and the need for more competitive pricing. Adam gives you the upper hand by showing you how to get noticed on Craigslist (hint: It&rsquo;s all in your title).</p> <h3>Amazon Guide</h3> <p>Amazon is for the &ldquo;big dogs,&quot; and unless you&rsquo;re a &ldquo;big dog,&rdquo; you might get lost in the shuffle for the sheer number of sellers &mdash; and professionals at that, who can price you right out of the market.</p> <p>But this 41-page module gives you a step up in the world of Amazon, suggesting that you&rsquo;ll get the most success using it to sell media (books, CDs, DVDs, video games), and highlighting the benefits of not having to contend with online bidding processes and interact with buyers as much.</p> <p>Priced at $37 for the &ldquo;Barebones&rdquo; edition and $47 for the &ldquo;Clutter Crusher&rdquo; edition (both coming with a guarantee that you&rsquo;ll make at least $100 converting your clutter into cash, but the Barebones edition only includes the main guide and eBay module), &quot;<a href="https://www.e-junkie.com/ecom/gb.php?ii=809495&amp;c=ib&amp;aff=21326&amp;cl=80780">Sell Your Crap</a>&quot; is a great step-by-step guide to embracing the process of decluttering your life and even making a little money in the process. With the entertaining anecdotes and illustrative screenshots, it truly gives you everything you need to get the job done.</p> <p>All you have to do is do it.</p> <p><em>Disclaimer: The author received a complimentary copy of &quot;Sell Your Crap&quot;, and there are affiliate links in this post. </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/organization">Organization articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income Lifestyle Organization Amazon craigslist decluttering eBay Wed, 09 Feb 2011 10:48:12 +0000 Nora Dunn 488733 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleeping_baby.jpg" alt="Sleeping baby" title="Sleeping baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am a mom of five, and diapers have been a big part of my monthly budget for years now. Regardless of whether I&rsquo;m diapering one or two at a time, I hate to spend more than I have to. Here are the various places I&rsquo;ve shopped to get the best deal on diapers &mdash; the lowest price at the time gets my business!</p> <h2>Amazon</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/">Amazon</a> hasn&rsquo;t traditionally had the best regular price on brand-name diapers, but the free shipping has been attractive (especially when purchasing the large, bulky boxes). With the introduction of their <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fmom%2Fsignup%2Fwelcome&amp;tag=mymomtime-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957">Amazon Mom program</a>*, I can save about 15% on the cost of a box of diapers over the regular MSRP, plus get an additional 15% off when I use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/subscribe-and-save/details/index.html">Subscribe &amp; Save</a>. (I&rsquo;m certain to either really space my shipments out to avoid overbuying or cancel immediately after my first shipment.) Amazon Mom also gives their members free membership to their Amazon Prime program, which offers free two-day shipping on ALL of your orders (which is a great bonus if you shop there often).</p> <h2>Walgreens</h2> <p>Forget buying their diapers at everyday prices; this retailer is only worth shopping at when they have a great sale. As part of their Register Rewards program, however, you can often snag coupons for $2-5 off a future purchase or get a good buy one, get one sale. The key is to come prepared with your own manufacturer&rsquo;s coupons for brands like Huggies or Pampers and combine them with Walgreens sales and the Register Rewards. This is also a great way to snag cheap wipes!</p> <p><em>Note: I stocked up on diapers for my latest baby by paying attention to deal blogs like <a href="http://www.commonsensewithmoney.com/">Common Sense with Money</a>. She tipped me off to the fact that many Walgreens stores were clearing their shelves of the Walgreens brand diapers in all sizes. I went in to my local store and asked the manager. She came out with a cart full of diapers marked down to $2 a pack! Even if you don&rsquo;t like store-brand diapers, you can use these for charity or baby shower gifts!</em></p> <h2>CVS</h2> <p>While I don&rsquo;t have a CVS in my area, this scenario plays out in the same way as the Walgreens savings plan. Check deal bloggers like <a href="http://www.dealseekingmom.com/">Deal Seeking Mom</a> for details on their diaper-grabbing techniques.</p> <h2>The Manufacturer</h2> <p>While they won&rsquo;t hand out packages of diapers, the company who makes your favorite brand is a great avenue for scoring samples (which are perfect for tucking into a glove compartment or diaper bag) and high-value coupons. You can check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bestdeals/today">Wise Bread&rsquo;s Daily Deals</a> for the free offers as they come available, and use your Sunday coupon inserts and Coupons.com to get $1-2 off packages of <a href="http://www.luvsdiapers.com/home.do">Luvs</a>, <a href="http://www.huggies.com/en-US">Huggies</a>, and <a href="http://www.pampers.com/en_US/home/">Pampers</a>. If you desire brands like <a href="http://www.seventhgeneration.com/coupons">Seventh Generation</a>, you can sign up at their website for savings offers, and you should get a coupon or two in the mail. Also, don&rsquo;t forget to check your favorite brands&rsquo; Facebook pages! They will often give special savings offers just to their fans!</p> <p><em>Note: Don&rsquo;t dismiss the value of points programs, especially if you have twins or run a daycare. <a href="http://www.huggies.com/en-US/rewards">Huggies</a> and <a href="http://en.giftstogrow.pampers.com/index.html">Pampers</a> both have points programs that allow you to bank codes found inside specially marked packages of diapers and wipes and redeem them for rewards, including coupons for free diapers!</em></p> <h2>Baby Cheapskate</h2> <p>This blog is more of an aggregate of all the good diaper deals, but <a href="http://www.babycheapskate.com/">Baby Cheapskate</a> is perfect for those moms and dads who don&rsquo;t have time to scour the deal sites or check every location every week for the best price. In addition to listing where the deals are, the blog has some helpful tools for helping parents get every last penny out of their diapering, including the <a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/15792914/How-Many-Diapers-Per-Pack">How Many Diapers Per Pack chart</a> and <a href="http://www.babycheapskate.com/2007/02/26/using-growth-charts-to-predict-diaper-needs/">Growth Charts to Predict Diaper Needs.</a></p> <p>The worst places to buy diapers have included gas stations, drug stores, grocery stores, and yes, even big box stores at times. Be aware of the price you are paying PER DIAPER to get the best price for your dollar. If you&rsquo;re not brand loyal, are open to buying sizes ahead of time, and have a bit of wiggle room in your budget to stock up when the opportunity arises, you&rsquo;ll never have to pay full price for diapers again. Trust me, I&rsquo;ve done it!</p> <p><em>*Affliate link </em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-get-cheaper-diapers" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Places to Get Cheaper Diapers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/family">Family articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Shopping Amazon baby diapers Tue, 04 Jan 2011 13:00:14 +0000 Linsey Knerl 429260 at http://www.wisebread.com What Does the Word "Recession" Mean to You? (Answer for a Chance to Win $10!) http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-the-word-recession-mean-to-you-answer-for-a-chance-to-win-10 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-does-the-word-recession-mean-to-you-answer-for-a-chance-to-win-10" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/recession%20special.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><strong>Winners update!! -- Congrats to the following winning submissions:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-the-word-recession-mean-to-you-answer-for-a-chance-to-win-10#comment-319297"><strong>What Recessions means to me</strong></a><strong>... Submitted by Kristin (comment #16): &nbsp;</strong><strong>&quot;Well, I was laid off, and many, many of my friends have been too, or had their hours/salaries reduced. Sounds like a recession to me.&quot;</strong></li> <li><strong><strong style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; "><a href="http://www.twitter.com/karen604">@</a></strong><strong><a href="http://www.twitter.com/karen604">Karen604</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&quot;</strong><span class="entry-content" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Recession means things take longer cooking at home, line drying clothes, combining shopping trips. But it's good in end&quot;</span></strong></li> </ul> <p><span class="entry-content" style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Economists have it defined. &nbsp; News anchors provide ample commentary on what it is and how it affects us. &nbsp;But what about the &quot;real&quot; people living in today's economy? &nbsp;Do they &quot;feel&quot; the recession? &nbsp;What do they think a recession really is? &nbsp;Tell us for a chance to score some quick Amazon cash!&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><b>This one is easy. &nbsp;Just share your comments on what you think the word &quot;recession&quot; means.&nbsp;&nbsp;It can be your own personal experience, what you learned about it in college, or what you wish the media was really telling us about how it works (or in this case, doesn't work.) &nbsp;Do you have extra commentary on when it will end? Or are you just completely fed up with the use of the word altogether? &nbsp;We'd love to hear your thoughts for a chance to win!</b></p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">Those of you who aren&rsquo;t familiar with the &ldquo;drill,&rdquo; read below for full details:</p> <h2 style="border-style: none; border-bottom: 1px none rgb(217, 217, 217); margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px 0px 5px; font-family: 'Trebuchet MS',sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 1.8em; font-weight: normal;">Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate</h2> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">We're doing two giveaways -- one for random comments, and another one for a random&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 156, 204);" href="http://www.twitter.com/">tweet</a>s.</p> <h3 style="margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px 0px 5px; font-family: 'Trebuchet MS',sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: normal;">How to Enter:</h3> <ol type="1" start="1" style="margin: 1em; padding: 0px; list-style-type: decimal; list-style-position: inside;"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;"><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 156, 204);" href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a>&nbsp;your answer.&nbsp; Include both &quot;<a title=" @wisebread #moneytippers" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(0, 156, 204);" href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread</a>&quot; and &quot;#WBTrivia&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ol> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <p style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.</p> <h3 style="margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px 0px 5px; font-family: 'Trebuchet MS',sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 1.4em; font-weight: normal;">Giveaway Rules:</h3> <ul type="disc" style="margin: 1em; padding: 0px; list-style-type: square; list-style-position: inside;"> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Contest ends Thursday, July 16th at 11:59am CST. Winners will be announced after July 16th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.</li> <li class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">Only tweets that contain both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBTrivia&quot; will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;Good luck!</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><b>For additional &quot;recession&quot; related reading, try these articles:</b></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-your-small-business-can-survive-the-recession">How Your Small Business Can Survive the Recession</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-entertainment-a-recipe-for-the-recession">DIY&nbsp;Entertainment - A Recipe for Recession</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-the-word-recession-mean-to-you-answer-for-a-chance-to-win-10" class="sharethis-link" title="What Does the Word &quot;Recession&quot; Mean to You? (Answer for a Chance to Win $10!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Amazon giveaway recession trivia tuesday Tue, 14 Jul 2009 18:11:47 +0000 Linsey Knerl 3387 at http://www.wisebread.com Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro webcam: why doesn't 4 stars tell the full story? http://www.wisebread.com/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Photo%2060.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Logitech makes some good stuff: I keep hearing raves about their Revolution mice, and they're well-known for keyboards (I own a DiNovo Edge and it has great battery life) and webcams. However, <strong>Logitech is also one of the more lopsided companies in regards to support across multiple platforms</strong>, as I learned recently with the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001AOK7KI/?tag=torllive-20"><strong>QuickCam Pro for Mac</strong></a> (Amazon affiliate link, but you may rethink buying after reading what's to come). While not a conventional review, this is a closer look into what to beware of with the QuickCam Vision Pro.</p> <p>I have a QuickCam Pro 9000 that worked pretty well on my Windows XP (since upgraded to Vista) machine, aside from blue screens of death if I replugged it. However, when I connected it to my Mac, I had extremely low framerate, around 5 FPS. Casual searches showed this was because the &quot;RightLight&quot; technology to automatically compensate for dim conditions was only in software, and <strong>there are <em>no</em> Logitech Mac webcam drivers</strong>. Thus, I learned about the confusingly-named Vision Pro. It has a very similar form factor to the 9000, the main differences being some coloring ones, such as the ON ring light is white instead of orange. But the insides are supposedly different (I haven't cracked mine open), with the Mac version having <a href="http://forums.logitech.com/logitech/board/message?board.id=general_webcams&amp;view=by_date_ascending&amp;message.id=13968#M13968">RightLight in hardware</a>.</p> <h2>I did my research, I swear!</h2> <p>I searched for the Vision Pro at Amazon, and read the many (now 102) reviews, which averaged out to 4 stars. I noted most of the ratings corresponded with intended usage: people just doing iChat or Skype video chat were enthusiastic, while others who had more heavy needs weren't as happy &mdash; placing myself in the latter category and mindful to clarify the caveats myself, I ordered one. As with other Mac versions of Logitech goods, it's significantly more expensive than its Windows counterpart. In this case, about US$100 vs. $70 &mdash; presumably that's because of the hardware as well as having less sales volume, but Logitech hasn't acknowledged this.</p> <p>Unboxing and installing the Vision Pro was very easy. I plugged it in to a free USB port on my Mac Pro. But I also noticed, to reaffirm what I mentioned earlier, there are <em>no</em> Mac drivers, <em>no</em> control software which allows you to adjust picture settings as well as <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7Gn2TyEyHw">wackier special effects</a> &mdash; as is present and <a href="http://logitech-en-emea.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/logitech_en_emea.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3428&amp;p_created=1142451071&amp;p_sid=H9vPWmAj&amp;p_accessibility=0&amp;p_redirect=&amp;p_lva=&amp;p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0yMSwyMSZwX3Byb2RzPSZwX2NhdHM9JnBfcHY9JnBfY3Y9JnBfc2VhcmNoX3R5cGU9YW5zd2Vycy5zZWFyY2hfbmwmcF9wYWdlPTEmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1RdWlja0NhbcKuIFNwaGVyZSBBRg**&amp;p_li=&amp;p_topview=1">extensively developed</a> on the Windows side. Apple does provide Photo Booth, so I started that up and was sorely disappointed: <strong>the framerate was <em>as</em> slow and jerky as the 9000 on my Mac</strong>. I couldn't find any way to optimize this; others report the same.</p> <p>Then, I tried iChat and Skype. In both, the video preview was silky smooth (as expected), and here's where I noticed a substantial framerate improvement. Looking closely, I wondered if this was because of the dimensions: iChat and Skype <em>seem</em> to (again, I wish Logitech provided clear documentation) show a <strong>320x240</strong> preview, while Photo Booth records at <strong>640x480</strong>. (Photo Booth with my MacBook Pro's built-in &quot;iSight&quot; webcam is visibly smoother at this same resolution.)</p> <p>A video's at least a few thousand words, see for yourself (an unaltered framegrab is at the top of this article): I look like a ghost because what's on my monitor is white-ish. This isn't the Vision Pro's fault.</p> <p><object width="480" height="385"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/LmQf5rGTTI0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" name="movie" /> <param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /> <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="480" height="385" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/LmQf5rGTTI0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1"></embed></object></p> <p>Another test: I started QuickTime Player, because File menu &gt; New Movie Recording lets you do just that. Again, I was thwarted by a choppy framerate, and on top of that, the <strong>image was forcibly zoomed in</strong>, cropping the image. I don't know why it does this, and couldn't find a way to disable it. So far, I was very disappointed.</p> <h2>So many half-finished features</h2> <p>Now, it was time for me to use the Vision Pro for real &mdash; record screencasts with <a href="http://www.telestream.net/screen-flow/overview.htm">ScreenFlow</a>. I'm sad to say that Telestream, the makers of ScreenFlow, offered me no leads on recommended and compatible webcams, so I chose the Vision Pro because it seemed to be in the higher-range of things. But overpriced, I do think. Again, a disappointment: ScreenFlow's preview was very jerky. However, when I actually did record a video, it looked smooth. The final recording size was shown as 640x480, even though its blurriness suggests it was <strong>actually recorded at 320x240 and upsampled</strong>.</p> <p>So in short, here's the rub: <strong>Logitech's support for the</strong> <strong>QuickCam Vision Pro is sorely lacking. You have little idea what to expect or how it should behave.</strong> Its marketing is disingenuous, too, which is a red flag to consumers. <a href="http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/webcams/devices/4528&amp;cl=US,EN">They claim</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>HD video:</strong> QuickCam Vision Pro is a high-performance webcam capable of delivering 720p high-quality images* up to 1600 X 1200 pixels.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yet aside from a little footnote, <strong>Logitech don't give you advice on how to actually get higher resolutions. No list of tested, compatible software.</strong> On the Windows side, the included picture-taking app makes it easy. On the Mac side, no such luck. It really makes you feel like while this was offered to the Mac market, they put little thought and consideration into its usefulness.</p> <h2>But wait, there's more&hellip; suckiness&hellip;</h2> <p>There's no system way to turn off autofocus or RightLight either, and like the 9000, the <strong>microphone is mediocre, captures too much background noise, and distorts easily with awful clipping</strong>, so <em>don't</em> believe the &quot;A high quality microphone provides excellent, hands-free audio.&quot; It's <em>not</em> true, it sounds like you're in a tin can if you speak from about two feet away. I use a <a href="http://www.samsontech.com/products/productpage.cfm?prodID=1994">Zoom H4n</a> for my mic recordings, but it's over $300! (You'd be far better off with even a dedicated USB condenser mic.)</p> <p>To get around the issue of no video adjustments, you can get <strong><a href="http://www.ecamm.com/mac/iglasses/">eCamm's iGlasses</a></strong> which works with most webcam apps (but not ScreenFlow), but this sort of thing should've really been bundled.</p> <p>That's not the end of your troubles: several reviewers note the <strong>Vision Pro gets very dark if two or more apps try to use it at the same time, or in quick succession</strong>. I can confirm this is true, as well as another problem where it fails to turn on if you keep making one recording after another &mdash; it's a pain and breaks your creative <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)">flow</a>. Workaround? Replug. But that's <em>annoying</em>.</p> <p>Oh, if you're wondering, human support from Logitech is lacking, too. I've received no help on how (if it's even possible) to make the Vision Pro work adequately in Photo Booth. Did I mention iMovie <a href="http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9515462">doesn't support</a> it either?</p> <h2>All in all&hellip;</h2> <p>While the Vision Pro is usable, it gives me mixed feelings and has wasted a lot of my time. <strong>I'm not satisfied with my purchase</strong>. Buyer beware if you intend to do more than the most basic video chat, where cheaper webcams will perform fine. I'd give the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro <strong>2 stars out of 5</strong>. I looked at getting an original <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISight">Firewire Apple iSight</a> but they're even more expensive, and I've been wary of competitors like the <a href="http://agent.liquiddigital.com.au/">aGent</a>.</p> <p><strong>It appears there's a dearth of really excellent Mac webcams &mdash; if you know better, <em>would you please recommend me and fellow WiseBread readers one?</em></strong> I'm so sad.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story" class="sharethis-link" title="Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro webcam: why doesn&#039;t 4 stars tell the full story?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping accessory Amazon audio logitech Mac peripheral pro quickcam video vision webcam Sun, 14 Jun 2009 23:01:47 +0000 Torley Wong 3264 at http://www.wisebread.com The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/411453602_d56a3b88a4_o.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, the modern marvels of being able to type a few things in, click your mouse, and have a desired object delivered to your place in a few days. Even tumultuous economic conditions don't mean so-called ecommerce is going away; rather, it stresses being a savvy, frugal shopper, and opens up opportunities for businesses to attract your attention.</p> <p>Whether it's buying or building, <strong>being resourceful helps you score the same great stuff at lower prices, and possibly faster delivery</strong>. (Think MacGyver marrying the A-Team.) The following isn't an exhaustive guide to each and every to-do under the sun, but it <em>is</em> experience-worn advice which I'll gladly impart for your benefit. It mainly concentrates on buying in the US of A, but the principles are mostly true worldwide. I'll also specify for the scope of this article, by &quot;Stuff&quot;, I mean possessions you can carry (like a microwave) or at the most, can transport around (like a car) &mdash; so, not a new house.</p> <p><em>Let's dive in with the spirit of Scrooge McDuck, then!</em></p> <h2>Know where you're looking</h2> <p>Some questions have very easy answers. If you're looking for books and other sundry merchandise, you'll almost always go right with Amazon.com. Yes, I know it has competitors &mdash; as well as other sellers which've partnered with it &mdash; but 2 special things call it out:</p> <ol> <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/subs/primeclub/signup/main.html/">Amazon Prime</a></strong> - If you're a shopaholic, even a thrifty one, it's currently US$80/year for free 2-day shipping. Other details apply, but if you buy frequently enough &mdash; say, at least a dozen times a year &mdash; this will have you covered both cost- and convenience-wise. Of course, they do this to make you buy more! So don't spend just because you want to, but consider how it fits your lifestyle, and try their free 1-month trial.</li> <li><strong>Amazon's service</strong> - It's not just about the raw dollar, it's about the smile on your face. I've had questions about my orders and confusion about pricing, and I've consistently received timely, pleasant replies. That peace of mind pays for itself, and serves as a model of what you should expect elsewhere.</li> </ol> <p>I give the obligatory disclaimer that I'm not professionally affiliated with Amazon &mdash; just a happy customer many times over that cites them as an &quot;example megahub&quot; for many goods.</p> <p><em>Let's open it up&hellip;</em></p> <p>You'll want to be familiar with the major deals sites. There are <em>many</em> out there which duplicate the same style and deals, so here are a few I check daily &mdash; they're all stored as bookmarks in my Firefox toolbar, <strong><em>highly</em> recommended for saving time via &quot;Open All in Tabs&quot;</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://www.woot.com/">Woot</a></strong> - I was drawn to their flavorful copywriting. Aside from their famed &quot;Woot-Offs&quot; and &quot;Bags of crap&quot;, they sell ONE thing a day. Sometimes it's what you're looking for. Often it's not. But they're full of whimsy and fun, and fill a great niche.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://dealspl.us/">DealsPlus</a></strong> - Some deals site make the horrendous mistake of piling on more text than you'll care to parse. DealsPlus is very visual, providing thumbnails and a quick-browse summary of each deal.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.dealhack.com/">Dealhack</a></strong> - In the &quot;More text but not so much that it makes your eyes fall out&quot; dept., they also provide a very thumbnail-ish view, with a vertically-designed navigation. So get your scroll wheel ready and skim down.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://dealnews.com/index.html?sort=hotness&amp;view=large">dealnews.com</a></strong> - Again, good use of thumbnails (I find they make browsing a <em>lot</em> easier). Wider layout than Dealhack, and as you gain experience, you'll notice when the same popular deals appear on different sites. But what I like here is the quick summary of the hottest stuff at the very top.</li> <li><a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/forumdisplay.php?f=9"><strong>SlickDeals.net Forums</strong></a> - Disparate deals sites have forums. Among the best is SlickDeals. They also have their own front page, but I heart their forums because of the unadulterated spontaneity of excitement that punches through the hype. You can smell it in the air &mdash; like the inevitable scramble for cheap hard drives before they're OoS (Out of Stock)! And to make this sound more like a restaurant guide, be sure to check out the offerings of the legendary <a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/sdsearch.php?mode=forum&amp;showposts=0&amp;starteronly=1&amp;searchuserid=65229&amp;forumchoice[]=9">Selma</a>, a gothy deal-sharer who's posted 50,000+ times. If you feel lost, look for the thumbs-up ratings and # of thread views you can sort.</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.fatwallet.com/deals.php">FatWallet</a></strong> - Finally, a site without &quot;deals&quot; in the name. They tend to broadcast deals which are broadly advertised by stores themselves (as opposed to &quot;secret coupons&quot;). Part of the reason behind this is that they offer <a href="http://www.fatwallet.com/cash-back-coupons.php">cashback &amp; coupons</a>. I haven't really used their cashback, but I think FatWallet's a fine overview of the more commercial (for lack of a better term) bargains.</li> </ul> <p>Be brave to explore beyond these, and let me know what gems you uncover and have missed! For example, <a href="http://www.redflagdeals.com/"><strong>RedFlagDeals.com</strong></a> reigns surpreme in Canada. The jungle o' deals is thick, indeed.</p> <p>By immersing yourself in deals sites, you'll become familiar with which stores are favored by veteran dealhunters. E.g., you'll often see <a href="http://www.buy.com/">buy.com</a> and <a href="http://www.newegg.com/">NewEgg</a> mentioned for computer gear. And a sensible way to get a grasp on various stores is to see their customer feedback on eBay (if they have a presence there), or search <strong><a href="http://www.resellerratings.com/">ResellerRatings</a></strong>. Don't zoom in on outliers (the occasional bad review), look for <em>consistency</em>.</p> <p>Beyond mere observation, <em>do</em> chat up with your fellow dealhunters &mdash; especially those who know a lot more. They'll save you dollars and hardship.</p> <h2>Know what you're looking for</h2> <p>Were you expecting something less obvious? That's coming up soon! But for now, I'll say&hellip;</p> <p>It's fun to browse bargain sites. It's also time-consuming if you do it too much, and while it may inform you of what fair prices are for various items, it also tends to be unfocused.</p> <p>Give yourself a direction, and at the very least, <strong>take advantage of the &quot;deal alerts&quot; most bargain sites make available</strong>. These come in varying forms, but tend to work like this: you enter keyword(s) and frequency of when you want to be notified. They'll ping (via onsite notice, email, and in some cases SMS) you when new deals are available.</p> <p>This is useful, by the way, if you just missed a substantial rebate on an item and are waiting for it to come around again. Chances are high it will (unless an item's being discontinued). If you don't really want a gadget, don't fall for ad pressure to &quot;ACT NOW BECAUSE SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED!&quot; because if something's really in demand, they'll want to sell more of it. I rebate-waited and got my Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard for US$50 cheaper &mdash; a price that'd command a fair meal!</p> <p>Emphasis on <em>rebate-waited</em>, because&hellip;</p> <h2>Mail-in rebates will make you wait</h2> <p>a LONG time. Not always, but often enough for it to be a point of consideration, especially if finances are tight. You may see estimated expectations of &quot;6-8 weeks&quot;, and these tend to be pretty common. Thankfully, some companies like Logitech do email you to check your rebate status online, along with an estimated mail date for your cheque.</p> <p>That's why <strong>if you can't wait, don't depend on mail-in rebates</strong>. And be wary of companies that've been called out by expert dealhunters as scams, because while the majority aren't, lack of communication does create that perception. Thus, my fave kind of rebate is the instant rebate.</p> <p>You may be wondering then, besides the understandable processing time, why so long a wait for MIRs? <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebate_(marketing)">Wikipedia has the backstory.</a></p> <h2>Be smart about coupons &amp; price comparison</h2> <p><a href="http://retailmenot.com/"><strong>RetailMeNot.com</strong></a> isn't just a beautiful site, it makes it very easy to look for discount coupons. I've regretted not checking here in the past because I discovered a substantial savings <em>after</em> I bought something &mdash; talk about buyer's remorse! So whenever I have a significant (obviously relative, but a good rule of thumb is above US$200) purchase, I fire up RetailMeNot and do the groundwork.</p> <p><strong>For price comparison, </strong><a href="http://shopzilla.com/"><strong>Shopzilla</strong></a><strong> and </strong><a href="http://www.pricegrabber.com/"><strong>PriceGrabber.com</strong></a><strong> are your friends.</strong> Use them and if they're really useful, you'll keep using them.</p> <p>Major search engines, like Google, also have their own price comparisons, and links to <em>many</em> others. Through experience, naturally find what works for you.</p> <p>After practicing coupons &amp; price comparison for a few weeks, odds are high you'll spot diminishing returns. For instance, it's not healthy to spend half an hour trying to save US$2. <strong>Aim for the big savings, stack coupons whenever possible (<em>mmmm</em>, compound discounts), and be quick.</strong></p> <h2>Be quick (Part II)</h2> <p>Hot deals often sell out very quickly. (Not to be confused by artificial pressure like &quot;ACT NOW!&quot; mentioned above.) That's why it's important for you to have a solid understanding of the context you're involved in: for example, on deals forums, you'll notice a few of the same posters grab deal after deal and boast about it. (There's a certain social bonding that comes when you become an involved member of deal-communities.) This, like any other acquired skill, comes with extended practice. Have your alerts set up so you can pounce on deals that matter. <strong>The most advanced dealhunters use automation, like </strong><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_(computer_science)"><strong>macros</strong></a><strong>, to cut down on tedious steps and jump to the front of the virtual checkout line.</strong></p> <p>What also counts for a lot: <strong>have accounts pre-setup with payment info at the sites you want to shop from</strong>. You want to be selective with who you give your personal info to, but if it's a reputable store, your data should be safe, in all practical likelihood. This saves you the trouble of having to fumble with a credit card # when it comes down to crunch time. I once missed out on a hot MP3 player sale at Woot because I hadn't signed up for an account yet &mdash; I learned my lesson!</p> <h2>Don't be fooled by fake free shipping</h2> <p>If an item is a fine price <em>and</em> has free shipping, then <em>praise be!</em> But, <strong>sometimes &quot;free shipping&quot; is deceptive, because the shipping cost is absorbed in a jacked-up item cost</strong>. For example, I saw a pair of headphones on eBay for US$20 that claimed &quot;free shipping&quot;. The same pair could be found elsewhere for US$15 with approx. US$5 shipping clearly stated, so it's really not a better deal.</p> <p>The inverse is also true: beware of inordinate shipping costs. And taxes. A number of stores charge <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_tax">sales tax</a> if you buy in-state/province/region &mdash; <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=468512">see Amazon's policy</a> &mdash; and while sometimes this is unavoidable due to a lack of alternatives, it's worth keeping in mind. While tax laws are out-of-scope of this article, you won't ever regret being prepared and being aware.</p> <p>Do your best to <strong>find out a store's shipping costs <em>beforehand</em></strong> so you can factor that in ASAP.</p> <h2>Look for gems with eBay's Buy It Now</h2> <p><a href="http://ebay.com/"><strong>eBay</strong></a> is synonymous with popularizing and dominating online auctions. While it's still famous for auctions, gems (not just in the mineral sense) can be found by way of many smaller stores which are trying to build their presence and business via eBay's big visibility.</p> <p>Often, this is new or refurbished/B-stock material with warranty which is sent to you not from an individual, but a company. And it has a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; graphic to indicate such. (It may or may not have a corresponding auction if you want to try your hand at getting it for lower.)</p> <p>Buy It Now can be good for rarer, but not highly obscure goods. There're sometimes <strong>package deals</strong> &mdash; like a digital camera that comes with a case + memory card + mini-tripod + extra battery at the same cost of the camera alone elsewhere.</p> <p>In my web browser, I often have one tab opened on eBay and another opened on Amazon, and I do searches and compare. To supplement my info when it's tough to tell, I use the comparison shopping resources mentioned above.</p> <p>While it's past, much of a dealhunter ballyhoo was made about <a href="http://forumst.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&amp;t=952519"><strong>Microsoft Live.com's 25% cashback through eBay</strong></a> (apparently, it was 35% last time it came 'round). Being on top of opportunities like these can sweeten already honey-soaked deals. Make sure you read the terms and conditions and revel in the savings.</p> <h2>Do your best to assure the clothing fits</h2> <p>Measure yourself accurately. <a href="http://ravenelle.net">My wife</a> stresses how important this is, because we've been subject to inaccurate pictures and vague sense of scale when buying clothes online. I thought a pair of pants, despite the specs, would fit me snugly. Turns out they're baggy as heck! While I haven't opted for an accompanying pair of suspenders since they're surprisingly comfy, my position still stands.</p> <p>A good &quot;fit&quot; is also transferably applicable to non-clothing goods which you may feel compelled to see in-person, like TVs and flat panel monitors: a JPG picture can't give you its actual display quality, but if your local store's stock costs much more than what's online, it's fair to compare. (A store's physical presence can add to the cost.)</p> <p>Some stores offer 3D 360-degree views of their merchandise, but this is still a novelty, rather than a common staple. Still worth looking out for.</p> <h2>Keep customer service and return policy close</h2> <p>I'll often tell you: it's not just about the $$$. Saving a few bucks isn't worth it if you have a problem with your order and the merchants turn out to be jerks! <strong>You'd rather much have prompt, friendly &quot;service with a smile&quot; than being unheard or being treated rudely.</strong></p> <p>Consumer reviews often keep track of this, combining real stories with numerical ratings. And your own experiences will be the most visceral. <strong>If you're cautious, why not send an email or make a phone call <em>before</em> buying anything?</strong> Test the waters. See how they respond and if that makes you comfortable. Above any human-constructed currency, feeling good and expressing our identity through what we buy is an intriguing psychological phenomenon, and great customer service goes a long way towards reinforcing our beliefs.</p> <p>If a store has a brick-and-mortar presence (like Old Navy), then you'll likely be able to return merchandise to a nearby store. If you live in the boonies, it may not as be as convenient, but good to know. If a store only allows you to mail a package back, verify who'd be responsible for postage costs beforehand, and be intimate with their <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_Merchandise_Authorization">RMA</a> policy. <strong>A key keyphrase is: <em>hassle-free</em>.</strong></p> <h2>Get ready to recycle</h2> <p>If you buy stuff online, it's going to come in a box. And if it arrives at your house, soon, you'll have a whole extended family of boxes, <em>yes sirree</em>, with itty-bitty baby boxes, and big grandparent boxes. So you'll either want to use those boxes to do something else, or have them recycled or otherwise disposed of.</p> <p>It's an omnipresent, yet understated part of getting great deals.</p> <h2>Time-shift your holidays</h2> <p>Lastly, I'll suggest something unorthodox which you may not be able to do, especially if you're under social pressure from your family &amp; friends. But consider liberating yourself because of this: when is Halloween and Easter candy cheapest? <em>No</em>, not in the stretch leading up to the holiday &mdash; look at the markdown prices <em>after!</em> This is easily observable in both offline and online stores, but it goes to show: <strong>when something's out of style/season and perceived value is less, prices plummet</strong>.</p> <p>By being &quot;out of sync&quot; with society at large and other cultural waves, <strong>you can create your own opportunities to acquire the same stuff at much-reduced prices</strong>. Granted, I feel strongly about this because my family used to wait until after Christmas to grab boxes of bonbons and ornaments to prepare for the <em>next</em> year, but there's much truth&hellip; once you break free of generic trappings. (And I'm partially referring to Boxing Day sales, but saturated marketing of Dec. 26th has created its own traps.)</p> <p>This is awesome news if you're flexible about traditional holidays. Clearly not for everyone &mdash; but <strong>if you can be an exception, consider yourself exceptional</strong>.</p> <h2>Happy buying!</h2> <p>While the above should never be considered an end-all or be-all since the Art of Getting Great Deals Online will continue to adapt and evolve, I hope my personal experiences and specific suggestions will <em>enlighten</em> you to discover the joy of consumerism in refreshing and eclectic ways.</p> <p>Devoted dealhunters know that saving money goes beyond lopping off a fraction of the price &mdash; it's a <em>way of life</em>.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online" class="sharethis-link" title="The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping alert Amazon clothes coupon customer service deals eBay fake free shipping holiday macro mail-in rebate mir recycle retailmenot Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:11:19 +0000 Torley Wong 3081 at http://www.wisebread.com How do you spend money to save time? http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/lawnmower.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a &mdash; pardon the expression &mdash; <em>timeless</em> saying:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;You can always make more money, but you can't make more time.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>The staunch followup to that tends to be that you can make <em>better</em> use of time.</p> <h2>Like 10,000 pebbles</h2> <p>I've been thinking a lot lately about tiny &mdash; even &quot;microscopic&quot; &mdash; shifts in my daily activities that <strong>add up big in the long run</strong>.</p> <p>For example, one of my faves on the computer is setting up <a href="http://www.phraseexpress.com/">PhraseExpress</a> text macros to auto-paste frequently-used snippets of text, cutting down 10 secs of typing into a 1-second keystroke on each pass. Not to mention the memory overhead of needing to recall each snippet. When each instance is viewed in isolation, that's not very much. But multiply that over weeks, and the savings are phenomenal.</p> <p>Another one of my fave habits is to <strong>batch-process</strong> documents: I stack stuff I need to scan and archive into a shoebox, then every couple of weeks or so, I put on lovely music like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYykpRRuHQM">Philip Glass</a> and start an intense half-hour to an hour of filing them all. This removes the overhead of switching between tasks, since each time I do this, I need to arrange the scanner and documents, and go through a series of steps that are simply more efficient when done in one &quot;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swell_Foop">swell foop</a>&quot; than piecemeal. Having such concentration also adds to getting the task done effectively. It's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_scale">economy of scale</a> applied domestically.</p> <p>Like any healthy habit, these involve repetition. But the <em>smart</em> kind.</p> <h2>A fair exchange?</h2> <p><strong>Spending money to save time is a <em>must</em> for resourceful people</strong>, since there are some things which just about anyone can do, like raking leaves or mowing the lawn. However, if you have creative inspiration or life dreams that <em>only you</em> understand (at least so far), there's <em>no</em> way you can transfer your innermost tasks to have them carried out, let alone communicate them to another person. More importantly, while someone you've paid is doing what you consider a boring task (and don't feel bad &mdash; it's a fair exchange of money for your <strong>focus</strong>), you're in a position to generate even more wealth, whether it's rolling in net dough or spending quality time with family. In fact, one commonplace but no less important money-for-time exchange is paying a babysitter so you can enjoy a night on the town with your sweetie. The thought that you love your kid less because of this is absurd.</p> <p>On a grander scale, books and blogs on &quot;outsourcing your life&quot; have gotten popular, with many copycats tagging on <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/">Tim Ferriss</a>' coattails. While you'll never want to entrust some personal tasks to others, the next time you feel time-crunched about a recurring activity that someone else could do &mdash; especially if it feels like a tiresome <em>déjà vu</em> &mdash; consider doing what I call a <strong>CLE</strong>, or &quot;<strong>Cheap Lightweight Experiment</strong>&quot; to test if more life automation may be right for you. Whether it's hiring someone to do manual labor or using the <a href="https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome">Amazon Mechanical Turk</a> to &quot;hive-mind&quot; some info you need, there are plenty of options. Spend a few bucks and observe the results.</p> <h2>Usefun</h2> <p>I challenge you to: <strong>get stuff you're used to doing in an hour&hellip; done in 45 minutes or less</strong>. This could very well mean your work, due to a higher sense of structure and ordered tasks there. But it could just as easily be a household chore or other recurring activity at home. This doesn't mean you'll rush through it carelessly. It means you either become <em>more intense</em> about finding shortcuts or <em>not</em> doing/ignoring unnecessary parts (and there almost always are if you look really closely), or delegating/outsourcing it to someone else entirely.</p> <p>I find practicing this every day of my existence not only makes me sharper, it helps me to have more <em>useful fun</em> &mdash; what I often portmanteau as &quot;<strong>usefun</strong>&quot; &mdash; because events are more memorable. My comprehension and self-awareness increases. I care more, and I'm far better off than, say, someone who isn't just riddled with distractions, but is merely doing an &quot;OK&quot; job and not looking to get more out of all those little slices of time that pass us each day. That's such a sloppy waste, especially when there are so many opportunities to invest in a tool or pay a person to help us make <em>better</em> use of our time.</p> <p>In turn, when you're stretched out and relaxing &mdash; whether it's in our bed or on the beach &mdash;&nbsp; you'll feel <em>that</em> much better about it. You've optimized what needs to be tight, and now you can enjoy the slack.</p> <h2>A matter of perspective</h2> <p>As tough as it can be to avoid when you're in a jam, <strong>penny-pinching at the expense of feeling freer isn't <em>really</em> saving money at all</strong>. It's like hoarding a small treasure in a locked room when there's so much gold to discover outside the door, as scary as it may seem.</p> <p><em><strong>Do you regularly and consciously spend money to save time? Or is something you're still afraid of?</strong> <strong>And if you have questions about my specific processes, please ask!</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Editor's note: This post was selected for <a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id598-the-best-of-the-best-in-money-and-personal-finance-2.html">The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance carnival</a>!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-do-you-spend-money-to-save-time" class="sharethis-link" title="How do you spend money to save time?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity Amazon batch cle lifestyle design mechanical turk money mturk outsource save spend tim ferriss time usefun Tue, 21 Apr 2009 01:49:41 +0000 Torley Wong 3069 at http://www.wisebread.com Modifiers: 5 things that change an item's final price http://www.wisebread.com/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dice_0.jpg" alt="Dice" title="Dice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On <em>Who Wants to Be a Millionaire</em>, Regis Philbin's famous catchphrase was &quot;Is that your final answer?&quot; You should keep the same thing in mind when buying stuff, because spending a few seconds to check could <strong>save you a substantial stash of moolah</strong>.</p> <p>Not counting &quot;used&quot; (B-stock and refurbished) goods and store cards, <strong>here are 5 modifiers which affect the final price of what you</strong> <strong>buy</strong>, whether it's in person or on the Internet:</p> <h2>1. Coupons &amp; promo codes</h2> <p>How easy! Surely you've heard of these &mdash; magical slips of paper that give you a spontaneous discount at the register. Or online, it's even easier (and saves trees): just paste the code into the order form at checkout.</p> <p>Offline, there's no shortage of flyers being mailed to the point where it becomes overwhelming. If you don't already have a few favorite stores, <strong><em>focus</em> on your options and weigh not just individual item coupons, but the overall shopping experience</strong>. (It doesn't make sense to save a few cents and be let down by unhelpful staff.) Find out if you can be apprised of specials online, since they tend to be more searchable. For example, Costco has paper coupon booklets, but they (and many Costcoholics, apparently) also post them on the web, which makes them easier to find or even setup an automatic alert for. This includes big things you're waiting for the price to drop on &mdash; such as an HDTV or fridge.</p> <p>Clipping paper coupons is a time-honored art which my Mom excelled at, the details of which are beyond this article's scope. But one principle which must always be stated is: most coupons for lower-priced goods (like food) don't make much of a difference in isolation. It's in aggregate that the savings add up. However, while you can make more money, you can never make more time, so <strong>consider whether the laborious task of scouring booklets and compiling your coupons &mdash; a crimp on convenience &mdash; is worth the cost</strong>. This is highly individual and needs to meet your needs, as some people enjoy coupon-clipping as a hobby. <em>Don't knock 'em! </em></p> <p>Online, <a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/"><strong>RetailMeNot</strong></a> is essential. It's user-powered, meaning many people submit promo codes and other people vote on their accuracy. Stale/expired coupons sink into the red while hot ones rise upwards. Some vendors feel threatened by this collective knowledge so they've asked RetailMeNot to exclude them, but other companies actively participate in promos. Be skeptical, however, as they may make something look better than it actually is. That's marketing for ya.</p> <p>Always look out for <strong>stackable coupons</strong>. Some deals mavens have mastered combining them, such as:</p> <ul> <li>a time-unlimited $50 off +</li> <li>a one-week special which removes a further $25 +</li> <li>extra 10% off if you buy 2.</li> </ul> <p>The math can get confusing, but don't let that deter you from savings, because web checkout forms usually assist with calculations.</p> <h2>2. Cashback</h2> <p>Cashback often comes in the form of: you need to sign up, then click on a special link which tracks you when you buy something. Then, after an elapsed amount of time (so the participating company can reap a net profit), you get your cash back (literally). Under this are all manner of economic and social complexities, such as partner sites receiving commission payments.</p> <p>Cashback tends to be smaller amounts like 2-10% and there are many flavors &mdash; <a href="http://www.fatwallet.com/"><strong>FatWallet</strong></a> is one of the more popular sites to have strategically turned cashbacking into a community &mdash; but there are occasional jackpots. For instance, eBay's Buy It Now thru Microsoft Live Search once <a href="http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=846962">rose as high as 35%</a> (!), and while I missed out on that, the cashback amount was at a still-respectable 25% when I opted for some pricey music gear. I ended up saving myself over $600 (it took a rolling 60 days to receive all my money after the orders had taken place).</p> <p>One downside of cashback programs, including the eBay-Microsoft one: at-face prices may be inflated slightly or hugely, so <strong>be careful the cashback doesn't merely reduce the price to its usual parity</strong>.</p> <p>Like coupons, take advantage of compound savings whenever possible: there've been a few times where I didn't just stack coupons, there was also cashback, sweetening the deal further. And sometimes there are rebates on top of that.</p> <h2>3. Rebates</h2> <p>Rebates come in different flavors, but they all have one thing in common: motivating you to take action (buy!) when you might normally not be so interested.</p> <p>MIR stands for Mail-In Rebate, another way of enticing you to buy an item with a lower final cost, but you need to wait weeks, or even months to get a check in the mail as compensation. If money is tight <em>today</em>, be sure to factor that in. The waiting game can be tense and rebate programs often have strict rules, such as how your claim form is filled out, and what you need to include from the original packaging &mdash; commonly both a copy of the receipt and original UPC (bar code). Let me assure you, it sucks to go through that trouble, miss out one detail, and receive a rejection letter instead of money. Some rebate programs are shady and unresponsive, so search for others who've dealt with certain companies before.</p> <p>This is why I prefer instant rebates &mdash; just like a coupon, but even easier, because it's automatically applied at checkout. All you have to do is buy. Ah, consumerism.</p> <h2>4. Shipping</h2> <p><strong>Don't be fooled by &quot;free shipping&quot;. It sounds tasty but often isn't true, as the cost is eaten up by a premium on the item itself.</strong> This applies everywhere from Amazon to eBay to Zappos.</p> <p>But it's also true some places have substantially better shipping deals than others, all costs considered. Some may spur you to buy over a certain amount, e.g., &quot;All orders over $99 get free ground shipping&quot;. This is tied to the economy of scale, since it takes about the same time to process most orders, but if you have a more expensive order, you (or at least your money) are viewed as more valuable to the company's bottom line.</p> <p>In those cases, if your order is close to the minimum for free shipping, it may make sense to buy a small, sub-$10 item (also known as a &quot;<a href="http://www.filleritem.com/">filler</a>&quot;) to push you over the limit. But <strong>don't force yourself to buy more than you actually need</strong>, 'cuz then you won't be saving at all.</p> <p>I previously wrote, &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-more-for-faster-shipping">Is it worth paying more for faster shipping?</a>&quot;. Check it out if you'd like related info.</p> <h2>5. Tax</h2> <p>Death and taxes may be certain, but at least you have a say in controlling the eventuality of the latter &mdash; like <strong>not paying sales tax if you order from out-of-state</strong>. After <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price">writing about the Mac mini for Wise Bread</a>, I found out <a href="http://www.powermax.com/">PowerMax</a>, located one state to the south in Oregon, wouldn't ding me for $75 sales tax unlike Apple's own store. Sales tax becomes even more prohibitive on expensive orders: with high-end electronics, it easily runs into the hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>The point here isn't to deprive the government, but make the smartest decision based on what's legal and available. Be resourceful like MacGyver.</p> <h2>The most important lesson I've learned about modifiers...</h2> <p>is <strong>don't get excited until <em>you</em> see the final price</strong>. So often, I've thought &quot;That sounds like a bargain!&quot; but by the time I get to the register, all these additional hits, surcharges, and in the case of airlines, hidden costs have added up and stabbed me in the side.</p> <p>Online, don't be afraid to do a simulation by adding items to your cart and rushing to the checkout to see what it really costs. Some stores add additional friction (whether by dumb design or accident) and require you to signup for account &mdash; in which case, if you're understandably concerned about your privacy and getting spammed, have an alternate email address on hand to test the waters.</p> <p>If you're new to this, the first few times of keeping the above 5 modifiers and other elements straight can be confusing. But persist, know what you want, and <strong>get it at a better price than you originally thought possible</strong>.</p> <p><strong><em>What are your fave modifiers? Have a modifier that I missed? Share your knowledge with us!</em></strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price" class="sharethis-link" title="Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Amazon cashback costco coupon eBay fatwallet modifier powermax promo rebate retailmenot shipping tax Zappos Sun, 22 Mar 2009 14:29:46 +0000 Torley Wong 2950 at http://www.wisebread.com