There's a lot to be said for the Everything Store. In very real ways, it can save time and money, and many families and individuals rely on Amazon's ease of use, quick shipping, and vast online catalog. But if you're uncomfortable with Amazon's virtual monopoly on shopping, or the way it treats factory workers, or even founder Jeff Bezos's staggering hoard of wealth, you might be looking for ways to distribute your own money a little differently.
One thing Amazon does well is help consumers cut through choice paralysis; by showing you its own selections, however, the algorithm can steer you away from saving cash and supporting local businesses. That's why it's helpful to scope out some alternative sources before you'll need them. If you're looking to buy books — the product Amazon built its brand on, while strip-mining the publishing industry — consider ordering directly from your favorite bookstore. There's also a new service called Bookshop.org, which not only directs sales to independent booksellers but distributes a portion of all profits to those stores while handling distribution themselves.
The Guardian recommends a similar tactic for buying other products, namely, buying directly from a manufacturer. If you're hankering for a KitchenAid stand mixer, for example, the company's website offers both a wide selection and ongoing sales. Poke around or search a little and you can even find refurbished products at steep discounts. Also consider money-saving browser extensions like Honey, which can automatically shave down prices at thousands of websites. You don't have to fully boycott Amazon (that's pretty hard, even if you work at it), but you could be missing out on much better options.