I track my income and spending through mint.com (the best FREE online personal finance tool). At Mint I can view trends of where my money goes month after month. Recently I pulled up a pie chart of my spending by merchant for the year. The chart displayed the top 10 merchants I’ve given money to for 2009. My mortgage came in at #1, but the next three in line were pretty interesting.
Walmart came in at number 3. Yeah I know, I just dropped a couple notches in your book, but let’s be honest, Walmart is close, convenient and they sell stuff for cheap. Besides, even though you don’t want to admit it, you know you shop there just as much as I do.
Coming in at number 2 is Costco! Where else can you justify buying 36 chocolate bars, 6 bags of jerky, a month supply of creme puffs and a whole tree of oranges? Actually, you know what’s really great about Walmart and Costco? The customer is always right, and you can return anything you buy for pretty much any reason or no reason at all. That’s a pretty good insurance policy against buyers remorse if you ask me.
And coming in at number 1? You guessed it, Amazon.com! Now, I promise I don’t work for Amazon, but it might start to sound like it by the end of this blog post. I simply love buying stuff from Amazon. When I’m at the store considering a product that isn’t produce, meat or dairy, I often put off the purchase so I can buy it online at Amazon.com. Sometimes I’ll even use Amazon’s nifty iPhone app to take a photo of the product i want. Within a few minutes of taking the photo, I’ll receive a response displaying the product I photographed or one similar to it and the price I can buy it for online. If the price is right, I can order the product right there on my phone.
Here are the top 3 reasons I’m addicted to Amazon.com, and why you will be too!
Number 1 : Save Time & Money
As I wrote about previously, I don’t view ads or clip coupons. I have better things to do than aggressively price shop. But when I started my addiction to Amazon, the skeptic in me just had to see how the prices stacked up. I have discovered that, in most instances, buying a product at Amazon.com is cheaper than the competition. Plain and simple, Amazon sells it for less. Go ahead and do some price comparisons of your own. I’m sure that some of you coupon cutters will find better deals, but in general you just can’t argue that Amazon doesn’t have low prices. And in my book, I’d rather get consistently low prices on everything I buy (and get on with my life), rather than guarantee the lowest price on everything I buy but spend half of my life hunting down the next best deal.
Don’t forget that when you buy from Amazon, you don’t have to drive anywhere. You place an order and it arrives at your door in a few days. There’s no driving anywhere so you’ll save gas money and driving time . Plus all you go-green, earth loving, stop climate change enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you’re doing your part to save the planet by reducing your carbon footprint. Think of the good we could do for mother earth if everyone did the majority of their shopping online. How’s that for a solution Al Gore? As for me, sure I like saving the planet. But mostly I’m just lazy and I’d rather things be delivered to me than fetch them myself.
Another serious savings you enjoy when purchasing from Amazon.com is that you don’t pay sales tax. Everybody knows I love paying taxes just as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s nice to have a break. In Utah, sales tax is 6.75%. That means for every $100 I spend at places like Walmart and Costco, I pay an additional $6.75 to the man. But when I buy the same product from Amazon.com, i can keep the $6.75 in my wallet. If I spend $1,000 on ‘stuff’ from Amazon throughout the year instead of buying it locally, I save almost $70. The savings add up.
Number 2 : It’s Convenient
Amazon is convenient. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never purchased anything at Walmart or Costco in my underpants. Yes I know what you’re thinking, you’ve seen plenty of people at Walmart that appear to be shopping in their pajamas or even underwear. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m going to go a head and count it as a perk that when shopping online I DON’T have to stand next to someone in a full body unwashed sweat suit at the checkout line. At Amazon everyone is welcome, and you don’t have to care what other shoppers are doing. No shirt, no shoes, no problem.
Even though I’m part of the NOW generation, I’m perfectly fine ordering something online and receiving it in 2 days. What matters to me is that I receive it. I don’t mind waiting. What I also like is that my stuff hasn’t been manhandled by other shoppers before I buy it. Everything I order has been sitting nicely, untouched, in a clean warehouse waiting to be shipped to me.
Number 3 : Free Shipping
Say what?! Did I say free shipping? Yes. Yes I did. Now, I have to admit, when I first started purchasing stuff online, it was few and far between. I just hated the idea of paying to have something shipped to me. It felt like I was being taxed twice, once for uncle sam, and once for being stupid enough to have something shipped to me when I could pick it up without the shipping cost at the local Walmart. Well, I’d say that Amazon has done a pretty good job resolving both of these concerns for me. I’ve already pointed out that I don’t pay taxes on my orders, but I also don’t pay shipping!
Here’s the deal, Amazon has this sweet gig called the Amazon Prime membership. Amazon Prime gives you free two-day shipping on all orders of any purchase price. Yep, you can order anything and have it shipped to you in two days without considering shipping costs. This concept frees up the online consumer to place orders at any time and for any thing. No need to wait until you have a “big” order to ship. Just order it now, forget the shipping.
Now, here’s the catch. Amazon Prime is $79 per year. So if you sign up and place 2 orders for the year, it’s probably not worth it for you. But if you place 12 or more orders during the course of the year it’s totally worth it. I remember when I bought my 50″ plasma screen from Amazon. It was the lowest price I could find anywhere, plus I paid no sales tax, and shipping was FREE. Had I opted to pay the shipping on my 100+ pound TV, it would have been a pretty penny. But with Amazon Prime it doesn’t matter the size, weight or quantity of what you order. It’s shipped to your door in 2 days for the price of membership.
But wait, there’s more! When you are an Amazon Prime member, you can invite household members to share your membership. So if you sign up for prime and invite your parents and siblings to share the membership with you, everybody gets the same benefits of the membership. That way if you wanted to, you could split the cost of the $79 membership amongst your family members to reduce the price of shipping even further. It doesn’t get any better than this!