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What to buy and skip during Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Days, according to experts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner, so consider holding off adding toys and TVs to your cart this Prime Day.
Experts expect to see an emphasis on giftable products during October’s Prime Day, like kitchen and fitness gadgets, handheld tech and more.
Experts expect to see an emphasis on giftable products during October’s Prime Day, like kitchen and fitness gadgets, handheld tech and more.Vivian Le / NBC; Location Courtesy of Viking

Prime Day is almost here — again. Amazon is hosting its second mega sale of 2023 — Prime Big Deal Days — on Oct. 10 and 11, and early deals have already begun.

Just like July’s Prime Day, October’s event gives Prime members exclusive access to discounts across all product categories. But this time, expect to see an emphasis on gifts, says Lisa Davis, shopping expert at RetailMeNot, a deal-finding and cashback site. Hosting another Prime Day this fall is Amazon’s way of kicking off the holiday shopping season, giving members the chance to start buying gifts now and spread out their spending over a few months, she says. In recent years, retailers have begun their early Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in mid-October or early November for the same reason. 

Since so many items are on sale during Prime Day, it can be challenging to narrow down your wishlist. One of the best ways to do so is by identifying what’s worth buying now and what you may find better sales on later this year. Below, experts share their Prime Day shopping tips, including how to make a budget and stick to it. 

SKIP AHEAD How to save during Prime Big Deal Days

How to save during Amazon’s October Prime Day

The key to saving during Prime Day is planning, which can help you focus on what you’re looking for and ensure you’re taking advantage of the best deals possible. Below are a few ways to ensure you’re successful during the event.

Utilize exclusive promotions before and during the sale

Before and during Prime Day, Amazon offers members a handful of exclusive promotions, coupons or opportunities to earn credits. For example, Amazon is currently offering Prime members four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free and a $15 Amazon credit when they download the Amazon Photos app and upload their first photo. You’ll usually see these types of promotions on Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Days homepage in the app or online.

Sign up to receive notifications about sales and deals

If you don’t have time to scroll through Amazon’s website or app during Prime Day, you can sign up to get notified when products you’re interested in go on sale. You can bookmark a product you’ve had your eye on by either adding it to a wishlist or tapping the “heart” icon on the product page in the Amazon app. This is especially helpful if the deal is only offered for a limited time. You can also create deal alerts based on your Amazon searches and recently viewed items.

Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, can also notify you up to 24 hours in advance of a deal for an item on your wishlist, in your shopping cart or “saved for later.” Additionally, you can ask Alexa to remind you when the deal goes live and give her permission to order the item on your behalf using your account’s default payment and delivery address. Sometimes, shopping through Alexa via an Amazon Echo device gets you exclusive deals and early access to select discounts.

Finally, if you add items you’re interested in buying to your wishlist, you can turn on notifications for your “watched and waitlisted deals” in the Alexa app. This alerts you when Lightning Deals happen for products on your wishlist during Prime Day and otherwise.

Make a shopping list

Prime Day and comparable savings events are geared toward impulse shopping — retailers are betting on shoppers feeling tempted by deals and adding more items to their carts than they originally planned. That’s why it’s important to make a shopping list: Beyond keeping you organized, it helps you focus on products you need to buy or have budgeted for and reduces the temptation to spend on non-essential purchases.

Some people prefer a classic pen-and-paper list, but it may be easier to bookmark links or add items to different wishlists through your Amazon account. For example, you can make “wants” and “needs” wishlists, or create wishlists for specific people you need to buy gifts for. While you’re shopping, you can go through your wishlists, see what’s on sale and decide if you want to add it to your cart.

Consider shopping with a credit card

If you’re interested in using a credit card to shop during Prime Day, you may be able to earn points or take advantage of exclusive rewards. Certain cards allow you to earn cash back on Amazon purchases during Prime Day and Prime Day-esque sales, and some also offer welcome bonuses or points, says Ashley Fricker, senior editor at She also says one of the best ways to spread out holiday expenses and avoid costly interest rates is to use a credit card with a 0% APR on new purchases.

The best credit cards for Amazon Prime Day shopping include the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card and Amazon Prime Store Card, according to CNBC Select — the cards offer 5% cash back at Amazon.

Compare prices (and rewards) across retailers’ sites

While Prime Day is an Amazon-exclusive event, other retailers usually follow its lead by offering their own sales around the same time. During the week of Prime Big Days, for example, Walmart is hosting a holiday kickoff sale and Home Depot is hosting Decor Days

As retailers compete for your shopping cart, they tend to “price chase” each other — this means an item sold at multiple retailers will likely have the exact (or almost exact) price tag across the board. In these cases, deciding which retailer to buy from comes down to the shipping price and where you can use or gain the maximum amount of rewards points. Also, weigh different retailers’ cash back offers.

To make comparing prices easy, we recommend using tools like Keepa, CamelCamelCamel and Honey. They help you monitor prices before and during the sale, and you can sign up for price-drop alerts on specific products. On Prime Day, Fricker recommends plugging items you have your eye on into CamelCamelCamel to see if the price was lower during Black Friday or Cyber Monday 2022. That can help you decide whether it’s worth waiting another month to make the purchase, she says.

Keep extended returns and price matching in mind

While Amazon does not offer price matching or extended returns, other retailers hosting sales this October may. If you purchase an item from one of Amazon’s competitors this month, Davis recommends checking its price during Black Friday and Cyber Monday to see if it has dropped even lower. “Chances are, you can return the one you purchased in October or get a price adjustment,” she says.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Lisa Davis is a shopping expert at RetailMeNot, a deal-finding and cashback site.
  • Dr. Ross Steinman is a professor of consumer psychology at Widener University,
  • Vipin Porwal is the CEO and a consumer savings expert at Smarty.
  • Ashley Fricker is the senior editor at

Why trust Select?

Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor at Select who has reported about Amazon since 2020. She wrote Select’s history of Amazon Prime Day, as well as a variety of Amazon Prime Day sales articles. For this piece, Malin researched Amazon Prime Day and referenced Select’s other Amazon coverage.

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