You know how hot fudge takes something good and makes it even better? I'm about to do the same for. If that massive midsummer sale (happening July 15 and 16 this year) is the ice cream, allow me to serve as your gooey chocolate sauce. See, while Amazon will undoubtedly serve up some great deals -- in fact, -- you may be able to score even lower prices.
Below I've rounded up a few of my favorite money-saving secrets -- some of them borrowed, unsurprisingly, from Black Friday, which is the year's other major everything's-on-sale season.
Don't like reading? Click the accompanying video (below) and I'll share some of these tips and tricks in person. And note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
Use Amazon's credit card to save an extra 5%
If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber (and you need to be to maximize your savings on Prime Day), consider getting the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa Card. With it you automatically net 5% cash back on nearly everything you buy from Amazon.com (and everything you buy at Whole Foods as well).
That's on top of any sale prices happening on Prime Day or any other time of year. And trust me when I say that if you shop Amazon a lot, that 5% can add up.
Don't already have Amazon Prime? You can sign up for it here:
Score additional cash-back savings
Speaking of cash-back options, you don't need Amazon's credit card to take advantage of them. Services like BeFrugal, Rakuten (formerly Ebates), Mr. Rebates and TopCashback offer added savings from many, if not most, online stores -- including Amazon.
At this writing, for example, Mr. Rebates was offering 6% cash back on Amazon devices -- stuff like the Echo Show ( $230 at Amazon) and Fire TV Recast -- 5% back on furniture, 4% on jewelry and so on.
Cooler still, you get that bonus even when those devices are on sale. Right now, for instance, the: It's $130, a full $100 off. But if you start your purchase at Mr. Rebates, you'll save an extra 6% on top of that, bringing your net total down to $122.20.
This equation might get even better on Prime Day proper. See, on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, cash-back services often raise the ante -- 3 percent might become 6 percent, 8 percent might become 12 percent and so on -- so there's a good chance the same will happen on Prime Day.
So if something is on sale and you get bonus cashback on top of it, that's like a double-dip win. (The triple-dip, of course, is using your cash-back credit card -- the aforementioned Amazon Visa or any other. You still get that savings as well; a cash-back service doesn't interfere with it. And for a quadruple-dip, throw a coupon-code into the mix. It's rare, but not impossible.)
Check price histories
Sure, Amazon says its Prime Deals are all that, but are they really? You can find out by using CamelCamelCamel, a free tool that shows a complete price history for just about every product listed on Amazon. I particularly like its browser plug-in, which saves you having to open the tool in a separate tab.
You might also want to check out Honey, another free browser plug-in that can show you product price histories at other stores as well.
What's the point of getting that information? Simple: If a product has ever been priced lower than you're seeing right now, chances are good it will be again. Great example: The Amazon Echo is currently on sale for $70 -- a nice discount, no question -- but a couple weeks ago it hit an all-time low of $65. If you peeked at CamelCamelCamel, you'd know that -- and know that you have the option of waiting for it to hit that price (or better) again.
Don't forget to shop elsewhere
It might be called Amazon Prime Day, but lots of other stores plan to ride Amazon's Christmas-in-July coattails., and have all announced sales of their own during the same July 15-16 period, and we expect more stores to serve up sales in the days ahead.
In that same vein, don't automatically assume that Amazon has the best price for any given product. Which brings us to our next tip...
Comparison-shop while you shop
There's another browser add-on that I recommend, and it's called PriceBlink. In addition to finding coupon codes for you while you shop, it will also compare prices at other stores. So if you're shopping for, say, a smartwatch at Amazon, PriceBlink will alert you if that same product is available for less elsewhere.
CamelCamelCamel, PriceBlink and Honey also have wish-list features, meaning if Prime Day isn't producing the price you want for a particular item, you can set up an alert and they'll notify you if and when a price cut occurs.
As you've probably guessed by now, these tips and tools aren't specific to Prime Day. You can, and should, use them year-round.
Have you found any other great money-saving tools for Prime Day? Share them in the comments!