Some families have a custom of celebrating Christmas in July. Amazon is doing its own variation on that theme by throwing its second Prime Day event of the year this October.
The event's official name is Prime Big Deal Days, but since that's a mouthful, October Prime Day seems like a better designation. And you should know that the big event will kick off at 3 a.m. on Oct. 10 and run through Oct. 11, similar to how July's Prime Day event was a two-day affair.
Of course, events like Prime Day are always sort of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's great to have an opportunity to snag deals and reap savings on the items you know you want. On the other hand, navigating an event like this can be overwhelming, and it could lead you to make rash decisions that aren't so good for your finances. So with that in mind, here are some things you should know about October Prime Day.
1. The deals will be dropping often
Amazon says that during its October Prime Day event, new deals will drop as often as every five minutes. That's a lot to keep up with. But you can make the process of snagging those deals more manageable by doing a few things.
First, update your Amazon wish list with the items you're looking to buy. As deals drop, those prices will get updated on your list so you can see whether there are discounts worth jumping on.
Also, Amazon is giving Prime members a chance to sign up for invitation-only deals on select items that are expected to sell out in short order during October Prime Day. These include goodies like:
Simply click on the yellow “Request invite” button, and you'll get an email notification with a unique link to purchase these hot commodity items during Prime Day. You'll be limited to one per account.
It also pays to visit the Prime Big Deal Days event page on the Amazon app between now and Oct. 10 to create deal alerts. That way, you'll get notifications for the deals you're subscribed to.
2. The deals may be lower than what you'll find on Black Friday or Cyber Monday
Amazon hasn't explicitly said that the prices it offers during October's Prime Day event will be more competitive than its Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. But there's a good chance you'll see the lowest prices of the season on select items between Oct. 10 and 11.
The reason? Amazon will no doubt want to lure in customers to do their holiday shopping in October, before they go and spend their money at competing retailers. So the online retail giant is likely to go to great lengths to entice consumers.
If you have money allocated to holiday shopping, then it could pay to make a bunch of purchases on Oct. 10 and 11. This way, you can also get ahead of supply chain issues that have the potential to impact your holiday shopping plans later on in the season.
3. You can sign up for a free trial ahead of October Prime Day
Don't have an Amazon Prime membership yet? No problem. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial and enjoy the numerous deals that drop between Oct. 10 and 11.
But don't wait until the last minute. You'll need time to set up your deal alerts, so consider getting that membership in early October.
4. October Prime Day could lead to credit card debt if you aren't careful
Amazon is very good at marketing. And it's events like these that tend to drive consumers to spend money they don't have.
Now, we just talked about the fact that the prices offered this October might in fact be Amazon's lowest of the season. But one thing you really must do ahead of October Prime Day is figure out how much you can afford to spend on the big event. If your limit is $300, and going above that threshold will lead you into credit card debt, then stick to that $300, even if it means passing up a couple of bargains.
You might get a chance to save $50 on an item on your wishlist. But what if you're forced to pay off that item via a lingering credit card balance? You might, over time, rack up enough interest that you're negating that $50 in savings.
Plus, too much credit card debt could cause damage to your credit score. And a lower credit score could make it so that the next time you take out a loan, you're paying a higher interest rate. That higher interest rate could easily wipe out your Prime Day savings.
As such, crunch your personal numbers before the big event and make sure you know your limit. And once you hit it, stop browsing on Amazon so you're not tempted to make extra purchases.
Like many consumers, you may be looking forward to October's Prime Day event. Keep these points in mind so you don't miss out on deals, but also, so you don't go overboard on spending and regret it after the fact.
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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Maurie Backman has positions in Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.