This week Amazon is holding its annual birthday celebration sale – Prime Day (confusingly the ‘day’ is held over two days with a number of ‘early’ deals running since last week).
The idea is that those who have signed up to the popular subscription service get access to exclusive discounts and vouchers – a thank you for being a loyal member.
In the past I was one of those who couldn’t wait for the sale, and would snap up a number of products at reduced prices. The vast majority of the time, these were strong deals, especially when more than one type of offer was combined for extra savings.
However there were a handful of purchases where, if I’d really thought about it, I was buying simply because they were ‘bargains’. But something can only be a bargain if you actually need it. And herein lies the danger of Prime Day.
This kind of sale comes with a number of tricks to tempt us to spend more than we planned. Limited time deals and limited stock, often under the Lightning Deals banner, push us to buy while we can.
Vouchers that require a minimum spend to redeem encourage us to add more to the basket. While extended free trials rely on us forgetting to cancel once they end.
That’s not to say any of those savings aren’t worth using. Like I said, I’ve managed to get some true bargains in the past. But you need to be able to turn these offers to your advantage rather than Amazon’s. So how do you do this?
First, think now, well in advance of the sale happening, what you actually need. Then shop with intent by searching just for that product or range. This eradicates the casual doomscrolling for deals – in my view the leading cause of buying for the sake of buying.
Next, once you’ve identified something you want to buy, use the website camelcamelcamel to check the recent price history.
Though this won’t show additional discounts available to Prime members, it will show you whether the price the product is selling for is just the standard price, or whether you really are getting a big savings.
I’d also compare prices at other retailers, just in case. Amazon isn’t always cheapest, and it’s often possible to find the same item for less elsewhere, even when delivery is factored in. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some major retailers are price matching the big Prime Day deals on their own websites.
If you are tempted by the vouchers that offer discounts along the lines of £5 off a £15 spend, remember that if you buy something you don’t really want or need just to get £5 off, then you’re spending not saving.
But as long as there is something you need (I used to use these on semi-regular staples, such as a bottle of gin, batteries or tissues) these are great to stack alongside other discounts to get even bigger savings.
And when it comes to those free trials, often of services like Amazon Music Unlimited or Kindle Unlimited, just put a note in your diary to cancel these before the last month of the trial ends.
But that’s not the only thing I’d be ending after Prime Day. In 2021 I spent the year without Amazon, not spending a single penny with them.
And it was cancelling my Prime membership that not only made this possible, but easy.
It quickly became obvious that I was visiting Amazon over other retailers because I had Prime. Then spending more because of all of the special offers and deals. And spending money because it was easy and I had free delivery.
Without Prime, I shopped around more. I didn’t get tempted to spend money just because of special offers. And there was more friction in my shopping journey, making me think twice before buying.
So after this week’s sales, I’d encourage you to ditch your membership. You can always sign up again later. But maybe you’ll decide, like me, that you’re better off without.
Andy Best Buys: Getting the most out of your Avios card
Until 18 July the welcome bonuses on the Barclaycard Avios credit cards have been doubled. The free card will give you 10,000 Avios points rather than the normal 5,000 if you spend £1,000 in the first three months. Or the £20 a month Plus card will net you 50,000 points with a £3,000 spend in the same period, up from 25,000.
But what are those points actually worth? I’m not a huge fan of redeeming them towards flights as you will still need to pay taxes on top and most of the time I find the total cost is more than just buying the flight separately.
However if you convert those Avios points to Nectar points (to use at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay) 10,000 points will turn into £80, and 50,000 will become £400.
Of course with the latter card you need to factor in the fee, but if you cancel the card after the bonus is triggered, it’ll still leave you with a £340 profit, along with the points you’ll earn from the spending itself (worth another £36).
As ever with credit cards, make sure you clear the balance completely every month to avoid interest charges.
Earning per £1 spent: 1 Avios
Boosted bonus: 10,000 Avios if you spend £1,000 in three months
Barclaycard Avios Plus
Earning per £1 spent: 1.5 Avios
Boosted bonus: 50,000 Avios if you spend £3,000 in three months
Fee: £20 per month
For more details on these accounts head to becleverwithyourcash.com/cards
Andy Webb is an award-winning blogger and podcaster from Be Clever With Your Cash. Follow Andy on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram via @andyclevercash
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