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I’ve recently started shopping on Amazon.com for groceries and the amount you can save by doing this is amazing. Take a Clif Bar as an example. At Safeway, a Clif Bar costs $1.50. With 8.75% tax here in CA, your total price is $1.62.
If you order a Clif Bar from Amazon (note: you have to order 24 at once, so you do have to really enjoy Clif Bars), you pay $.99 each. Shipping is free if you have Amazon Prime and since you are ordering out of state, you don’t pay sales tax.
But wait, it gets better! Sign up for a reoccurring shipment every month (or every two, three or six months) and Amazon gives you an extra 15% off. So now that $.99 is only $.85.
But wait, it gets better! Use your Amazon credit card and you get 3% cash back on Amazon purchases. So now that $.85 is $.83.
But wait, it gets better. Sign up for the Amazon affiliate program (Amazon Associates) and you get 4% cash back on your Amazon purchases. And because this program and your Amazon credit card are not linked, you get 4% of the $.85 not the $.83. So now your actual cost per Clif Bar is $.80.
If you really wanted to get all crazy, you could also add in the time savings of not having to go to the supermarket and wait in line, and the savings in gas as well. But even without those ‘transactional costs’, getting that Clif Bar for $.80 is still a savings of over 50% off the Safeway price.
For the record – and I’m not entirely embarrassed to admit it – I bought my wife’s diamond for her engagement ring on Amazon using the same technique (though I did not save 15% for the reoccurring order). When you are talking about several thousand dollars, eliminating sales tax and getting cash back for using a specific credit card and joining an affiliate program adds up (note: since then, I have started working with a jewelry store and I now understand that you need to actually see a diamond in person to truly see the difference in sparkle . . .).