Welcome to my CamelCamelCamel tutorial! This website is incredible, and in this article I’ll explain how I use it to save 20% on pretty much all of my Amazon purchases. If you’re anything like me, these savings can add up to hundreds of dollars per year in savings!
Now, a lot of people don’t realize this, but Amazon has a secret… The secret is that the prices you see on Amazon are totally volatile – they change all the time! Their prices change almost as often as the stock market. They increase and decrease all to match the whims of online shoppers. For example, Amazon increases the price of decorations a few months before Christmas, and decreases the price of camping equipment after summer has ended. All of these price changes are designed to squeeze the most money possible out of us, their customers.
I first became aware of this years ago, back in university. Being a frugal university student, I would often shop for textbooks online instead of buying them at the university store. Over time, I noticed that the textbooks I needed would be most expensive right before the semester began. I realized that I would usually be able to buy my books at a sizable discount if I waited just a few weeks into the start of the semester. Doing all of this tracking to see if I was getting a good deal was time consuming. Eventually I stumbled upon CamelCamelCamel and I started getting great deals on far more than just text books.
In this CamelCamelCamel tutorial, I’ll explain everything you need to know to start saving hundreds of dollars per year on your Amazon purchases. For starters, CamelCamelCamel is a price tracking website. Founded way back in 2008, it has since grown to serve over 1 million users in their quest to get the best deal possible on Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, CamelCamelCamel makes their money by earning a small commission whenever you buy an item using their website.
Finding Something You Need
Let’s say you have a lawn. An ugly lawn that you need to make look presentable. So what do you do? You browse YouTube, read some blogs, and learn that aerating is an awfully good way to improve your lawn. So, still in the comfort of your own home, you search Amazon for lawn aerator. Here’s what you find:
Not bad. It’s got some good reviews. It comes from a reputable business. The only problem is the price: “Jeez, $94, why can’t I get it for a little cheaper?” Well, before you go clipping coupons, let me explain how you can do just that.
The Camelizer Browser Extension
The first step to make your life easier (and more affordable) is to get the “Camelizer” browser extension. This browser extension will pay attention whenever you visit Amazon and will provide you with the tools you need to save money on your purchases.
After you’ve downloaded the Camelizer, you’ll be able to pull up a historical view of the price of your item:
Looking a little closer, this chart reveals that at $94 we’re not really getting a good deal on our purchase. If we’re able to holding out for just a little while, we should be able to get a better price.
By using the Camelizer we’re able to enter in a price that we would like to pay. To make things easier, the Camelizer gives you some options: 10% off, 25%, all the way down to 90% off.
Now, I haven’t been lucky enough to buy something for 90% off, but I do regularly get things for 20% off or better. I entered $67.36 as my desired price for this item. This amounts to a cool 29% off the current price.
The CamelCamelCamel Website
Now comes the waiting game. You have to understand that Amazon updates thousands upon thousands of their prices every day. But for this particular item, they only update the price every few weeks. This is where patience is key. In the meantime, I check the CamelCamelCamel website to see my item in my watch list:
From here I can update my desired price, see a more detailed price history, and browse for other related items. In fact, you can do pretty much all of your Amazon shopping through the CamelCamelCamel website. You only have to click-through to Amazon when you want to make a purchase.
Price Drop Alert!
After a few short weeks I receive an exciting email. It’s from CamelCamelCamel – my price alert has triggered!
From this email I can click the “Buy now” button which will take me to Amazon. From there I can complete my purchase. Since I’m buying at $66.83, I’m saving a total of $27.88 off the original price of $94.71. That’s a savings of 29%!
And this isn’t a one off. I use CamelCamelCamel every time I shop on Amazon. This year I’ve already received dozens of price alerts for items that have decreased in price 10%, 20%, 30% or more. One recent example is for my wife’s face cream:
This is a great example of an item whose price changes extremely frequently. It bounces around between $19 and $26 multiple times per month! If you’re smart enough to check its price history, you’ll know to hold out until it falls back down to $19 before making a purchase.
You need to follow a few simple steps to get the most out of CamelCamelCamel:
- Always use the Camelizer to check price histories.
- Create a watch list of items you want.
- Be patient.
By checking price histories you can figure out when’s the best time to buy an item. Using that knowledge, you can decide whether it’s worth purchasing it today, or if you’d rather wait until there’s a better price.
This is how I shop. There are so many things I want but that I don’t need right now. For these items, I simply add them to my watch list, and wait for their price to drop significantly before I make a purchase. I currently have dozens of items added to my watch list. I often add a few more every time I shop on Amazon!
It Pays to Save
I have saved over $2,000 since I started to use CamelCamelCamel. Looking back at my purchase history, I can see that I saved close to $400 in 2019 alone. Take a look how:
As you can see, my Amazon spending really kicked into high gear in November. This is when I started pulling the trigger and bought a lot of items from my watch list. A lot of these purchases were gifts for family and friends over the holiday season – things like board games, beauty products, and household goods. The exact amount saved on Amazon purchases last year was $397. The total amount of money I spent on Amazon in 2019 was $1,788. Overall, I saved a little over 22% on all of my Amazon purchases last year. The majority of the purchases I made using CamelCamelCamel actually gave me more than 22% in savings. There were a few purchases that didn’t yield any savings through CamelCamelCamel, and so that dragged down my total amount saved by a few percentage points.
In 2020 I’ve been off to a slow start, but things are starting to pick up! So far I’ve saved $77 on my Amazon purchases. This represents a savings rate of approximately 27% on $288 in purchases.
The convenience of Amazon’s marketplace is more important than ever. With COVID keeping us at home more often, my family has been browsing Amazon for deals and household items far more than usual. Because of this, I expect to save even more than the $400 I saved last year on my Amazon purchases.
Shopping online has never been more necessary. It’s really the best way to get the goods you want, all while not having to deal with hand sanitizer, face masks, and the risk of contracting COVID. I hope that sharing my experiences in this CamelCamelCamel tutorial has helped you discover a better way to shop on Amazon.
I hope you enjoyed my CamelCamelCamel tutorial! If you have, please leave a comment and sign up for my monthly newsletter! Follow me on my journey as I strive to reach financial freedom. Check out the start of my journey, here. Also, consider reading some of my other popular articles. Some great choices include my primer on withholding taxes for Canadians and my review of the best Canadian dividend ETFs!
Do you use CamelCamelCamel? If not, what are your strategies for saving money online?