Ways to Save Money

Don’t Have Amazon Prime? Qualify for Free Shipping With These 7 Smart Buys

August 7, 2015
by Lyndsee Simpson
Contributor

We’ve all been there: You need another $6 worth of stuff to cross the $35 threshold and get free shipping on Amazon, but you don’t want to waste money on something you’ll never use.

Until you’re ready to splurge on Amazon Prime (free shipping all the time!), take a look at our round-up of items under $10 that you won’t be sorry you bought.

1. A Practical Purchase

Start by whipping out your grocery list. Anything on there you can get on Amazon? You’ll find a surprising number of household items at the mega retailer.

If you’re looking for something you’d probably buy anyway, check out some first aid supplies. Because no one wants to come up short when in need of a bandaid.

Or get some lip balm to replace the 300 other tubes you know you have but can never find (just me?). Or splurge on a pack of Magic Erasers. They truly are magical. And grab a stain stick to spread the cleaning love to your clothing too.

2. A New Food

Once you’ve exhausted your go-to items, it’s time get creative and add some fun to your home cooking game. Looking at my own budget, the biggest area of savings is in the “eating out” column.

Just cooking at home one more night a week would save me around $120 a month. If a $4 pack of saffron is going boost my will to cook this week, it’s totally worth it. Paella for days!

How about some fancy sea salt? Bonus points because it’s naturally pink and comes from the Himalayas. Or maybe a tropical snack and some hippie snack bars.

And here’s my top foodie pick: Get the ingredients for dinner in a single shot with a pack of artisanal pasta shapes and a bottle of sauce. I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but that’s a solid meal!

3. An At-Home Spa Treatment

Rather than spending $75 on a trip to the spa, drop a couple of bucks to try a new beauty treatment at home. Amazon has hundreds of beauty products you won’t find at your local CVS, at prices that rival any drug-store aisle.

With a typical mani-pedi running upwards of $50, a few supplies more than pay for themselves.

Get your nails pool-ready with a pumice stone and a bottle of nail polish in a new color. Or get your facial on with a new age face sponge or a peel-off mask. Change up your makeup game with some eyeliner or a magic serum to keep your foundation in place. Or keep it practical with some time-saving dry shampoo or blotting sheets.

4. That Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read

Amazon has tons of cheap books. If you still enjoy the smell of the occasional old-fashion paper book (raises hand), get browsing!

How about one you were supposed to read in high school? Or pick up one that’s about to be a Matt Damon movie, one you can color in, or one that’s just plain good.

5. A Crafty Combination

Fill your downtime with some wallet-friendly crafting instead of a pricy night out. Amazon has all kinds of supplies to fuel your creativity (and you might be able to whip up some gifts in the process, netting you additional savings and serious brownie points for thoughtfulness).

Keep it simple with some washi tape to spruce up, well, pretty much anything. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, this felted wool fox kit is adorable. Or pick up a bottle of gold leaf and go crazy (dishes and jewelry and bookends. Oh my!).

6. A Treat for Your Home Base

Or what about spending a few dollars to spruce up the house? Whether you buy or rent, small tweaks can make your habitat more cozy — maybe even so cozy you’ll want to stay in instead of going out!

I bought this picture-hanging kit to finally deal with those prints I’ve been meaning to put up since I moved in three years ago.

You might also freshen up the rooms with some essential oils. Get serious about relaxation with a mini sound machine. Or get even more relaxed by upping your cocktail game with some globe ice cube trays.

7. A Wild Card

If you’re still struggling to get $4.68 worth of items in your cart, it’s time to get weird. You need to find something you didn’t know existed, but can’t live without.

Consider a scarf holder, a pineapple slicer/de-corer (use it to make these tiki drinks!), a chic BPA-free water bottle, an unexpected air freshener. My pick is the world’s cutest soup ladle.

Just don’t buy a cowboy hat for your dog. No one needs that.

Your Turn: Will any of these ideas make it into your cart? What would you add to cross the finish line and get free shipping?

Disclosure: We appreciate you letting us include affiliate links in this post. It helps keep the beer fridge stocked in the Penny Hoarder break room.

Lyndsee Cordes is a writer, editor and Amazon Prime holdout living in Washington, D.C. She asked her Facebook friends what under-$10-item they would buy, and this was the consensus. It should arrive on Monday.

by Lyndsee Simpson
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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