10 Ways To Hack Prime Day

Updated in News


Amazon’s Prime Day is basically Black Friday in July. Amazon is the only retailer officially involved in the event, but they’re a big enough gorilla in the online shopping jungle that everyone is going bananas.

Amazon’s Prime Day is basically Black Friday in July. Amazon is the only retailer officially involved in the event, but they’re a big enough gorilla in the online shopping jungle that everyone is going bananas.

Like Black Friday, the real winner during this “deal” event is definitely Amazon. The cost of Prime membership has gone up, and they’re working hard to convince you that your $119 is well spent. That said, if you know the difference between buying something you need when it’s on sale and buying something shiny because it’s on sale, there are ways you can game the system.

We’ll be deal-spotting on Monday with a real-time feed of updates for the best buys we find, but until then here are some ways to get ready.

Prime Day hacks: Prepare for Prime Day

1. Don’t panic

Every day is “deal day” on the internet. Amazon will have killer discounts next week, too, and so will all of the other retailers. If you can’t scroll through every single deal Amazon is promoting, you’ll be fine.

If you want to see which deals we think are hot on Monday, save yourself some scrolling and check out our feed of Prime Day special reviews.

2. Sign up for Prime the cheap way

If you’re not currently a member, a trial membership will give you full benefits for 30 days. It’s not super-obvious how to unsubscribe before you get billed, but it should always be there on the left side of the Your Prime Membership page.

Students with a .EDU email address can get a trial for 6 months. EBT cardholders are also eligible for 50% off a Prime membership.

Don’t forget that you can add a roommate to an “Amazon Household” for no extra charge and split the cost!

If you’ve got a baby on the way, Amazon Family sometimes sends promotional memberships. It’s not clear exactly how the system works, but one of our writers got a free renewal last year when Amazon figured out he was shopping for nursery stuff.

3. Have a list, set a budget

Amazon is depending on you to say “ooooh, shiny!” and buy things you’d never even thought of before. If you’re planning to log in to Amazon.com on Prime Day, you should anticipate what items are worth your attention.

If you’re willing to buy an item for no reason other than a really good sale price, you should at least have a budget you can safely spend. If you’ve never made a personal or household budget before, it might be wise to spend at least as much time on that to-do as you spend browsing Prime Day deals. Check out these budgeting tools recommended by r/personalfinance.

OK, so you’ve figured out what you’re ready to spend money on for yourself, but one more category that catches people off-guard is “a perfect gift for…”

If you’ve got a list of people you need to buy gifts for and things they like, it’ll be easier to spot good deals on items that you might overlook otherwise and avoid buying too many for one person.

4. Install the app

Prime Day isn’t until the 16th, but Amazon will already give you a sneak peek at some specific items that are going to be discounted  — you have to use their app, though. If one of the preview items interests you, sign up to get a notification when it goes on sale.

While you’re at it, make sure that you’re using your preferred method of payment. Also keep in mind that Amazon has sometimes offered promotions for using Alexa to shop on Prime Day, so consider turning on Alexa Shopping (through an Amazon device, your PC or a smartphone) for the event.

Prime Day hacks: During the event

5. Save on Amazon devices and subscriptions

Amazon always cuts deep on the prices of their own brands during these events, and the offerings are more and more diverse every year. Watch for sales on new and refurbished Kindles, Fire Tablets and TV Sticks, and of course a huge lineup of Alexa-powered Echo devices.

Amazon’s premium services are already on sale in the lead-up to Prime Day. Audible and Twitch Prime are both pretty cheap right now. Other subscriptions like Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Music and FreeTime are nearly free for three months.

If you’re a gamer, Twitch Prime has been giving away games in anticipation of Prime Day!

Gift cards sometimes go on sale for Prime Day, and that’s probably the closest Amazon ever comes to giving away money. (Just remember that trading dollars for store credit isn’t any more frugal than buying a product, unless you’ve already budgeted a purchase of that amount.)

6. Check prices

Amazon is notorious for bouncing prices up and down to keep you guessing about the real value of a product. These tools can help you find the real discounts:

  • Camelcamelcamel and Traktor will check any item’s price on Amazon and show you how the “deal” compares to the average price since it was first listed. They’ll also alert you about discounts if you want to create a shopping list.
  • Google’s “shopping” tab does a pretty good job of showing you what other retailers charge for an item, though of course once you’ve paid for your annual Prime subscription it makes sense to take advantage of Amazon’s speedy shipping whenever you can.
  • Keepa is an extension that will overlay price histories and can track items to send you deal notifications, but they also have a search engine for finding the best deals going right now. (There’s even a tool for searching the most popular products if you’re a data nerd.)
  • Honey does a little bit of everything: tracking a list of items and notifying you about flash deals is the relevant feature on Prime Day, but Honey also clips coupons at major retail sites and gives you a cut of the money they make off your clicks.

7. Be a bit skeptical

Some items on Amazon are shoddy cash-ins or even downright fake. Items that get the big discounts on Prime Day are rarely the worst offenders, but think twice about your expectations from anything that’s 20% of the regular price. We’ll be watching for golden opportunities and obvious stinkers on our deal-spotting event page.

Don’t be fooled by “Prime Day Launches” either; some of these products have been available for a while, and the fact that they’re “launching” on a sale day doesn’t make them a bargain.

8. Take the good slow-delivery promotions

If you’re a Prime member, you probably already know about the offers Amazon sends to get you to pass up on quick deliveries. The offers vary, but credit toward digital content is usually a much better value than something like a Prime Now restaurant coupon.

9. Make sure you can return it

One of the best perks of a Prime membership is free returns on most items. Double-check that your item is eligible unless you’re 100% sure you’ll be in love with your bargain.

We’re not saying it’s ethical to return stuff just because you change your mind, but if you’re skeptical about how well something will work Amazon’s policies are designed to protect you from getting stuck with broken products.

Thanks to u/faerylin on Reddit for suggesting hack number eight and nine!

10. Get Prime Day credit from Whole Foods

If you buy $10 worth of groceries at Whole Foods between today and Tuesday, Amazon will give you $10 to spend during the “Prime Day” event — you’ve got to spend it before Wednesday the 18th. Scan your “prime code” or your linked mobile number at checkout, or purchase with 1-click or Alexa Voice Shopping.

Daniel Jackson, Editor

Daniel is a Canadian farm boy who grew up to be a nerd with a literature degree and too many hobbies to count. He emigrated from Canada to California in 2013, and now writes for Your Best Digs full-time. Daniel remains unapologetic about Canadian spelling, serial commas, and the destruction of expensive travel mugs.

Related Reviews