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8 Most Asked Questions About Online Bargain Hunting; Answered and Explained

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If you love saving money and bargain hunting, then chances are you follow many deals blogs online.  This is a win-win situation for both the blog owner and readers; bloggers use affiliate links which means they earn a percentage of every sale, while readers gain access to all the best deals stores have to offer without having to spend the time searching themselves!   As the owner of   www.bargainboutiquedeals.com,  I am so happy to share deals with my readers every day both on my website and on Facebook!

Here are the top 8 questions I receive on a regular basis:

1. Amazon Promotional Codes: How do you get them? When does the code expire? Why isn’t it working if it’s not expired? How many products can I buy with the code?”

Promotional codes are given to me directly by the sellers as an incentive for buyers to purchase their products at a discounted price.  This is usually because a seller wants to introduce a new product to the market or even to introduce a new brand/company.  You can usually buy multiple quantities of the product as long as you buy them all in ONE transaction.  If the code is for a very steep discount, the seller will often limit the buyer to only purchasing 1 or 2 of that product.  Codes are entered on the final checkout page.   Codes can expire at ANY time, so if you see something you’d like to buy  – DO NOT WAIT!  Sometimes the product will sell out at that price in a matter of minutes, other times it will last a few hours or even days, but once the seller reaches their limit of items they’d like to offer at these low prices, the code will be disabled without warning.  You must also purchase the exact color/style that is mentioned in the post or the code may not work even if it is still active.  Codes may also be stacked with coupons, when available,  for even sweeter savings.   Codes are a fabulous way to purchase lots of amazing products while going easy on your wallet!  Example of the final receipt from one of my recent orders 🙂

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2. What is Subscribe & Save on Amazon? 

Subscribe & Save allows buyers to save up to 15% when they purchase 5 or more eligible products in a month to a single address.  If you buy less than 5 items in that month, you will save an additional 5% when you check out with Subscribe & Save and not 15%.  You will NOT see the 15% discount applied for your Subscribe & Save items until you purchase that 5th item for the month.  Amazon Family members will save 20% on diapers, baby food and other baby products that are part of their 5 Subscribe & Save items that month.   In advance of delivery each month, Amazon will send a reminder email showing the items, price and any applicable discounts for the upcoming delivery so you can cancel if you decide you no longer want the item(s).  You are not charged until the items are shipped.  Since Subscribe & Save prices fluctuate from month to month, I advise my readers to cancel all their items after they receive them and start fresh each month purchasing their 5 Subscribe & Save eligible products.   I have scored some amazing bargains on grocery, household and toiletry items with Subscribe & Save!

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3. Will the item be any cheaper if I wait or should I buy it now?

Unfortunately, I never know if the item will fall even further in price from what I have posted, or if a promotional code will be released which will reduce the cost of the item.  If the item is at your personal buying price-point, and you actually need the item (versus an impulse buy!), then I generally suggest you purchase the item because tomorrow, it might be $10 higher.  Amazon used to offer price adjustments but did away with that a few years ago (except for TVs).  Sometimes an Amazon customer service representative will do the price adjustment for you anyway, but it is the exception and not the rule.  If it an Amazon item that has free returns, such as clothing, shoes, handbags, etc., then if the price falls within the return time-frame, I always recommend returning the item you bought at the higher price and purchasing at the new lower price.   Many retailers offer price adjustments within 7 days and some within 14 days.  Always check the store’s website policy page about returns and price adjustments.

4. Why is the price showing up as higher than the price that’s posted for the deal?

If the price is not coming up the same as what you see posted, then you have to check on a few things.  First, make sure the deal is current.  Sometimes, a reader will say that the deal isn’t working and I will check and see that it is because I posted it 3 days ago.  In general, the deals are short-lived and rarely last longer than a day, if that long!  Second, make sure you have applied all promotional codes or discounts.  Often when someone can’t get the price to show up correctly, it’s because she forgot to apply the code or forgot to clip a coupon!    Third, make sure the item you picked is indeed the correct item.  Sometimes the price is only valid on a particular color, size or style and if you pick something else, the price will be much higher.  For Amazon in particular, their prices change constantly all throughout the day, so if you aren’t able to purchase the deal right when I post it, the price can sometimes go up in a matter of just minutes!

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5. How can I narrow down my Amazon search?  So many/not enough items come up!
When searching for an item on Amazon, keywords are really important.  If you try one word or term and don’t get enough options, then try other keywords instead and see if that helps.  For example, switch from “bathing suits” to “Swimsuits” or from “knapsack” to “backpack” and you will get different results.   Also make sure to make use of the customized search options which can be found on the left side of your Amazon page on your PC.  For example, if you search for “shoes”, you will find lots of options you can check off (size, color, brand, style, etc) to streamline your search.  Otherwise, you may have to sift through thousands of options!   You can also customize your search by Prime options, to remove ADD-ON items, price, ratings, etc.

6. Where can I find the best deal on X item?

Since there are SO many retailers to choose from, it’s virtually impossible to know which store will have the item (with all the specs that you want!) at the cheapest price.   A simple google search will give you a rough idea of what the item generally retails for and will give you the prices at a variety of stores.    Also search for codes to bring the price down even further and watch for store sales.   Off-season bargains are one of my favorites, so if you are organized, you can score some serious savings!  For example, coats/boots/cold weather gear will be really reduced in the Spring.  You can snag some nice savings on summer gear at the end of August and September.  Toys are generally going to be really cheap during the holiday season (you can score your best buys in November usually – particularly the week of Black Friday).  Housewares and electronics are also typically cheapest around November/December.   Watch for sales on appliances around Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.   Amazon prices fluctuate CONSTANTLY all throughout the year, so one of the things I like to do is add an item to my Amazon cart and then hit the “Save for Later” link.  Whenever that item goes down (or up) in price, you will get a notification when you go to your Amazon cart.  I have caught many awesome price drops this way!   Also check eBay, many large retailers sell off their clearance stock there and you can get some amazing deals.

7. How does this fit? What’s the material? Is this good quality?” etc, etc

I am often asked specifics about the products I post.  While I do personally own some of the items, I don’t own them all!  So just like all my amazing readers, I am also taking a chance when I buy a product and am hoping it meets all my expectations.  With clothing especially, it’s really hard to say how it’s going to fit another woman or child – everyone’s body is shaped differently and the clothes will lay differently on each individual person because of that.  Height also plays a big part in whether or not the dress/skirt will cover someone’s knees.  Luckily, many stores offer free returns, either in-store or online.  And for the items that are not offered with free returns, I always suggest reading through the reviews for the product so that you can make an informed decision about making the purchase or waiting for something better to come along.

8.  What is an ADD-ON item on Amazon?

ADD-ON items are low value and/or bargain-priced items that require minimum purchase amounts to be shipped.  For Prime members, ADD-ON items will ship for free with a $25 purchase and for non-Prime members, these will ship for free with a $35 purchase.   These items DO count toward your $25/$35 totals.  Gift cards do not count toward the $25/$35 total, so you cannot pick a $3 ADD-ON item and then buy a gift card to get to the minimum free shipping amount. Also, due to their low pricing, ADD-ON items usually have quantity limits.   Many times, ADD-ON items also can be purchased using Subscribe & Save and you do NOT need to meet the $25/$35 totals to purchase the item with Subscribe & Save.

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In general, you will find deal hunting to be a rewarding experience, and everyone loves receiving packages!  Always remember that you aren’t saving money if you are buying something you don’t really need, so stop and think for a second before purchasing (or at least make sure it’s an item with free returns – and actually go and return it!).    It’s frustrating to see a good deal that is expired, but there’s always a new one coming up, so keep checking back.  Happy deal shopping!

 

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About the author

Chani

Chani Yudkowsky is passionate about deal hunting and was thrilled to be able to turn it into a business that she can manage from home. Chani lives with her husband, a CPA, and their 6 kids (K"H) ages 7-17yrs in Baltimore, MD. When she's not busy shopping, Chani enjoys baking, reading, spending time with friends, and taking trips with her family.

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