Christmas in July is almost here — and by that, we mean Amazon's third-annual Prime Day is upon us!
But 30 hours of deals and new items rolling out every 5 minutes isn't for the faint of heart. We tapped two shopping experts to devise a game plan to make sure you're getting the very best deals without being glued to your phone all day (or at least, no more than usual).
1. Become an Amazon Prime Member
First things first, if you're not already a member, sign up for a free 30-day trial. If you're not ready to go all-in with an annual membership, set a calendar reminder to cancel before you're charged the $99 fee.
Also set your alarms for Sunday, July 9, at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, suggests savings expert Kendal Perez, because more deals will roll out 24 hours before Prime Day officially starts the evening of July 10.
2. Download the App(s)
Instead of waiting around for your deal to go live, the Amazon app will let you preview deals and sign up for push notifications when they're available. You can also see what deals are happening right now, and how much time you have to snatch them up.
Want something right away? "Amazon is offering Prime Day deals on items eligible for one-hour delivery, so shoppers interested in this option should download the Prime Now app for access to these products," Perez adds.
3. Know the Biggest Discounts
If you're ready to jump aboard the Alexa train or outfit your home with other Amazon gadgets, expect savings of $25 to $50 on items like Fire tablets or TV sticks, Kindles and Alexa devices, Perez says. New products like the Amazon Fire HD 8 and the Echo Show will also be up for grabs, as will deeply discounted TVs.
New tech isn't the only thing to consider, though. "Shoppers can also expect decent discounts on on kitchenware, shoes, clothing and jewelry," says consumer and money-saving pro Andrea Woroch.
4. Make Your List Now
Lightning deals paired with the thrill of the hunt is a quick recipe for overspending. To both curb impulse buys and make sure you get the best deals, add items to your wish list now and set up notifications for when prices drop.
Take note of pre-Prime Day prices too, Woroch suggests. If the price of a product doesn't drop further once July 11 rolls around, the item may not be worth purchasing now.
5. Compare Prices
If you see an item hasn't dropped to the sweet spot you'd like, you're not totally out of luck. Woroch suggests checking CamelCamelCamel.com, an Amazon price tracker, to review the item's price history. Determine whether it's a good buy now, or if it's expected to be cheaper later on.
The Invisible Hand browser extension can also alert you if something you're viewing on Amazon is sold on another site for less. "Some retailers will even price match if you want to buy it in a store near you," Woroch notes.
6. Delete Your Cookies
Tempted by the ads in your Facebook feed? Avoid retargeting tactics (the marketing strategy that resurfaces a product you were viewing to spur impulse buys) by deleting cookies from your browser history — or shop in Incognito mode, Woroch says.
7. Ask Alexa
Ask your Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV, or compatible Fire tablets, "Alexa, what are your deals?" for exclusive offers on items you order through Alexa. Items so far range from a few bucks off popcorn mix to $100 off a home Wi-Fi system. Shoppers will get access to more Alexa-specific deals two hours before Prime Day starts.
8. Sign Up for the Waitlist
If you find a deal that's 100% claimed, it's still worth getting on the waitlist if the product becomes available again. "Some shoppers may decide against the purchase, and you could be next in line to snatch it up," Perez says.
9. Check for Free Returns
We get it — when you're into hour 29 of Prime Day, you might make a few regrettable purchases. Ease the sting by checking the return policy on items before you click, and go for the free returns option, if possible.
"Third-party sellers participate in Prime Day, and their return policies differ from Amazon-sold items, so it’s important to know policy details before you buy," Perez says.
10. Scope out the Competition
"Last year, the buzz around Amazon Prime compelled other retailers to host online events of their own," Woroch says. "Macy’s, for example, offered free shipping on all orders plus site-wide discounts during Prime Day, while Walmart dropped it’s shipping threshold from $50 to $35."
With that in mind, it's likely other e-retailers will follow suit.
11. Track Savings After You Buy
Savings don't stop once you check out. Sign up with Paribus to track receipts from your inbox, Woroch suggests. If the price of an item drops after you've bought it, Paribus will request an adjustment for you.
12. Don't Forget About Gift Cards
"Last year, Amazon offered $10 off $50 Amazon gift cards," Perez says. If the deal returns, consider grabbing a few as gifts — or as currency for future Amazon purchases.