But the longer you ride the frugal train, the more you learn the intimate details of certain programs.
I shared benefits of Amazon Prime that you probably don’t know about, but today I want to share a few things that only come from years of using the system, testing the system and trying to make it work in your favor every step of the way.
They’re Amazon Prime secrets, and they’re all yours for the taking!
13 Secrets to the Amazon Prime Membership
1. Get an $20 Amazon gift card when you purchase Amazon Prime through Ibotta
As of this posting, you can earn a $20 gift card to Amazon when you purchase Amazon Prime through Ibotta. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for Ibotta HERE (it’s free). You can do this via desktop, tablet or mobile.
- Open the app. Amazon was “featured” on the homepage for me, but if you don’t see it, click the magnifying glass at the right top corner and search for Amazon.
- Locate the “Amazon Prime” rebate and click the pink “shop” button. Follow the prompts to purchase a one-year membership to Amazon Prime for $99.
- The $20 Amazon gift card from Ibotta will show as a pending rebate within 72 hours of your membership purchase, with actual payment within 45 days.
Save $20 off your Amazon Prime membership when you sign up for Ibotta through this link.
2. Earn $5 on your first balance reload of $100 or more
Amazon has a feature where you can transfer money from your checking account directly into your Amazon account. This can be a great tool if you’re prone to overspending or want to help contribute to costs for a student, among other things.
The best part though, is when you add your first $100 to your Amazon account using your checking account, you get an extra $5 added to your account!
Hook up your account and earn an extra $5 when you get started on this page.
3. Earn 2% back every time you reload your balance after that
Not only can using your Amazon credits help you budget for what you want to buy off Amazon, but you can earn even more when you reload your account!
Get $5 when you make your first transfer (see #2), but then earn 2% on every balance reload thereafter!
Learn more and reload your balance on this page.
4. Use Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards and shop for free
I’ve been using Swagbucks for years to buy things from Amazon… when we were in pay off debt mode, all of our gifts came from Amazon and were paid for with Swagbucks – we never paid for a gift out of pocket.
Now we use Swagbucks to replace personal things like tennis shoes and to help decorate our new house.
There are four easy ways to earn with Swagbucks:
- Use the Swagbucks search bar. Anytime you go to a web page, use the SB search bar instead of Google (or your browser’s address bar).
- Enter the Swagbucks codes when they become available. SB will share codes online and through social media at various time. All you do is enter the code and earn.
- When you are planning to shop online, go through Swagbucks. There are hundreds of online retailers listed where you can earn SBs. For example, you can earn 4 SB per $1 spent at Walmart.com.
- Complete the Daily Poll. Every day Swagbucks features a question for you to answer. Some are serious and some are silly but all are worth a few SBs. This one is super easy and adds up quickly if you are online every day.
This is just a smidgen of how you can earn through Swagbucks, but I can tell you first hand that if you’re diligent, you can really rack up the savings! For more ideas on how to earn gift cards at Swagbucks, go HERE.
5. Buy a CD or vinyl album and get the MP3 version for free
The AutoRip feature gives you the MP3 version of any CD or vinyl album you buy, for free! It’s automatically upload to your Music Library, so you don’t have to mess with any additional downloads. Then you can listen to it anywhere, anytime!
6. Try Sample Boxes before committing to full size items – for free
Sample boxes are just what they sound like – boxes of small items. The idea here is to be able to try things you want to, without paying full price OR buying a full product only to hate it.
For example, there’s a Men’s Daily Grooming Sample Box, a Women’s Beauty Sample Box, Refreshing Drinks Sample Box and Children’s Snacks Sample Box.
Each sample box contains 8-10 items, and the cost of the boxes range from $5 to $20. Once your box is delivered, you will receive a credit to your Amazon account for the amount you paid for the box.
So if you paid $4.99 for the Children’s Snacks Sample Box, you’ll get a $4.99 promotional credit to your account. You can then use that credit towards a full-sized item of what you received in the box.
For example, as of this writing, a package of Annie Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks is in the Sample Box. If your kids like that snack, you can use your $4.99 promotional credit towards a box of fruit snacks.
Your total cost will be $12.53 (cost of fruit snacks) – $4.99 (promotional credit) = $7.54 for 18 snacks.
Right now there’s a 15% off coupon AND the option to “subscribe and save” for another 5% off. This makes the total just $5.23, or 29¢ per snack. Compare to the Costco price of 39¢ each!
Now I know that prices will vary, the coupon might not always be available and subscribe and save may not be in your best interest. BUT, it’s worth looking into the Sample Box program to see if there’s anything you’ve been wanting to try anyway. You never know when you’ll find something you love!
***UPDATE*** Amazon says that the Sample Box Program is currently unavailable. However, there IS another way for everyone (not just Prime members) to potentially receive free samples from Amazon! Here is an informational link from Amazon to learn about how to opt in to receive free samples. Then you just have to log in to your account to select your preferences. Amazon could send sample items as those products come available!
7. Earn money if your package is late
I ordered a pair of running socks last month, used Amazon Prime free two-day shipping and they arrived a day late.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t care so much, but since I’ve been more intentional about maximizing my Amazon Prime membership, I was a bit concerned. After all, I AM paying for my membership which includes having items arrive within a set time frame.
I contacted customer service, explained what happened, and they gave me the option of a one-month extension of my membership OR a $5 credit to my account! Sometimes they will give both. Just ask!
Lesson learned – it pays to ensure your items really arrive within the promised two-days.
I found that contacting Amazon took a little digging. Here’s the steps to follow to make it easier for you:
- Scroll to the bottom of the Amazon homepage and click on “Help”
- On the next page scroll over “Need More Help?” and select “Contact Us”
- Follow the steps on the next page to send an email. They should reply shortly.
8. Earn money with No Rush Shipping
As I just mentioned, one of the benefits of Amazon Prime is the free two-day shipping. But if you aren’t in a hurry to receive your order, you can choose No Rush Shipping instead.
No Rush Shipping will earn you an immediate discount applied to your order at checkout, OR a promotional reward that’s applied to your Amazon account once your item ships.
Not all items are eligible for this offer, so be sure to look for it at check out! (Learn more about No Rush Shipping here.)
9. Students can get 6 months of Amazon Prime for free
As a student you can receive 6 months of Amazon Prime for free and after the first 6 months, you can get an annual membership for 50% off!
This offer is good for anyone with a .edu email address and lasts for 4 years or until you graduate, whichever comes first.
10. Trade-in used items for Amazon credit
Amazon Trade-In is an excellent program for those wanting to trade out games, kindles, electronics, books, DVDs and more. It even works if you bought your things at other retailers!
The premise is this:
- Submit any video game, console or accessory and make sure it fits their criteria.
- Print out your free shipping label and sent it off within 7 days.
- Earn an Amazon gift card in return!
Browse the items that are available for trade-in here.
11. Get promotional credits for trading-in textbooks
It’s always a disappointment when the bookstore offers you pennies for textbooks you spent hundreds of dollars on. At the end of the semester, consider trading in your textbooks to Amazon for up to 80% back!
We actually used this when we moved across the country. We had tons of books, and couldn’t take them all. After comparing all the book buy-back sites, Amazon consistently had the best offer available!
12. Shop Amazon Warehouse for “like-new” deals
If you are shopping for TVs, laptops, home goods, or outdoor items and don’t mind them being opened, you can get deep discounts through Amazon Warehouse.
These items are often returned or refurbished items that don’t reach Amazon’s “new” standards, but are still great items.
In many cases, “like new” is really something new that’s just been opened. I always look for these deals first, because you can sometimes save really big!
13. Shop Amazon Outlet for overstock and clearance
Similar to shopping at an outlet store, Amazon Outlet carries items that are overstocked, last season, or marked down. The savings can be high but the quantities are limited.
You might not find exactly what you’re looking for, but like Amazon Warehouse, it’s always worth a shot to see if the Outlet has something similar to what you need!
Of all the online shopping I’ve tried, Amazon is by far my favorite. Between Swagbucks, free shipping, all these benefits and all the ways to maximize the membership, it’s my go-to spot for online shopping!