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Camels: Reduce Your Buy It For Life Costs (Subtitle: Get Cheaper Prices on Amazon.com)  RSS feed

 
Josh Kunkel
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Location: Central Texas
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To start, let's work with possible definitions for camel:

Camel
[kam-uh l] /ˈkæm əl/
Spell Syllables
• Examples
• Word Origin
noun
1. either of two large, humped, ruminant quadrupeds of the genus Camelus, of the Old World.
Compare Bactrian camel, dromedary.
From <http://www.dictionary.com/browse/camel>

Or a personal definition: (In Triplicate) A website that tracks the cost of items on amazon.com

Hmmm, I wonder which of the uses of camel will be discussed here as a way to cut homestead (or farm, or personal) costs?  I am referring to www.camelcamelcamel.com the website that tracks historic and current prices of items on Amazon.

Most of us have a wish list of items that we would love to have for our work. In my context this list  consists of heirloom quality devices and tools that are mostly low tech that can make a real difference in our efforts of homesteading and farming. Our list doesn't have plastic or shiny doodads, it has well made, durable, time tested tools that can leverage our work efforts with more efficient results. With this quality comes inevitable higher cost, I simply cannot afford to buy everything on this list now. I found a way to get the costs reduced by using camelcamelcamel to tell me when things on my list are on sale. Note (and this is really important): I always try to work with smaller vendors whenever possible, there are active members of this forum that I have purchased items from. Sometimes I do buy things from amazon, this posing is to share how I do it for less money.

Have you ever noticed an item in an amazon wish list has a notation that a price went up or down? It happens all the time, but the changes I typically notice are not by much, say a few percentage points up or down. The prices on Amazon can move in much bigger swings, and there is a way to be notified when they come way down. I created a free account at camelcamelcamel and set alerts for prices for items for our farm. 

This is a screen shot of camelcamelcamel in action:



Check out the big price swings of this beautiful All American 41 1/2 quart pressure cooker/canner I tracked at camelcamelcamel:




Notice the lowest dip on the chart of $328.91? This is where the Camel really made a difference, by sending me an email to let me know my tracked price was met, this is a screen shot of that email:



Next I jumped on amazon and made the purchase:


By using camelcamelcamel I was able to get a tool that my children will fight over at a price that really made a difference to our tight budget. Had I logged in to Amazon and bought at the $464 range that it bounced around in for months it would have reduced our budget by $135 (Because I got it for $329). This goes a long way in helping us afford other tools.

This strategy works for items that we have time to wait for, but I also use camelcamelcamel to check costs of other smaller purchases that are needed sooner, just to see where it is in the price roller coaster. There have been instances where I've switched to a different brand of something smaller because the initial one I looked at was at an all-time high price.

-Josh


 
Ron Helwig
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Location: New Hampshire
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I wonder if you can combine this with purse.io to get it even cheaper. At Purse you will get at least a 5% discount but can get as much as 20-30%. I got my Wonder Wash (about $50) for an 18% (IIRC) discount.

The way Purse works is that some folks have earned a lot of Amazon credits but can't cash them out. So they buy the things on your wishlist for you and get paid in bitcoin. When you mark the list as being delivered, they get paid (it uses an escrow system).

So what I imagine you'd do to combine these is to wait until you see the price you like, then add it to a wishlist, then send it to purse. You would have to be careful about the timing though - if the discount is for a short time then you'd want to set your desired purse discount lower because higher discounts might take longer for someone to pick them up. But Purse itself does the 5% discount immediately, so you will almost certainly get that.
 
Josh Kunkel
Posts: 32
Location: Central Texas
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Interesting, I haven't heard about Purse before now.

Timing can be key with camelcamelcamel- I literally 'bottom fish' for the best deals, they typically don't last long. I recently (within a few months) missed a really low dip on a grain grinder I'm tracking because I didn't react quickly enough to my email from camel, the price was back up when I opened the link.

I would consider using Purse for items that don't have any historic really low dips, and track items that do have a history of low dips in camel and try to get the next dip. What are your thoughts on this?

-Josh


 
Deb Rebel
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camelcamelcamel is the only way to line camp Amazon. I have two food items I source through there and hubby has some rather specific shoes that he can wear, and all of those fluctuate in price so badly, it's the only way to score. You do have to literally answer the email when it comes in. I've seen the prices evaporate in like five minutes. ($56 and pocket change for his last shoes instead of $129.95.... and last year, scored $8.xx sun and safety glasses, they come in three shades, for $1.29 a pair)
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