Though it’s only been around for four years now, Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. It’s the day -- or, at least in 2019, a 48-hour event -- when Amazon puts a wide array of products on deep discount. Deals can be found in just about every department, from hot dog makers to televisions to booster seats for your dog. (Yeah, some Amazon Prime Day deals are hella weird.)
There’s only one thing we love more than a good Amazon Prime Day sale, and that’s a good Amazon Prime Day story.
And no, we’re not just talking about your cousin who got an Instant Pot last year on the cheap. (That was a fantastic deal, though!) We’re talking about serious Amazon Prime Day warriors -- the people who plan ahead of time, stack multiple discounts, score cash back, and make these rare once-every-year discounts really work for them.
With this year’s Amazon Prime Day scheduled for July 15, we scoured the Internet -- and our own office -- to find people who scored the most amazing deals in Prime Days past and learn best Amazon Prime Day shopping secrets. And, being serious bargain hunters ourselves, we’re sharing our own personal experiences as well.
Here’s what we’ve learned over the past several years of bargain hunting on Amazon.
Tales From the First Amazon Prime Day
#PrimeDay is like when grandma says "help yourself to the candy jar!" but it has nothing but raisins and sugar-free salt water taffy— Dera Luce (@DeraLuce) July 15, 2015
Amazon launched its first ever Prime Day event in July 2015 with great fanfare. The company went all out hyping the event -- it’s own ‘Black Friday in July’ -- promising huge savings on items across the site. It was a great concept, and we were so here for it.
We showed up at the first-ever Amazon Prime Day ready to shop. 💸
But perhaps Amazon hyped the event a bit too much. Shoppers were disappointed by the quality of the items on sale, likening the event to a digital yard sale. Some items were on deep discount to their manufacturer’s suggested retail price, but not much of a discount compared to Amazon’s everyday prices.
And the deals that were actually good wound up selling out lightning fast.
Many people were interested in the HP Omen gaming laptop Amazon had on offer for $999. But that deal -- and most other tempting offers like it -- sold out in seconds.
The Time to Panic Is Not Right Now
We didn’t buy much of anything on that first-ever Amazon Prime Day, but we sure did learn our share of lessons. First, know that you’ll have to do most of your research about the best deals days in advance. There will be a lot of junk cluttering up Amazon’s deal pages, and often not enough time to sift through it all. Fortunately, sites such as CNET.com are on hand to help with their list of the best Amazon Prime Day deals. That way, you can keep your shopping efforts laser focused.
You’ll find plenty of deals on the front page of Amazon’s site, as well. And on the Amazon app.
Do your research, bookmark items you might want to buy ahead of time, and use the Amazon app on your phone or tablet to set up alerts for the deals you’re most excited about. Just visit the Today’s Deals window, tap the Upcoming tab, and then tap “Watch this deal” for all the goodies you want to score. (You may need to first give permission for the Amazon app to send you notifications.)
And if a deal goes out-of-stock, don’t panic -- add your name to the waitlist and start hitting refresh on the item.
If You're Looking to Grab This Popular Gadget, You're in Luck
Thankfully, Prime Day has evolved quite a bit since 2015 -- the deals are now much better, and are on more useful products. But one thing has held constant throughout the years: Prime Day is pretty much the perfect time to buy Amazon gadgets such as the Echo.
Just take a look at these Prime Day deals from 2018: The Amazon Cloud cam was marked down from $120 to $60, the Fire 7 tablet was slashed from $50 to $30, and you could get a Fire TV stick for half price -- just $20. There were also great deals on televisions with Amazon Fire TV built-in: You could have bought this 50-inch Toshiba TV for just $290.
It’s reasonable to expect Amazon to repeat similar deals on its own products in 2019. As such, Amazon Prime Day is the perfect time to pick up a new Fire tablet or Kindle, grab a new Fire TV for the guest room or even start your own smart home with an Amazon Echo.
Amazon Prime Day is also the perfect time to pick up an Instant Pot cooker. The incredibly popular kitchen gadget was the hottest Prime Day deal of 2018 according to Amazon. And given that it was also one of the most popular Prime Day deals in 2017 and 2016, it’s reasonable to expect that we’ll see a huge discount on the Instant Pot during Amazon Prime Day 2019 as well.
She Wanted One Simple Thing. Here's How She Wound up with Three
If you don’t go into Amazon Prime Day with a plan, you’ll wind up buying a bunch of junk you don’t need. Smart Prime Day shoppers know that the best way to get the best deals are to make a list ahead of time.
Savvy shopper Leslie Gornstein told iDaily about her big Prime Day 2016 score. After seeing a coworker use a Contigo autoseal travel mug, she decided it would make the perfect gift for her own mother. But when she looked up the mug on Amazon it was surprisingly expensive, so she held off on making the purchase.
She held off, that is, until Prime Day 2016 rolled around with big discounts on Contigo mugs. That’s when she bought three -- one for herself, and two to give away as gifts.
And Leslie’s not the only one who uses Amazon Prime Day as an opportunity to get great gifts on the cheap. A lot of people now buy Christmas gifts for their loved ones on Prime Day. In fact, a close family member of ours finished up their holiday shopping on the cheap in July of last year, all thanks to Prime Day. Now that's something to celebrate.
Here's How People Sneak in Without Paying
Only Amazon Prime members can take advantage of the best Prime Day deals. But let’s be real, here: Not everyone can afford a $119 yearly Amazon Prime membership.
If you’re pressed for cash, the great news is that Amazon Prime Day is the perfect time to sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial. You’ll get all the benefits of Prime for 30 days, and you’re free to cancel before that time is up -- but after Prime Day has ended -- so you’ll never get charged.
That’s what we did during the first-ever Amazon Prime Day in 2015. Of course, we wound up enjoying the two-day shipping -- now one-day shipping in much of the country -- so much that we decided to keep our membership year round. (Here’s a list of 20 other benefits Amazon Prime Members get.)
Nobody Wants to Play This Nasty Game
Some people get tripped up on Prime Day. Just because Amazon says an item is on sale doesn’t mean it’s a great deal -- after all, Amazon puts different stuff on sale 365 days a year.
For example, Amazon offered a four-pack of the Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker for $35 during Prime Day 2018. But if you had shopped in the days prior, you could have bought the same four-pack for $33.98.
Fortunately, there’s a way to keep from falling into this classic retail trap. Our friends at CNET strongly recommend you check out CamelCamelCamel, a free Amazon price checker with historical data. It’ll tell you for sure whether that Prime Day deal you’re considering is for real, or just a lot of marketing bluster.
So, About That One Time We Went Nuts Over Skincare...
Perhaps this should go without saying, but if you find a good deal on Amazon Prime Day, you’re likely best off stocking up on it.
What exactly is there to stock up on? One smart shopper, Lily, says that all her favorite K-beauty products are available at big discounts during Prime Day. So she stocks up in July, getting a ton of high-quality skincare products on the cheap that she can then use all year long. It’s a great way to fit some luxury into her budget.
But remember: It’s only a good deal if you were going to buy the products anyway. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.
There's Something You Should Know About Prime Day Alexa
If you’ve already got an Amazon Echo set up with the Alexa personal assistant in your home, you’ve got everything you need to beat the Amazon Prime Day rush.
Last year, Amazon gave Alexa users advance notice of -- and in some cases, advance access to -- some Prime Day deals. We don’t know if Amazon will offer Alexa users an early heads up on specific deals in 2019, but if you’ve already got an Echo in your home, the best way to know for sure is to ask Amazon Alexa for good deals.
There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch
As you may know, Amazon also owns Whole Foods -- the internet giant bought the grocery store in August 2017. That means Amazon Prime Day deals now expand beyond the internet.
Indeed, our favorite Amazon Prime Day deal of 2018 was one offered by Whole Foods: If you were a Prime Member and you spent $10 in the grocery store in the week leading up to Prime Day, you’d get a $10 credit to use on the site during Prime Day.
So on Prime Day 2018, we started our afternoon by eating lunch at our local Whole Foods. We got a fantastic meal for $10, which we were immediately able to take off our first Prime Day purchase. It's like eating lunch for free.
Better yet, because that Prime Day 2018 purchase a video game pre-order, we were able to stack an additional pre-order discount on top of the $10 off we got for eating at Whole Foods.
If we had the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa, we would have been able to save even more money, since it offered a whopping 10% back (double the normal reward) on Prime Day purchases at Whole Foods.
Remember, one of the best Amazon Prime Day hacks is to stack deals on top of each other when you can!
Oh Baby: Here's Another Way You Can Double Dip
If you’re an expecting parent -- or know of one -- chances are that you’re familiar with baby registries. Amazon runs its own Baby Registry program with a very nice perk: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get a 15 percent “completion discount” by shopping your own list.
The only catch here is that your Baby Registry will need to be at least 14 days old for you to be able to take advantage of the discount, and Prime Day will need to be less than 60 days out from the baby’s expected arrival date.
The fantastic news is that this 15 percent discount will stack on top of any Prime Day deal Amazon is offering for the items on your list. So don’t delay -- if you want to double dip this Prime Day, fill out a registry now.
How People Got Amazon to Pay THEM
Amazon Prime Members enjoy ridiculously fast shipping times on their orders. But what if you don’t need that sweet Prime Day deal delivered ASAP?
The great news is that Amazon is willing to pay you to forgo fast shipping. Just choose free no-rush shipping during checkout, and Amazon will give you a $5 Prime Pantry reward when your order ships.
If you’re not familiar, Prime Pantry offers a great selection of food, snacks and household supplies in normal, everyday sizes -- it’s like shopping a supermarket online. And because we know how great it is to stack deals, know that Prime Pantry members will get free shipping on all orders with no order minimum through July 31, 2019.
Sure, there’s a $4.99 monthly membership fee for Prime Pantry. But just like with Amazon Prime memberships, you can get a 30-day free trial. And if you use the code PANTRY5, you’ll save an extra $5 on your first order, provided you spend $40.
This doesn’t even count whatever bonus deals Amazon will likely offer on Prime Pantry during Prime Day. So ladies and gentlemen, get ready to stack 👏 those 👏 deals! 👏
Making Every Dollar Count
Ibotta is a free app that gives you cash back every time you shop online at one of their partner brands. The savings go way beyond Amazon -- you can get cash back from Walmart, Kohl’s, The Home Depot, Old Navy, Petsmart and a ton of other places too. 💵💵💵
We haven’t raked in a ton of cash via Ibotta, but every extra dollar counts when you’re stacking deals. And if you’re making your Amazon purchases with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card, you’ll get even more cash back on top of what you get from Ibotta.
But Here's What the Smartest Prime Day Shoppers Do
If you really want to make Amazon Prime Day 2019 count, know the best deals of the year may not even be on Amazon! Last year, Walmart offered shoppers crazy discounts on TVs, with prices even better than those offered on Black Friday. JC Penney, Target and Macy’s got in on the action, too, with their own competing I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-Prime-Day sales.
You can expect repeat sales at all these Amazon competitors in 2019. In fact, we’d be surprised if even more stores didn’t get in on the action.
Especially aggressive shoppers can score incredible deals at Kohl’s, explains the Krazy Coupon Lady blog. She details how you can triple stack coupons: You can use one sitewide dollar-off code, one departmental dollar-off code and one percent-off code, all in addition to redeeming any Kohl’s cash you might have.
By triple stacking discounts, the Krazy Coupon Lady was able to pick up a Keurig Mini coffeemaker at Kohl’s for just $34.99 on Prime Day, roughly half the price at Amazon.