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Discount Diva: Getting primed for Amazon Prime Day

Remember in the old days how people used to do “Christmas In July” sales? They’re called “Black Friday in July” sales now. And the granddaddy of all Black Friday in July sales is called Amazon Prime Day, which hits the web at 3 p.m. Monday.

If there’s one thing you need to know about Prime Day, it’s this: Just like Black Friday, there’s a lot of hype and a lot of mediocre deals, but if you can keep your wits about you, there are some good bargains to be had.

Prime Day is basically one big flash sale for Amazon customers willing to pay $119 a year for Prime membership. For a day and a half, Amazon Prime members have access to hundreds of thousands of deals on Amazon.com, with new sales starting every five minutes. The strategy behind Prime Day and other flash sales is the same: the time limit gets you all excited and afraid you’re going to miss out on the deal of a lifetime if you don’t hurry up and pull the trigger. A little advanced planning and price comparison will help you fight that.

Making a shopping list in advance will also help when you come to that inevitable point where you’re wrestling with your primitive mind. A voice-activated kitchen faucet? I didn’t know I needed one! A corn cob stripper? I didn’t know they exist, but they’re only six bucks. Allow me to smash that Buy-now-with-1-click button.

You can get a preview at some of the deals online now by typing “sneak peek” in the search bar. You can also set an alert to be notified when an item goes on sale by tapping the top left menu icon, opening the app menu, hitting “settings,” then “notifications” and enabling “personalized notifications.” Some deals are available only via the Alexa virtual assistant.

As usual, the best deals you’ll find will be on Amazon-branded products. Amazon is like the drug pusher they warned you about in elementary school. They get you to buy into their ecosystem with something like Alexa and figure once you’re hooked, you’ll use it to buy more things from Amazon.com.

But customers have actually proven pretty resistant to this tactic. That means, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Amazon is offering great deals on Alexa electronics (and other Amazon items) to rope you in, and you can partake of the great deal without necessarily falling prey to future unwanted spending.

You don’t need to have a smart home to get your money’s worth from the Alexa-enabled Echo and Dot. They earn their keep simply as hands-free alarm clocks, music streamers, audio book readers, weather forecasters, timers and reminder setters. I’m eyeing the Echo Show, which is basically the Echo with a screen. It’s selling for $129 – a $100 discount. You can also make five interest-free payments of $26 per month.

Prime Day will be the day to buy Kindles, Fire tablets and Fire TV products. It also will be the time to try some of the private label brands Amazon has been feverishly launching, such as Lark & Ro, Cable Stitch, Comfort Denim Outfitters, as well as Amazon Essentials, Amazon Basics, Amazon Elements and Presto.

I’m also excited about Kindle Unlimited reading, which will be 99 cents for three months. Amazon Music Unlimited is 99 cents for four months, just don’t forget to cancel.

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