How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day

Here's what to do to make the most from Amazon's summer's version of Black Friday.

Who doesn't want a great deal? Once more Amazon is betting that you do, with its latest Amazon Prime Day. On this day, 30 hours really, you'll be able to get low prices on pretty much anything that Amazon sells.

How big a deal? Really big. According to Brent Leary, owner of CRM Essentials, Amazon saw an estimated $500-$600 million in sales last year. Amazon expects to crack the billion-dollar mark this year.

But enough of what this means for Amazon the business; here's how you can save money this year.

First, you must be an Amazon Prime member. What's that? You're not one? Don't sweat it. Amazon will let you become an Amazon Prime member for free for the first 30 days. If you're a student, you can get an even better deal: six months of free membership.

Besides access to Prime Day deals, Amazon Prime's best features are: Free two-day shipping for over 50 million items; instant access to Amazon Prime Video; and Amazon Prime Music, an ad-free music streaming service with over 2 millions songs.

If you like what you see, you can subscribe to Prime for $10.99 a month or $99 a year. I've used it myself for years both for the fast free shipping and access to Amazon Prime Video. It would be worth the money for either feature.

Once you have a Prime membership, look for what you want to buy. Once you have some ideas -- I wouldn't mind an iRobot Roomba 614 myself -- the easiest way to track deals for the stuff you lust for is to download the Android or Apple iOS app.

The web browser extension Amazon Assistant also enables you to easily track and buy items on your PC. It works on all mainstream operating systems and runs with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE), Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Amazon doesn't say it works with Linux, but it does just fine on my Linux Mint PC. However, the Watched Deal Notification function doesn't work with IE or Edge.

With these apps, or the website, you can add items to your Amazon shopping list. Once you have everything you want on your list, you can compare and contrast prices. The list software should also alert you when, and if, a price drops.

The Amazon Prime Deals will start at 9pm Eastern Time on July 10. If you have an Amazon Alexa device, voice shopping deals start being available at 7pm Eastern.

You can watch the deals as they drop on the Amazon PrimeDay page. Some sales items are already listed. So, for example, if you want a honking huge monitor, the LG 34UM68-P 34-Inch 21:9 UltraWide IPS Monitor goes on sale at 3:02am on July 11.

Most sale items won't be announced until just before they become available. New deals will become available as often as every five minutes for all 30 hours of the sale.

There will be deals in every Amazon shopping category, but many of them will be electronics. We can certain that all Amazon electronics, such as Alexa and Amazon Kindle ebook readers, will be on sale.

You'll find sale offers organized by your most shopped-for themes. So, if you love electronics, you won't see deals on dog food, and if Fido is the center of your life and you don't watch TV, you won't see televisions.

At least two sites, Slickdeals.net with its Amazon Prime Day page and BestBlackFriday.com will be tracking the best deals. These can be handy if you're overwhelmed by the flood of Amazon bargains.

These Prime Day deals are available in limited quantities. So, if you see a great price for an item that you must have, don't wait. Even if you miss out, an item shows "100% claimed", you click the product's "Join Waitlist" button. If additional items become available, you'll receive a notification on your Amazon Assistant app.

Don't let your excitement about sales carry you away. Be careful of spam advertising Amazon deals that are too good to be true. For example, the subject of one email that literally just hit my mailbox has the subject line: "Activate your $50 voucher from Amazon by Friday". Sorry, but if a deal looks too good to be true -- and free money is always too good to be true -- it's a con.

That said, The Amazon Prime Store Card does gives you 5 percent back every day on most Amazon.com purchases and access to exclusive financing offers. All Prime members also have the option to get 2 percent rewards when they reload their Amazon.com Gift Card Balance using their checking account, with a linked debit card.

That said, take a deep breath before ordering anything. True, the deals won't be around for long, but if you're short on cash, and the price is still too high, it's still a bad deal.

So, with that last bit of warning, I wish you luck on your shopping expedition. Enjoy!

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