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5 Ways Amazon Can Make Christmas Shopping Less Stressful

by Paige Estigarribia

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The holiday season is stressful. Yep, I said it. Don't get me wrong. I love the holiday season with all those lovely, yet temporary tree smells and the delicious pie-scented candles, but between cooking, candies, parties, gift lists, decorating and shopping, there's inevitably a task every day. Finding the time to get everything done before Christmas can be hard, especially when you're trying to balance work and family, too. Luckily, we live in the age of technology, and good old Amazon is there to give us a hand. I actually did a little digging on Amazon to see what kinds of things I could come up with for easy and economical gifts. Here are five areas of the site I'm thinking of trying out to ease the load this holiday season:

Today's Deals

On Amazon's homepage, there's a link that says "Today's Deals". Easy enough, right? In fact, it really is. "Lightening Deals" on Amazon could be great gift ideas. From jewelry to toys and even shoes, the discounted deals are there. But they don't last long, and some sell out quick. You can subscribe and "Never Miss a Deal" to make sure you can see and seal the deal before it's gone. Today's Deals included some beautiful jewelry that would be great (and not too pricey) for Christmas gifts.

Amazon Outlet

Here's yet another very cool and almost inconspicuous area of the Amazon site. If you click on departments and scroll down past all the departments to a section titled "Bargains," you'll find the "Outlet". The Outlet includes all kinds of mark-downs, from jewelry to electronics. If you're looking for something specific, it could definitely be worth a shot to search here first and see if you can find it (or something similar) marked down.

Price Matching

Yes! There is an even more inconspicuous spot where, legend has it, Amazon will occasionally (though not always) price match. For most items on Amazon, you can scroll down to Product Details. At the bottom of product details, there's a link that says "Tell Us about a Lower Price." Through this feature, you can tell Amazon about lower prices. They include language that says they can't always price match everything, but it would be worth it to see if it worked. I typed in a few toys that I'm thinking of getting my kids for Christmas just to compare prices myself. To submit feedback, you have to have an Amazon account, and they will ask additional information about where you found the other lower price.

Amazon Local

Also under "Today's Deals" is a section called "Local Deals" where Amazon has different discounted deals for restaurants and spas in the area. This could be a great spot to find museum passes, restaurant discounts, spa packages, and other local-type offers. It could be great for that brother-in-law who has always wanted to try the local rock-climbing gym.

Stick to your holiday budget by saving every dollar that you can! Receive cash back on your purchases when you use one or more of these 14 favorite cash back shopping sites.

Prime - 2-Day Free Shipping

I confess that I am an Amazon Prime member. The ease of being able to price-match different items on Amazon, and then buy them if they are less expensive is already appealing enough. But the fact that as a Prime member, I can get free two-day shipping is fantastic, especially during the holidays.

Just remember there is a yearly cost to be a Prime member ($99.00 per year), so make sure you balance out how much you use Amazon with the cost of being a Prime member.

Hopefully these tips will give you some ideas if you're running tight deadlines during the holidays. As you're making holiday lists and budgets, don't forget about the time- and cost-saving features of Amazon. The site is stocked full of neat deals.

As a final note, we don't want to mislead anyone. We are an Amazon affiliate, so if you use these Amazon links, we'll receive a tiny fraction of your purchase for referring you. Naturally, if you'll be buying through Amazon, we'd prefer that you do it through our links. But, it's more important to us that you be an informed consumer and make smart purchases.

Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.

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