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Amazon Prime Day 2020: How to Get the Best Deals

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In typical years, Amazon Prime Day falls in mid-July, perfectly placed to interrupt the midsummer retail doldrums.

But 2020 is not a typical year. The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted global supply chains during the first half of the year, upending digital and brick-and-mortar retail operations alike. For its part, Amazon threw spare resources at essential business lines like food and personal care products, allowing discretionary items like electronics, fashion clothing, and home goods to pile up in its suppliers’ warehouses, according to SupplyChainBrain. By early April, it was clear Amazon would need to delay Prime Day. But the retailer didn’t officially confirm the postponement until early July and has yet to announce an official date.

We still don’t know precisely when Prime Day 2020 will be. A late-July report by Rolling Stone puts the earliest plausible date in late September. Other reports, like TechRadar’s, suggest Prime Day is likelier to fall during the first half of October. Amazon has always been tight-lipped about Prime Day’s timing until the two weeks prior, so it’s entirely possible we won’t learn the exact date until it’s almost upon us.

Prime Day 2020 is unlikely to differ from past Prime Days in at least one crucial respect: a vast array of attractive deals and discounts on sought-after consumer goods and household essentials. In the past, Prime Day shoppers have enjoyed discounts of 50% or more on high-demand products. This year, a surplus of electronics inventory — courtesy of pandemic-related disruptions, according to Reuters — could provide extra enticement for early holiday shoppers and anyone else in the market for shiny new devices.

Potential Deals for Amazon Prime Day 2020

What can shoppers expect from Amazon Prime Day 2020? In truth, no one knows but the higher-ups at Amazon, and they’re not talking. But savvy shoppers can undoubtedly look to past Prime Day deals to set expectations about what’s likely to sell for less at this year’s big event. These categories featured prominently on Prime Day 2019 and likely will again in 2020:

  • Deals under $25
  • Lightning Deals
  • Amazon devices
  • Top trending deals
  • Items with 4 stars and up
  • Home and kitchen
  • Computers
  • Tools and home improvement
  • Fashion
  • Health and personal care
  • Smart home
  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Video games
  • Pets

Specifically, some of the best Prime Day 2019 deals included:

A general word of advice: Don’t wait to jump on specific Prime Day deals. Once inventory runs out, the deal is gone for good.

Tips to Prepare for Amazon Prime Day & Maximize Your Savings

Want to save as much as possible on Amazon Prime Day without impulse-buying items that you don’t really need? You and millions of other online shoppers. But careful preparation is key to a successful, budget-friendly Prime Day shopping experience. That means becoming an Amazon Prime member (if you’re not one already), making and sticking to a concise shopping list, and using the proper payment method.

1. Join Amazon Prime

Prime Day deals are only for Amazon Prime members. That means becoming a Prime member is an essential prerequisite for anyone with big Amazon Prime Day shopping plans — and anyone interested in taking advantage of the $119-per-year subscription’s considerable benefits during the rest of the year. These benefits include:

  • Free two-day shipping on all eligible Amazon purchases
  • Free one-day or two-hour delivery on eligible purchases in select areas
  • Free no-rush shipping with bonus reward credits against eligible future Amazon purchases
  • Free grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh in select areas
  • Access to Amazon Prime Video’s library of thousands of movies and shows, including exclusive features and series not available anywhere else
  • Unlimited e-books through Kindle Unlimited
  • Unlimited access to more than 2 million digital songs through Amazon Music
  • Free games, in-game content, and subscription to Twitch.tv through Amazon Gaming
  • Exclusive savings (and delivery in select cities) from Whole Foods Market
  • Deals and discounts up to 20% on select products (such as diapers) through Amazon Family

If you’re a first-time Amazon Prime subscriber, opt into the 30-day free trial right before Prime Day. If you’re not satisfied with the service, you can always cancel after Prime Day and before the trial expires, paying nothing for the trouble. That said, Prime membership is definitely worth the cost for frequent Amazon shoppers able to take advantage of its content and delivery perks.

2. Familiarize Yourself With Last Year’s Deals

Use actual examples from last year to familiarize yourself with the sorts of deals Amazon is likely to offer on the big day. For example, CNET highlighted a slew of deals on electronics and home goods, some of which remain available (albeit at different price points) in 2020:

Prior-year availability won’t predict with 100% accuracy what Amazon has up its sleeve this year, especially in light of the pandemic-related supply chain disruptions that delayed Prime Day 2020 in the first place. But it can and should form the basis of informed guesswork.

3. Set a Reasonable Shopping Budget

Next, set a reasonable Prime Day shopping budget. It’s essential you do so before compiling your shopping list. Otherwise, the temptation to overspend on things you desperately want but don’t need becomes too powerful to resist.

Your Prime Day budget should fit neatly into your discretionary budget. Avoid the temptation to use Prime Day as an excuse to expand it. If you typically earmark $500 per month to spend on luxuries or nice-to-haves like restaurant meals and electronics, don’t spend $700 on Prime Day. In fact, unless you’re willing to go without any other luxuries that month, you need to spend considerably less — perhaps $250 or $300 in this example.

That said, Prime Day falls nearly three months later than usual this year, quite close to the holiday shopping season’s traditional start on Black Friday. Amazon hasn’t promoted Prime Day 2020 as an alternative to Black Friday or Cyber Monday this year, likely because it doesn’t want to cannibalize its own excellent Black Friday deals. But Prime Day’s calendar position is a boon for anyone looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping.

If that’s the case for you, combining your Amazon Prime Day and general holiday shopping budgets — using Prime Day to shop for holiday gifts instead of or in addition to yourself — could actually help you control your fourth-quarter discretionary spending this year.

4. Make & Stick to a Needs-Based Shopping List

Making a list is a vital step to take ahead of planned shopping events of any significance, not just Prime Day. The objective is clear: avoiding impulsive purchases you don’t need and could regret in hindsight. Using clues gleaned from prior Amazon Prime Day deals, your list should include everything you both plan to buy before the end of the year (or, if you prefer and your shopping budget allows, within the next six months) and those reasonably likely to be discounted on Prime Day.

On Prime Day, stay disciplined and condition your purchases on value. If a particular item on your list isn’t discounted for Prime Day, don’t buy it. You’ll likely find better deals later in the year.

5. Use a Browser Extension to Find a Better Deal

Before Amazon Prime Day 2020, add Wikibuy, a free browser extension that automatically searches competing merchants’ inventories for a better price when you shop Amazon. If Wikibuy can’t find a better price elsewhere, simply complete your Prime Day purchase as planned. If another retailer has a better price, shop with them instead.

Wikibuy isn’t the only browser extension that can save you money on online purchases you’d make anyway. It’s one of the best around, but legitimate and potentially lucrative alternatives abound.

6. Shop Early

Amazon makes no guarantees that any given Prime Day merchandise will remain available for the event’s duration. Quantities are always finite, and unexpectedly high demand for specific products could cause certain deals to sell out sooner than expected. Your best bet is to shop early, logging on right away on Prime Day morning and getting as much of your shopping list out of the way as possible before the day begins. You can always return later to complete your list or take advantage of last-minute deals as your budget allows.

7. Download the Amazon App for Mobile Purchases

Amazon’s main website works just fine on desktop and mobile devices, but don’t overlook its user-friendly app. The app is especially useful for shoppers stuck at work during Prime Day’s peak hours, as many employers frown on workers shopping (or conducting any personal business at all) on work-issued devices.

Beyond the obvious perks of a crisper shopping experience in a smaller package, Amazon’s mobile app offers:

  • Voice-assisted shopping using the Amazon Alexa assistant
  • Real-time order tracking and notifications
  • Direct chat support from Amazon’s customer assistance team
  • Single-tap shopping with your smartphone camera

8. Use a Rewards Credit Card (Preferably the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card)

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is the best cash-back credit card for frequent Amazon patrons, period. Its three-tier cash-back program earns:

  • 5% cash back on qualifying Amazon and Whole Foods purchases with an eligible Prime membership
  • 2% cash back on eligible purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, the otherwise identical Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card earns 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Of course, Prime Day sales are for Prime members only, so you must become a Prime member before the big event. But if you already have the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature card, you don’t need to reapply for the Prime Rewards card — the upgrade is automatic and immediate.

But if you have no interest in applying for an Amazon card or don’t qualify, use one or more of these Prime Day-friendly credit cards if you can:

Final Word

Amazon and Whole Foods aren’t the only retailers worth patronizing on Prime Day. Many big-name sellers — Walmart and Target among them — slash prices to compete with Prime Day deals and offer price-match guarantees that may cover Amazon Prime Day deals (though be sure to read the fine print on these policies carefully). If you play your cards right, your Prime Day shopfest could turn into a multi-retailer blowout that saves you hundreds on purchases you planned to make anyway while supporting your favorite non-Amazon merchants.

You can also make your purchases count by joining the Amazon Smile program before the big day. Shop through the Amazon Smile site — not Amazon’s main site — to ensure Amazon donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. You can also purchase actual products to give to thousands of registered Amazon Smile charities using the Charity Lists feature. It lets you buy frequently needed products, such as paper towels and cleaning supplies, preselected by participating charities, which are then shipped directly to them, putting your dollars to work right where charities need them most.

Are you gearing up for Amazon Prime Day 2020? What do you hope to buy for less this year?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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