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Prime Day 2020: Is that deal really the best deal?

Don't fall for the hype -- unless it's deserved. Find out for sure if you're getting the lowest price.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Before you spend your hard-earned cash on Prime Day, make sure you're getting the best price.

Angela Lang/CNET

Amazon Prime Day 2020, otherwise known as Oct. 13 and 14, will attract zillions of buyers seeking Black-Friday-in-October pricing on zillions of products. But here's the thing: While there are sure to be some solid bargains, it's a mistake to assume that every deal is the best deal.

This is akin to what I call the "Costco fallacy," which is the belief that absolutely everything in the warehouse has the lowest price anywhere. In reality, some items are cheaper elsewhere.

Similarly, during Prime Day, it's natural to think that every single product will be marked down to the lowest price of the year -- but that's simply not the case. So consider doing a quick bit of research before you buy anything. The money you save could be your own.

Read more: Get a $100 Amazon gift card when you sign up for Amazon's Prime Rewards Visa

Compare Prime Day pricing to past pricing


Use CamelCamelCamel to see a complete price history for nearly everything Amazon sells. If there's been a lower price in the past than what you're seeing now, it's a clue to wait for that deal to come around again.

Rick Broida/CNET

Historically, Prime Day is an excellent time to score deals on Amazon-branded products: Echo speakers and smart screens, Kindle e-readers, Fire TVs and so on. In fact, the prices on these items may be some of the lowest to date, or at least tied with the lowest. Case in point: The Fire TV Recast over-the-air DVR is already on sale for $130, which matches its all-time low.

OK, but what about that non-Amazon Fitbit Versa 3 you've had your eye on? Or those Sony headphones? They might be on sale, but how can you be sure this is the right time to pull the trigger?

Start with CamelCamelCamel, an invaluable shopping tool that monitors Amazon pricing. Just copy and paste the Amazon URL for any given product (or use the Camelizer browser plug-in, which saves a ton of time) and you'll see the complete history for that product.

And if you see a lower price on a previous date, now you know there might be a lower price coming in the future. Here's the lesson again: Don't just assume that Prime Day pricing is the best pricing. See for yourself.

Remember that other stores exist

Look beyond Amazon, too. Walmart and Target have already announced competing October sales, and I have little doubt stores like Best Buy and Kohl's will do likewise.

But do you really need to go bouncing from one site to another just to price-compare? Nope! Tools like PopCart, PriceBlink and OctoShop can show you at a glance if there's a better deal to be found elsewhere. I definitely recommend installing one of these browser plug-ins.

Want to know more? I talk about these and other Prime Day strategies in the latest episode of The Cheapskate Show podcast!

Watch this: Amazon Prime Day 2020: Everything you need to know

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