I’ve written before about aligning your spending with your values and goals. One thing I’ve noticed lately in a class I’m teaching is how many of my learners are mentioning how “easy” it is to order from Amazon and how they really “aren’t even sure what they have bought” because the purchases just show as “Amazon” on their credit card (and not the individual items).
I agree that Amazon is easy and convenient, and my family uses it a lot, but I would suggest that if you are going to be intentional about your spending, and make sure it aligns with your values and goals, that you perhaps take some time and look more closely at your purchases at Amazon. I think most folks who use Amazon realize that they can go into their order history and take a look, but that’s somewhat clunky and quickly becomes a pain to sift through if you have a lot of orders. What many folks don’t realize, however, is that Amazon (somewhat surprisingly) provides a tool that makes this much easier: Order History Reports.
In the Report Type drop-down you can select Items, Orders and Shipments, Refunds or Returns. For our purposes here, Items works great. You can then choose a start date and an end date for the report, or choose one of the Quick Set Options on the right. I think “Last Year” is a great one, but you can choose whatever time period you like. You can then give the report a name and click Request Report.
When I did this, it took less than a minute to generate the report (I just stayed on that screen), but Amazon does email you when the report is ready and includes a link to the report (and the report is then also listed at the bottom of the Order History Report page). The report you get (when you select Items) has a plethora of columns of information, but probably the three most useful are “Title” (which tells you what product you bought), Quantity (how many you bought), and “Item Total” (which tells you the total amount you spent on the item).
It downloads in a CSV format, so you can easily open it in Microsoft Excel, Numbers, or Google Spreadsheets, and then manipulate to your heart’s content. Might I suggest that, in addition to perusing all the items you bought and how much you spent on them, you do a quick sum of the “Item Total” column to see just how much you spent at Amazon in the time period you selected. If the results are surprising (in a negative sense), then perhaps analyze what you spent your money on and see if those purchases truly align with your values and goals. If they don’t, then this is a fantastic opportunity to adjust your Amazon spending habits to help you live the life you want to lead.