6 Tips To Avoid Impulse Purchases On Amazon Prime Day

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There’s a good chance you’ve already come across marketing around Amazon Prime Day. The popular two-day sales event takes place July 12 and 13 this year, and while some consumers may have already planned out exactly what they want to buy, there’s a whole other customer base that knows they’ll be making impulse purchases the day of.

While making one or two impulse buys where you can score a good deal may certainly feel “worth it,” this type of shopping behavior can easily lead to overspending and buying things you don’t really need — especially when it’s so easy to just click and purchase.

To best prepare you and your wallet for Prime Day madness, Select spoke with financial and behavioral experts to learn a few tips and mental tricks that’ll keep you from making too many impulse purchases.

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1. Pause before buying

With Amazon Prime Day lasting for two days, you can put an item in your cart on the first day and wait 24 hours before deciding to go through with purchasing it. This gives you more time to sleep on it and decide if you really need the product instead of just buying it in the moment.

“Prime Day is such a risk because it creates a sense of urgency,” Lauren Anastasio, certified financial planner and director of financial advice at Stash, a popular investing app, tells Select. “In reality, you should be taking your time.”

Anastasio suggests considering how you would feel about the purchase in a month. If you can look ahead and imagine the expense meaningfully impacting your life, it’s probably worth it. However, if you anticipate any buyer’s remorse because you wish you had saved the money or spent it more wisely, it’s best to refrain. If you were to check your bank statement and see that charge, contemplate how you’d feel about it.

Perry Wright, a senior behavioral researcher at Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, wants consumers to also take a pause and think about why certain products are on sale.

According to Perry, illusions of forced choice and scarcity normalize us feeling as if we’re being savvy consumers by taking advantage of Prime Day deals, but the heavily discounted items we see may in fact just be the result of supply forces. For example, a tech gadget we’re currently lacking can seem enticing, yet it might only be discounted because of an upcoming hardware update.

2. Check out other stores before checking out

3. Set limits beforehand

Dan Egan, managing director of behavioral finance and investing at Betterment, a popular robo-advisor app, recommends setting limits beforehand, including both a dollar amount and a quantifiable item amount, come Prime Day. Even if this limit is self-imposed, it can successfully trick you into staying within your budget.

4. Know what you’re looking to buy

According to Wright, Amazon Prime Day is best described as a “sushi conveyor belt of items” that is sometimes distracting and difficult to sift through.

Since the abundance of discounted items can be overwhelming to those who visit Amazon.com on Prime Day, make sure you’re logging on with a purpose.

Know exactly what you want to type into the search bar rather than browsing through random departments you never intended to shop in — this can look like searching a general category such as “snacks” vs. searching for more specifically, as in “savory snacks in bulk.”

To try to stay on track with what you plan to purchase, Egan recommends turning off Amazon notifications from appearing on your phone so you aren’t tempted to buy anything else.

Anastasio also warns of purchases that catch your eye just because of creative marketing. “If people avoid the marketing, unsubscribe from the emails and avoid social media, chances are the actual purchase traffic on Prime Day would plummet,” Anastasio says.

5. Announce your purchases out loud

One trick Egan recommends is to say what your intended purchases are out loud, saying that you’re less likely to splurge on an unnecessary item if you say, “I am buying this because…” Doing so forces you to ponder the purchase on another, deeper level.

Even if you explain the potential purchase to a rubber duck, it should help you avoid overspending, Egan suggests. Or you can speak to yourself in the mirror to both see and hear yourself say what you’re buying and really have it soak in.

6. Add it to your cart, but don’t “buy it now”

Amazon’s “buy it now” feature makes it all too easy to get your shopping done quickly, but can also mask just how much you are spending since you’re buying things as one-off purchases instead of adding them to your cart and seeing the grand total.

Come Prime Day, Wright advises against using the “buy it now” button so you don’t go overboard. “We tend to lose track of individual purchases in large bundles of purchases,” he says.

When you’re ready to make a Prime Day purchase

While the six tips and mental tricks outlined above can help Amazon shoppers avoid making too many impulse purchases on Prime Day, those who want to take advantage of the sales event to finally buy something they’ve been wanting should definitely do so.

When you’re ready to make a Prime Day purchase you’ve prepared for, consider using a top credit card for all your Amazon Prime Day shopping. Also, remember that you have to be an Amazon Prime member to be eligible for Prime Day sales. If you aren’t currently a Prime member, there are ways to get a membership at a discount, or even for free.

For avid Amazon shoppers and Prime members, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card is currently offering a limited-time welcome bonus now through July 29. New cardholders can earn a $200 Amazon gift card immediately after approval and can earn up to a whopping 10% cash back on specially-marked Amazon products, with rotating items and categories, among other cash-back perks.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.74% to 23.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

For flat-rate cash back rewards on all other spending, the Citi® Double Cash Card makes a good addition to anyone’s wallet, with 2% cash back — that’s 1% cash back on all eligible purchases plus an additional 1% cash back once your credit card bill is paid.

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    15.49% – 25.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Citi Premier® Card

  • Rewards

    3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on hotels and air travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    17.49% – 25.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication; if you purchase something through Select links, we may earn a commission.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.