To start, let’s work with possible definitions for camel:
[kam-uh l] /ˈkæm əl/
• Word Origin
1. either of two large, humped, ruminant quadrupeds of the genus Camelus, of the Old World.
Compare Bactrian camel, dromedary.
Or a personal definition: (In Triplicate) A website that tracks the cost of items on amazon.com
Hmmm, I wonder which of the uses of camel will be discussed here as a way to cut homestead (or farm, or personal) costs? I am referring to www.camelcamelcamel.com the website that tracks historic and current prices of items on Amazon.
Most of us have a wish list of items that we would love to have for our work. In my context this list consists of heirloom quality devices and tools that are mostly low tech that can make a real difference in our efforts of homesteading and farming. Our list doesn’t have plastic or shiny doodads, it has well made, durable, time tested tools that can leverage our work efforts with more efficient results. With this quality comes inevitable higher cost, I simply cannot afford to buy everything on this list now. I found a way to get the costs reduced by using camelcamelcamel to tell me when things on my list are on sale. Note (and this is really important): I always try to work with smaller vendors whenever possible. Sometimes I do buy things from amazon, this blog post is to share how I do it for less money.
Have you ever noticed an item in an amazon wish list has a notation that a price went up or down? It happens all the time, but the changes I typically notice are not by much, say a few percentage points up or down. The prices on Amazon can move in much bigger swings, and there is a way to be notified when they come way down. I created a free account at camelcamelcamel and set alerts for prices for items for our farm.
This is a screen shot of camelcamelcamel in action:
Check out the big price swings of this beautiful All American 41 1/2 quart pressure cooker/canner I tracked at camelcamelcamel:
Notice the lowest dip on the chart of $328.91? This is where the Camel really made a difference, by sending me an email to let me know my tracked price was met, this is a screen shot of that email:
Next I jumped on amazon and made the purchase:
By using camelcamelcamel I was able to get a tool that our children will fight over at a price that really made a difference to our tight budget. Had I logged in to Amazon and bought at the $464 range that it bounced around in for months it would have reduced our budget by $135 (Because I got it for $329). This goes a long way in helping us afford other tools.
This strategy works for items that we have time to wait for, but I also use camelcamelcamel to check costs of other smaller purchases that are needed sooner, just to see where it is in the price roller coaster. There have been instances where I’ve switched to a different brand of something smaller because the initial one I looked at was at an all-time high price.