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6 Amazon Items Frugal People Never Buy

Jorge Villalba / Getty Images
Jorge Villalba / Getty Images

Shoppers flock to Amazon for convenience, free shipping, generous return policies and a seemingly infinite inventory of just about every piece of merchandise imaginable. And, in many cases, Amazon offers the most choices at the lowest price.

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But frugal shoppers know that it’s best to buy some things elsewhere, because other sellers can do better on cost, quality, authenticity or return policies. While Amazon is a one-stop shop for just about everything, penny-pinching shoppers avoid the following items at all costs.

Iakov Filimonov /
Iakov Filimonov /

Bulk Items

If you have a membership to Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s, you’d be wise to stick with those stores for the super-sized shopping format they made famous.

“Frugal shoppers tend to avoid buying bulk items from Amazon due to often inflated per-unit pricing compared to warehouse club stores or bulk-specific online retailers,” said online shopping expert Steve Pogson, founder of e-commerce growth agency First Pier in Portland, Maine.

“While Amazon’s convenience is unparalleled, the cost savings of buying in bulk can be significantly under-realized if not compared with these alternative outlets. My analysis of purchase trends reveals that savvy consumers can save substantially by doing a bit of legwork to compare bulk item prices across platforms,” he added.

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Brand-Name Beauty Products

Pogson also said that frugal shoppers avoid beauty products with familiar labels from Amazon, albeit for different reasons than bulk items.

“The platform’s marketplace can sometimes be a hotbed for counterfeit items or products that are near or past their expiration dates,” he said. “Leveraging my e-commerce insights, I’ve seen brand-conscious consumers prefer to purchase directly from authorized retailers or the brands’ own websites. Not only does this ensure product authenticity, but it also often comes with brand guarantees and return policies that are more favorable to the consumer.”

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frantic00 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
frantic00 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

High-End Fashion

Online shopping expert Sarib Rehman, founder of e-commerce platform Flipcost, sees similar logic steer frugal shoppers away from buying expensive fashion products from Amazon.

“High-end fashion and luxury items on Amazon are often areas of contention regarding authenticity,” said Rehman. “Despite Amazon’s efforts to combat counterfeit goods, the risk still exists. Dedicated luxury retailers, both online and offline, not only guarantee authenticity but also provide a shopping experience and customer service that Amazon cannot match. This ensures shoppers get the value and assurance they deserve when investing in higher-priced items.”


Off-Brand Tech Accessories

Thrifty shoppers prefer to drop a little extra on quality items once instead of spending more in the long run by replacing cheaper versions that wear out too quickly. That’s why when shopping on Amazon, they’re known for bypassing tech accessories not manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

“This is informed by data pointing to the inconsistent quality and performance of generic or aftermarket tech accessories found on the platform,” said Pogson. “Instead, savvy shoppers opt for either direct purchases from OEMs or reputable tech stores online. This strategy not only guarantees the compatibility and quality of the accessories but also avails warranties that may not be honored when the item is purchased from third-party sellers on Amazon.”

Tina Zupancic / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Tina Zupancic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Expensive Exercise Equipment

Amazon might be the perfect place to buy a jump rope or pull-up bar, but budget-minded buyers go elsewhere for costly high-end fitness gear.

“While tempting, the buyer risks, in terms of returns, warranties and assembly services, often overshadow the convenience of doorstep delivery,” said Pogson. “Comparative shopping, in this case, extends to considering local sports and outdoor retailers that offer delivery and setup services, ensuring that the product is not only delivered but also correctly assembled and fully functional. This approach mitigates the inconveniences associated with large, complex items and often results in better long-term satisfaction.”

Anikona / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Anikona / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Perishable Goods

While Amazon offers good deals on many shelf-stable foods, budget-wise shoppers often steer clear of perishables, “particularly those requiring careful handling or temperature control,” said Rehman. “While Amazon offers convenience, local grocery stores or direct suppliers often provide these items at a better price and with assurance regarding their freshness.”

The same goes for fresh flowers, many of which get mediocre reviews on Amazon.

“Given the complexities and potential for dissatisfaction with the condition upon delivery, it’s prudent to source these items elsewhere,” said Rehman.

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This article originally appeared on 6 Amazon Items Frugal People Never Buy