- Amazon Prime has more than 100 million members.
- Amazon has become a go-to among its loyal customers for its deals, but they’re not always cost efficient.
- Consumer savings expert Jeanette Pavini of Coupons.com revealed to Business Insider what shoppers shouldn’t be buying on Amazon – at least, not without a little research first.
- Among the items you can find cheaper elsewhere: Beauty tools, kitchen supplies, and clothes.
Amazon is a powerhouse. It has mastered e-commerce so well that it’s acquired 100 million Amazon prime members globally, building a loyal consumer base that enabled it to successfully branch into other industries.
Aside from helpful customer service and speedy shipping, consumers flock to Amazon for its deals and lower prices.
Yet, not everything sold on Amazon is cheaper.
“Oftentimes you can find better prices at other retail outlets than Amazon, especially if there is a sale and a coupon,” consumer savings expert Jeanette Pavini of Coupons.com told Business Insider. “It only takes a few minutes to check and compare!”
With more than 20 years of experience, Pavini revealed just what you shouldn’t be buying on Amazon – at least, not without a little background check first.
“These are the items that I say before you press buy, do a little research,” she said.
Keep reading to check out the deals that aren’t always worth your money. All savings comparisons were based on Pavini’s research and may be subject to change.
Small kitchen appliances
Look no further than your nearest department store to stock up your kitchen with small appliances. They often have good deals, according to Pavini, who feels that Macy’s sometimes has the best deals thanks to their coupons and discounts.
For example, Pavini found a KitchenAid five-quart mixer for $276 on Amazon, but at Macy’s she was able to get one for $225 with a store sale and a rewards coupon.
And, if you’re ordering online, Macy’s often offers 20% off coupons or you can use a coupon code, says Pavini.
Don’t miss out on the prime time to shop for small kitchen appliance deals: during wedding season.
If you think you’ll get a bargain at Amazon on clothes, that may not always be the case.
For example, Men’s 501 Levi jeans were $30 on Amazon and $20 at Kohl’s, according to Pavini’s research.
“Plus with Kohls, a lot of the time, they will do Kohl’s cash,” she said. If you shop during a Kohl’s Cash earn period, you get $10 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend.
“Pet supplies are definitely worth checking,” said Pavini.
For example, a 20-pound bag of cat litter was $8.99 at Pavini’s local Safeway when she used her rewards cards. On Amazon, it was $11.99 – that’s a $3 difference.
Even if you don’t have a Safeway nearby, she suggests checking prices at any local grocery store, as most have rewards cards.
“Everyone has to do a rewards card for grocery shopping, without a doubt,” she said.
And don’t forget pet stores for all pet supplies. While they have a reputation of being pricey, pet stores often have loyalty programs and rewards you can take advantage of, Pavini said.
- Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
The cost of beauty doesn’t have to be so high if you look for beauty tools, such as hair dryers or hair straighteners, outside of Amazon.
Pavini found the Babyliss Pro curling iron for $39.99 at Amazon. It’s the same price at Bed Bath & Beyond, but with one of the retailers’ famous 20% off coupons, it’s around $32.
Just sign up for offers on Bed Bath & Beyond’s mailing list to get frequent coupons for 20% off or $20 of $75, among other deals.
If all else fails, the Babyliss Pro at Walmart was only $37.
The price of batteries on Amazon is far from energizing.
A pack of Duracell AA 20-count batteries at Amazon runs for roughly $17, according to Pavini. At Target, they were only $13.49.
And at Walmart, the deal gets even better – a 24-pack is $14.94. “It was less expensive, plus you got more,” Pavini said.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Pavini feels strongly that for food like cereal, especially for an average family, being a member of your local grocery store chain’s loyalty program and using coupons is the cheapest option.
“Usually with cereal, you’ll find a both a sale at the grocery store and a coupon,” Pavini said. “For example, Cheerios on Amazon were $3.49, but my grocery store will often have a buy-one get-one for Cheerios, and I usually have a coupon.”
- Julio Cortez/Getty Images
Americans spend enough on out-of-pocket healthcare. Don’t spend more on your health than you need to by cutting back costs for over the counter medications.
Pavini’s research found that a Claritin Liquid 30-count is $18.88 on Amazon. While it’s slightly more expensive at CVS for $19.99, with a $4 CVS coupon from Coupons.com, the total is $15.99.
Think twice before buying your next mascara or eyeliner at Amazon.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup Foundation SPF 20 1-oz. is $13.99 on Amazon, compared to the $10.99 price tag at Target, according to Pavini.
And at Rite Aid, you can save even more off its selling price of $11.24 when you use a $4 off coupon on Coupons.com, bringing the total to $7.24.
But there’s another reason Amazon may not be the best place to buy makeup, regardless of the price – a report from the Government Accountability Office earlier this year found counterfeit goods on Amazon that could be harmful to your health. On the list? Urban Decay makeup.
The average American family spends roughly $600 a year on cleaning supplies. It’s time to cut corners, and you can start by avoiding Amazon.
As Pavini explains, a 240-count of Lysol wipes costs $14.45 on Amazon, but only $8.84 at Walmart. Amazon also had a 225-count of Lysol wipes for $10.64, so it’s still more money and 15 less wipes. That’s not what we would call a bang for your buck.