The Amazon Prime Day event that everyone talks about is almost here. You may be a Prime member trying to make the most out of your $119 annual subscription, or as a non-Prime member, you may want to sign up for a trial because you fear missing out on bargains.
Over half of Americans plan to shop Prime Day this year, according to a survey from RetailMeNot. The percentage is even higher among parents, who set a $162 budget for Prime Day as they do back-to-school shopping for their kids.
“Prime Day is a great day to shop and take advantage of hundreds of thousands deals on your Amazon product needs or wants,” said Sara Skirboll, a shopping and trends expert for RetailMeNot, but “hold out until November for items like TVs, laptops, cameras, and Apple products if you don’t need them immediately.”
So, are the deals always as good as they appear to be? Here are some tips that can help you take advantage of the sale without breaking your bank.
Always track and compare price
Since there is so much hype about Prime Day, it’s tempting to see a desired product on sale and just click “order.” For those who try to find true bargains on Amazon, a few tools could offer you price history and comparisons across sites, since retail giants like eBay, Walmart, Target and e-commerce startups like Boxed all have launched their own version of Prime Day to compete for your wallet.
Websites and chrome extension CamelCamelCamel tracks Amazon price changes for you, so you can see if the seller has jacked up prices before Prime Day to make it look like the deal is better than it is. Honey is another website that shows you price history and automatically applies coupon codes at checkout.
Watch out for fake reviews
Reviews play a critical role in Amazon users’ purchases, but fake reviews written by people who leave a nice rating in exchange for free products are rampant nowadays. FakeSpot has analyzed more than 4 billion reviews online and given them a grade on how “real” they are. Sometimes it’s helpful to read the low-rating reviews rather than the five-star ones.
Even more discounts
Once you’ve decided to purchase an item, platforms like RetailMeNot and Ebates can sweeten up a deal even more by offering a cash back percentage on your purchases.
According to some of the deal details revealed by Amazon on Friday, Amazon devices, from Echo smart speakers to eero WiFis, will be discounted by 30% to 50%.
Take advantage of these Amazon features
A little known feature of Amazon Prime is that Amazon allows you to share the $119 annual membership with families by registering for Prime Household. For every Prime member with Household, it’s free to add one other adult and up to four kids to your Prime account. Everyone gets separate logins to shop for Prime Day deals but they need to share payment methods.
You can also do some good while going on a shopping spree. AmazonSmile is a program that donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases on Amazon to a charity of your choice. AmazonSmile works with over 1 million charitable organizations. All you need to do is to order at smile.amazon.com, which offers the same products at the same price as Amazon, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate to charity on your behalf. The donation will be made at no extra cost.
Though 0.5% of your eligible purchases is not a large donation and it isn’t eligible for a tax deduction, AmazonSmile is still a great way to take advantage of the money you will spend on the e-commerce giant anyway. By May 2019, charities have received over $134 million from Amazon Smile.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on July 12.
Krystal Hu covers technology and China for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.