How to Make the Most Out of Amazon's Prime Day

Bargains galore, but beware buyer’s remorse

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon will be offering tons of deeply discounted items during Prime Day, but check around because other retailers will be holding sales as well.
  • Don’t get caught up in the hype and buy stuff you don’t need, experts say.
  • Using the right credit card can increase your savings with cash back programs.
Close-Up Of Small Shopping Boxes With Credit Card On Laptop
Tevarak Phanduang / EyeEm / Getty Images

Savvy shoppers can make the most of this year’s Amazon’s Prime Day, running October 13-14, with a variety of strategies that can yield big payoffs, experts say.

Prime Day will offer thousands of deeply discounted items ranging from the $199 AirPods Pro to a $55 Echo Show smart display. We've assembled a roundup of the best Amazon Prime Day deals ourselves, which we'll update constantly over the next few days. While there are bargains to be had, observers say it’s important not to get caught up in the rush and overspend. The economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic is causing many shoppers to think more carefully about their spending.

"These super-limited offers are the best-of-the-best and never last long."

"Discounts were once associated with misfortune, but now in these uncertain times being thrifty signals financial mindfulness and planning," fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen, who conducted a study of Prime Day for browser extension Honey, said in an email interview. "It also helps shoppers feel more in control when so many life elements are in flux."

Bargain hunting is going mainstream. During boom times many people didn’t think twice about paying full price, but a Honey survey "shows us that more than half of Americans (52%) have increased deal sharing since before the pandemic as it’s becoming a celebrated part of social discourse," Karen said.

Compare, Compare, Compare

While Amazon gets the name recognition on Prime Day, other retailers are rushing to match or beat prices, experts say.

"Always compare other big box stores like Target or Walmart by running a quick search or download a tool like Popcart to your browser, which provides [an] instant pop-up notification if something you're eyeing is sold at another site for less," said Andrea Woroch, a money-saving advisor, in an email interview.

"In these uncertain times being thrifty signals financial mindfulness and planning."

Software tools can also prevent buyer’s remorse. Honey’s Droplist feature, for example, notifies you when something you’ve got your eye on drops in price.

"It’s a time and money saver, so you’ll snag the item you love and not feel guilty about it afterwards," Karen said.

Online prices often fluctuate, too, so Woroch recommends using an app such as Edison Mail that tracks your purchases. It includes a tool that notifies you if something goes on sale within a retailer’s price adjustment window.

There’s also Paribus, which claims to automate the process of getting money back after a price drop, and you can even earn more cash back using rebate apps like Fetch Rewards, which allows you to snap a pic of your receipt and upload it to your account to earn points.

"Plus, you can link your email and Amazon account to automatically earn points for all your Prime Day offers," Woroch said.

Using the right credit card can also boost your savings. Woroch recommends reviewing cash-back programs at CardRates.com.

Industry Analyst Ted Rossman, of CreditCards.com, says top options include the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card and the Discover it Cash Back card. If you prefer PayPal, "you can apply for a PayPal Key virtual card number and use that at Amazon.com" with several credit cards, he said in an email interview.

Keep Your Finger on the Trigger

If you have your eye on a specific item, speed is key.

"Be ready when the festivities begin and check back often. Amazon Prime Day’s best bargains are available in limited quantities," Sara Skirboll, Shopping & Trends Expert at RetailMeNot, said in an email interview. "As a Prime member, you’ll get advance notice, but if it’s one of those 4K big screen TVs you’re after, or a Nintendo Switch, be ready to pounce before they’re all gone."

Still life of a small shopping cart and red computer mouse on pink background, online shopping
the_burtons / Getty Images

Keep Lightning Deals on your radar, as well, suggested Skirboll, saying, "These super-limited offers are the best-of-the-best and never last long. Last year, to qualify as a lightning deal, a product had to be at least 20% off its list price. Once you put a lightning deal in your cart, you only have about 15 minutes to transact."

This year, bargains are more appealing than ever as paychecks shrink, but maybe you should consider whether you really need that 4K TV or tablet.

On the other hand, what better way to doomscroll your way to 2021?