How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day and ensure you don't spend more than you should

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Consumer technology writer Gareth Butterfield has a few tips for how to get the best out of the sales event’s bargains

We've all been there. We're faced with a cascade of tempting discounts; products we've always promised ourselves, gadgets we wouldn't usually go for, and the subliminal effect of the hysteria whipped up during a heavily publicised shopping event leads to a loosening of the purse strings.

Amazon Prime Day, which this year takes place on Tuesday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 17, can be a great time to invest in something you've always needed, like a new microwave, or a better toaster. Perhaps your hair dryer is on its last legs, or it's time for a new TV.

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But for all its hype, and as much as we love a big bargain bonanza, there are a few duffers in the discount list, and it's important to check the deal you're dithering over to make sure it really is worth adding to your basket.

Here’s how to get the best out of the Amazon Prime Day salesHere’s how to get the best out of the Amazon Prime Day sales
Here’s how to get the best out of the Amazon Prime Day sales | Oleksandr - stock.adobe.com

Consumer technology expert Gareth Butterfield has been analysing Prime Day deals for years, and he often uses the events to top up his own tech collection, so he's well placed to steer you past the temptation and towards the best products.

Here's his guide to how to keep your sanity, protect your hard-earned cash, and to focus on the products that are actually worth buying.

1. Make a list

Do you need a new electric toothbrush? Is your lawnmower about to cough its last? Microwave making weird noises? Prime Day is perhaps the best time to make these investments because it's very likely you'll see the prices at the best they're going to be for quite a while.

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But stay in control. Flick through each category carefully, and look out for the discounts.

Make a list of what you want to buy - and try to stick to itMake a list of what you want to buy - and try to stick to it
Make a list of what you want to buy - and try to stick to it

Stick to your list though. Amazon will do its best to convince you to snap up other tempting deals while you're on there. They might be related products, or they might be something you never expected to need.

Amazon's algorithms know you very well, and Prime Day makes it tempting to purchase things you don't strictly need. Keep your wallet sealed up until you find the bits you want, and don't be tempted to spend what you save on something completely different.

2. Check the prices elsewhere

As good as Amazon Prime Day can be, it's quite possible Amazon won't have the best bargain. So, when you find the product you're keen on, head on to Google and look out for other competing prices.

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After you've searched for your item, click Google's "Products" tab and you'll see a selection of offers. It doesn't always happen, but there's a chance someone will be trying to beat Amazon's price.

Always check the prices elsewhere before buying - Prime Day sales aren’t always the best dealAlways check the prices elsewhere before buying - Prime Day sales aren’t always the best deal
Always check the prices elsewhere before buying - Prime Day sales aren’t always the best deal

Remember that, even if the price is the same as Amazon, as long as you don't want next-day delivery, there could be hidden benefits to buying from elsewhere. Buying from Boots, for example, might top up the points on your Advantage Card. And eBay and Sainsbury's will give you Nectar Points.

It takes moments to double check you're getting the best deal, and it's always worth doing.

3. Use the category tabs

When you load up an Amazon page, even if you've searched for something, you'll be swamped with options and featured products. But if you're careful with the tick boxes on the left-hand side of the page, you can zero in on a particular category.

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And, on the next page, you can start to hone in on the biggest sellers, or the newest products, or the items that have deals on them currently.

4. Use software to do the heavy lifting for you

If you're serious about savings, and you don't mind investing a small amount to help you get the absolute best deals out there, there are some services that will use complex software to do the searching for you.

The three most popular systems people use are CamelCamelCamel, Keepa, and PriceTracker. These are premium services that have a sign-up fee, but they will constantly track the prices of products you're keen on, and alert you when the price drops.

Very usefully, they also keep track of millions of prices on Amazon, so when you see a deal you like the look of, you can check whether it has actually had a heavy discount, or whether it's still at a static price.

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Prime Day is a fantastic time to buy expensive items, but not everything gets a discount, and it's well worth using a tool like this to make sure you're quids in.

5. Always check Amazon Warehouse

Prime Day events will save a lot of people a lot of money. But you don't necessarily have to wait for them to come around to get the biggest bargains. If you need a new carpet cleaner and you can't wait until the next sales event, have a look at Amazon Warehouse.

Essentially, it's all items that get returned to Amazon, but they're inspected, checked, and repaired or refurbished if necessary and then sold on in a separate part of the vast website.

Not many people know about the Amazon Warehouse section, but the savings can be incredible. Up to 80% off, in some cases. And you still have a returns policy if you're not happy with your purchase.