July 11, 2017 11:59 am
Updated: July 12, 2017 9:54 am

Amazon Prime Day: Here’s how to make the most of it

WATCH ABOVE: Getting the best deals online for Amazon Prime Day

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Amazon Prime Day kicked off last night at 9 p.m. ET in Canada, the U.S. and 12 other countries, but there’s still time to take advantage of it. Amazon’s online shopping bonanza lasts until midnight PT tonight.

Here’s what you need to know:

How it works

Amazon Prime Day is, essentially, Black Friday for Amazon Prime members.

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Steep discounts on a variety of items are available to current members or anyone who signs up for a Prime membership. In Canada that costs $79 per year and offers free two-day shipping, access to Prime Video and unlimited picture storage, among other things.

READ MORE: Walmart stepping up retail fight against Amazon

You don’t even have to make a firm commitment to Amazon Prime. Even customers who sign up for a free trial get access to the deals. (But if you’ve tried Prime before that option is no longer available.)

WATCH: Amazon offering a host of deals for ‘Amazon Prime Day’

Shopping tips

Avoid impulse buys: The first thing to keep in mind on Amazon Prime Day is that you’re not “saving” if you end up purchasing things you don’t really want or need. Filling up your card with stuff just because the price is too good to pass up won’t do your wallet any good. Instead, focus on essentials or things that have been on your wish list for a while.

Consider whether you really need a Prime membership: If you’ve never signed up before, Amazon Prime Day is a great time to give it a go. You might love it. But just in case you don’t, set up a reminder to cancel your free trial before it expires. The worst thing you can do is buy, say, $20 worth of beauty products and end up paying nearly $80 on top of it for a service you won’t use.

READ MORE: Amazon aims to bring online dressing room to your home

Monitor the deals you’re interested in: Some deals – called lightning deals – are only available for a limited period of time. Here are a few ways to keep a close eye on them:

  • Amazon.ca/primedayThe live deals are streamed at the top of the page during peak shopping hours. You can also check the “upcoming deals” filter on the left-hand side of the page to take a look at discounts that will soon become available.
  • The Amazon app: The best way to monitor upcoming deals may be by downloading the Amazon app. Go to settings, the select notifications and turn on “Your Watched and Waited Deals.”
  • Amazon assistantThat’s a browser plugin you can download and set to send you push notifications about new deals, among other things.
  • Alexa: If you have an Echo device or a Fire tablet, you can ask Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, to let you know about available bargains. You’ll get access to exclusive discounts and she’ll read out new deals as they become available.

Fact-check your Amazon deal: Is the price you’re seeing really the lowest it’s ever been on Amazon? CamelCamelCamel has price history charts for Amazon products – just make sure to set Canada as your location.

READ MORE: 1-click groceries? How Amazon will likely change the way we buy food

Act quick: Not only do some discounts expire, Amazon might run out of stock, too.

Check your Facebook groups, too: Belong to a moms or weddings Facebook groups? Your fellow group members may have already scoured all the deals you’re interested in. Watch for threads where people share the best bargains they’ve been able to find.

READ MORE: This couple is saving a bundle on wedding costs — thanks to Facebook

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