5 Ways to Prepare for Prime Day 2019 Before Amazon's Sales Start

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Check out Amazon's running list of Prime Day deals leading up to July 15 and 16 here.

Amazon's members-only summer anniversary sale, Prime Day, is just about the biggest online shopping event of the year after Black Friday. This year, the 48-hour sale will last from 2:59 a.m. Eastern Time on Monday morning, July 15 (midnight Pacific) and run through Tuesday, July 16. In previous years, the sale has only lasted 36 hours, so you'll get some extra shopping time this year.

Outside the U.S.? No problem. Prime Day deals are available in 18 different countries, including the UK, Canada, India, Germany, France, Australia, and more.

Limited-time flash sales can be stressful, and you want to be prepared to grab those amazing deals before they're gone, so here are five ways to prepare to have the best Prime Day yet.

1. Sign up for Prime (obviously).

As the name suggests, Prime Day deals are only for Amazon Prime members. If you don't have a membership yet, sign up for a free trial now—the promotional period lasts 30 days. After that, Prime costs $13 a month or $119 a year. If you're considering whether or not to make the jump to a full Prime membership, check out our list of all the perks Prime gets you beyond just free 2-day shipping.

2. Start thinking about what you want to buy on Prime Day.

Amazon devices are certain to go on sale, so Prime Day would probably be a great time to grab a Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet, Ring doorbell, Fire TV Stick or Cube, or an Echo. Bookmark this page to see all the Amazon device deals next week. What kind of discounts should you expect? Last year, Kindle Paperwhites were discounted $40 for Prime Day (going for $80), while Fire HD 10 tablets were listed for $100, a $50 discount. Prime Day is also often a good day for books: Last year, Amazon offered customers credits toward a future book purchase when they bought Amazon Charts books or Kindle e-books, as well as discounts on Kindle Unlimited subscriptions.

Other things that have gone on sale in previous years: Instant Pots, 4K TVs, luggage sets, Blu-rays, smartphones, FitBits, robot vacuums, and more. There's a higher likelihood that last year's models will go on sale rather than the latest and greatest gadgets, so if there's anything you coveted for Black Friday in 2018 that you didn't end up buying, Prime Day might be your lucky day.

3. Choose the right products—and prepare to comparison shop.

Trying to to decide what to buy? Check out our guide to fake reviews to learn how to spot the real deal, and consider downloading browser extensions like Fake Spot and Honey to help you analyze the quality of reviews and past prices to make sure that what you're buying is actually the killer deal it appears to be. Otherwise, you may discover too late that the massive "discount" you're getting is the same price the item has been listed at for months.

Prime Day has become a big enough event in the shopping world that other retailers have started offering competing deals, too. Macy's is running Black Friday in July deals until July 14 (use the code JULY for up to 25 percent off). Walmart is hosting Google Week, which includes up to 50 percent off products like Google Home and Nest from July 8 to July 16. You'll also want to check out Target's Deal Days on July 15 and 16 (and beforehand, because some things are already on sale), which will include discounts of 30 to 50 percent on small appliances, cookware, furniture, rugs, and more.

4. Check out the pre-sale deals you can already get.

Amazon is already offering a bunch of Prime-only deals in the lead up to Prime Day next week, including discounted Audible subscriptions ($120 per year, with an Echo Dot thrown in for just $1), discounted Marvel movie rentals ($2 each), 25 percent off Pepsi-owned brands like Lay's and Gatorade, and more.

You can already save on products sold by Woot, like this Wi-Fi-enabled countertop garden kit ($140 off right now), Stone and Beam home goods (including cookware sets, furniture, and decor for up to 20 percent off), and various Amazon-branded household goods, like coffee pods, toilet paper, trash bags, pain relief medication, and laundry essentials (all 20 to 25 percent off).

5. Check back with us next week.

Don't forget to return to Mental Floss on July 15 and 16, when the Smart Shopping team will be rounding up the best Prime Day deals as they become available.

A Stranger Things Fan Is Selling Epic Demogorgon Dog Costumes on Etsy

Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, Priah Ferguson, and Gaten Matarazzo in Stranger Things.
Netflix

Stranger Things is great at placing the truly terrifying alongside the absolutely adorable. One minute we are gushing over Eleven and Mike’s teen romance, and the next we’re jumping off the couch at the sight of those possessed by the Mind Flayer.

No matter how seamless the Duffer Brothers' Netflix series is in weaving together these moments, it seems like it would be impossible to make the Demogorgon cute. But somehow, one crafty fan has done just that.

Etsy shop ThatCraftyFriendShop has created Demogorgon headpieces that fit perfectly on your dog’s head.

People reports that the headpieces range in size from extra small (for 5- to 10-pound dogs) all the way to extra large (for dogs over 75 pounds). Prices range from $25 to $75, depending on the size of your four-legged friend.

These wool and felt doggy costumes are perfect for Halloween, or even a Stranger Things watch party while you continue to binge and re-binge the third seasonwith a decked-out doggy by your side.

[h/t People]

12 Expert-Level BBQ Gadgets to Buy This Summer

Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images
Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images

Outdoor barbecues are a beloved tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to use traditional equipment. Grill masters and inventors are always cooking up new gizmos for the rest of us to play with. If you want to up your BBQ game, get your mitts on these 12 nifty items before the summer’s end.

1. Char-Broil SmartChef TRU-Infrared 420 3-Burner Cabinet; $644


This high-tech, Wi-Fi-connected grill lets you control your cookout from your phone. You can adjust the burner temperature and monitor cook times on your mobile device with the SmartChef Gas Grill Mobile App, where you can also access a whole library of delicious recipes. If you so desire, the grill will also remind you when it’s time to flip the meat and insert the temperature probes (among other tasks). The burners can also be operated manually, in case you want the occasional experience of cooking with a conventional grill. Whether you're using your phone or controlling temperatures manually, though, the infrared cooking system heats evenly and prevents flare-ups to keep your meat juicy.

Buy it: Walmart

2. Looftlighter Original Electric Fire Starter; $80


Never buy lighter fluid again. In just 60 seconds, the eco-friendly Looftlighter Electric Fire Starter can superheat air to set your charcoal ablaze, no flammable liquids required. Briquettes, natural coal, and wooden kindling can all be easily ignited by the handheld wand.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

3. Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot; $100

An automatic grill cleaning robot on a charcoal grill
Grillbot, Amazon

Scraping the crud out of your grill is a nasty chore. The good news is, now you can outsource it. Grillbot is an automated cleaner—like a Roomba for grills—that removes charred residue with swiveling, removable brushes. Heat-resistant plastic allows the Grillbot to operate on sweltering surfaces, so it can be used whether your grill has cooled down or not. Just plop it on top of the grate, set the timer, and close the grill lid. Then grab a cold one while your new best friend terminates some grill scum.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Royal Gourmet 8-Burner Gas Grill; $366


Anyone throwing a big company party or family gathering will want this massive eight-burner grill on standby. It can cook more than 120 hot dogs (or upwards of 60 hamburgers) at the same time. If feeding that many hungry guests all at once doesn’t make you a summertime superhero, we don’t know what does.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Meater Smart Meat Thermometer; $70


The time has come to toss your simple meat thermometer in favor of something a little fancier. MEATER's wireless thermometer probe has two different sensors to ensure your meat is perfectly cooked. One sensor gauges the meat’s internal temperature, and the other measures the ambient heat. Status updates are sent to the free MEATER app, which you can use to keep an eye on your food from pretty much anywhere. (Webber’s iGrill2, $60, is another good option for backyard chefs seeking an app-connected thermometer.)

Buy it: Amazon

6. BBQ Grill Light & Fan; $90

Kill—or should we say, “grill”—two birds with one stone with Sharper Image's barbecue-top light/fan combo. The unit’s adjustable LED fixture gives you a light to cook by after the sun goes down. And no matter what time it is, you’ll want to take advantage of its other key feature: a pair of smoke-clearing fans. The clamp is designed to fit most grill hoods.

Buy it: Sharper Image

7. Stingray 7-in-1 BBQ Grill Multi-tool; $15


Barbecues are busy events—you’ve got burgers to flip, red-hot sausages to pull off the grill, and a six-pack of beer bottles to open. Normally, you’d need at least three separate tools to get everything done. But that’s the beauty of this stainless steel multi-tool from Stingray. It’s an ingenious cross between a BBQ fork, a pair of tongs, a spatula, and a bottle opener. And here’s the best part: You can operate the whole thing with one hand.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Bear Paws Shredder Claws; $13


Able to withstand temperatures as high as 475°F, the Bear Paws are a slick replacement for more conventional cutlery tools. They’re versatile, they’re easy to wash, and they’re just plain cool. Use them to lift, pull, and shred hot meats—all while embracing your inner grizzly.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Chef's Kitchen 7-Piece Outdoor BBQ Apron and Utensil Set; $13


You'll have no more panicked searches for misplaced BBQ tools with this apron and utensil set from Chef's Kitchen. For under $20, you can get a set of salt and pepper shakers, three stainless steel grilling tools, an oven mitt, and, of course, a durable apron with enough pockets to hold all those things.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press; $15


What’s better than a hamburger covered in delicious toppings? A hamburger that’s stuffed with ‘em, courtesy of Grillaholics' stuffed burger press. Take some patty meat, put it at the bottom of this press, and use the inverted cup on the lid to make an opening for your favorite ingredients. Then put the remaining meat on top and close the contraption. With a simple squeeze, you’ll have the makings of a perfectly round, goodie-filled burger. Included with your purchase is a digital recipe book worthy of Bob Belcher.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Charcoal Companion Stainless Grill Clips; $10 for Four


Grilled veggies are a welcome addition to any BBQ spread, but flipping individual pepper slices or asparagus spears one-by-one is a pain. Fortunately, Charcoal Companion offers game-changing clamps that’ll save you a bunch of steps. Once you’ve secured a handful of vegetables inside one of these clips, you can flip them all in unison.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box; $900


You don’t have to micromanage your fuel supply to grill meats with that perfect, wood-smoked flavor. The Woodwind automatically burns just enough wooden pellets to reach and maintain whatever cooking temperature you set. Inside, you’ll find 811 inches of cooking space. And next to the main grill, there’s a propane-powered sear box that gets as hot as 900°F.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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