(Getty Images/Mark Makela)
Amazon Prime Day is Christmas in July for techies — most years, that is. In 2020, following pandemic delays, the two-day sale kicks off on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Arizona time.
I’ve told you before about all the great perks you get with an Amazon Prime membership — here are 11 of my favorites — and Prime Day sales might top the list.
Amazingly, Amazon customers are expected to spend an estimated $10 billion next week.
It’s not just tech and gadgets on sale. You’ll find hot deals across every category. The main Amazon Prime Day deals page is an excellent place to get started to see price drops across the board.
But many deals expire quickly, and new ones appear steadily, often without much notice. I’ve got insider tips to help you get the most bang for your buck.
1. Ask Alexa for the latest deals
To hear the latest exclusive deals, ask the Amazon virtual assistant, “Alexa, what are your deals?” You’ll hear a list of up-to-date price drops and offers — and you can also ask Alexa to buy them for you right on the spot.
Some offers Alexa shares can only be accessed through an Echo device or the Alexa apps, so you won’t see them on Amazon.com. Good things do come to those who ask.
2. Download the app
Amazon’s smartphone app gives you a sneak peek at Prime Day deals before they go live on the website. To see the deals, open the app and search for “Sneak Peek.” Now mark items you’re interested in as “watching,” and you’ll receive a notification when the price drops.
To see the deals, tap the three-line menu icon. Under Programs & Features, tap Today’s Deals, then Upcoming. Select Watch this deal to be notified when the price drops.
Be sure to enable notifications. Tap the three-line icon in the upper left corner of the app, then tap Settings > Notifications. On the next page, enable Personalized Notifications.
If there’s a specific item you want and don’t see it in upcoming sales, you can create a wishlist and Amazon will notify you if it ends up as part of a new Prime Day deal. Tap Add to list on the item’s page, below the “Add gift options” checkbox on desktop and mobile.
You can also preview upcoming Lightning Deals before they go live. This is helpful since these tend to sell out very quickly. Select Join Waitlist on a Lightning Deal to claim a spot. Once it goes live, you’ll get an alert.
Act quickly! When you get the alert, you have just 15 minutes to make the purchase. Otherwise, it will be deleted from your cart.
3. Spend $10, get $10
Amazon is showing support for small businesses with its Spend $10, get $10 program. Prime Members who buy from select small businesses will get $10 worth of credit to use for Prime Day. Just take a look at the list here and see if anything catches your eye.
It’s not just online shops that give you a bonus. You can also qualify for the $10 credit by shopping at brick-and-mortar Amazon stores and Whole Foods markets.
4. Sites and browser extensions that can save you even more
The Amazon Assistant browser extension compares products and prices while you search on Amazon and will notify you when deals go live. You can access wishlists right in your browser, too.
It uses your browsing activity for targeted recommendations. If you’re not comfortable with that, skip it. Tap or click here to install the Amazon Assistant for Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari.
The Honey browser extension is the best way I’ve found to find coupon codes that work.
Install it in just a click, then the best promo code is automatically added to your cart, on Amazon or thousands of other participating sites.
Capital One’s Wikibuy gives you a side-by-side comparison of prices from multiple retailers. That’s useful when so many sites have products on sale.
The Camelcamelcamel extension tracks price drops on Amazon so you don’t have to keep refreshing. It’s also a great way to see if the prices offered are genuinely a great deal.
5. Know what to buy and what to skip
The savviest shoppers know there are items you should be on the hunt for and others you should hold off. With holiday deals not far behind, that’s even more true this year. Now is not the time to buy video games, for example.
I spoke with shopping and deals expert Kristin McGrath, editor of BlackFriday.com, on a special Tech You Should Know podcast to help you navigate it all. This is Kristin’s wheelhouse, and she shares some killer secrets for getting the most out of your money.
So, what’s on sale? Amazon has already trickled out some deals in the lead-up to the main event. Here are a few you can’t afford to miss.
1. Killer 4K smart TVs for a steal: Toshiba is one of the biggest names in TVs, and its products are built to last without costing an arm and a leg. Right now, you can pick up this stellar 43-inch 1080p Fire TV Edition smart TV for less than $300.
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger, this 50-inch Insignia 4K Fire TV edition set clocks in around the same price. This TV runs all your favorite streaming services in crystal-clear 4K, and you’ll also get an Alexa voice remote.
2. Amazon’s smart home gear: Amazon and its retailers keep most deals under wraps until Prime Day hits, but there’s one thing we always know: Amazon deeply discounts its own products, including the Echo line.
The Echo Show 5 smart display is half off. The Echo Show is Amazon’s smart home hub and video-chat device. It responds to voice commands with Alexa, and you can use it to make calls and control all your Internet of Things gadgets.
The basic Echo Dot is an excellent choice if you’re not interested in the screen. Control your other smart tech, use Alexa, stream music and so much more with this little guy.
After you pick one up, get started with these 20 tips and tricks to try with Alexa.
3. The best time to grab an iPad: Apple just refreshed its eighth-generation iPad lineup with improved A12 bionic chips. This helps it handle complex tasks like handwriting recognition, which comes built right into the latest version of iPadOS.
Right now, you can get the 10.2-inch, 32GB, Wi-Fi enabled model for less than $400.
The 11-inch iPad Pro is at an all-time low price, too. This one is so powerful and easy to use. I often recommend it over a laptop! You can choose from Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and cellular, with 128 GB of storage all the way up to 1 TB.
4. A rare sale on Apple AirPods: AirPods were once so scarce preorders wouldn’t ship for months. Now, every model is on sale and ready to ship. These are my go-to earbuds.
My pick is the AirPods Pro. They have advanced noise cancelation, fit snugly in your ears, and are waterproof so you can wear them during the sweatiest workouts. They are an investment, but right now you can save $30.
If those are out of your price change or you don’t need all the bells and whistles, you have two options: AirPods with a wired charging case and AirPods with a wireless charging case.
Right out of the box, you’ll get solid wireless headphones with an easy one-touch setup, device switching and always-on Siri. The wired case plugs into a lightning connector, just like the iPhone. With the wireless case, you can charge your AirPods with any Qi-compatible wireless charger.
5. Get a jump-start on Christmas shopping: There’s no doubt about it – holiday shopping is going to start very early this year. With everyone shopping online, you don’t want to wait until all the best gifts are sold out. Why not get a jump on things? Here are a few gifts I’m giving this year.
Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker for keys, bags and more. We all know someone who can’t stop misplacing their keys, wallet or purse. The Tile Mate is water-resistant, has a one-year replaceable battery and is the perfect present for those who have everything.
Hercules Tuff Charging Station for Multiple Devices. For the gadget lover, this charging station has slots for six devices and includes four Lightning cables, one USB-C cable and one micro USB. Gift this to the techies in your life who need a little organizational help.
POWERUP Smartphone-controlled paper airplane conversion kit. You read that right — smart paper airplanes! This seriously fun gift is excellent for the kids or the young-at-heart recipients in your life. The planes have a 180-foot flying range and a crash-resistant design, piloted through an iOS or Android app.
Amazon Prime Day kicks off at 9 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday and runs through Wednesday.
The deals won’t last, so set those alerts before it’s too late! Happy shopping!
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