How to Make Amazon Prime Day Actually Worth It This Year

Were you disappointed by Amazon's Prime Day last year? You're not alone. Even though the company sold 34.4 million items during its special promotion day, many shoppers felt that the deals were not that great.

Amazon is bringing back Prime Day on July 12 with over 100,000 deals going live that day. While some deals will be worth buying, most of the deals are only bought because of consumer overspending. How do you know if you should participate in Amazon's shopping holiday? Here are some tips and strategies to save the most money on Prime Day, as well as how to avoid the compulsion to spend.

Make a List and Avoid Temptation

Before you look at any Prime Day deals, it is best to make a list. Is your vacuum on its last leg? Perhaps you need a kitchen-type gift for a bridal shower and your budget is $30. Your list will help you stay within your budget and only buy things you need or were planning to buy in the next three months.

Amazon excels at creating hype around deals, making the average shopper feel that they need to buy something immediately so they don't miss out. During last year's Prime Day, Amazon sold 47,000 TVs, 28,000 Rubbermaid 42-piece food storage sets, and 24,000 pressure cookers. There is no way that 47,000 people needed a new TV. Instead, many people bought several items that they did not need, just like they would during Black Friday sales.

After you make your list, stick with it. When you get tempted by a sale on toys or fun gadgets you don't need, remember to look back at your list. Yes, a basketball hoop would be fun, but if it wasn't on your list, then chances are you weren't thinking about it before the sale started.

Add Deals to Your Cart Immediately

If you are still on the fence whether a hot deal is really a good deal, then be sure to add it to your cart as soon as the deal goes live. Once it's in your cart, you have 15 minutes to decide if the deal is worth purchasing. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in this time frame:

  • Do I need this?
  • Can I afford this without accumulating more debt or making this month's budget too tight?
  • Is this the best deal I can get?
  • Can I find it cheaper used or refurbished?

Check the Price History

You can check the price history of an item with different price tracking sites. One of the most popular price tracking sites for Amazon products is CamelCamelCamel.

For example, the Nest Learning Thermostat, third Generation was advertised as a deal of the day from the end of June through the first week of July. This Nest was marked down 20%, making the price $199. I wasn't sure if this was the lowest price possible for the third generation Nest, so I looked up the ASIN on CamelCamelCamel. The price tracker showed that this was the lowest price this model of the Nest has ever been listed on Amazon, and it also showed that a third-party merchant through Amazon was selling a new and used Nest for a cheaper price.

Take Advantage of Slow Shipping

Since Prime Day will be a busy day for Amazon, the company will most likely offer a bonus for choosing slower shipping methods. In the past, Amazon has offered Prime Members $1 credit for ebooks, movies, and music, as well a $5.99 credit for Prime Pantry.

Select the slower shipping method for your deal to get the bonus offer and to have extra time to change your mind. With the slower shipping option, you will be able to cancel your order easily within one to two days, as long as the item did not ship yet. So if you do have buyer's remorse, it will be easier to reverse the damage. (See also: Can You Really Save With Amazon Prime Pantry?)

Do Research Ahead of Time

Doing a quick scan before the deals go live will allow you to determine what you want before the buying rush begins. Be sure to look up reviews for the item and check eBay and Craigslist for used and less expensive options available.

Once you know the deals you want to get, set notifications for them. Simply download the Amazon app for free and sign onto your account. Then go to "notifications," then "Your Watched and Waitlisted Deals." From there, you will be able to search the upcoming deals to see what you want to watch and receive notifications for. This will save you time and help you avoid impulse buys at the last minute.

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