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Shop Smarter for Fourth of July Deals at Amazon

Amazon kicks off summer sales around the 4th of July. Take advantage of these tips to find and save even more.

Jeff Carlson
Jeff Carlson writes about photography and technology and is the author of dozens of how-to books covering a wide spectrum ranging from Apple devices and cameras to photo editing software and PalmPilots. He drinks a lot of coffee in Seattle.
Jeff Carlson
hand holding Amazon Prime envelope
1 of 9 James Martin/CNET

Giant holiday sales events like the Fourth of July can be great opportunities to pick up more expensive products you had put off buying for later such as TVs and laptops. When shopping on Amazon, there are plenty of ways to save on top of what the deals offer (and some common mistakes to avoid).

Here are eight tips to help you get the best prices -- or even money back -- at Amazon.

calendar with Prime spanning 30 days
2 of 9 CNET

Take Prime for a 30-day spin

Many Amazon Independence Day deals are for Prime members only, but we won't hold it against you if you're hesitant to kick in a yearly $139 fee just to save money elsewhere. You can, however, try Prime for 30 days and take advantage of its features. After the period is up, you're automatically charged for the Prime Monthly plan at $15 per month (which calculates out to $180 per year) unless you cancel.

And if you do choose to stay on Prime, be sure to use these Amazon Prime perks.

iPad on a kitchen counter showing an Amazon page with a Coupon clipped
3 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Clip those on-page coupons or discount codes

In the physical retail world, clipping printed coupons can get you discounts at local stores with only a small amount of effort. That idea has crossed into Amazon shopping with a small coupon checkbox. Just like the physical coupons, you have to take action on an Amazon item when a coupon is available. Click that box!

Want to find more products with coupons? Look for the Coupon Deals section to browse current click-it discounts.

Amazon box next to an iPad showing a deal alert on the screen
4 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Set up deal alerts in the Amazon app

Is anyone clamoring for more notifications? When they're actually targeted to your interests and relate to a specific event such as Independence Day sales, they can be useful. In the Amazon app on your phone or tablet, view your account (tap the person icon) and locate Deal alerts or Deals and recommendations in the Message center or Notifications settings (the specific location varies by operating system).

iPhone showing the Amazon app with a product with color and price variations.
5 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Check other colors and configurations

When you're looking at an item on Amazon, look below the large listed price to see if there are other variations. Prices may vary for other colors -- a purple one might be on sale, but the standard black could be even cheaper. Or perhaps Amazon is looking to offload unpopular colors or patterns.

Hand holding a Pixel smartphone with the Amazon app showing Memorial Day deals
6 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Poke around Amazon Warehouse deals

What if you don't have Amazon Prime? Sure, Amazon prefers that you join its membership club (which has a host of perks), but it's not necessary to take advantage of huge savings. Amazon Warehouse Deals include discounts for preowned, used and open-box products in nearly every category.

Three Echo Dots in gray, white and black on a gradient pink background
7 of 9 Ry Crist/CNET

Order via Alexa if you think you might need to return items

Online ordering is convenient and can be done at any time of the day, but it's still a hands-off experience. Without seeing something in person, there's always the risk that an item won't fit, is larger than the photos suggested or just isn't right for some other reason. If you think you may need to return something and you have an Amazon Echo smart device, order it using Alexa. Physical merchandise (except Amazon Pharmacy items) ordered via Alexa Voice Shopping can be returned for free regardless of reason.

iPhone on an Amazon Prime cardboard box. iPhone is showing Subscribe & Save options for a product in the Amazon app.
8 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Subscribe and Save for less stress

Is a big Fourth of July sale too stressful to wade through? For items you use regularly, sign up for Subscribe and Save, which provides a recurring discount of up to 15% and automatic shipping on a schedule you set. Say goodbye to hazy precaffeine mornings when you realize you're out of coffee filters -- new ones will arrive before the old ones are used up.

Amazon VISA card against a colored background.
9 of 9 Jeff Carlson/CNET

Consider the Amazon Prime Visa credit card

The tactical application of a credit card can save you money, earn cash back on purchases and knock off a big chunk of your Fourth of July purchases. If you're a Prime member and qualify for Amazon's Prime Visa, you can start off with a $100 gift card upon approval. You'll also get 5% cash back on items you order via Amazon's website, Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh and 2% back at many other vendors.

If that sounds appealing, be sure to check out CNET's look at all the details about the Prime Visa.

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