Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life and Amazon Shopping Tips

Where did this past week go?! It feels like the days have just flown by. Or more accurately, merged into one very very long day, and suddenly we're at Sunday. I feel like I started this week on the back foot and never really recovered. Part of it is because we went karaoking last Saturday and stayed out waaay past my bedtime, creating a domino effect on the rest of the week. It took me until Friday to finally get my sleep schedule back to normal. I also didn't cook on Sunday so I had no leftovers to eat when I came home on Monday, and I was left playing catch-up all week. Hopefully this week I can finally get back on track.

I've also been bad about blogging regularly. Usually that's the first thing to slide when I'm tired or stressed or just plain busy. I would like to make it a higher priority. I really admire people who are able to post high-quality content two to three times a week (or more!) on top of juggling their day jobs and/or being a parent. How do they do it all?


Anyway, today I thought I would answer a question I got from a few readers about shopping on Amazon. Periodically I mention the great deals I've gotten from there, and people were curious about how to do that. Here are some tips I've picked up over the years. Skip to the bottom if you want to see some of the steals I found in the course of writing this post.

1. Narrow down your search. When you go to Amazon's website and search for an item you want, you get an overwhelmingly large number of returned results. So many that it's impossible for you to look through all of them. For example, when I type "jeans" in the search bar, I get 149,773 results. Luckily there are a number of filters on the sidebar to help you narrow down your search. When I click on Women > Clothing > Jeans, then there are only 20,216 results. You have to get to that level before they show you further filters for size.

2. Filter by discount and seller. Then the next filters I apply are for the discount and the seller. I usually select 50% off or more, which strikes a good balance between deep discounts and reasonable selection. As for the seller, I always select, because I know they have a decent return policy. Amazon also has third-party sellers, but I would rather avoid the hassle of figuring out the individual return policy for each seller. At this point, you're down to 954 results. Another option is to set the maximum price you're willing to pay.

 3. Filter by size. I tend to choose a range of sizes, because you never know what's going to run large or small. Currently there seems to be a weird bug where you can only filter by numeric size (00, 0, etc.) OR waist size (24, 25, etc) for pants. So I would do them separately. When I select 00, 0, and 2, I get 583 results. When I select 24, 25, and 26, I get 629 results. At this point, you can continue filtering or start digging through the results.

4. Keep an open mind about the brand and model. If you're tied down to the exact brand and model, you won't be able to score the best price. However, if you're willing to look for a similar item, that could save you serious money. For example, I was looking for black leather knee-high riding boots a year ago. I was interested in a pair of Frye boots, but they never went on sale. Finally I relaxed my criteria and was able to snag a $450 pair of Pour La Victoire boots for only $150.

5. Play the waiting game. Like other retailers, Amazon partially bases their pricing on inventory levels. If they only have a few more of some item left in stock, sometimes the price can dip very low. That's usually the best time to buy. Of course you also run the risk of it selling out, but that's not a problem if you don't have your heart set on the exact version.

6. Keep a wishlist. If you see an item you like, add it to your wishlist. Then check back periodically to see if the price has dropped. The wishlist remembers the price of the item when you added it and lets you know how much the price has dropped since.

7. Get on Amazon's email list. Sometimes they send out emails about sales, where you get an additional discount on top of already discounted prices.


I like to use Amazon to shop for dresses, jeans, shoes, and bags. Just in the course of casual browsing for this post, I found the following steals.

Dresses: sequin mini-dress, cotton eyelet dress, red silk dress, scalloped front dress, structured little black dress
Jeans: skinny straight jeans (own), black skinny jeans, cargo jeans, white straight jeans
Shoes: black riding boots, simple tall boots, tassel flats, classic ballet flats, pointy toe flats
Bags: small brown satchel, blue quilted shoulder bag, black and white structured satchel, metallic shoulder bag, large leather tote

And these are just the ones that caught my eye immediately! There are lots of other goodies to be found. Please share if you find an amazing deal.

Have a great week, everyone!


  1. Amazon is offering 20% off select shoes and handbags when you spend $100 and 20% off clothing when you spend $75. Offer expires November 20, 2014 at 11:59 p.m (PT). I ordered the Sam Edelman Petty Ankle Boots in Black Leather.

    1. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you love the Petty boots! I own 2 pairs and wear them all the time.

    2. I'm new to your blog Engineer, but am loving it! I have a pair of Petty boots too, and LOVE them! Mine are a juniper green.

    3. Thanks, Vava! Juniper green sounds like a great color!