Amazon Has a Hidden Feature That Will Add Up Every Penny You’ve Spent on There to Date
When you tap that Buy Now button on Amazon, do you ever stop and wonder just how much you’ve spent on the site — in the last year or three? Um, why would you even want to know that, you might wonder.
Well, if you’re trying to get a handle on your finances and cut out unnecessary spending, keeping track of that type of easy purchase is low-hanging fruit, according to Certified Financial Planner Shannah Compton Game. One-click ordering, app purchases, and subscriptions are common culprits in overspending, letting us just merrily dwindle our bank accounts to nothing, one tap at a time.
You can rein in your spending impulses with tools like Amazon Allowance, but for the sake of perspective, it’s a good idea to find out just how big a budget item your Amazon habit has been in the past. If you’re not into combing through credit card statements online or digging through email receipts, you don’t have to stay in the dark. They don’t make it exactly obvious or easy, but Amazon does let you download a report of your entire spending history.
Are you ready for this? Maybe take a moment to mentally prepare to see the true story of all those oh-so-convenient Prime deliveries. Speaking from experience, I can tell you it can come as a harsh wake-up call.
How to Get your Amazon Purchase History
Buried under Help and Settings/Your Account is a section with a subhead Ordering and shopping preferences. Sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it? When you’ve girded yourself, scroll halfway down the list of options to Download order reports.
This will bring you to a very matter-of-fact page with a brief form to complete. You can just click a link for Last Month, Last 30 Days, Last Year, or Year to Date (which it oh-so-helpfully warns “may take a while to process.”) But if you’re here for the whole shebang, go instead to the form. From there, you can choose from different report types — pick “Items” for the most detailed rundown. Then, you pick a start and end date. You can name the report for future reference (Giant List of Things I May or May Not Have Needed comes to mind).
A few moments after clicking the Request Report button, a link to the report will appear below the form. Now’s the moment of truth. Download the file; it’s a .csv format, so you’ll need a spreadsheet program like Excel to open it.
And voilà. Mine had 635 (!!!) items. There are more than 30 columns, but you’re here for the dollar count, so scroll waaaaay over to Item Total heading. Now you can highlight the column and total it for the big reveal.
If you really want to dig in (and are a bit of an Excel nerd), you can filter by category to see if you spent more in Kitchen and in Tools & Home Improvement than in any other category. Or, you can take a trip down memory lane — this spreadsheet is like a time capsule of where you were at various points in life. Or maybe you want to close the spreadsheet and go lie down for a while. Now that you have this intel, it’s your call what to do with it.
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