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Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2018

Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2018
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By now you have probably heard of "Prime Day," in which Amazon posts some incredible deals online for their Prime members. It's a day in July where Black Friday and Cyber Monday take a back seat so that all eyes can be on the online retailer.

Now, we don't yet know what the exact date for Prime Day is, though a leak may have revealed it to be July 16. What we know for certain is that Prime Day will see a good many items have their prices marked down, through either promotions, price cuts or Lightning Deals.

The very first Prime Day occurred in 2015, and while the overall theme is the same it has undoubtedly undergone some changes over the years. So in other words, the Prime Day you remember may not be the Prime Day you get.

Buckle up because it's gonna be fun

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The very first Prime Day provided members exclusive access to great deals on a variety of items, and though it did not quite go off without any hitches, it was successful enough to warrant becoming a tradition.

For Amazon, it is a chance to create a bump in sales during a time of the year where shopping may be down. For us, it is an opportunity to find cool items and gadgets -- some of which we've maybe already been eyeing -- at prices that will not come close to breaking the bank.

But before it gets here, let's answer a few questions for you.

When is Prime Day 2018?

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As noted above, it appears Prime Day will be on Monday, July 16. If the leaked information is true, it will begin around mid-day and then continue into the 17th.

It makes sense. The first Prime Day was July 15, 2015 -- a Wednesday -- while the second was on July 12, 2016, which was a Tuesday.

Last year's Prime Day started late on Monday, July 10 and ran through the early parts of Wednesday, July 12. So, with that in mind it appears the leaked date would fall right in line with what has happened before.

How do I get to take part?

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Prime Day deals are available only to Amazon Prime members, so if you already have an account you're good. If you are not a member, you can sign up and get your first 30 days free.

It's not necessarily a bad idea to begin with, as you'll generally get faster shipping on items as well as access to a giant library of music and other streaming options.

You can cancel your membership at any time -- including after Prime Day -- but if not, your account will automatically get charged for every month that follows. The cost is $12.99 per month or $119 for a one-year subscription as of May 11, 2018.

I've heard of 'Lightning Deals' -- what are they?

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Many products will be on sale in a way that is familiar to us all. The listed price is discounted, and you either choose to buy or don't.

Lightning Deals are different, though. They are sales that leave as quickly as they arrive. We won't know what will be offered, but if you see something and want it then make sure to act quickly.

Generally, something offered on a Lightning Deal has a very limited supply, so once the last one is sold that's it, they're gone. So add it to your cart and then make a decision within 15 minutes, because that's all the time you'll have before the item is put back on the marketplace.

One way to get a head start and not be surprised by what's on sale is to go to the Amazon Deals page on Prime Day. Sort the items by "upcoming deals" and you'll have a peek at what's about to pop up.

That of course does not guarantee you will actually get it, but at least you won't be surprised when it shows up for sale. And in a situation where you will be battling others who are also trying to get the best deal possible, any "inside" information you can have will only help.

What will I be able to buy?

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Pretty much if Amazon makes it, you'll find it on sale. That could mean Kindles, Echos and Firesticks, as well as many other products the company produces.

There will be plenty more than just those on sale, however, as you are likely to find discounted prices on things like TVs, smartphones and other appliances. We're not sure what you'll be looking for, but odds are good it will be on sale.

Should I buy it?

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This is obviously something you will have to decide for yourself, but if you are trying to find the best deals there are ways to know. It helps if you've already been looking at a certain product or device, since you'll have an idea of just how much it is discounted on Prime Day.

There are other ways to know, such as websites that do a good job of tracking prices. Camelcamelcamel.com is a good resource for that. You can also check out other online retailers to see what they are listing the item(s) for, just for comparison's sake.

And if you still aren't ready to spend the money, rest assured that this probably will not be the last time the item is on sale. Probably.

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