March 5, 2015

Revisiting my Amazon Spending

Nearly a year ago I tried to predict how much I would spend on Amazon.com this year. t’s always hard to make such predictions, as life is always changing. On the one hand, we had moved the previous year, and there were setup costs associated which we wouldn’t expect to need to pay again. On the other hand, at the time I knew I was pregnant (though we weren’t spilling the beans yet!) and there would be new baby expenses. My estimate was very crude, to stay the least.

Today only a tenth of a percent is left on my gift card balance. Not to shabby a prediction, although given my crude method of estimation, much of the credit goes to blind luck.

Impulse purchase were way down this year, although overall spending was nearly identical. Going through my order history for this year there’s about $70.85 of what I consider “purchase regrets” – things like an extra swim diaper we didn’t use, or a cheap toy that wasn’t even worth the $10 we spent. Part of the reason that number is so low is I’ve been better about returning things that were broken, didn’t match their descriptions or otherwise had material defects. The other reason is I spent so little time browsing on Amazon, even though I was home on Maternity leave leading during the Black Friday season. (Yes, I consider it a season.)

I can also proudly say that I didn’t let the fact that I had a gift card balance influence my decision to make a purchase much. If an item was cheaper elsewhere before applying the gift card, I purchased it elsewhere. I knew I would eventually use the full gift card balance, so why waste it? I came closest with hue, which was a bit of a splurge.

While reviewing my Amazon purchase history it’s become apparent how little I use Amazon prime. I like to go back every year and see whether it’s actually saving us money or not. This year the verdict appears to be ‘not’. The only benefit we take advantage of is the free two day shipping. Since they raised the rates it’s not really worth it to us. Or at least it won’t be when my subscription runs out later this summer. By then we should be beyond the points of need-this-tomorrow-for-the-baby and too-hard-to-take-the-baby-out. I doubt I’ll miss prime, but if I do I can always reactive it again later.

What I will miss is the year long 10% discount we had. I wish I could take advantage of TurboTax’s gift card offer again, but, alas, we won’t be receiving a refund this year. What I didn’t do a good job of was estimating our taxes and setting our deductions accordingly. Going from grad student to full time employee I earned a lot more, which means we owe a lot more. Oh well, next time.

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