Analyzing Where I Spent My Money on Amazon

If you're anything like me, you spend a lot of money on Amazon. Probably too much.

Just last month, I spent a whopping $123.32 on Amazon. While I've previously written about how I set up Mint.com to get a more detailed breakdown of my expenses, there's always been one missing piece of that puzzle: a breakdown of spending on Amazon.com.

My Amazon spending in Mint.com's transaction section

Unfortunately, there's no way to connect Amazon directly to Mint's budgeting tool. Amazon shopping, which constitutes a large portion of my monthly spending, is a black box on Mint. So I had to find my own way of monitoring my Amazon spending.

While Amazon's order history doesn't provide detailed analytics, Amazon does provide an export feature, which allows you to download your order history as a CSV. I leveraged this feature, along with a free version of Tableau (a fancier version of Excel), to dig into the data.

Looking at the data

I had three primary questions about my spending on Amazon.

1

What was my total spending?

First, I was curious about how much I spent on Amazon. Technically, I could have gotten this information from Mint, but it's nice to have it from the source of truth. It turns out I've spent over $4,000 on Amazon since 2015. That number didn't actually seem too bad. However, if you break it down on a month by month basis, that averages to $130 per month spending on Amazon over the last 30 months!

That monthly number seemed pretty big. But, as we'll see, it includes some pretty big ticket items.

2

What am I spending the most on?

To answer this question, I broke down the data by UNSPSC code. While this didn't bucket things perfectly, this allowed me to generally break down my spend into various groups. The most startling thing was how much money I spend on nutritional supplements (protein powder, workout drinks, etc.). This was a whopping $1326.50 (in the chart below, there are two UNSPSC codes representing this general category so I add them together). Averaged over the 14 month time period, I'm spending $44 / month on nutritional supplements. That's more than my gym membership!

Here are my top 11 categories (notice how some of them are duplicates):

The other interesting question I had was: is most of the money I spend on Amazon going to big ticket purchases, or is it just a bunch of small purchases adding up to a large amount? If you isolate the biggest purchases from my list (new hard drive, microphone, audio equipment), those total around $1300. That's a substantial chunk of the spending. The second chunk is of course supplements (another $1,300), and then a few miscellaneous grocery-type purchases (energy drinks and skin cream totaling around $260). So that leaves around $1,000 of miscellaneous Amazon spending. That doesn't seem that bad over the course of two years.

3

How can I save money?

For context (for those of you who haven't ready my other posts), I'm a single guy living in San Francisco. My rent is by far my biggest expense, but it's always nice to save on other categories. Where could I cut down that $130 per month? There seems to be a big opportunity on the subscriptions side. For one, I hadn't really leveraged Amazon's "Subscribe and Save" feature because I wasn't sure what cadence I would need to refill my orders. But it seems like that may well be worth investing in.

How to do it yourself

Want to take a look at your own Amazon spending? It's pretty straightfoward, and there's a great article on Lifehacker that taught me how. Here are the steps I took to get my spending breakdown:

1

Visit order history

Click the following link to get to your order history. You should now see this page:

 

2

Set start and end date

Set you start to the current date and your end date to as far back as possible (looks like they only support back to 2015).

3

Download your document

Under "Your Reports", hit "Download" and save the document to your computer.

4

Open your spreadsheet with your favorite editor

You can use Excel, Google sheets, or (my personal favorite) Tableau. If you want tips and tricks on how to do a breakdown similar to the one I did above, please let me know in the comments below!

Conclusion

There you have it! A break down of my Amazon spending. I'd be super curious to see other folks' breakdowns, so feel free to post any interesting insights you gleaned in the comments.

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