Navigating Amazon Prime Day and Other Bargain Shopping Events
Amazon Prime Day is happening this year over two days — Monday, June 21 and Tuesday, June 22.
Bobbi Rebell, CFP®
Personal Finance Expert at Tally
June 21, 2021
Consumers have already shown they are ready to get out and spend after more than a year of quarantines and Covid-19 restrictions. Retailers are stepping up their marketing efforts to make sure their blowout sales get the attention and money up for grabs.
Amazon has set the standard with Prime Days (June 21 and 22) and Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Kohl’s are all hosting their own competing sale events.
We know the hype is there — but will the bargains measure up? Or, could this be a new annual ritual designed to get consumers sending money they didn’t intend to spend, on things they don’t need?
A great price on something you don’t need, and that wasn’t even on your want list before you saw the deal, should be a no-go. The temptation is there because of the way the offer is presented. But take a step back and think about whether you would have even searched for that item online, had it not been “pushed” to you by an algorithm.
Here’s a closer look at how to navigate Amazon Prime Days and other highly promoted deal days this summer, so that you can avoid unintentional spending you will regret.
What’s Happening When?
Amazon Prime Day is happening this year over two days — Monday, June 21 and Tuesday, June 22. It has become an annual summer sales event since 2015 that shoppers look forward to and now other retailers are looking to join in on the fun.
Walmart: “Deals for Days” happening June 20-23
Target: “Deal Days” happening June 20-23
Best Buy: “Bigger Deal” happening June 18-June 22
Kohl’s: “Wow Deals” happening June 21-June 22
Amazon doesn’t actually share what will be going on sale or how much you can save. They do this on purpose. They want to draw you in with the hopes that you’ll search their site for deals and find something to buy. What happens is that you end up buying something that you weren’t originally looking for and that you wouldn’t normally buy if it weren’t on sale and pushed to you as a deal. It’s a classic marketing strategy and can be very effective for retailers. This means, of course, that these sales can be dangerous for your bank account.
How to Protect Your Wallet
When shopping during these super sales, it’s important to be aware that not everything you see on sale is actually being offered at the lowest price. In all reality, some of the “deals” are nothing special. If you need to quickly evaluate an item, I recommend checking out price-tracking sites to see how prices on an item have trended at different retailers over the past year.
If you find yourself going down the rabbit hole and getting immersed in the excitement and hype of the sales, step away from your online shopping cart for a few hours or a day if possible. This time away forces you to question whether you really need something before you buy it.
Taking a “buy now, think later” approach can easily snowball into credit card debt, so be careful here. There may be some great deals available, but odds are, they won’t be once-in-a-lifetime deals that you will truly regret if you miss out on them.
How to Navigate “Flash Sales”
Consumers have expressed frustration in the past over the “flash sales” hosted on Amazon Prime Day that only keep products on sale for a limited time period. Because so many of the sales only last an hour or two, it can be challenging to get your hands on the deals that are a good fit for you.
If you get lucky and find what you were looking for when it’s on sale, that’s great. But remember, there are often only a limited number of units being offered at a discounted price. What retailers are hoping to do is draw you in and make you consider a similar product that’s not on sale. They want these flash sales to make you feel a bit stressed and under pressure so that you stay close to your computer and keep adding products to your cart all day as the sales rollout.
If you don’t get what you want at the price you were hoping for, let it go and move on.
Escaping Credit Card Debt
If you’ve racked up some credit card debt because of these bargain days, you can be proactive about managing your debt and paying it down quickly. But first, make sure it’s not too late to undo your overspending. If you find yourself having buyer’s regret, just return what you bought. Most major retailers have very generous return policies.
If the debt was accumulated by buying products you want to keep, then it’s time to be strategic. If you have multiple credit cards, stop using the cards that are carrying balances. If you can’t pay your balance off in full each month, at least try to pay more than the minimum. You can also make what are called “micropayments,” which are payments you make when you can pay ahead of your due dates. Anything you can do to keep your balance from ballooning will help you get your credit card debt more under control.
If you’re already carrying credit card debt, consider a tool like Tally to help you consolidate your credit card debt into one payment at a lower interest rate, so you can manage and pay off your debt faster.