Cheap Filler Wins Free Amazon Shipping

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SEATTLE (TheStreet) -- Amazon's free Super Saver shipping is one of the best deals of the holiday season ... if your shopping doesn't come up short.

The premise behind Amazon's year-round offer is pretty simple: Spend $25 or more, get free five- to eight-day shipping. Getting there on small orders, however, can be a little more complicated. While Amazon shows mercy by granting a free shipping mulligan to consumers pre-ordering $24.99 Blu-ray copies of Inception or The Expendables or even the $20.99 Blu-ray version of Angelina Jolie's Salt, those paying $24.99 for the Michael Cera-led comic book comedy Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Blu-Ray/DVD+digital copy combo pack still get hit with a $2.98 shipping fee.

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There are many ways to show Amazon packers how cheap you can be in pursuit of that Super Saver shipping.
So how do you get Amazon's free shipping without adding another item that will likely cost more than the shipping fee? The answer is filler, and Amazon shoppers have turned it into an art form. One shopper-compiled filler list includes a library of Dover Thrift and Signet Classic public-domain $1 to $4 book reprints, including a festive $1 Super Saver shipping-eligible copy of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Other sub-$3 options include a 93-cent All-In-One travel power adapter, a $1.99 Iris two-cup pet food scoop and a $1.50 collection of 12 Celtic Bookmarks.

Hunting down free-shipping-eligible items may cost you more time than that $2.98 is worth, which is why it's best to let someone else do it for you. The Amazon Filler Item Finder lets consumers enter the small amount standing between their item and free shipping and pulls up dozens of low-budget, shipping-eligible options. Short by a dime? Pick up a 16-cent pack of 25 nylon set screws. Does dad really want a Blu-ray copy of the obscure 2008 Val Kilmer action vehicle 2:22 but the 50-cent shortfall is giving you second thoughts? Turn it into your own little game by sending him the movie with a 50-cent spark plug. You'll not only get free shipping, but the added entertainment value of seeing which one he'll still be using next holiday season.

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