How to Save on Amazon Prime Day

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The annual sale known as Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year — and if you know where to look, there are great deals to be had. Last year, for example, prices for Amazon Echo smart speakers dropped by 50%, Bose headphones dropped by 30% and popular cookware from Lodge was up to 60% off, among myriad other discounts.

Prime Day — which is in fact two days — usually happens in summer, but it was postponed this year due to the recession caused by the pandemic, and will take place on October 13 and 14. Prime Day sales are available only to people enrolled in Amazon Prime, which costs $119 per year (or $59 for students).

Here, we’ve rounded up some of our money-saving hacks so you can maximize what you get out of Prime Day.

Make a List and a Budget

If you’re interested in taking advantage of Prime Day, we suggest you make a budget as well as a list of things you’re considering buying. This will help you avoid getting sidetracked by items you don’t need, and give you some wiggle room if those do pop up and catch your eye. Most of all, a budget will encourage you to stick to your financial goals.

Set Alerts for Items You’re Interested In

Amazon often discounts heavily its own products — Alexa, Ring, Echo and more — during Prime Day. In fact, some of the deals have started already. At the time of this publication, you can get two Echo Dots for $39.98, which is typically the price of one.

There are many deals to be found from thousands of third-party retailers on Amazon, too. Since many of them are sold out within minutes, if not seconds, of going live, keep an eye on products you want, and if they are eligible for the Prime Day sale, you can sign up for notifications. That way, you can jump on any deal quickly.

Pro Tip

Make a budget and plan ahead, and you’ll save even more money on heavily discounted deals during Prime Day.

To sign up for notifications, open the Amazon app on your phone. From there, tap the icon with three stacked lines, and then click “Settings” to “Notifications.” You can then enable notifications for “Your Watched and Wishlist Deals.” Just be sure to add any items you have your eye on to your wishlist.

You can also get notifications on your computer desktop. You’ll need to download the Amazon Assistant browser extension, and then click “Settings” to enable notifications.

Take Advantage of Promotions

There are currently a handful of easy promotions floating around that can save you a few dollars here and there during the big sale.

For example, the retailer is currently running a promotion where spending $10+ on a single purchase between now and October 14, either online at Whole Foods, or Prime Now or in a Whole Foods store, will get you $10 to spend during Amazon Prime Day.

Additionally, from now until October 12, if you spend $10+ with certain small businesses, you’ll get $10 to spend on Prime Day. You’ll need to shop through this link to see which products and businesses qualify.

You should also be strategic about how you use your credit card points. While you can use these points to cover the cost of your Amazon purchases — whether it’s Prime Day or not — we typically advise against doing so. This is because you’ll get far greater value using those points for free travel later on.

There is one exception, though. Credit card issuers are offering limited-time promotions, where you can use your points to save a good chunk of change, depending on what type of card you have.

For example, you can currently get $15 off your $50+ order by using just one Chase Ultimate Rewards point. To see if you’re eligible, check here, and then enter “.01” in the payment method at checkout. Just keep in mind the offer expires on October 31 or after 66,667 shoppers have redeemed it.

You may also be eligible to take advantage of ongoing credit card promotions straight from your issuer.

For instance, I’m personally targeted for a Chase Offer to receive $5 back on Amazon Music after spending $0.99 or more.

First-time Amazon app users can get up to $30 in Amazon credits. You’ll get $10 off $20 after your first app sign-in, $10 off $20 after your first app purchase and another $10 off $20 after your second app purchase. You must be a Prime member to take advantage of it.

Download a Gift Card

There’s also an ongoing promotion where you can save $10 on your Amazon purchases by downloading a $100+  gift card. Again, you must be a Prime member to do so, and it has to be your first time reloading your gift card balance. It’s a limited-time offer, so purchase it by October 12, the day before Prime Day begins, if you’re considering it. This is a great way to save some money on your purchases, especially if you are already planning on spending $100 or more.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Perks

While a $119 regular Prime membership for the year comes with a lot of perks, most notably two-day shipping on a wide variety of items and access to Prime Day deals, it’s certainly a steep upfront cost. 

If you’re a regular Amazon user, one way to offset almost completely the Prime fee for the first year is to sign up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. It’s open only to Prime members, but it comes with a $100 gift card upon approval, which covers almost all of your $119 yearly membership. The card also earns 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, and doesn’t have an annual fee. At restaurants, gas stations and drugstores the card earns 2% back, and 1% back on all other purchases. Amazon offers a 30-day free trial.

Cardholders of the Discover it card can also get 5% cash back on Amazon purchases this quarter. Just be sure to use that card at checkout.

If you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you can get 5% cash back until the end of December as well, but you’ll need to follow this workaround. The card partners with different retailers every quarter to offer 5% cash back; Amazon is not one of the retailers featured this quarter, but PayPal is. Using PayPal Key — which provides a virtual account number so you can use PayPal at retailers that don’t traditionally accept it as payment — you can sign up for a PayPal account. Then use the virtual Key number at Amazon, which doesn’t accept PayPal directly. If you set up your PayPal account to take the money from your Chase Freedom card, you’ll be able to get 5% cash back on your Prime Day purchases.

Bottom Line

Amazon’s two-day Prime Day event can be overwhelming, but if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to score some solid deals on popular, discounted items. The trick here is to stick to your budget, prepare ahead of time, and if you can, rack up some credits before the big event itself.

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