Next Tuesday, Amazon will destroy your social media feeds and probably your wallet with Prime Day, their big exclusive sale for Amazon Prime members. However, Prime Day can be tricky, not to mention more than a little overwhelming as Amazon rains down deals from the sky. So, follow these golden rules to get ready for all those golden boxes opening.
Rule #1: Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!
First, you need to be a Prime member. If you’re not one, and aren’t particularly interested in becoming one, Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial because, well, it likes money. Prime, for the record, remains worth the $100 a year it charges, and it was worth it even back when they hiked the price.
If you don’t already have it, you can download Amazon’s free app and look at upcoming deals by clicking Today’s Deals in the app and then clicking “Upcoming.” That’s useful, of course, for getting organized, but it also leads to our next rule.
Rule #2: All That Glitters Isn’t A Deal
Like any retailer holding a giant sale, some of the deals Amazon is offering are amazing price cuts on stuff you want. Others are a sneaky attempt to get old inventory out the door. Others still are only good deals when you look at the MSRP, but you can get them cheaper elsewhere.
But wait, there’s one more thing to consider: Even if everything lines up for you, it’s worth asking yourself whether you’re genuinely going to use this thing you want to buy, or whether you’re just caught up in the inevitable hype surrounding Prime Day. Look closely at your purchases before you pull that trigger, and ask some hard questions of whether you will ever use the thermal underwear and garden tools that Amazon’s hocking or whether you’ve just fallen into the trap of believing something’s worth it just because it’s been labeled a deal.
Rule #3: Check The Reviews
You should research anything you buy thoroughly, of course, but Amazon, to their credit tends to make it easy by offering up user reviews. It’s always worth clicking through to the product page to see the reviews. And don’t just pay attention to the overall reviews: Amazon also tends to break down products by frequently asked question and highlight frequently searched terms. Make a point of clicking on both the positive reviews and the negative ones, and taking note of the ratio.
And, of course, look at a few reviews off the site. Amazon has plenty of paid reviewers infesting the site, so a few outside viewpoints are useful.
Rule #4: Ask Yourself: How Rare Is This Deal?
Another point worth exploring is just how rare a deal actually is on any particular item. A good example is Amazon’s own gadgets, like the Echo, the Fire, and the Kindle. These will have steep, steep discounts on Prime Day, since Amazon views them as a beachhead for selling you more stuff. But Amazon discounts these items constantly. They’ll discount a Kindle just because it’s Friday. The same is true of quite a few products, especially phones and video games, provided you’re willing to wait. If you’re truly in the market for a high-tech gadget when Prime Day falls, snap it up; If you’re not sure, don’t worry about the FOMO.
Rule #5: Make A Budget And Stick To It
It’s easy to disappear down a deal hole with Prime Day. Amazon offers a lot people want and need at some pretty great prices. So, if you tend to be a compulsive shopper, set yourself a budget, or set a goal for a specific item or class of item you’re looking for. For example, perhaps you need pants for work. If so, just stick to the fashion section and the pants, and don’t stray.
Conversely, maybe you want to have a little shopping fun, but you don’t want your credit cards to sweat. In that case, you might track deals all throughout the day but limit yourself to spending $20 an hour (and keep to that limit!). Remember, especially when the sales are coming in, that it’s all about your wants versus your needs, and you should definitely give your needs more weight.