Prep Now to Find Amazon Prime Day Deals in July

Amazon’s sale on July 16-17 can be a chance to grab items off your list at a discount. Check your budget, learn how to make dynamic pricing work for you and avoid impulse purchases.
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Written by Amanda Barroso
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Amazon just announced this year’s Prime Day sale will be held July 16-17. Prices are likely to rival those on Black Friday and in some cases beat them. Last year, NerdWallet tracked prices on 10 popular items. Four of them hit their lowest price during Prime Day. We expect similar deals this year, too, offering a good chance for shoppers who want to get ahead for the holidays or simply want a good deal now.

Here’s how to prepare to get the most out of Amazon Prime Day 2024.

What is Prime Day?

Prime Day is Amazon’s July two-day sale exclusively for Prime members. The online sale is likely to bring in lots of shoppers looking to save. Amazon says Prime members saved more than $2.5 billion on purchases made during the 2023 event.

Prime Day deals

Amazon has kept fairly quiet about what’s going to be included in the sale. This level of secrecy can be frustrating for shoppers trying to plan ahead. So, why does Amazon do it? “They’re trying to create a buzz around these two days,” says Mark Bergen, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota.

Here’s what we do know: Amazon is highlighting deals across more than 35 categories, including Amazon devices, fitness, beauty, entertainment and even groceries. The company also announced there will be shopping filters available and deals for back-to-school savings.

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How to prepare for Prime Day

Amazon has a huge share of the digital marketplace and consistently targets consumers to get their hard-earned cash, but it doesn’t have all the power. To put yourself in the best position for Prime Day, consider these tips:

Check in with your budget

Let your budget determine how you shop — or if you shop at all. If you have room in your budget or have been saving for something big, then you’re ready to spend. But if you’re already pinched and participating in the sale is going to put you in debt, consider not shopping. There will be other sales this year.

If you’ll be shopping, be strategic about how you plan to pay for your purchases. Do you have gift cards you can use? Is there a credit card in your wallet that could give you extra points or rewards? Holders of Amazon-branded credit cards can take advantage of cash-back rewards on purchases made during the sale.

Take inventory

The weeks before a big sale are the perfect time to assess what you have and what you need, according to Elana Feinsmith, a certified financial planner and financial therapist in Sunnyvale, California. You’re less likely to buy duplicates or needlessly spend if you take inventory before shopping.

Use your phone’s notes app to jot down a list of gift ideas for important people in your life or things you’re considering for yourself. Check your calendar for upcoming birthdays and holidays and use this as a chance to buy gifts early. This way, you’ll save yourself a last-minute trip to a store where you might pay full price.

Prioritize big-ticket items

Take note of more expensive items on your list, like electronics and appliances. Even a 10% or 15% discount can be significant, so bigger-ticket purchases can be worth prioritizing over cheaper items with less impactful savings.

If you’re considering a bigger purchase but are still unsure, Feinsmith suggests calculating the cost per use: The more frequently you use an item, the better the value. Let’s say you have your eye on a pair of $200 headphones that you plan to wear every day at work. With roughly 250 working days a year, the cost per use would be roughly 80 cents in the first year — and would keep dropping with further use.

Use fluctuating prices to your advantage

Constantly changing prices can be exasperating for shoppers looking for the best deals online, only to check back later to find the item on sale for less. The ability of companies to change prices more often and more quickly is at the heart of dynamic pricing, according to Bergen.

This model is at the core of Prime Day, which typically features new deals every 30 minutes and “lightning deals” that disappear if you don’t pounce quickly. The experience can feel hectic.

Fight back against fluctuations by checking competitors’ prices before purchasing. In previous years, other major retailers have jumped at the chance to compete with Prime Day by temporarily lowering prices to match or beat deals.

Create guardrails to avoid impulse spending

“Shopping can be a wonderful distraction from whatever our inner needs are,” Feinsmith says. And it can feel like you’re missing out if you’re not shopping with everyone else. But consider your situation before making a purchase. Feinsmith suggests asking yourself value-based questions like, “How does this fit into my world?” alongside more practical questions like “Where am I going to store it?”

If you’re susceptible to emotional spending, consider putting up some boundaries. Temporarily muting influencers on social media or deleting the Amazon app from your phone can keep temptation away. Try jotting down items you want to buy and revisiting them later to see if the urge is still as strong. Setting aside fun money in your budget can give you the confidence to spend.

And if you have a partner, take time to chat about the purchases you plan to make. Work toward building a sense of financial intimacy, a term Feinsmith uses to describe the way people in a relationship can create shared guidelines that help them make financial decisions without judgment or secrecy.

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Use Amazon tools to stay organized

Amazon has integrated tools that might make setting reminders and shopping for specific people in your life feel more manageable:

  • Make lists: Create public or private lists to easily add items and move them directly to your cart if they hit a price you’re comfortable with during the sale. 

  • Create deal alerts: Use recent searches to create deal alerts and get push notifications when items go on sale.  

  • Use Alexa if you have it: Add products you might want to buy to your cart or Wish List, and ask your Alexa-enabled device to tell you if there’s a sale. 

Here’s the bottom line: Prepared shoppers are Amazon’s enemy because if you’ve done your price research, have your shopping list ready and know your budget, you’re a lot less susceptible to mindless spending.