Before You Click the 'Buy' Button, Make Sure You Avoid These Amazon Shopping Mistakes

Amazon Prime box


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Amazon Prime box

Don't Click Buy Just Yet

No matter who you are, you probably use Amazon more than you’d like. None of us want to give Papa Bezos our money, but there’s no way around it: Amazon provides a service that almost no other business can match. I recently ordered a set of pillowcases late on a Monday night for half the price of a major retailer, and they showed up on my door by Tuesday afternoon. You know what I mean?

If you’re as addicted to Amazon as I am, make sure you’re at least doing it the proper way. Here are 10 common mistakes to avoid while shopping on Amazon.

Amazon Delivery Covid 19

Not Using the "Subscribe & Save" Feature

If you consistently buy staples for your home like trash bags or soap, you can save as much as 15% by using Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” feature. I do this for a ton of stuff — primarily because I will forget to buy these things, but also because I save a little bit on each order. 

The discounts stack (if you have five subscriptions per delivery, you’ll get the full 15%), and it’s really easy to cancel and manage, so there’s no reason not to be using this feature. Even if you don’t intend to get it again, who cares? Save a little, and just cancel the subscription after it arrives.

Background of cardboard boxes inside warehouse, logistic center. Warehouse filled with cardboard boxes. Mess in the warehouse, 3D illustration

Forgetting About Amazon Warehouse

You’ve probably done the whole “open box” shopping thing before at a major retailer like Best Buy. Believe it or not, you can do the same thing with Amazon Warehouse, which sells pre-owned, used, and open box products — even if you don’t get to see just how open that box is. 

Used sales are possible on Amazon, and though they often will only save you a few bucks (and take longer to arrive), occasionally there are some big-time discounts. It’s always worth a look.

Shop Online

Not Paying Attention to Sizes

I am willing to admit that I am what you might call “an idiot,” but this happens to me constantly: The wrong thing always finds its way to my doorstep. Read the sizes. Read the dimensions. The other day I ordered what I thought was a set of salt and pepper shakers designed for a human being’s home, but what I received was more suitable for an industrial restaurant kitchen. The things are taller than my already-gigantic head.

honey browser extension
amazon coupons
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Forgetting About Amazon's Coupons

Speaking of saving, did you know Amazon does its own internal, code-less coupons? It does. They're not always easy to see, so scan the page right under the price. 

All it takes is a click. Make sure you’re looking carefully before you head to the checkout screen.

UPS Delivery

Skimming Over the Return Policy

Amazon's wildly easy return policy is by far one of the greatest strengths of its service, but not everything on the site is that easy. 

Third party products can be tougher, sometimes requiring the original box and other times requiring delivery at specific locations. If you're thinking about returning something after you buy it, make sure it's as low-hassle as you were hoping.

Amazon Prime delivery van on the street

Not Being a Prime Member

An obvious one, I know. But seriously, don’t even bother with Amazon unless you’re a Prime member. I’ve been doing it so long that I’m ashamed to admit I can’t imagine life without it. Even beyond Prime Video, the shopping experience itself is nothing without Prime. 

Free two-day shipping (sometimes earlier, even) is an unbeatable service. Don’t shop the ‘Zon without it.

Related: The Bait-and-Switch Con is Still Alive and Well on Amazon — Here's How Not to Fall Prey

Sale sign

Ignoring Sales

Prime Day and Cyber Monday are the obvious major sales of course, but don't forget to check Amazon on other holidays, like you would with any other retailer. Fourth of July sales, Labor Day sales, and even President's Day sales have popped up all over Amazon.

amazon reviews

Skipping Reviews

Yes, it's true, Amazon has had a problem with fake reviews in the past. That doesn't mean don't trust them — it just means read them. Do they seem legit? Have the reviewers attached photos? We trust your sniffer; sniff out the scams.

Girl holding smart phone with online shop concept on screen

Being Reliant on Amazon

Maybe you’re not a Prime member, and that’s OK, because sometimes the best way to shop is to close Amazon and look somewhere else. Just because you found a good deal on something doesn’t mean a better deal doesn’t exist for that same product on another site. No need to dig into the deep trenches of internet bargain-hunting, but a quick search for better deals is always a good call.

For more advice on how to avoid shopping mistakes, please sign up for our free newsletters.