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Prime Day is almost here! Here’s how to get the most out of it. (Photo: Getty Images)

Prime Day is almost here! We’re not going to see another big shopping event like this until Black Friday at the end of November. So if you’re looking to save on the products you want, you’re going to need a clear plan of attack to get the most out of the two-day shopping event.

Fortunately, you’re doing the first part of a good shopping plan. You’re reading this article and following Yahoo Lifestyle (or another trusted outlet). You’ll need a good resource to help you scour through all the Amazon Prime Day deals to let you know which ones are worth your time and (most importantly) money and which deals are pure trash.

Just because it says “deal” on an Amazon page, doesn’t mean you’re getting a real bargain on a proven product. Amazon boasts discounts on millions of products and services sitewide, but some of the deals you’re going to see on Prime Day are either cheap knock-offs or outdated products manufacturers are trying to unload before a new product refresh. That’s where we come in to help you navigate Prime Day like a pro.

Please note: Prime Day is only for Amazon Prime members. If you’re not a member, but you still want to take advantage of all the great deals we’ll see on July 15 and 16 — go here to learn how you can sign up for free.

Know the price

When it comes to deals on Prime Day, you want to check the price. I mean really check the price. It might seem like the obvious thing to do (how can you buy something if you don’t know how much it costs?), but most of the time, people don’t realize that the sale price isn’t really the sale price.

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Sometimes manufacturers and retailers will say something is on sale, even if it’s really not. For example, the Instant Pot DUO60 retails for $99.95, but for long stretches of the year, it’s on sale for $79.95 — effectively making that the real price all year. If the same product goes on sale for $89.95 one day, that’s technically the sale price, but it’s not any lower than you’d see it other times of the year.

We’re not expecting you to always remember the sale price, but this is just one way retailers can trick you into thinking you’re getting a great deal when you’re not. To make it easier on yourself, download the Google Chrome extension called camelcamelcamel. It gives you easy-to-understand information on the price trends of a particular product.

Once installed, go to a product on Amazon and click the extension icon in your browser’s menu bar. You’ll see the highest price a product has ever been priced, as well as the lowest price. This is what you should be looking for when it comes to knowing the sale price.

4K TVs

It’s a TV party on Prime Day! (Photo: Amazon)

When shopping for 4K TVs, it might be tempting to just buy the cheapest and biggest TV on sale (trust us, you’re going to see a lot of these deals on Prime Day). If you’re buying a 75-inch 4K TV for under $400 — how bad could it really be? That’s a price that’s too good to pass up, right?

Well, maybe not. If a no-name manufacturer is offering a deal like this, exit the page and find something better because it’s probably a cheap-o TV that will die on you within a year or so. Pay attention to brand name manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, LG, and VIZIO when it comes to 4K. There’s a reason everyone knows brands like Sony, so it’s something to consider when you see too-good-to-be-true deals.

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In addition, budget brands like TCL and RCA might be something to consider, if you’re looking for even deeper discounts.

What year is the model? If it’s a 2019 4K TV, there’s a good chance it’s going to be cheaper on Black Friday than on Prime Day. Most of the time, a current year’s model will see its deepest discounts on Black Friday and after the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the following year in January.

However, if you want a good deal on a 4K TV, look for 2018 or 2017 models. TVs are big investments, so they’re meant to last for at least five to seven years. A slightly older model may not have all the latest bells and whistles, but it will still plenty of great features and high resolution—at a wallet-friendly price.

Be on the look out for 4K TV deals from Samsung, TCL, and Sony.

Shopping for tech

The Echo Dot is now 50% off for Prime Day (Photo: Amazon)

Tech and electronics are the biggest categories to watch. We’re going to see very impressive and deep discounts on everything from fitness trackers to tablets to smart home devices.

However, the same rules apply: Look for products released in 2018 rather than 2019. For example, the price of the Samsung Galaxy S10 (the newest version), dropped in March, so it’s unlikely that Amazon will discount it further (although Amazon might surprise us). But the Samsung Galaxy S9, which was released in 2018, is likely to be considerably marked down for Prime Day.

There are a few products you should avoid, like no-name fitness trackers and so called “premium” smartphone accessories. Stick to trusted brands like Fitbit and Anker, respectively. In fact, Amazon’s in-house brand, AmazonBasics, is a great option when it comes to charging cables and HDMI cables—we’re expecting to see very deep discounts on the entire line.

The best rule of thumb? Stay away from off brands. If you’ve never heard of it, there’s a reason. Amazon is making a big push for their own smart devices and e-readers, so products like the Echo DotRing Video DoorbellKindle, and more will always be a good bet.

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Meanwhile, retailers might also to try pass off refurbished products as new, to bait consumers into unbelievable deals. While there’s nothing wrong with buying a refurbished product, it’s easy to be fooled into purchasing products that are “like new” or “renewed” without realizing it. Just take a beat to see if the item you’re buying is brand new.

Moreover, tech companies like Apple, Dyson, Sony, and Microsoft will most likely get in on the action, but discounts on these premium products will not be too deep.

It’s a third-party party!

Look out for third-party sellers too. You might be so caught up in the excitement and high-pressure sales of Prime Day that you’ll miss who, exactly, is selling these items. If Amazon or the manufacturer isn’t selling the product, then a third-party seller is. These types of retailers can offer great deals too, but their return policies and warranties may not be as competitive as Amazon’s or the manufacturer’s.

In conclusion

So we’ll leave you with this: Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” We’re assuming he came up with this gem after he, in fact, got punched in the mouth. Something unexpected might throw your plan out of balance on Prime Day, especially since Amazon is known for keeping other retailers on their toes with unplanned price drops on bestselling items.

But the best advice we can give you on how to win Prime Day? Be cautious of cheap-o deals that seem too good to be true, beware of fake customer reviews, know what you want to buy and how much you want to spend beforehand, stay hydrated, and follow our coverage at yahoo.com/primeday for the best deals on the products you actually want.

Happy shopping!

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