Amazon Coupon Hack: The “BIG” Secret To Getting the Most Bang For Your Buck

January 21, 2021 by Kyle
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As I’ve written about in the past, Amazon coupons are a strange bunch. Not only does the brain trust at Amazon make them hard to find but they require you to click the little button to have them added to your purchase. But what I discovered recently about their coupons was a real head-scratcher and I’m curious if any of you have had a similar experience, please leave me a comment if you have. Here’s a quick breakdown of what happened and a simple workaround hack to ensure you ALWAYS save the most money on Amazon.

Amazon Coupon Hack: The Secret To Getting the Most Bang For Your Buck

First, the Product in Question…

After some break-ins in my neighborhood I knew it was time to buy a couple security cameras for my home.

So after some research, I settled on the security camera in the screenshot above from Amazon.

The $20 coupon on the $49.99 camera kinda sold me, not gonna lie.

$30 bucks for a camera that does EVERYTHING I need it to do is a pretty sweet deal.

See Also: Amazon Coupons: Where To Find Them and Hacks for Success

I Wanted Two Cameras, So I Added Both to My Cart

BIG mistake.

Luckily, I happened to notice that only ONE $20 coupon was applied to my order.

I was expecting the coupon to be automatically added to both cameras for a savings of $40.

Turns out that is NOT how Amazon coupons work.

The Simple Solution…

So I knew there must be a quick workaround for this problem.

I started with the simplest solution and just created two separate orders and sure enough it worked.

The $20 coupon was added to each camera purchase and I was good-to-go.

Since I’m a Prime member I qualified for free shipping and I’m guessing both cameras will probably be delivered in the same box even though it’s technically two separate purchases.

Turns out this was an easy “Amazon coupon hack” that saved me a quick $20 with virtually no extra work on my part.

See Also: Always Check Quantity Pricing as Amazon Is Probably Messing With You

The Quick Math:

If I had completed my order and not noticed the $20 coupon was only added once I would have paid about $40 per camera.

But by placing two separate orders, and adding the $20 coupon to EACH, I paid only $30 per camera.

Pretty impressive math skills on my part, eh?

Moral of the Story?

When buying more than one of an item, and using a coupon, break it up into separate purchases.

If you’re NOT an Amazon Prime member, and the item sells for $35 (or more) and thus qualifies for free shipping, it makes sense to place 2 separate orders.

If the item sells for less than $35 you’ll want to factor in shipping costs and do the math on whether or not it’s worth it to use the coupon on 2 separate orders.

Ask the Reader: What’s your experience with Amazon coupons? Good, bad, or ugly?

By Kyle James

Panera Secret Menu: 12 Ways to Spice Up Your Next Meal

January 15, 2021 by Kyle
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Tired of ordering the same old chow from Panera Bread? Well I got some good news for ya. I went out and found 12 Panera secret menu items that will really spice up your next on-the-go breakfast or lunch. Most Panera employees can whip these up for you on the fly, but in case they can’t, I’ve included the ingredients as best I could. Enjoy.

Panera Secret Menu: 12 Ways to Spice Up Your Next Meal

1. Power Steak Lettuce Wraps

These steak lettuce wraps sound yummy but a little messy if you’re not careful.

You’ll get a bowl with leaves of romaine lettuce, sirloin steak, basil, tomato, onion, basil, and a lemon wedge.

You then use the lettuce and attempt to build your own wraps without making a mess.

These are a great secret menu meal for those on a low carb diet.

See Also: The Chick-Fil-A Secret Menu: Fun Ways to Spice Up Your Next Meal

2. Power Breakfast Egg Bowl w/ Steak

The Power Breakfast Egg Bowl w/ Steak is a great meal for those looking for high protein and low carbs.

Order it and you’ll get 2 poached eggs, sliced sirloin steak, tomatoes, and avocado.

Great meal to start your day and will surely fill you up until lunchtime.

3. Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad

Think of this one like a cobb salad with a yummy twist.

Order the Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad and you’ll get a salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, bacon, chicken, tomatoes, onions, hard boiled eggs, and sliced red onions.

The default dressing is lemon juice and olive oil which comes on the side.

Sounds tasty.

See Also: The Shake Shack Secret Menu Will Make You Drool

4. The “Chili-Mac”

According to Emma, a Panera employee, the Chili-Mac is a fav with employees at her location in the winter.

Apparently chili often makes it in the restaurant as a soup, so when you see it just have the employee mix it half-and-half with their famous mac n’ chasse and ENJOY the amazing combination.

5. Feta Mac & Cheese

Also from Emma, ask for Feta cheese to be mixed into the gooey goodness of the regular Panera mac & cheese for a nice little surprise.

I Emma employee might have a mac n’ cheese addiction…if I wasn’t happily married I just might look her up.

6. BBQ Avocado Flatbread

For a vegetarian secret menu idea try the BBQ Avocado Flatbread.

Just order the BBQ Chicken Flatbread but have them replace the chicken with smeared avocado.

Thanks to Emma for this one too!

See Also: The Subway Secret Menu Is Totally Awesome (and May Even Save You Cash)

7. Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad

This one sounds right up my alley as I LOVE Greek olives in my salad.

Order it and you’ll get spinach, lettuce, roasted turkey breast, red onion, tomatoes, and olives with a splash of lemon juice and olive oil.

Tip: Have them also add some Feta cheese and “take it to 100”.

8. Power Chicken Hummus Bowl

I recently discovered smoked bell pepper hummus and absolutely LOVE it it with crackers.

It’s my current go-to snack so this one really intrigued me and it sounds delicious.

Try the Power Chicken Hummus bowl from the Panera secret menu as a tasty way to spice up your next salad.

It’s comprised of chicken (of course), hummus, spinach, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lemon, and cilantro.

9. Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl w/ Turkey

This Panera “secret” concoction is basically a breakfast “protein salad” of sorts.

It comes with sliced roasted turkey breast, lightly fried egg whites, spinach, roasted peppers, topped with basil pesto.

It weighs-in at less than 200 calories but offers a whopping 25 grams of protein to help fuel you throughout the day.

10. Garlic Herb Spread

Only hardened regulars at Panera know that you can order a side of garlic herb spread.

Then according to Emma try dipping a baguette in it or try it on a sandwich or mix it in with your pasta.

Sounds delicious.

See Also: The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (Some of Which Will Save You Money)

11. The Sierra Turkey

Not all Panera employees are aware of the Sierra Turkey.

But if they are versed in this creation you’re in for a mouth watering treat.

Order it and you’ll get a roasted turkey sandwich on “asiago focaccia bread with our chipotle mayonnaise, red onions & smoked chicken & a couple other delicious ingredients.”

12. Avocado on Anything

If you love avocado you’re now officially aware that you can add avocado on anything.

Sometimes they’ll charge you extra for the avocado and sometimes they’ll add it at no extra charge, kinda depends on the item.

Ask the Reader: Do you know of any Panera Bread secret menu items that I missed? Let me know in the comments and I’ll happily give the item a try.

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

Did You Know Amazon Lets You Keep Some Items You Try to Return?

Updated January 12, 2021 by Kyle
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I was blown away the other day when Amazon told me to keep a product that I was trying to return. They happily refunded $15 to my credit card and actually told me that I didn’t have to send the item back. If I only had a use for 12″ hose clamps, then I’d be sittin’ in tall cotton. Here’s how the whole dealio went down and what Amazon told me when I pressed them on this strange phenomena.

Did You Know Amazon Lets You Keep Some Items You Try to Return?

Scenario #1

I recently ordered some hose clamps and failed to notice how big they were…turns out they were HUGE and completely unusable for my project I was working on.

So I hit up my Amazon account and started the return process.

As you can imagine I was quite surprised when I was told I would get full refund and NOT have to return the item.

So now I just have to figure out what to do with these ginormous 12″ hose clamps or find someone who can use them.

See Also: Amazon Return Policy: No More Confusion, Here’s EXACTLY How It Works

Scenario #2

Amazon chat session

As you can see from the screenshot above, it was a horse hoodie that my daughter didn’t like.

She never wore it and it still had the tags on it.

So, much to my surprise I was told to KEEP the item when I initiated the return.

And yes, I got a full refund as well.

This Was Not a One-Off…

Then a few days ago, Allison Gormly, a consumer investigative reporter with WINK News, tweeted out that the same thing recently happened to her!

Here is her tweet:

Then I started reading through some of the comments on her tweet and apparently it’s happened to a lot of Amazon shoppers recently.

And there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

It doesn’t seem to be a “price thing” as one commenter was told to keep an expensive electric lawnmower and another was told to a keep a Halloween mask.

It also doesn’t seem to have to do with whether the product was sold by Amazon or a 3rd party as my example above was sold by a company named GLIDESTORE and not Amazon.

So What Does Amazon Say About This?

So I figured that instead of trying to guess what was happening, I should go straight to the horse’s mouth and ask Amazon.

So I hit up Amazon chat and was told that since I said “I received a different item than the one I ordered, I didn’t have to return it.”

I then said that it was not actually the reason for the return, but they insisted I keep it and didn’t want to “hassle me” with returning the item.

This seems like a strange response from Amazon as I know for a fact that I selected “ordered by mistake”, not “received the wrong item”, as my reason for making the return.

So I Contacted Amazon Again…

The next day I started a live chat session with Amazon again trying to figure out exactly what was going on in the hopes of writing a useful blog post about this.

I was told the specific Amazon 3rd party seller who sold me the hoodie was not taking items back.

I then asked if this was a COVID-19 related issue as some retailers are not taking back clothing in certain areas of the country.

The chat rep said “Yes” it was more than likely a COVID issue as to why the seller didn’t want the item back.

The rep then told me I could keep, dispose, or donate the hoodie.

See Also: Amazon Sent Me a $339 Item I Didn’t Order…What Happened Next is Crazy

Can You Trick Amazon Into Getting a Refund?

I was curious if I could “game the system” and tried to return a bunch of different items to try and trigger a “keep it and we will still refund you” response.

I was UNSUCCESSFUL on every attempt, even those where I choose “received the wrong item” as the reason for my return.

I tried to return a dozen different items and Amazon wanted me to mail them all back in order to get my refund.

So this is definitely NOT a way to scam Amazon, so don’t try it at home.

But rather it seems to be a completely random “Amazon surprise” when it actually happens.

So enjoy it and hopefully you can actually use the free product or donate it to somebody that can.

Are Other Retailers Doing This As Well?

For a while Walmart was not accepting in-store returns on clothing but has since returned to their regular return policy in most states.

Ask the Reader: Has Amazon ever told you to keep a product and still refunded your money? If so, what was the item and was it sold by Amazon or a 3rd party? 

By Kyle James