Tips for shopping Amazon this holiday season

by Melody on November 7, 2013

If you haven’t already noticed, online shopping during the holidays can get a little crazy.  I’ll do my best to track down the best deals for you, but I wanted to share some tips with you on how I shop and what I’m looking for.  You can also check out my recent posts: Planning your budget for the holidays and Kicking off the holiday season with This Beautiful Frugal Life.

Amazon Prime shipping

Amazon Prime offers FREE 2-day shipping on all Prime-eligible items (there are TONS) with no minimum purchase, instant streaming of thousands of TV shows and movies, FREE monthly rental for your Kindle or other devices and much more.  We have had Prime for a few years and love it.  With all the deals that will be popping up over the next few months, you can pick and choose what you want instead of trying to hit a minimum purchase for free shipping.  Prime is $79/year and you can share with up to 4 family members or coworkers or you can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

Gold Box Deals

These are heavily discounted items, generally one deal per day until it sells out.  If I remember correctly from last year, if one deal sells out, another will pop up.  These are worth checking out, especially if you have someone on your list that you’re not quite sure what to get.  You can also sign up to receive daily Gold Box updates.

Countdown to Black Friday

Check out this page for current Lightning Deals, plus promotions across the board in electronics, toys, movies, entertainment, apparel and more.

Holiday Toy List

Keep an eye on this page, as they have all the hottest toys for 2013 listed in one place.  They have also grouped toys by category (age, gender, top picks), so it is super easy to search.  You can also see the available Lightning Deals for the day.  These are typically 1-2 hour deals marked way, way down.  They do sell out and they do go fast, so if you see one you like, snatch it up quickly.

Lightning Deals

Lightning Deals are items marked at an extremely low price, but are very limited.  If you are interested in any of them, keep a close watch when it goes live and place your order right away.  As soon as the allotted stock is gone, the price will go back up.  As we get closer to the holidays, these will start ramping up in discount and quantity.

Price Matching

I noticed last year that Amazon quietly price-matched some of the best deals from most of the national chains (Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and more).  I found great deals on most of the gifts we were planning to buy anyway and I could take advantage of my Prime shipping to get them shipped for free.  I’m not a huge fan of holiday crowds and crazy lines, so this is my kind of shopping.


I have been doing my best to save up my Swagbucks to use towards some of my holiday purchases this year.  It’s free to sign up and easy to start searching using the Swagbucks toolbar.  You can earn Swagbucks for searching and these can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, which can then be applied to your Amazon account.

Amazon 1Button App

You can quickly download this app that lets you view price comparisons and related items while searching. You can also receive notifications on special deals, items on your Wish List and more.  I just downloaded this, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I love anything that gives me Amazon deals at my fingertips.

Have your gift list handy

Know what you are shopping for and have your gift list somewhere near (or even on) your computer.  There are going to be more deals than you know what to do with over the next few weeks.  If you see something fabulous, check your list and see if you have someone to give it to.  It can be awfully tempting to grab just about every deal out there, but if you have your list in front of you, you will be less inclined to snatch up everything you see.  For more tips on planning for the holiday season, read my post here.

Last but not least, follow Amazon on Facebook or Twitter for instant updates.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda November 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for all of the tips, Melody!
I’ve been saving my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks as well and plan on doing most of my shopping through them. This post will sure help in getting the best deals available.


Anna November 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

I signed up to get free 30 day trial of Prime a few times…and always right around the holidays to get free shipping when I was ordering the most. Finally we decided that the features were worth paying for since we wanted Prime videos and to borrow one book per month for the Kindles. I highly recommend the trial to save some money.

I would also recommend watching for big markdowns on DVDs at this time of year. I remember last year I found some spectacular prices on series last year at this time. I resisted some and found the prices went up after that. Sometimes they drop again after Christmas, too. I won’t pay much for DVDs so this was great to discover.


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