Amazon is a great place to shop online, particularly if you’re an Amazon Prime member and can take advantage of free shipping for everything you need, or if you know the best Amazon hacks to save you money.
But Amazon isn’t always the best option for shoppers. Depending on what you’re looking for — or if you’re trying to save the most money possible — other retailers can be a better bet in some cases.
So, before you head to Amazon for your next order, here are some reasons you may want to skip the site and try something else.
It's not always the cheapest option
You may assume Amazon is always going to be the cheapest option, but that might not be the case. Instead, check out other sites online to see if you can get a better deal somewhere else.
Remember, retailers that specialize in a particular field may offer a better deal on some products than a one-stop shop like Amazon.
Buying from third-party sellers can be risky
Amazon has expanded its selection of products from third-party sellers in recent years, which has given it the ability to offer more options to buyers.
But you may want to check the reviews before you buy these products to see if any previous buyers have raised a red flag about such items being of low quality.
It’s too easy if you’re an impulsive buyer
Do you go into a store for an item and come out with five? Even more restrained buyers can be persuaded to pick up several items when there is such easy access to anything you need on Amazon.
Before visiting Amazon, set a budget to keep yourself from buying too much.
Packaging is a waste of resources
Sometimes you order several items and they all come neatly organized in a box. But there are other times when you buy a single item — a book, for instance — and it comes in a huge box, with yards of bubble wrap to keep it from moving around.
If you don’t want to participate in that extra plastic and cardboard waste, consider bundling several purchases — or just pick up that single book at the store.
Amazon Prime locks you in
An Amazon Prime membership may give you free shipping for a year, but it also can make you feel like you’re stuck buying Amazon products.
Unless you are ordering from Amazon because it really is the best option, you can be wasting money via your Prime membership.
Amazon Prime is expensive
In February, the cost of Prime increased to $139 a year, or $14.99 a month. So, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your membership if Prime costs more than any potential savings you get from it each year.
Pro tip: You can cancel Prime and later rejoin at any time. So, consider keeping the membership only for periods when you really need it, like around the holidays or during Amazon’s Prime Day events.
You have other retail memberships
Amazon Prime isn’t the only membership-based program offering great deals. A genius hack for Costco members is to use that warehouse retailer’s membership to get even better deals — or an even more generous return policy — than you might get on sites like Amazon.
Rewards programs at places like Target or Walmart also might offer additional deals that Amazon can’t match.
Amazon has free shipping for orders of $25 or more
Are you one of those shoppers who bundles their Amazon orders, only buying from Amazon when you need several items at once? In that case, a Prime membership may be more than you need.
After all, Amazon gives you free shipping on millions of items if you spend at least $25.
Prime Day deals aren’t always what you need
During Amazon’s famous Prime Day events, thousands of items are marked down for buyers. But it’s possible the things you really want aren’t on sale on those days.
Or, perhaps the “sale price” advertised on Prime Day is still more expensive than what you would pay if you bought the product from another online retailer. So, do some shopping around before you press the “buy” button on Prime Day items.
There’s a wait for your package
Buying products from Amazon knowing they will show up on your doorstep is convenient. But those items can take at least a day or two to get to your house, and sometimes longer.
You also may have to factor in additional issues — like high-volume shipping during the holidays — that could delay your package.
If promptness is a concern, you might be better off buying a product in person, or ordering from a retailer with a local brick-and-mortar store that offers same-day curbside pickup.
Before purchasing something at Amazon, look at other online retail sites to see if the online retail giant is really giving you the best deal.
And wherever you shop, remember to use one of the best rewards credit cards, which can put extra cash and other perks in your pocket.