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Amazon Prime Day 2018: Best Things to Buy

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With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner, starting July 16 at 3 p.m. ET and running for 36 hours, questions beg: What do I buy? What do I avoid? Do I even play into the hype of what some consider an overblown garage sale?

As in Prime Days past, Amazon Prime Day 2018 will feature deep discounts on a few cool products -- and deep discounts on lots of mediocre merchandise you probably wouldn't otherwise consider. Expect a mix of hours-long deals and "lightning" deals. The latter pop up quickly and then disappear, either sold out or taken down for lack of interest.

You must be an Amazon Prime member, of course, to shop on Prime Day. We've already told you about the benefits of Amazon Prime throughout the year. But if you're considering forking over $119 to join just to shop Prime Day, read this first. Here are some of the best deals for Amazon Prime Day 2018.

See Also: 70 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free

Buy: Amazon Devices

Amazon's proprietary gadgets will drive much of Amazon Prime Day because a.) It's profitable to sell proprietary stuff; and b.) It's a trap! Amazon would love to get an Alexa-enabled device into your home at a ridiculously low price so you grow accustom to engaging with the voice-activated assistant and buy more stuff from Amazon - for life.

You'll see discounts on the original full-size Echo, the smaller Echo Dot, a bestseller during Prime Day 2017, and the new Echo Show that includes a screen. (The Echo Show is already marked down to $130 - regular price is $230 - now through Prime Day.) Amazon will also heavily discount Kindle tablets, Fire TV Cube, a streaming media player with Alexa built in, and much more. Some offers of Amazon products will be bundled with non-Amazon name-brand items (think Dyson). In addition, to keep you wired to those Amazon devices, expect to see sales on gadgets that try to make your dumb home smart: smart thermostats, smart lights, smart switches and the like. We may see these connective gadgets with prices sliced by 40% on Prime Day.

See Also: 10 Cool Things Google Home Can Do

Maybe: Lightning Deals

The now you see it, now you don't Lightning Deals arrive in an instant and are gone just as quickly, which means you won't get any work done if you're shopping Lighting Deals on Amazon Prime Day. As we've noted during past Amazon Prime Days, the Lightning Deals can feature a lot of items that seem like Amazon is offloading to get rid of it (thus, the Amazon Prime Day "garage sale" label). Because you know it's going away soon, the temptation is to buy it anyway and load your cart with excess baggage.

There are real deals in the Lightning Deals, however. DealNews says it tracked some top-notch Lightning Deals on Prime Day 2017, especially in electronics and items for the home.

To stay abreast of upcoming Lightning Deals, download the Amazon app. Beginning Monday, July 9, Amazon will start offering sneak peeks of select sale items that you can track via the app. Just click on the "Watch This Deal" button. The button will change to "Watching" to indicate that the alert is set up. You will be notified via the app when an upcoming deal you're interested in goes live.

See Also: 10 Apple Products That Changed Everything

Buy: Groceries at Whole Foods

Amazon's bricks-and-mortar Whole Foods supermarket chain is kicking it for Amazon Prime Day 2018, its first under the Amazon umbrella. There will be additional deals, on top of this: Prime Now delivery for first-timers will see a $10 discount on the first order, through July 17, plus an additional $10 discount on the next order, delivered by July 31.

If you're a Prime member and Whole Foods shopper, you already know you get 10% off select items on any given day at the grocer. Bump that up by another 10% off for Prime Day, and if you're a Prime Rewards credit card holder, you'll get 10% back on Whole Foods purchases from July 14 through July 17. (It's usually 5% back.)

See Also: 11 Tricks to Shopping at Amazon's Whole Foods

Maybe: Televisions

We say "maybe" because TV prices are slashed wildly for Black Friday holiday sales every November, and certainly will be again later this year. But television prices have been ridiculously low all over the place of late, from electronics retailers to warehouse clubs. We expect to see some bargains on Amazon Prime Day, but shop with caution. Here's where you really want to compare prices on the same or similar models stocked by Target, Best Buy or Walmart. One likely contender for a deep discount on Prime Day: Amazon's 43-inch Toshiba Fire TV Edition (also sold at Best Buy), with a pre-order price of $330. To get more people in its house, Amazon may drop that price tag even more on Prime Day.

See Also: 9 Secrets to Shopping at Best Buy

Buy: Toys

Last year, Amazon sold 2.5 million toys on Amazon Prime Day, according to the deals site Tom's Guide. Expect toys to be hot items once again in 2018. Already on sale in the days leading up to the official start of Prime Day are exclusive Fingerlings: Mackenzie the Light-Up Unicorn ($18) and Jess & Eden Baby Monkey and Mini BFFs ($15 for the pair). These are part of what Amazon is calling Prime Day Launches: popular products only for Prime members that you won't find anywhere else. Amazon also plans discounts on Crayola and LEGO toys, so stock up for the holidays.

If you want access to the exclusive toys but don't want to pony up the $119 Prime membership fee, sign up for a free 30-day Prime trial. Just remember to cancel your trial after you finish your Prime Day shopping but before the 30 days are up to avoid being charged. If you're already a Prime member, you can share your membership with another teen or adult in your household at no extra charge.

See Also: Microsoft's 15 Biggest Flops of All Time

Buy: Video Games and Consoles

Amazon tends to heat up the discounts for gamers on Amazon Prime Day. DealNews notes Amazon has dropped hints about bargains for Microsoft's Xbox, virtual reality systems from Oculus and - a rarity - Nintendo consoles. Since I'm in the market for a Nintendo Switch, this is welcome news to me. Deals site Tom's Guide has been tracking discounts so far this year on Sony PlayStation 4 and Xbox bundles, and it projects they'll be even less expensive on Prime Day. Gamers know: Here's another sale arena where you want to check your prices, paying particular attention to the actual contents of the bundle. Don't get saddled with a game you don't want or a controller you don't need just because the bundle price is enticing.

See Also: 23 Best Perks of Amazon Prime

EDITOR'S PICKS

Copyright 2018 The Kiplinger Washington Editors

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