(BPT) - With the new year in full swing, many have made a resolution to be smarter about their spending. For those struggling financially, shopping online can be especially useful in achieving this goal — all it takes is a strategic bargain-hunter’s mindset, according to Eva Macias, financial expert and author who specializes in leveling the financial playing field for all families, regardless of income.
“Managing your family’s finances can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming,” she says. "You just need to spend wisely, look for deals and realize you don't have to do it all yourself."
Macias's top tips and tactics to save money while shopping online include:
1. Sign up for Amazon’s discounted Prime membership. If you’re an EBT cardholder or Medicaid recipient, you can enjoy all the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership for the discounted price of $5.99 per month. The majority of members have access to free one-day delivery or faster, while all receive the best of entertainment through Prime Video and Prime Music; Prime Reading; Prime Photos and more; with the ability to cancel anytime. You can learn more and try out a free 30-day trial at http://amazon.com/qualify.
2. Create a budget for spending. A budget is your best friend and will protect you from overspending. Figure out how much you need for expenses like rent, utilities and gas, and then set a budget for expenses you have more control over, like groceries, clothing and household supplies. A common pitfall to setting a budget is making it too tight, so give yourself some leeway for unexpected costs that pop up.
3. Shop with Amazon Cash. Making purchases with cash is a savvy way to stick to your budget as it makes you more conscious of what you’re spending. So, try using Amazon Cash instead of your debit or credit card. It’s a simpler way to shop and will help you limit your spending. You can visit more than 30,000 participating stores — including pharmacies like CVS and convenience stores like 7-Eleven — to add cash to your Amazon balance. This method is quick, easy and has no fee.
4. Scout out deals. Look to purchase items by regularly tracking deal offers from retailers. Amazon's Lightning Deals offer new deals daily that help you save money and allow you to find the best prices on items you need, want and love, while 'watch a deal’ alerts ensure you never miss out on a discount!
5. Take advantage of subscriptions. Families can maximize savings this year by enrolling in programs such as Subscribe & Save, which allows you to subscribe to items you frequently buy (such as diapers, baby food and household products), and have them shipped to you for free on a regular basis. You'll not only save up to 15 percent on these purchases, but also save time and energy used on trips to the store.
6. Not in a hurry to get your package? Earn rewards with No-Rush shipping. A little-known Prime perk for those who don’t need their order right away is that selecting the No-Rush shipping option earns you rewards and discounts on future purchases. Rewards are automatically added to your Amazon balance so you can start saving right away.
With a little planning and preparation, you can stretch your budget throughout the year and lower your stress level in the process.