Want to Make Easy Money? Stop Wasting What You Already Have

Whether you have personal gripes with Jeff Bezos or the ever-growing invasiveness of Alexa products, Amazon is still a massive player in the online shopping space. The fact that their product catalogue continues to grow day-by-day only adds to their dominance. As jealous as we may be of the ex-CEO’s net worth, we too can make some money off of Amazon — or rather keep the money we already have in our pockets because of Amazon.

You might need a new HDMI cable, so you go over to your local Best Buy (or any other electronics store) to pick up a 6-foot cable for $25 — actually, $20 since it’s ‘on sale’ for $5 off the MSRP. “Not bad,” you think. If you were to go on Amazon, you could get a 6-foot AmazonBasics HDMI cable for $8; this one is nylon-braided for extra reinforcement, too. A standard 10-foot Lightning charging cable for your iPhone is $20 at Best Buy, where-as you can save about $5 and get a better quality cable just by purchasing it on Amazon.

This AmazonBasics cable is $5 cheaper and offers extra reinforcement. Amazon

A full-motion wall mount for your television? You know, the ones that allow you to move your TV side-to-side? $200 for a Best Buy-branded mount that fits 40"-75" TVs. The same exact mount is being sold on Amazon for $140. This is actually made more amusing when you consider that this Rocketfish mount is part of Best Buy’s personal, private brand. Better yet, though, there’s an AmazonBasics full-motion mount for $55.49. That one actually works with more TVs (32"-80").

If you were to buy that Rocketfish mount on Amazon, you would be saving $60 compared to buying it on Best Buy. If you were to buy the AmazonBasics mount, it would save you about $150. That’s a lot of money to save for getting a similar-functioning product. There really is nothing to lose by doing so considering how generous Amazon is with returns. Imagine all the money that you could save little-by-little if you just looked a bit harder and did some research on the product.

Cost Analysis

Let’s run through a more thorough example that you may actually encounter in real-life. I think this would give you a better idea of how much money either you or someone you know could save. We’ll pretend like we’re in the market for an iPhone 12 Pro Max. While the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue easily, you need this phone. It’ll change your life, you say. Let’s buy it.

Physical hardware typically doesn’t have much variation (if any, at times) between retailers. That’s because manufacturers like Apple set hard prices on their products, or distrubutors like Amazon or Best Buy sell them at a loss to get you into their stores/marketplaces to hopefully buy other things, like accessories. Those accessories are a goldmine for them. The $25 6-foot HDMI cable you might buy from Best Buy costs them only a few dollars to make. Thus, accessories are very high on margins and profitability.

Your shiny new iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple

So you buy your iPhone 12 Pro Max somewhere for $1,099. You get the 128GB model in the Pacific Blue colorway. Your phone comes with a Lightning-to-USB-C charging cable, but of course they don’t include a charging brick anymore. Your phone is capable of 20-watt fast charging now, compared to the 18-watt speeds your last one had. Thus, you need a new charger. You also want a decent rubber case as well as a tempered-glass screen protector. Oh, you need a new car charger, too, because your daughter took yours to college. A wireless charger might be nice for the office — sure, why not?

20W Fast Charger at Best Buy: $19 (Apple)

20W Fast Charger at Amazon: $18 (Apple), $12 (third party)

Clear, non-MagSafe Silicone Case at Best Buy: $50 (OtterBox)

Clear, non-MagSafe Silicone Case at Amazon: $9 (third party)

Temp. Glass Screen Protector at Best Buy: $20 (2PK, Best Buy brand)

Temp. Glass Screen Protector at Amazon: $6 (3PK, third party)

30W USB-C + USB-A Car Charger at Best Buy: $25 (Best Buy brand)

30W USB-C + USB-A Car Charger at Amazon: $17 (AmazonBasics)

15W Fast Wireless Charger at Best Buy: $40 (Belkin)

15W Fast Wireless Charger at Amazon: $21 (AmazonBasics)

Excluding taxes, you’d pay $154 for all those accessories at Best Buy and $65 on Amazon. Thus, being mindful and doing a bit of research can save you about $100 just when it comes to your phone! I’m sure there are many other things you might buy throughout the year that you could search for and buy on Amazon’s marketplace. You can buy things like batteries, snacks, pens, and more. I know a lot of people that grab energy drinks from a gas station almost every morning. For a Monster or Bang energy drink, you might pay about $3 for a single can. If you were to do that for a whole month, you’d spend about $100. You could save about $70 by purchasing a 24-pk of Monster drinks for $34 on Amazon!

Being Mindful With Your Purchasing Habits

I probably come off as having been paid by Amazon to write this. I promise you, they didn’t pay me or even contact me (though if you are reading this, Amazon, know that the Fire Phone sucked and Google Assistant > Alexa). I just try to be mindful of where my money is going. Having worked at a store like Best Buy for several years, I felt bad when people paid through-the-roof for accessories they may not have had an immediate need for. I understand supply-and-demand may justify a physical store being able to charge higher prices since the products are immediately available compared to the wait-time from online marketplaces. However, with Amazon’s rapid expansion, free One-Day (or same-day) shipping with Prime is becoming a reality for many.

Regarding the comparisons I listed above (for example, the price of a phone case at Best Buy vs. the price of a case at Amazon), I actually tried to do my research on those products and their prices. I didn’t just pick the least-expensive products on Amazon to make the difference as large as possible. I listed a $21 wireless charger while knowing there are much cheaper ones on Amazon. Why? Well, because I took the time to analyze their features and also read the reviews — especially the 1-star reviews — of the products I linked. I posted a recent story about my experience with review manipulation on Amazon and how a lot of these off-brand manufacturers will give out free products in exchange for fake five-star reviews. I’m aware that that happens, and I know that even terrible products can be rated 4.8/5.

So no, I have not been trying to deceive you in any way. You might be able to save even more than $100 on your phone’s accessories if you’re okay taking a risk on a new, un-tested product. I even considered that a lot of USB-C accessories advertise things that they can’t do. Benson Leung, a software engineer at Google, has been a champion for the USB-C standard and advocates for more accessibility and clarity with Type-C products. I even kept his efforts in mind while recommending you third-party products and still managed to save you about $100 on your phone accessories.

Imagine all the money you could save by just looking to Amazon, or merely being mindful and comparing prices in general. It all totally adds up. You may not think a savings of $5 is a lot, but if you were to buy 40 things throughout the year and could easily save $5–10+ on each of them, you could save enough money to either buy a few new PS5 games or just a PS5 entirely (FreeS5?). Try seeing how much you can save on your next purchase! It can be both fun doing a quick bit of research and very rewarding when you find a solid-performing, inexpensive product.

I just like to speak my mind.

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