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21 Little-Known Amazon Hacks Every Online Shopper Needs to Know

Get ready to save BIG.

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Do good while you shop

On AmazonSmile, you can find the exact same offers you’d find on Amazon’s regular homepage, but with one little difference: A portion of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice. There are thousands of options to choose from, from animal shelters to homeless support to after-school programs. It links to your regular account, so no worries if you’ve already picked your items on the regular site. If you suddenly remember 0.5 percent could be going to your cause, you can hop right on AmazonSmile and your cart will be ready for checkout. Check out the complicated origin story behind Amazon’s name.

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It’s easy to hit the minimum for free shipping

Amazon offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more, which is great—until you’re sitting there with a $23 item in your cart and don’t feel like doubling your order just to save a little on shipping. Luckily, Amazon offers “add-on” items for just that occasion. Instead of paying for some random pocket screwdriver you don’t need, you have your pick of products you’ll actually use. Just type “add-on items” in the search bar and browse around practical items like toothpaste, razors, snacks, and more. Best of all, if your order still doesn’t reach $25, you can keep the add-ons in your cart. Amazon will automatically save them for later so you can get free shipping the next time you hit the minimum. You can also fill your cart with $25 worth of only add-ons to get free shipping on the already-cheap items and save yourself a trip to the drugstore. While shopping, make sure to scroll down–these are the funniest Amazon reviews of all time.

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Buy used without the shady middleman

You probably knew that you could sell your own (and buy others’) used items on Amazon. But did you know Amazon itself sells used items? Head to Amazon Warehouse for returned, refurbished, used, and warehouse-damaged products. But beware of the signs that an Amazon seller can’t be trusted. Like other sellers, Amazon rates each item’s quality as “Like New,” “Acceptable,” and more. And since you’re buying from a big name, you can probably trust that label more than the random seller with a 68 percent positive rating. There are millions of items to choose from on Amazon––check out 18 of the weirdest things you can buy.

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Never forget to buy toilet paper again

Set up a subscription for items you buy on the regular. If you always run out of basics like paper towels or coffee, the Subscribe & Save option will send you the product of your choice automatically every one to six months. You won’t need to run to the store for basics, but best of all, you’ll also get free standard shipping and a 5 percent discount. Add five or more products to your subscription, and Amazon will bump your savings up to a whopping 15 percent on every order. There’s no fee, and you can cancel whenever you want.

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Find free apps easily

Opening a free-to-download app just to find out that any feature will cost you is frustrating. That’s why Amazon’s app store has an option to refine by “actually free” choices. They might not all be your top choices, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting.

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Free books and music are easy, too

If you aren’t sure what to read on your Kindle next and don’t want to commit to a paid book, try these ways to read books online for free or head to the Amazon Best Sellers list. You can filter by paid and unpaid, and see the top 100 choices on each. There are tons of choices of free songs, too. And no, they won’t be some weird indie band you’d never listen to. You can add big artists like Blondie, Foo Fighters, and Chance the Rapper to your music library for free.

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Hunt through extra savings

Sure, Amazon has plenty of sales and deals, but you can find even more at Amazon Outlet. The section sells overstocked items for as much as 75 percent off. You can find everything from colored pencils to bath scrub to laptops. Stock is limited, but you can see exactly what percent of items are left, and how long the deal will stand. Act quick if you see something you love! Just don’t shell out for these items you shouldn’t buy online.

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Take the guesswork out of gift-giving

Picking a meaningful gift is way harder than it should be, especially when you’re buying for someone who claims they don’t want anything. Have your friends and family members keep a running wish list on Amazon to make it easy. With a simple search, you can find anyone’s wish list, or baby or wedding registry, by typing in a name or email address. But don’t worry—you can also make your list private if you don’t want everyone to see the title of every romance you plan to read.

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Get great gift suggestions

A friend doesn’t have an Amazon wish list? No worries—the site also has a gift explorer to offer some suggestions. Hunt by gender, age group (for kids), interests, prices, and more for a bit of inspiration. No more hunting aimlessly through the depths of Amazon! You can also use Amazon’s Alexa to create lists. Find out 11 more things you didn’t know Alexa could do.

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Amazon goes easy on college kids

Kid heading to college? Students can get 50 percent off Amazon Prime—plus some extra deals just for students—by signing up with a valid college email. Plus, unlike regular Prime, which gives a 30-day free trial, Prime Student’s free period lasts six months. If they cancel before the trial is over, they won’t need to pay a cent—very helpful if you don’t want to go off-track with your college savings plan.

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Textbooks are cheaper than ever

Sure, college students can score tons of great deals on used textbooks. But once the semester is over, they can only hope someone will buy it back (or leave it on the shelf for years before throwing it out). Enter textbook rentals, which give heavy discounts on books your kids know they won’t pick up after the class ends. Shop around because it’s sometimes cheaper to buy used, but some rentals are $80 cheaper than the used copy. You’ll get free shipping on rentals over $25, and free returns no matter what. You can also get super-fast textbook shipping if you’re a Prime member. Check out 17 more Amazon Prime benefits you might not know about.

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No need to give your partner your account login

Two adults living under the same address (including roommates) can share Prime benefits while keeping their own accounts with Amazon Household. As long as you agree to share the same credit card, you can both order using your own usernames. And that doesn’t just mean the free shipping—you can also share ebooks, games, and more with that person. Plus, even your kids can get in on the deal. You can share your photo storage with up to five people (as long as they’re 13 and up) in one Family Vault.

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Baby items are less expensive

If you have a Prime account, you already have access to Amazon Family deals. The program offers 20 percent off diaper subscriptions, 15 percent off certain items on your baby registry, exclusive coupons, and more. Find out the 20 brilliant buys on Amazon with practically perfect reviews.

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It’s easy to use reward points

Some credit card reward programs offer Amazon credit. Instead of going through your credit card’s site and back to Amazon, you can use the points while you’re checking out. If that’s how you always use your points, you can even set it up so they apply automatically.

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Speaking up about late packages pays off

Amazon Prime offers a guaranteed delivery date, which is awesome in itself. If your package doesn’t make it there when Amazon said it would be, you’ll probably be entitled to a free one-month extension for your Prime account. If you don’t have a Prime account, the site will refund the shipping costs.

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Get free photo storage

Save valuable space on your phone and laptop by using Amazon Photos. As a Prime member, you get unlimited storage to save, organize, and share your images. And the Family Vault feature allows you to invite up to five family members to share photos collectively. Find out why AmazonBasics products are so cheap.

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Give new clothes a test run

Prime members can also order clothing and accessories for men, women, and kids through Prime Wardrobe. The program gives you seven days from when the clothes arrive to decide whether you want to keep them or not. You pay for what you keep and return what you don’t to Amazon in a pre-addressed package.

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Amazon fulfilment Centre, Hemel Hempstead, UK - 14 Nov 2018
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Find out about price reductions

Got your eye on something but don’t want to pay full price? Sign up for CamelCamelCamel. The free Amazon price tracker allows you to monitor the items you want and sign up for alerts when the price goes down. You can also see the history of the item’s price.

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Filter for discounts

Sucker for a sale? So are we. Millennial Money Man has a great trick to search for discounts. If you’re searching for kayaks, for example, you can add a code to end of the URL. That allows you to filter out the items that are included in the particular discount range. So to search for a 30 to 50 percent discount, the code you would add to the end of your search URL would be: &pct-off=30-50.

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Amazon fulfilment Centre, Hemel Hempstead, UK - 14 Nov 2018
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Get a refund on items you’ve already bought

Download Paribus and it will allow you to track items you’ve bought for price reductions. Then Paribus will alert you if you qualify for a refund on the difference. In addition to Amazon, Paribus tracks price changes at Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, and other stores. Get started with these 61 Amazon products you’ll use every day.

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Skip the sales tax

When buying through third-party sellers, Millennial Money Man recommends you look for vendors from Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon, where state officials don’t collect sales tax. Now that you know how to save money shopping at Amazon, here are some insider secrets to help you save at your favorite stores.

[h/t Real Simple and Buzzfeed]

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.