Your guide to the best steals on 2019 Amazon Prime Day

Let’s dispel a myth right away: Amazon Prime Day isn’t Black Friday.

It IS a great time to find some deals and steals with free shipping from the comfort of your home, the L or before you hit the “boss screen” at work.

You could sit up for all 48 hours of the sale that starts at 2 a.m. July 15, or take a few hints to make the most out of a few good bargains.  

For the Prime Day newbies, a few tips first:

You have to be a Prime member.

Let’s call a spade a spade: This is really a chance for Amazon to bump its numbers and collect Prime members. But, if you’re not already a member, there are some perks to membership that last beyond Prime Day: free shipping, Emmy-nominated TV shows, Audible books, free digital books to your Kindle (if you have one) and free photo storage. You can use Prime Day to sign up for the 30-day free trial (just remember to cancel by Aug. 15), or the yearly cost is $119. 

Many items go on sale at a varying, specific times.

The celebration of sales is 48 hours long, but not everything is on sale beginning at 2 a.m. on July 15. Most items are timed for their prices to hit at a specific time (like 1:18 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.). Other items, for instance Amazon products like Kindle or Echo, are on super sales in advance and all day long.

Check out the deals in advance, kind of.

Homework is key here. Know what you want to watch and when it comes up, or you’ll be staring at the website for all 48 hours. You can “save” the items to your Amazon list, and the app (it is best if you download the app first) will push notifications to you before the item pops up for sale. But there’s a catch to your homework …

You don’t know the price until the sale starts.

Let’s say you find something you like—an Instapot, which was one of the 2018 bestsellers—and you think to yourself, “that’s not a good deal, it’s the same price that it was yesterday.” That’s because it’s not on sale yet. When the magic hour of the Instapot sale hits, the price will change (which is why you want to be watching).

If you like the new sale price, you’ll want to snatch it up right away. The sale doesn’t last long, and if there are a lot of people watching for that Instapot, it will be gone at that price quickly, as there are a limited number of Instapots at the sale price. Here’s the thing: if the new price isn’t one you’re happy with, it’s easy to simply not buy it.

It’s not really a day for impulse buys.

My husband worried last year that we’d end up with a lot of impulse buys showing up at our door. Here’s the thing, once the day starts, there isn’t a lot of time to “shop.” The good deals go quickly, and the not-so-good ones that are left aren’t always things you need (unless you have space for an extra pup tent or printer).

Check out Amazon’s page of tips. 

To do most homework, you’ll have to download the app. Take a look at the site’s page of tips, too, which will direct you to downloading the app and videos that show how to save items for future purchases.  

With that in mind, here are a few deals to note that are great for kids and back-to-school shopping:

Make money in advance. 

Prime members who shop at Whole Foods will earn money back to use during Prime Day. For every $10 spent at Whole Foods beginning last week through July 16, you’ll get $10 on Amazon for Prime Day. Also, there are Prime Day specials at Whole Foods only for Prime members. You can also earn bonuses for replenishing Amazon gift cards or for signing into the app for the first time. 

So what’s on sale?

That’s a great question. Amazon likes to keep the actual prices close to the vest. You can take a look every day until July 15 by searching for “sneak peek” in the Amazon app, where the list of items for sale on Prime Day will change daily. The app is also a great place to check out giveaways, as you can win prizes for watching 15 seconds of promotional videos or even earn a percentage off the product just for entering (prizes change daily). 

Experts are expecting a few back-to-school items like laptops and pad devices (iPads, Kindles) to hit super sale now that Amazon is an official Apple distributor. 

You’ll also see a lot of third-party distribution, new inventors trying things like silicone stretchy tops to cover food items in the fridge, who use Prime Day to test the market for their stock. Last year, third-party distributors made more than $1 billion from Prime Day. 

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