Things to Think Twice About Before Clicking “Buy” on Amazon

Krystal Smith

It is hard to deny the convenience of Amazon, and it is equally challenging to reign in impulse buying on the number one shopping site. But before you get swept away in the retail wave, take a moment to consider if that purchase is essential. Here are 18 items to approach with caution on Amazon:

Trendy Gadgets and Gizmos

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Trendy gadgets, such as fidget spinners, egg white separators, and foot massagers, often gather dust in the back of a drawer. Do your research and be sure the item has lasting value or solves a specific problem before clicking “buy.” This will save you money and stop your home from becoming cluttered. 

Clothing and Shoes Without Trying Them On

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Online shopping can be convenient, but skip the hassle of returns by avoiding clothing and shoes you have yet to try on. Consider local stores or brands with generous return policies for better fit and quality assurance. If you are buying clothing online, stick to brands you are familiar with for the best chance of getting a good fit.  

Appliances Without Research

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Major appliances are a significant investment, so you shouldn’t rush into a purchase based on Amazon’s search results. Read independent reviews on other websites, such as Wirecutter, and compare features with your needs. When buying electronic goods, you should also check the energy efficiency before hitting “buy.”

Subscriptions You’ll Forget About

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Subscription boxes can be fun but can also become a financial drain if you forget to cancel. Be wary of free trials that automatically convert to paid subscriptions, and ensure you’ll honestly use the items before signing up. Signing up for subscriptions is easy to do on Amazon, so be careful to click through the payment pages carefully. 

Things You Can Get Locally

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Amazon is great when you need something on next-day delivery, but try to support your local businesses when shopping. You can save on shipping costs by purchasing groceries, household goods, and electronics from local stores. You might be surprised at the competitive prices and personalized service you find close to home, especially when buying books, as they are cheaper than they once were on Amazon. 

Impulse Buys Fueled by Reviews

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While reviews can be helpful, relying solely on them can lead to impulse purchases. Consider your needs and preferences, not just what online strangers share through affiliate links on social media. Stop asking yourself if you’d still buy the item if you couldn’t read any reviews.

Items with High Shipping Costs

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Remember hidden costs like inflated shipping fees, especially for bulky or heavy items. The item listed on Amazon may seem like a bargain, but the shipping fee is inflated. Sometimes, purchasing locally or finding the same item elsewhere with free shipping might be cheaper.

Open-Box or Refurbished Goods (Without Careful Scrutiny)

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While open-box or refurbished items can offer significant savings, proceed with caution. Thoroughly research the return policy, condition guarantees, and warranty coverage before investing in a potentially used item. It is easy to get sucked into the craze of open boxes, but make sure you don’t lose out. 

Personal Health Products and Medications

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It is always best to consult your doctor before purchasing personal health products or medications online. Some products might be counterfeit, ineffective, or dangerous if not obtained through proper channels. Some herbal products may interfere with prescription medication, so Amazon is only sometimes the best place to buy health products. 

DIY Projects You’re Not Sure About

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Don’t get carried away by the “I can build anything!” spirit. Consider your skills and resources before purchasing materials for complex DIY projects. Consider renting tools or hiring professionals for tasks beyond your expertise. There is a saying that goes, “If you buy cheap, you buy twice,” and this is often the case with Amazon purchases. 

Digital Goods with Hidden Subscription Fees

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Be wary of cheap ebooks, apps, or online courses with hidden subscription fees or auto-renewal charges. Read the fine print carefully and set reminders to cancel subscriptions before the trial period ends.

Emotionally-Driven Purchases

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You should avoid using Amazon as a coping mechanism when you are stressed or bored, much like you should not eat for the sake of eating. Take a walk, talk to a friend, or engage in a hobby instead of filling the void with impulsive purchases you might regret later.

Gifts Without Knowing the Recipient

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Consult the recipient before buying gifts online unless you know their preferences and needs. A generic gift from Amazon might feel impersonal and could easily miss the mark, and cheaply made custom items may not be to everyone’s taste. 

Items You Could Make or Repair Yourself

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Before resorting to Amazon, consider DIY solutions for simple repairs or alterations. You might be surprised at what you can fix or create with resourcefulness and elbow grease. Not only will this tactic save you money, but you will also do your bit for the environment. 

Anything You Can Wait For

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Instant gratification has its cost. You are likely to be in the habit of saying, “I’ll just check on Amazon,” and in a few clicks, you have an item arriving the next day. However, If you can wait a few weeks or months for an item, you might find better deals, save on shipping, or realize you didn’t need it after all. 

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