[Our Financial Confession series continues! Up today, Mrs. BITA from BayalisIsTheAnswer.com who shares something I guarantee 99 % of us can relate to – being an Amazon shopaholic ;) When you’re done reading this, see if you can muster enough courage to check out *your* Amazon grand totals too! We might all be pretty surprised…]
I’m going to give you a peek into our murky financial past. Fair warning: this isn’t going to be pretty. The more frugal among you are likely to faint or throw up, or run screaming from the horror of it all. Maybe even all three simultaneously.
Why am I delving into our financial closet and yanking out an ugly skeleton for you to gawk at?
I know that there are readers out there who are where I was not so long ago. When they read personal finance blogs replete with astronomical savings rates, oh-so-tiresomely-sensible investments, and amazing acts of frugality, perhaps they leave feeling disheartened instead of inspired.
I hope that if people see we’re not unlike them, warts and all, they will come around to the belief that redemption is indeed a possibility.
If You Own Amazon Stock, Thank Me
I recently decided to sell some of my toddler’s baby stuff on Craigslist. When I was making the Craigslist posting, I looked up my Amazon order history to find how much I had paid for the thing that I was trying to sell. This horrifying detail caught my eye:
177 orders! I then asked Amazon for a detailed order report for the year. Apparently I have a masochistic streak that I was not previously aware of. I clicked on the report, expecting the worst.
It did not disappoint.
In 2014, the report announced cheerfully that I had felt the need to acquire 427 items from them. That comes to an average of about 36 purchases a month.
I had acquired more new things than there are days in the year!
What the everloving f*$k was I thinking?
I felt compelled to uncover the full horror of this situation. I asked Amazon to then create a report of every item that I had purchased from September 2008 (when I first set foot in this country) to August 2016 (which was when I decided to get my $hit together and aim for financial independence).
In this time frame I ordered a whopping 1,427 items from good old Amazon. Since we all love numbers, let’s break that down. That works out to:
- 178 items a year OR
- about 15 items a month OR
- about 1 item every two days
The cost of my wanton debauchery? $40,981.60
Actually no, $40,981.60 doesn’t even begin to cover it. The true cost?
- The money tree that I could have grown using a $41,000 acorn (for the curious: $108,785 in 20 years at 5% compounded annually)
- The amount of freedom frittered away (how much earlier could I have gained financial independence? How many extra hours do I have to now stay chained to my cubicle?)
- The environmental cost of acquiring so many things whose ultimate destiny will now be a landfill somewhere
- The cost of shame and regret
The Cost of Shame and Regret
I have always known that until last year I spent with gleeful abandon. Knowing that in the abstract is a teensy bit different from actually looking at the cold, hard, unforgiving numbers.
I feel ashamed. I feel regret. I feel somewhat diminished.
Do these feelings stem from the fact that I blew nearly $41,000? That is certainly a factor, but it isn’t just about that number, a whopper though it is.
The feelings stem from the fact that all those numbers are clearly at odds with the person that I thought I was. I have always, from the time that I migrated to this country, mocked the blatant consumerism that blankets this land. I thought myself superior somehow.
I was not one of the mindless mob who were suckered into always wanting, wanting and wanting more.
I was better than that.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have visited a mall, so I deluded myself into thinking that I wasn’t, maw agape, consuming as fast as I possibly could.
I have always perceived myself to be someone not attached to material goods, as someone who values experiences above all else.
And yet, somehow, 1427 very material things crept into my life over a period of eight years.
You know what might be the saddest part of this story? I have no idea what most of those 1427 things are, or even where they might be. So not only did I waste the money, I didn’t even procure anything of lasting value. I could look at the detailed spreadsheet Amazon has been so kind as to share with me, but I rather think I won’t. I am all out of both the will to self-flagellate and the desire to wallow in self pity.
I would rather spend my time and energy thinking about the why.
Why was I procuring this mountain of items? Was this my go-to mindless hobby when I had nothing else to do after a hard day of work? Was there a void in my life, an absence of a larger purpose that I attempted to fill with 1427 amazing artifacts from Amazon? Was this my way of distracting myself, magpie-like, from the fact that my life was ticking by and I was creating nothing of worth?
It could have been any of these reasons. Maybe it was all of them.
Where Are We Now?
So far in 2017 we’ve only had 13 orders. 4 of which placed by my parents when they were visiting, and which they paid for themselves. The remaining 9 orders are mine and total a princely $255.23. Barring one, everything on the list is a consumable – exciting stuff like dog food, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, diapers, tea and toothpaste. The barring one is a gift for my mother, a case for her cell phone.
We’ve set ourselves big savings goals in order to be able to retire while we are still relatively young, and hopefully in possession of all our teeth. In 2017, for instance, we plan to save the substantial sum of $160,000. As I recently observed in my financial report for Mar 2017, at the end of Q1 2017, we are more than halfway there.
I wish that this was a story of the strength of my character and of my gumption. I wish I could say that I recognized my flaws, and then by sheer force of willpower I turned my life around.
But what actually happened was this:
- I discovered the twin ideas of financial independence and early retirement
- I convinced myself that unlike unicorns that fart rainbows, this was not a fantasy
- I decided that I wanted those things more than I wanted anything else.
- I sold the idea to my husband and we made a plan.
- I then decided to start writing about my journey to financial independence.
In other words, I found a purpose. I found something that was deeply interesting to me, and I poured myself into it.
Putting an end to my mindless spending was merely a side-effect of finding purpose.
One trash day my husband came back into the house and cheerfully observed that he no longer had to spend the better part of an hour trying to solve the knapsack problem with the recycling bin and boxes from Amazon. In fact, wonder of wonders, the recycling container had room to spare! My response to this revelation? ‘Oh. Huh.’
I had affected a turnaround in the way that I was living my life and I didn’t even notice – it was that effortless.
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I would like to say this:
Be kind to yourself.
Even the most immense amounts of stupidity are not necessarily permanent, nor fatal.
Don’t get into the mud pit and wrestle with your demons. That is the hard way. Be smart. Choose the easy way. Find yourself some angels to waltz with instead, and let your demons leave the dance of their own accord, bored out of their evil little minds.
Do your best to find purpose and joy in something. Everything else will fall into place.
Mrs. BITA immigrated to the U.S. at the ripe old age of 30 and is on track to retire early at the age of 42. She is the founder (and grand poobah, dictator, janitor, sole author) of bayalisistheanswer.com, where she blogs about financial independence, retiring early, financial how-tos and finding a purpose.
Enjoyed this? Here are our last three financial confessionals:
- “We Used to Blow Our Money on Motorcycles & Airplanes”
- “I Turned My Back on My Wealthy Parents to Live a Life of My Own.”
- “I Became So Obsessed With Being Rich That I’m Now Sitting in Prison”
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
First, I love ‘the warts and all’! It is very inspiring, since as you state, when you think everyone is doing it perfectly, ‘perhaps they leave feeling disheartened instead of inspired.’
The timing is uncanny (sorry, shameless plug coming, look away if needed), since yesterday I wrote about how ‘Everything is on the road to juknk!’ –
Excellent work, keep going, I have started reading your blog, and it looks like you are doing awesome!
Thanks Tamale of questionably appetizing temperature!
I have to admit that I love Amazon and their one click system. For whatever reason though I find myself using it less and less. For that matter I can’t think of a single purchase that I made this year on Amazon which is pretty incredible for me based on where I use to be. I guess like you alluded to above. When you have financial goals in my place everything else falls by the wayside :)
Feels pretty damn good, doesn’t it?
I’m always afraid of that one-click option just cuz it’ll be like the only time I make a mistake, haha…
2016 I had 134 orders from Amazon.
I buy my supplements there since they are cheaper on amazon than in the local supermarket.
I bought most of the gifts I gave this year on amazon. (I have a big family!)
I bought many second hand books there because my local bookstore doesn’t sell me second hand.
I bought a new power drill because my old was broken.
I bought stuff for sewing like yarn and zippers. Sewing can be a costly hobby but it also saves money if you can repair your stuff. And my local sewing stuff dealer is awful expensive.
I buy my shampoo soap there, I buy the family’s favourite vegan lard there.
I buy underwear, I buy vegan curd soap, cleaning stuff, …
I don’t think the problem is the amount of stuff but the kind of stuff you buy.
I buy many household supplies there either because my local supermarket doesn’t have them or they are cheaper online.
I even bought baking powder and packet soup, because it is cheaper online and I didn’t had to pay for shipping.
In Germany there are no giant malls where you can buy everything. It often happens if you want some not everyday item (like a new net for the trampoline in my garden) and you go to the city center you have to visit several shops until one of them says: “I can order it for you, we call you when it’s there. Might take some time.”
And a one-way ticket to the inner city costs 2,9 Euro.
Even if I get what I want in the first time, it costs me 5,8 Euro to get it.
Buying stuff at amazon is not necessarily bad.
“I don’t think the problem is the amount of stuff but the kind of stuff you buy.”
This sums it up exactly. I still shop at Amazon, but now the things I buy are mostly consumables, and I buy them on Amazon for the convenience or the cost.
Fascinating about shopping there, Anita!
Hmm, I have only ordered 408 times from amazon since 2007. I thought for sure it was much worse than that. I’ll attribute it to the fact that amazon is usually not the cheapest anymore, A quick google search or a peek on slickdeals usually yields better pricing.
Anyway, love the BITA site. You have a great writing style.
You’re right that Amazon no longer always have the price advantage. They do still kick ass at customer service though. If something goes wrong, in my experience, they fix it ASAP, no questions asked.
“love the BITA site. You have a great writing style.”
That and usually fast shipping. I’m out in, sort of, the country (close to DC but in farm land) so my prime shipping sometimes take a liberal definition of what qualifies 2 days…(mostly thanks to USPS last mile delivery).
Even so, I’ll keep prime for all of its glorious extras. I mean, how else are we supposed to help Jeff Bezos overthrow Bill Gates as the richest person in the world.
Ayuuuup. I spend $1,000 on Amazon alone in the course of a few months during college. I still probably shop on there more than I should, to be honest. But it’s all about challenging your damaging behaviors and making positive decisions. Thanks for the confessional, Mrs. BITA!
I comfort myself by reminding myself that I use the smile.amazon.com site so that at least my mindless spending resulted in some charitable giving.
We use Amazon a lot because the prices are usually better than anywhere else and we get free shipping. Our orders get particularly high around the holidays for obvious reasons.
We’re nowhere near your level but we’ve definitely dropped several thousand dollars at Amazon over the years. Now I’m curious and I’m going to check my order history.
I am no longer at my level, and hope never to be again!
I hope your checking, unlike mine, unveils a history most boring.
Mrs. BITA, great to see you hanging out with J$! Amazing article, mades me curious about my own numbers (just 34 orders in last 6 months, so breathing a sigh of relief here!). Great example of recognizing when something needs adjusted, and then taking action. Congrats on a great Guest Post!
A measly 34 in 6 months? The Great God Bezos frowns down upon you, you pesky mortal.
Amazon can certainly be a slippery slope. They make it super easy, cheap, and fast to order just about anything. Voice order via Alexa now. It’s convenience on overload. Having a budget, and financial goals in place can help you keep your eyes on prize and not fall into these type of traps.
Not to mention all the oh-so-very-helpful “well if you liked blah, have seen blah blah?” recommendations. And the fact that their customer service is top notch!
I have never even thought to look at this. Here is how our amazon purchases stack up (I have just looked at amount purchased). Of note, there are multiples items per order sometimes. So I guess it is more like, how many times did you go to the store….here is my tally.
2010 – 3 orders
2011 – 3 orders
2012 – 12 orders
2013 – 69 orders
2014 – 97 orders
2015 – 167 orders
2016 – 186 orders
2017 – 65 orders
Not surprising that it increases every year especially since we had our son in 2015! Great post and interesting to look at.
I saw a spike in 2014 too, the year of my daughter’s birth.
More important than the number of orders is the question of what is in the order. If you’re stocking up on such exciting items as toilet paper and kitchen towel and diapers, that is one thing. If you are collecting every consumer electronic item known to mankind, that is an entirely different problem.
All this stuff is SO fascinating to see. Love that we’re so open about sharing here, haha…
This article is confusing to me: were the Amazon purchases in question mostly consumables or household items that would have been purchased anyway, or were they unneeded items she was sucked into buying? Since she didn’t look at the detailed list of items, there’s no way to know – but it makes a pretty big difference in deciding whether $40K was ‘too much’ to spend on Amazon. Our family buys almost all of our household items and non-food consumables on Amazon, and some food as well, so her assertion that spending a lot of money on Amazon is ‘stupidity’ is a bit hurtful.
“Why was I procuring this mountain of items? Was this my go-to mindless hobby when I had nothing else to do after a hard day of work? Was there a void in my life, an absence of a larger purpose that I attempted to fill with 1427 amazing artifacts from Amazon? Was this my way of distracting myself, magpie-like, from the fact that my life was ticking by and I was creating nothing of worth?”
But like, maybe it was just an easier way of doing the grocery shopping? I guess the point to my fellow Amazon power users is, don’t worry about how many purchases or how much money you spend specifically on Amazon, worry about whether you’re spending your money on the items you want/need to be spending it on.
“were the Amazon purchases in question mostly consumables or household items that would have been purchased anyway”
Nope, sadly they were not. At least not till late 2016. Which is why I call out in the post that my 2017 purchases thus far are all consumables, and therefore the ‘good’ kind of Amazon shopping.
My point is not that spending a lot of money on Amazon is ‘stupidity’. My point is that _I_ stupidly spent a lot of money on Amazon on things that I wanted but definitely did not need.
Incredible transformation between 2014 and 2017!
I agree 40K is a bit crazy – but like you said, purchasing consumables is a smart route.
You can eliminate the possibility of some impulsive “one-click” shopping by opting for the 15% savings offered by the automated “subscribe and save” feature. We did this in the DD household last year and calculated total savings of $1K + the benefits of not having to go to a place to pick up boxes of toilet paper and pet food. :)
Yep, subscribe and save is pretty awesome. I used it for Toddler BITA’s diapers.
Some of that 40k was consumables. Diapers, baby soap and toilet paper come to mind. Sadly, it was nowhere close to the vast majority of purchases.
There was a time when I used Amazon to solve my problems. Instead of being creative, I was buying junk. I guess it was the easiest way to get something done while sitting at a desk. We ended up cancelling our Prime membership for a while. I went from having the UPS truck make regular stops at our house, and unopened boxes sitting around to nothing. The surprising thing was life went on. I got more creative again, and surprisingly didn’t need to buy anything.
We do have Prime again now, but mostly for the streaming. I take more time to question my clicks these days, and they don’t happen often :)
“Instead of being creative, I was buying junk. ”
I was you. You were me? We were each other? Or something equally confusing.
I know exactly what you mean though. I am glad that both you and I now use the past tense to talk about this.
Haha yup – We use Prime for streaming too now that we no longer have cable, it’s awesome :) (And also that you get fast shipping too whenever you do log on!)
Hey, that got me interested about my Amazon history. I just checked and I order 80 items since 2016. Not too bad.
I usually just put stuff in the cart and put off ordering for a few weeks. That way I’m sure I really want it. Works pretty well for the most part.
Great job cutting back this year.
I’ve used the leave it in the cart trick a few times myself. It works surprisingly well.
Thanks for your honesty. It’s not fun finding out things about yourself or realizing the things you’ve done that you don’t like. Fessing up to them takes a bit of guts, but sharing them publicly is an act of bravery. And braver still, is not looking into the details. But I think that’s because of what you said when you nailed the ending of your story — you found your purpose and joy and everything else has fallen into place. Very nice piece of writing, Mrs. B.
Thanks Mrs. Groovy!
Doing this on my own blog in my relatively quiet corner of the internet would certainly have been easier but J$ assured me that his tribe would treat me gently, and he has not been wrong.
The purchase history on my account goes back to 1999. In recent years, my order tally has been between 25 and 75 orders. The range of products runs the gamut. I would be interested in knowing the grand total, but I don’t see a simple way to arrive at it without adding up hundreds of orders. Suggestions?
Your Account -> Orders -> Download Order Reports.
That gives your a form to fill where you can enter the start date and end date. It sometimes takes a while and they will email you when it is done. It is a csv file that you can open in Excel or Google Sheets and then add stuff up and see if that makes you dance in the streets or weep into your pillow.
I posted a screen shot on Twitter this morning that shows the screen in question.
Sweet, thanks for the Step by Step!
1999??? Ahead of the times over there! The only places I was buying stuff from online was ebay (worse than Amazon!) and then GoDaddy picking up my very first domain which I still own to this day :)
With you on the consumables thing. Personal hygiene products, tea, coffee beans, etc. frequently top my list on Amazon; but these items will be 100% completely used before any reorders of course. Don’t like reaching for Amazon for things that “I need by the end of the week” (e.g., a new article of clothing for a special event, any kind of sports equipment, even books with my library membership and I do own a Kindle).
Thanks for the reflection upon my buying behavior with Amazon!
The only thing worse than “things I need by the end of the week” are “things I didn’t know existed until ten minutes ago but now must absolutely have”.
Thanks for the peek behind the curtains, Mrs. BITA! The total seems high, but it really depends on what you’re buying. If that’s $40k in batteries and plastic covers for your remote controls and couches then it’s a bit much ;) – but if that’s all consumables then it’s not terrible.
I’ve had my account since 2006 (first purchase was a Harry Potter book). Since then I’ve averaged 5 purchases per year, with my high coming in at 19 orders in 2014). 95% of my orders have been gifts for others.
I’m afraid that most of it wasn’t consumables. The only consumables I think I ordered during that time frame are diapers, baby soap, toilet paper and paper towels. We keep our butts clean around here, but not _that_ clean.
I just ran an Amazon order report from January 1, 2006 to right now (furthest they would let me go). Then I added in the random college orders from 2001-2005 too by clicking on each year individually. Altogether, I/we have spent more than $19,000 on 807 items. I was actually expecting it to be much worse since it’s my main shop and I went back 16 years, so I’m actually very happy with it, LOL. That includes some college text books, crap we bought for ourselves that we don’t technically need like books and DVDs, stuff we needed, and lots of Christmas presents. But it is a good idea to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, so thanks! :-D
$19000 over 16-ish years? That is less than $1200 a year. Well done!
That’s a lot of fidget spinners.
I must have been living under a rock. I did not know those existed.
I want one!
Note to self: you just wrote a very public confessional. You can’t have a fidget spinner unless you promise to eat it and thus classify it as a consumable.
You got me interested about my Amazon spending and…. I am upset, it turned out we bought stuff that we didn’t need to :( In 2016 we made 52 orders, in 2017 – 9 so far – huge numbers.
Ah well, at least you know you are in excellent company. Most of us have been guilty of this at one point or another.
I feel like 40K may sound like a huge number, but if you changed all of your shopping (including clothes) for 9 years – that is a long time. Amazon provides great customer service, decent prices, and 2 day shipping. Who doesn’t want to buy that?
Neither of the Master Duke’s have purchases 40K worth, but I feel that if you wanted the items and still were hitting the milestones in your retirement plans, then you haven’t made a huge mistake in your life. If on the other hand, you were buying that much without savings/investing to hit your goals, it is a different story :).
Thanks for sharing !
“I feel that if you wanted the items and still were hitting the milestones in your retirement plans, then you haven’t made a huge mistake in your life”
That is the thing though. Those were the years that I did no investing outside of my 401k. Any other money that I saved sat in a Bank of America savings account losing value every day. The damage wasn’t terrible, but that is only because I am fortunate enough to have a high income coupled with relatively inexpensive tastes. If I had done that amount of mindless spending and bought Gucci instead, I would have been screwed.
I read portions of this post to my 14-year-old son to hear his take. His response?-“That’s not worth it. I’d rather save that money for college.” He shook his head and walked off. It warmed my heart to know that I’m teaching him to use money wisely! Thanks for sharing Mrs. Bita!
Excellent parenting right there. I hope I’m able to do as good a job with my toddler.
*Hangs head in shame because a 14 year old knows better than I did at 30*
SMART KID RIGHT THERE.
Great stuff here! I can relate to so much of it. “I was not one of the mindless mob who were suckered into always wanting, wanting and wanting more.” But alas! I was too! It’s SO great that you are sharing your “before” so that others can believe that an “after” is possible for them too. What I can’t relate to is the amount of money you’ve been able to save. Ay caramba! Our income is healthy – but not as healthy as yours. The issue of indebtedness includes this sobering reality: It’s so much tougher for people of limited means to break the cycle. But it CAN be done. Your Amazon story is fabulous! What a difference 2017 has brought : )
As obnoxious as this may sound there are days when I can’t believe the amount we save now either. The truth is that most of that is due to the fact that we are a double income household and we both have healthy salaries, and less due to any fantastic sacrifices on our parts. We have stopped mindless shopping, we eat out a tenth of what we used to – but really most of it is just the good fortune of being in an industry that pays a fair bit.
You are being very smart with your good fortune! Enjoy the freedom you’re setting up for yourselves!
I don’t even want to think about my Amazon total purchases to date. It’s like looking at a car crash, you don’t want to look, but you can’t look away! As a reformed shopaholic, I know I’ve made improvements recently, but the last few years I’m sure are awful!
The key is that it is in the rearview mirror. It will always sting a little, but it no longer has the power to truly hurt us.
I wish I could easily tell my number here as it might be interesting. The problem is in my case we signed up for a free review service a few years ago at uses Amazon as a delivery service. My order number is thus closer to 1000 a year. Our actual purchases, based on perusal, seem to be more of the necessity nature. Cat litter and food. Paper towels. Etc. So I guess I’m not so much concerned as it’s all stuff I need to buy where Amazon gave the best deal. Still it’s important to keep an eye on as one click can be dangerous.
Was that a side hustle of sorts?
That is our new life too. Amazon = necessities + the occasional want instead of daily wants + next to no necessities.
Brave & interesting post! I give you credit for your courage in writing it. Of course I too had to check my Amazon history.
2012: 5 orders total $409.53 (all 5 were items to renovate our bathroom)
2013: 3 items total $59
2014: 4 items total $141.27
2015: 1 item total $5.76
2016: 0 items
2017: 0 items
So I’m in the minority & somehow I’ve survived life without catching the Amazon buzz! I know, Amazon is the “in thing” for buying paper products, pet food, etc but my husband works next door to Walmart & I make the 8 mile trip to our grocery/dollar stores twice a month to stock up on sale items & I constantly use coupons/store loyalty cards. Just bought 2 cans of franks & beans for 1 cent each at Dollar General (last 2 cans they had). I swear it’s the truth & they don’t expire until 2020. Also bought several cans of Armour Potted Meat barbecue, 22 cents per can which don’t expire until 8/2018. I just love their “clearance” tables. Thanx for sharing & baring your soul & wallet to us!
Impressive!! Walmarts are like the Amazons of the real world anyways :)
Thank you Debbie! You and I are just opposites – you are barely familiar with Amazon, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve entered Walmart : )
Girl, you crack me up! Of course, now I have to go on and see what my previous Amazon orders will add to. I am certain it won’t come close to 40k but will be interesting none the less.
The real question is how much of that stuff did you really need? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in it! For someone like me who detests shopping, I am more prone to see something in a magazine or out in public (I just chased a woman down in the airport to see where she got her bag…) and immediately go on Amazon to find it. When I do, if it’s cheap ($10 or under) I might buy it right away. If it’s over the 10 buck mark I put it in my cart and let it sit until I check in again. I have found most times I go back and wind up deleting whatever it was from my cart. Consumerism is a tough habit to break!! If we give our selves time to push pause instead of pull the trigger we wouldn’t buy half the shit we do. So tell me…what was the most ridiculous Amazon purchase during that time??
This would be interesting to go through myself. Amazon is my source of heavy and bulky items and kindle books. I buy things for my business there, too. It’s definitely an easy trap though. The ease of spending suckers you.
Yep, it is 1-click all the way to the poor house if one is not watchful.
I had to comment and say thank you Mrs BITA. We had 200K worth of Amazon stock ha-ha no totally joking! I agree with some of the commenters above, $40K in the grand scheme of things is not too much. Babies happen :-) If you are able to sell some of the things back that’s pretty groovy too!
My husband and I had a grand old time wrestling with the recycling bin too when we ordered our bedroom set from Amazon. Weird that our spending on Amazon correlates to how full the bin is…;-)
It especially irks me when they ship you teensy tiny things in giant boxes. Yes, I absolutely needed to spend 20 minutes cutting down a box that contained a keychain : /
I have $3.2 Million in Amazon stock so it all helps.
You are most welcome : )
I’m the reverse, I intentionally order things one by one and ask for delayed shipping (we have Prime) so we get the $1 digital credit. :)
2014 – 173
2015 – 194
2016 – 242 (we started sharing our account with my sister so it’s not ALL ours)
2017 – 72
Though we still comparison shop and buy where it’s cheaper. You can’t look at one metric and make sweeping determinations (which is why you had to dig deeper). We saved a ton on gas and trips to stores. :)
I’ve got that credit a few times, and generally let it lapse because I forget all about it : /
And you are right – Amazon used ‘right’ is a most excellent tool.
We do own stock in Amazon and also sell there (and eBay) as a side hustle. Last year we had $60,000 in sales for taxable profits of $27,000. We will often purchase items online at lower cost and resell them on Amazon for good margins, both new and used merchandise. With Prime, people are willing to pay $10 extra just to get 2 day “free” shipping. Most filter the search for “Prime” only. Wait 7 days for a book? No way! Lets overpay! We are able to send a large box of 15-30 items into an Amazons fulfillment center for $5-$10 total and when things sell, Amazon ships it out “Prime”. We get paid every Sunday via direct deposit from Amazon While we are very frugal, we use the average Americans consumerism to propel us towards financial independence. We made an additional $6000 around Christmas selling overpriced junk just on Amazon.
“We use the average Americans consumerism to propel us towards financial independence” – Hah! And unfortunately that’s not slowing down anytime soon…
I had 161 orders last year, whoops! I figure if its cheaper and easier than going to Target or Wal-Mart I’m ok with it. But I’ve definitely cut back in 2017 and focusing more on minimalistic lifestyle instead of hyper-consumption!
I got rid of Prime, and I’m ordering a lot less stuff. My husband still has it, if we need to order something for the house, but not having free two-day shipping on my own account makes me think twice about placing an order. It seems ridiculous to both be paying the $90 a year, but we were for years!
I don’t even want to look at how much I have spent on Amazon over the last year. But when I dropped out of university, I decided that (as I wouldn’t be spend £30,000 on a degree) I could spend whatever I wanted on books, provided I always buy the cheapest version available.