Peak deal season is coming. Are you ready?
is hosting its annual Prime Day from July 11 to July 12. The 48-hour sale is exclusively for members of Amazon’s Prime program, and discounts are expected to fly fast and furiously.
“Amazon will offer more deals than any Prime Day event before, with new deals dropping every 30 minutes during select periods,” Amazon said.
With consumers feeling the pressure of higher prices after months of high inflation, not to mention mounting credit-card debt, many shoppers will be paying extra attention this year to Prime Day and similar sales from retailers such as Target and Walmart. Some may turn to these sales for their back-to-school shopping and other essentials. But how do you get what you really need, and avoid waking up the next day with a shopping hangover?
Here are five hacks, according to shopping experts.
Know what you want to buy, and consider older and refurbished models
Use Prime Day only as an occasion to buy the products you were already planning to spend money on, experts said. Don’t be distracted by deals that suddenly pop up on items you had no intention of buying.
Know the answers to these two questions before you start shopping: What is your budget, and what brands do you trust? Once you have figured those out, stick with them, Nick Drewe, founder of Wethrift.com told MarketWatch previously.
Prime Day’s best deals are usually on Amazon’s own products. For example, this year shoppers will find 75% off Amazon devices such as the Fire TV Stick and the Echo Show 8. Prime Day will also offer discounts on groceries through Amazon Fresh and discounts on One Medical, the members-only primary care medical chain that Amazon acquired this year.
In addition to deals on Amazon products, Prime Day will offer lower prices on Sony
headphones and speakers, Mattel’s
Barbie dolls, Gap clothes, Peloton
bikes, Bose headphones and equipment, kitchenware, and beauty products. Apple
products are not among the advertised deals.
One way to find bigger savings is to look for older generations of popular gadgets, said Andrea Woroch, a consumer-saving expert at Bankrate.com. The same goes for refurbished versions of in-demand products, she added. Check to see if there’s a refurbished option available when comparing different versions of the same product — they could be marked down even further during the sale event, she said. “Keep in mind, refurbished electronics are repaired to look and work like new and come with a warranty so you get high quality for less,” Woroch said in an email.
Know a product’s price history, and watch Amazon’s competitors
Before a sale like Prime Day starts, do research on historical prices using price-tracking websites such as camelcamelcamel.com, where consumers can also set up price drop alerts for specific products. Knowing a product’s price history will arm you with the information you need to make sure you’re getting a good deal during a sale. Retailers will sometimes jack up prices right before a sale to make discounts better than they really are. Another website that offers insights on deals is slickdeals.net, where fellow consumers share the deals they’ve found online.
Target, Walmart and Best Buy
are all offering sale events this summer around the same time as Prime Day, and it pays to check out the competition before clicking buy. Target Circle Week is July 9 – 15, with deals such as $350 off a Lenovo 15.6″ Touchscreen IdeaPad 3i laptop. Walmart Plus week is July 10 -13. Best Buy is hosting its Black Friday in July from July 10-12, with $200 off certain MacBook Pros.
Pick up some extra cash by using cash-back credit cards
If you plan to make a lot of purchases on Amazon this Prime Day, Woroch said it’s worth considering getting the Prime Visa credit card, which offers 6% cash back on any purchase on Prime Day and 5% cash back year-round on Amazon and at Whole Foods. The card also gives an extra 1% cash back on Prime Day if shoppers choose slower shipping. It also comes with a $200 Amazon gift card once applicants are approved, according to Amazon.
The advantage of using the Amazon Prime Visa card as a Prime member is that “you’ll be getting more cashback than any other card affords you during Prime Day events, with no annual fees,” Ashley Fricker, senior editor of CardRates.com, said in an email.
But before signing up for an Amazon credit card, think carefully about how often you’ll actually use it, and whether you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance every month, said Howard Dvorkin, a financial advisor and chairman of Debt.com.
“On paper, getting an Amazon credit card for Prime Day makes dollars and sense. In practice, it’s dangerous unless you’re super-disciplined,” he told MarketWatch in an email. “You need to be honest with yourself before making this decision,” he added.
It could lead to overspending on Prime Day if you don’t stick to your plan, and if you already have a handful of credit cards and carry big balances, it will cost you more in the long run, Dvorkin said.
Know how to avoid counterfeit products
Buying online just got a little safer. A few weeks before Prime Day this year, a new law against selling counterfeit products on online marketplaces such as Amazon went into effect.
But consumers should still watch out for counterfeit products, especially on Prime Day. Pay special attention to the “sold by” and “shipped by” descriptions on Amazon, said Henry Jin, associate professor of management at the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. The most trustworthy products are always those sold or shipped by the manufacturer directly, followed by Amazon, he added.
“Unless Sold by and Shipped by the manufacturer directly, there is always a risk of counterfeit,” Jin said in an email. “All in all, if a deal looks too good to be true, then chances are it is too good to be true.”
Prep your cart to save time
Prime Day exclusive deals happen fast, so Woroch recommended that shoppers prep their shopping cart details beforehand to avoid losing out on deals that expire quickly. If you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial right before Prime Day and save your shipping and payment details in your account so they’ll be ready to go during the sale, she added.
Adding products into your shopping cart beforehand can also help you monitor prices more easily, she said.