The holiday shopping season arrives earlier each year. In 2021, it’s not just a retailer’s strategy to make you spend more money. Supply chain disruptions and chip shortages mean that purchasing specific items will be more difficult and more expensive.

Before you take out your wallet, smart crooks search for your hard-earned money. Amazon SMS scams will only get worse as we get closer to December. Tap or click to find ways to stop junk text and spam that really work.

The good old-fashioned robocalls are also in effect. If you pick up your phone and see an incoming call from that number, do not answer.

Here are some proven ways to get the freebies you want on a budget:

1. Get a discount on all new technology

Take a look around your house. Do you have older gadgets that you no longer use? Redeeming them can get you an Amazon credit or a decent discount on your next purchase. Even devices that don’t work may be eligible, so it’s worth checking out.

To do this, visit the Trade-in page and choose the category for your device. You can browse by device and model to see what type of credit you will get.

I have an older 1st gen Amazon Echo sitting in my garage that turns on and has no faults. This will net me a $ 25 Amazon gift card. Not bad for something I haven’t used in years.

Speaking of Alexa, she can do a lot more than tell you the weather. Use the digital assistant to schedule meetings, set reminders, and more. Tap or click here for 21 Alexa commands you’ll use over and over again.

2. Request their wishlists now

Planning is tricky when you don’t know what to get your family and friends. Instead of delving into text messages later, have your loved ones create Amazon wishlists.

They can do this through their accounts or your shared family account. To create a wishlist:

• Go to your Amazon account page.

• Click on Create a list in the yellow box. Give it a name and choose Create a list.

• You can add articles directly from this page or on an individual product page.

• On a product page, look below for purchasing options on the right. You will see Add to list.

• Click it drop down arrow and choose the right list.

To share a wishlist:

• Navigate the list page. From the home page, hover over Accounts and Lists > Your lists.

• At the top, click Send list to otherss.

• To choose Show only Where View and edit. The second option allows someone to add or remove items.

• Share by copying link or email.

Pro tip: New lists are private by default, but you can have wishlists connected to your profile that are available to anyone who finds them. Tap or click here and scroll to # 3 for the steps to secure your wishlists.

3. Use declining gift cards

Going through my wallet and my desk drawers, I have a handful of Amazon gift cards with only a few dollars on them. You could too. Instead of throwing them away, add them to your account. Hey, every dollar counts.

• Find the claim code, which is usually 14 or 15 characters long and usually contains letters and numbers.

• Go to Redeem a gift card.

• Enter your claim code and select Apply to your balance.

4. Use promo codes to save even more

If you shop on Amazon without using a browser extension or third-party site to help you get discounts, you are wrong. There are several solid options.

• Capital One Shopping provides simple coupon codes that instantly apply to your cart at checkout. You can even get exclusive rewards at your favorite stores and earn credits to redeem for gift cards.

• The price of Camelcamelcamel extension tracking drops on Amazon so you don’t have to refresh yourself.

• The Honey browser extension can help you find coupons on products sold by Amazon. It can also automatically apply discounts as soon as you checkout.

You can even set a Google alert if you’re looking for a specific product. Tap or click here and scroll to “Continue to follow” for simple steps.

5. Get Amazon Prime for less

Amazon Prime is expensive, especially if you don’t use it a lot. If you order often, it is worth it in shipping cost alone. Tap or click to access all the other great perks.

There are several ways to save a few dollars or even get Amazon Prime for free:

• Pay a year in advance instead of breaking it down into monthly payments. A monthly payment of $ 12.99 will set you back over $ 150 per year, compared to the one-time fee of $ 119 for an annual subscription.

• Buy only one month. If you don’t buy a lot from Amazon, only keep a subscription for a month or two while you shop.

• If you choose the right time, you can also take advantage of a free trial. Tap or click here to try Prime free for 30 days.

• Those who qualify can get Prime for just $ 5.99 per month. This includes people receiving government assistance programs, such as electronic benefit transfer cardholders. Tap or click here to see if you qualify.

Tap or click here for the full list and direct links to discounted prices.

Now, let’s talk about spoilers. You don’t want to waste time and cash in on a big surprise that gets spoiled before opening the presents.

6. Hide your searches

There is nothing worse than when our technologies attack us. Take pesky targeted ads. Let’s say I buy my husband a watch. There is a good chance that we both start receiving advertisements because we share an IP address. Tap or click here for a simple trick to stop this: Incognito mode.

On Amazon.com, your search history may betray you. It’s a good idea to remove freebies from your browsing history. Hover your cursor over Account and Lists. Under Your account, click on Navigation history. A list of the items you have viewed will appear. For each item you want to hide, tap Remove from view.

You can also turn off browsing history completely. At the top of this page, click Manage history. To fall over Browsing history disabled.

While you are delving into the settings, it’s time to make your account more secure. Tap or click for 5 changes to make to your Amazon account.

7. Also hide your orders

Once you tap buy a gift, you can also keep it a secret.

Hover your cursor over Account and Lists > Your account and click on Orders. Find the order you want to hide and click Archiving order. This will remove the item from immediate viewing in your order history.

It is important to note ; archived orders can still be viewed by going to the Your account page and selecting Archived Orders.

PRIVACY 101: 8 Ways Google Constantly Invades Your Privacy – And How To Fix It

Bonus Tip: Digital Life Hacks: Smart Digital Tips You Need To Know

Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player.

Over the years, I’ve made it my mission to share tips and quick tips to make your digital life easier. It’s all of those clever hacks that you won’t find buried in a user manual. In this episode, my team and I share smart new tech know-how, ranging from a more secure way to share passwords to the digital transformation of your handwritten notes.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.

Check out all the latest tech on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.


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