10 Amazon features you should be using

Spend a lot of money online? These tips could help you spend a bit less.

Amazon packages
Amazon's boxes can't walk themselves to you (yet), so these tips will have to do.Hello I'm Nik via Unsplash

I buy almost everything on Amazon. I try not to think about the fact that I'm contributing to our Wall-E-esque future when I do, but it's just so easy to have things show up at your door two days after pressing a button. If that sounds like you, check out these 10 Amazon features you really should be using.

Schedule your delivery with Amazon Day

Part of Amazon's allure is the ability to buy stuff as soon as you remember you need it. That way, you can avoid coming home from vacation to a house with no toilet paper. But if you aren't going to be there when the package is delivered, Amazon Prime's new Amazon Day feature lets you pick your delivery day ahead of time. That'll keep your package from getting soaked by inclement weather or swiped by neighborhood thieves while you're living it up at Uncle Ralph's cabin. They'll even combine the orders you make before that date into one easy shipment. Just head to checkout and click "Choose Your Amazon Day" before you place your order.

Get Amazon credits with No-Rush Shipping

If you have Prime, you know how awesome free two-day shipping is. But not everything requires it. If you're replenishing your razor supply but know you still have a week or two before you run out, Amazon often offers credits for "No-Rush Shipping," which gets you the item in a week or so. Whether it's a $5 credit for Prime Pantry or a $1 credit for books and music, it's handy to have, even if you don't have something to use it on immediately. You may not think you'll ever use Prime Pantry, but in three weeks when you want to order an item that's only available there, that $5 box credit will be a godsend.

There’s a good chance you’ve used this feature before, but consider this your reminder to regularly consider whether you’re really in that much of a rush.

Save money with Amazon Warehouse and Amazon Outlet

Anyone can sell their used gear on Amazon for any price, but Amazon Warehouse is a particularly useful place to hunt for discounts. Amazon sells these products itself, usually from a stock of refurbished, returned, opened, or cosmetically defective merchandise. The goods may not come with their original warranty, but you'll get Amazon's stellar return policy, along with Prime's two-day shipping. In a similar vein, take a look at the lesser-known Amazon Outlet for similar clearance items.

Get a refund when packages are late

Okay, this isn't exactly a public-facing "feature," but it's still a useful tip. If Amazon gives you a "Guaranteed Delivery Date" and the package arrives later than that, you can contact customer support and get a refund on shipping. Refunds can vary depending on the item—DealNews reports it could be between $5 and $10—so you'll have to contact customer support and ask. Prime members used to be eligible for a free month of Prime for late packages, but it seems Amazon may no longer offer this perk.

Share your Prime benefits with your spouse, roommate, or kids

If you have Prime, it can benefit everyone in your house. Simply link their account to yours in the Amazon Household menu and you're done. Adults in the same home will be able to use two-day shipping and access other Prime benefits such as streaming video, cloud photo storage, and Kindle books on Prime Reading. You can even share purchased books with your spouse, which is great. If you have kids, Amazon Household will let you link them to your account for certain benefits, including streaming video, without giving them the ability to go crazy with your credit card.

Get discounts with Subscribe & Save

For a long time, I knew about Subscribe & Save—a feature that lets you schedule recurring deliveries of certain essentials at a 5% to 15% discount—but wrote it off because I'm bad at predicting when I'll need to replenish diapers or paper towels. The discounts might seem small, but as you subscribe to more items, Amazon boosts your discounts.

Amazon has also done a decent job of making this service user-friendly. You'll get an email when a shipment is about to go out, and if you aren't ready for one of the items, you can head straight to the Amazon site and delay the shipment to a later date. If you're ordering something like diapers or baby food, Amazon Family will net you an even bigger discount on subscribed items.

Order in one tap with digital Dash Buttons

A lot of people found Amazon's Dash Buttons silly, but I found them incredibly useful. With the press of a button, I could re-order laundry detergent, disinfectant wipes, or other household products that don't run out fast enough to warrant using Subscribe & Save. Amazon has sadly discontinued these in favor of voice purchasing with Alexa, but it still has digital Dash Buttons available from its website or mobile app. Even better, these work with more brands than the physical buttons did. Check out the Dash Buttons section of Amazon's site, delete the ones you don't want, and you'll have a nice little page where you can quickly reorder zip-top bags or printer ink with a single tap.

Use your phone's camera to help you shop

Similar to the convenience of Dash Buttons, Amazon Flow—a feature built into the mobile app—allows you to buy things by taking a picture of them. This works best on items with distinct labels, such as a box of cereal or a bag of dog food. It’ll be harder with an unwrapped gadget like a phone charger, but it’s still pretty handy. No more potato chips? Just open the app, tap the camera button to snap a photo, pick the correct item from the generated list, and a new bag will be on its way to your door. This feature is also useful if you’re standing in an aisle at Target and want to ensure you’re getting the best deal, especially if the store in question will match Amazon’s price.

Read books for free with Prime Reading and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library

If you're itching for something new to read but aren't sure what you want, take a virtual stroll around Amazon's free eBook stores. Prime Reading is available to Prime members and offers a ton of well-known books for free, plus magazines and comic books. A lot of them even have audiobook options from Audible, if you prefer to listen while you work. You just have to return the books when you're done.

The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is similar, but the selection isn't nearly as good, so be sure to check both—they're different sections of the site.

Donate to charity at no extra cost with AmazonSmile

A few years ago, Amazon started an initiative called AmazonSmile that donates 0.5% of the money you spend to a charity of your choice, at no extra cost to you. All you have to do is shop from smile.amazon.com instead of the Amazon homepage. So change your bookmark or install a browser extension like Smile Always that'll redirect you to AmazonSmile every time, pick a nonprofit, and shop as you normally would. It won't necessarily add up to a lot of money—I've been shopping for years and still haven't reached $100 worth of AmazonSmile donations—but it's something, especially if everyone uses it.

Believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a deep dive into the site and you’ll find Amazon has many additional features and initiatives that might not get a lot of press but are bound to help you out.