apps & web apps, amazon, how to, amazon, microsoft

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Most of us have spent quite a bit of money on Amazon over the years, especially during the pandemic. If you’re curious exactly how much money you’ve ever spent on your Amazon account, there’s a way to check the total.

Why Check Your Amazon Purchase History?

For some folks, carefully tracking purchases is part of their business operations. In fact, the tools we will use in the how-to portion of the article are intended for business use, but we’re borrowing them to root around in our purchase histories.

For the rest of us, though, it’s largely a matter of curiosity. We’ve looked at how to check your first Amazon purchase—my first Amazon purchase, a textbook, was pretty boring—and today, we’re going to dig even deeper into your Amazon purchase history to help solve all sorts of curiosities.

If you’ve ever wondered how much you’ve spent in total on Amazon, what your most expensive purchase was, how much you spend every year in your flurry of last-minute Amazon-centered Christmas shopping, or anything else that can be quantified and sorted about your Amazon spending habits, you can dig in and find out.

How to See Your Amazon Purchase Totals and More

We can’t analyze data we don’t have, so the first step is to get your hands on your Amazon purchase data in a way that is easy to sort and analyze. Paging through years of purchases in the standard Amazon order history interface and hand totaling things isn’t going to cut it.

Request Your Amazon Order Purchase History

While logged into your Amazon account on a computer (not the app on your phone or tablet), navigate to the Order History Reports menu.

You can jump directly to the menu by using this URL. You can do so by clicking on “Accounts & Lists” and then selecting “Accounts” from the drop-down menu.

apps & web apps, amazon, how to, amazon, microsoft

On the main Account page, scroll down to the “Order and Shopping Preferences” section and click on “Download Order Reports.”

apps & web apps, amazon, how to, amazon, microsoft

Once you are in the resulting sub-page, “Order History Reports,” you can use the “Request Order History Report” box at the top of the page to request the reports we need.

apps & web apps, amazon, how to, amazon, microsoft

To get an accurate look at your Amazon history and give us the ability to answer questions like how much you’ve spent over the years, we actually need to request multiple reports.

First, you need to request an “Items” report with a start date that corresponds with your first Amazon purchase and ends with the current date. This will generate a report, in a Comma Separated Value (.CSV file) spreadsheet format, showing every single purchase and the associated data.

Second, you need to request additional reports for report type “Refunds”—you can skip requesting the “Returns” report type because Returns data only shows items physically returned to Amazon, doesn’t include the monetary amount, and doesn’t include data on items for which you received a refund but didn’t return an item (such as getting a refund for a damaged or lost shipment).

If you have an Amazon account with lengthy purchase history, be forewarned that you may have to wait anywhere from minutes to hours for the request to complete.

In some cases, you may even end up with a failed report request. If that happens, we recommend splitting up your purchase history dates. So instead of requesting an Items report that spans 01/01/1999 to the present, pick a spot in the middle and break it up like 01/01/1999 to 12/31/2011 and then 01/01/2012 to the present. You’ll receive two reports, but it’s just simple spreadsheet data you can merge together.

How to Analyze Your Amazon Purchase History

apps & web apps, amazon, how to, amazon, microsoft

“Ya’ll aren’t gonna believe how much I’ve spent on LEGO Star Wars.” Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

Once you have the CSV files, it’s merely a matter of opening them in your preferred spreadsheet application and using some basic spreadsheet functions like summing and sorting to pull out the data you want. You can use Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, OpenOffice Calc, or Apple Numbers, or any other spreadsheet application that supports CSV

With the “Items” spreadsheet and the “Refunds” spreadsheet loaded, here are some interesting questions you can answer about your Amazon purchase history and how to answer them.

The formatting of these Amazon purchase history spreadsheets has stayed very consistent over time, with reports we’ve pulled at points over the years using the same formatting conventions. In the following instructions, we’ll be referencing the column letter and title with confidence it will look the same for you, but please adjust the instructions to reflect any changes to the column arrangement.

What Was the First Thing I Purchased on Amazon?

You can look in the regular Orders page on your Amazon account to see the first thing you ever purchased on Amazon. Or, in the Items spreadsheet, you can sort column A, “Order Date” using the A-Z sort function. The top entry should be the earliest purchase. In my case, it’s the textbook I mentioned at the start of the article.

How Many Amazon Orders Have I Placed?

The number of Amazon orders you have placed on Amazon is the total number of lines in the “Items” spreadsheet minus one (because one row of the spreadsheet is the headers at the top). If your spreadsheet is 1,295 lines, for example, you have played 1,294 orders on Amazon.

If you want to know how many orders you have placed, sans returns and refunds for damaged shipments and such, you can also subtract the same value (number of lines minus one) found in the “Refunds” spreadsheet from your total orders.

How Much Have I Spent on Amazon?

To get an accurate look at how much you have spent on Amazon over the years, we need to use the SUM function to add up two values: how much you’ve paid out to Amazon and how much they’ve refunded you.

First, in the “Items” spreadsheet, you need to locate column AD, “Item Total.” This column indicates what you actually paid with the tax included. Other columns in the spreadsheet, such as column M “Purchase Price Per Unit,” show the pre-tax price, and column L, “List Price Per Unit,” shows the list price, not the actual price.

Scroll to the bottom of the column and create a simple sum function in your spreadsheet application like =SUM(AD2:ADX) where the final value X is the value of the last data row, such as AD1209 . The resulting value is the sum of the column and represents the total amount of money you have paid Amazon.

Now, repeat the process by creating a SUM function on the “Refunds” report. Because the refund report provides the purchase price refund and tax refund in separate columns, we need to combine them. Scroll to the bottom and combine column J “Refund Amount” with column K “Refund Tax Amount” using the function =SUM(J2:JX, K2:KX) where you have replaced the X with the number of the final row, such as J40 and K40 .

Now just subtract the value of the purchase and tax refund from the total value we just created on the “Items” spreadsheet. If your total purchase history comes to $20,000 and the total refund history comes to $1,600, then the total amount you’ve actually spent on Amazon is $18,400.

What Items Were Gifts?

This particular question is a bit tricky to answer because not every gift you purchased on Amazon was necessarily shipped by Amazon to the recipient.

You may have to pore over the data and look for purchases made around holidays you celebrate such as family members’ birthdays, Christmas, or other gift-giving holidays, to really dial it in.

But if you use Amazon a lot to ship gifts to friends and family around the country, you’re in luck. You can sort column T, “Shipping Address Name,” to sort all your Amazon shipments by the name of their recipient. Then just skip over your own name and look at everything you’ve shipped to everyone else.

What Is the Most Expensive Thing I’ve Bought Off Amazon?

To find the most expensive thing you’ve purchased on Amazon, you can choose to sort by the pre-tax or post-tax price. Before you do so, though, it’s kind of a fun game to try and guess what you think the item is. I, for example, guessed that surely the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought off Amazon was a GPU, a high-end monitor, or some other equally expensive bit of tech kit.

Once you’ve taken a guess, simply sort column AD “Item Total” (for post-tax price) or column M “Purchase Price Per Unit” (for pre-tax price) with the Z-A sort function to display the highest value at the top of the page.

A GPU and a high-end monitor were, in fact, among my top 10 most expensive purchases, but it turns out the top two things were an ultra-lightweight wheelchair for my father-in-law and a premium saddle-style window air conditioner.

Of all the sorting I did, I have to say that sorting by the most expensive purchases actually ended up being my favorite method of analyzing the data. When I looked at the total money spent and skimmed over the purchase history in general, I was left with a sense of “What am I doing with my life? I’ve bought a lot of dumb things over the years.”

But among the most expensive things I’ve purchased, they’re all either still in use or were used until they wore out or were retired. Which I guess makes up for my more dubious purchases like seldom used fitness gear or that time I bought that bizarre snow shovel with the giant wheel, right?

Hopefully, you reach the same conclusions, but whatever nuggets you find in your Amazon purchase history, at least now you know where to find this information and how to analyze it backward and forwards.

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