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How to Make Money on Amazon

I think I have found my next ridiculous money maker. Not only does it cover the spending requirements on my latest application spree [1], it actually is generating a profit by itself.

I recently launched a new (and totally unplanned) business as an Amazon FBA Seller [2] making money online. Here’s how it happened.


I randomly stumbled on the book Selling On Amazon Simplified: Learn How I Make $2,700 Every Month [3]. It’s free on Prime, and I had some time to kill one evening.

I never had any intention of selling things on Amazon, I was literally just reading it because it was free, the kids were in bed, and none of my fall shows had started on TV yet. However, as I read, I realized this arbitrage strategy is right up my alley!

Long time readers know I have a huge obsession with finding deals. Combine that with my love of making money off of arbitrage situations, and a need to hit spending requirements on my latest app spree and the next thing you know, I have a new business up and running!

How it Works

Essentially, you buy retail items at dirt cheap prices. Think Target clearance, Kohl’s 30% deals, and any other deals you find on Slickdeals or Fatwallet. Then you box it up and ship it off to Amazon. The strategy has earned the name Retail Arbitrage. (There’s even a book with the same name: Retail Arbitrage [4], but I haven’t read it yet, since it’s too expensive for my taste!)

Here’s the fun part, where the Amazon FBA (or Fulfilled by Amazon) program takes over…

When I used to sell my old textbooks on half.com or eBay back in college, having to ship each item as soon as it sells was a very tedious, time consuming process. Not to mention dealing with customers. The Amazon FBA [2] program actually eliminates all that junk. After getting the merchandise, you box it all up together and ship it off to Amazon. They store it in their warehouse, they ship it out, and provide all of the customer service. In addition, because Amazon is fulfilling the orders, the merchandise qualifies for Prime and free super saver shipping.


For my very first test run, I bought 6 items and sent them in. Within 4 hours, the first 5 items sold! The sixth item sold a few days later. I spent $294 on the items, which sold for $472 on Amazon. After the Amazon fees, shipping, and sales tax I made $137 profit.

Once I realized how simple this actually was, I’ve gotten better with each box. Now I aim for items that will net me 100% on the profit margin on costs (profit / cost).

Add in all the extra things we know about deal hunting, like cash back on the purchases [5], coupons, credit card cash back [6], and meeting the spending requirements for sign up bonuses… and I’m starting to feel like I’ve found a legitimate way to print money.

Tools I’m Using

Here are the tools I’m using to run the show:

There are some more additional tools that help sellers, but since I’m just starting out, I’m doing it on the cheap.

Other Thoughts

There have been a few additional side benefits. I hired my kids to box up the stuff to send off to Amazon. I pay them a quarter per box, which is a great way for them to earn money, and quite possibly a good way for them to fund their Roth IRAs [12] at tax time.

In addition, I now have a huge stash of stuff that I can shop myself, which was great for my second son’s birthday this month!

I don’t know if I will continue after all the spending requirements on the credit cards are met (but I could, it’s very addictive… I just sent off another box of 37 items and purchased another 87!)

Stay tuned, as I’m working on an article of tips and tricks to save money when we buy on Amazon [13] from all the information I’ve learned during this process!

Do you sell stuff on Amazon? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Update: Here are specific Examples of Profits from Selling on Amazon [14] for my first few items and How I Made $10,000 Selling on Amazon [15].

More on Amazon