Amazon Prime Day just kicked off at 9pm EST so I thought I'd write you a few quick tips to take advantage of the deals ahead. Prime Day is Amazon's annual, summer version of Cyber Monday. Like any sale, you still have to be a smart shopper because they are trying to get you to impulse buy and just because they claim it's 50% off, it probably isn't anywhere near that great a deal. Last Prime Day, buying guide site The Wirecutter scanned nearly 8,000 advertised deals and found only 64 worth buying. Yikes!

Here are my 5 tips for Prime Day:

1) Subscribe to Prime

You have to be a Prime member to get the deals so if you aren't a subscriber already, then you can take advantage of a 30-day trial for prime. To me it is well worth it. Prime Video is a great compliment to Netflix and we replaced our Pandora music service with Prime Music.

2) Buy Amazon products

This is where you are guaranteed to be getting great prices without a second thought. If you are interested in the Echo, it is only $79.99 right now (38% off). We have one sitting on our kitchen counter and mainly use it for weather, news, music and controlling our wifi light switches. I just hope it isn't recording every conversation because that would kind of creepy. If Fire TV goes on sale, I would recommend it highly. We don't have cable TV in my house, just Fire TV.

3) Be a smart shopper

Like I said earlier, Amazon is trying to pressure you into impulse buys with a countdown clock a la QVC. You have to make a decision quick or it may sell out. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good deal. Still check pricing with Google or a service like camelcamelcamel which gives you historical pricing data for every item on Amazon.

4) Free giveaways

Amazon has free giveaways every hour where there is no purchase necessary. So far giveaways have included a Nintendo Switch, Amazon Echo, iPad mini, Apple MacBook and more. You just have to open your Amazon app and under the category icon, you will find an obvious button “win prizes daily up to Prime Day.”

5) Seek reinforcements

Overwhelmed by so many products on sale? Check out Slickdeals for the best deals available. is also liveblogging the event and is posting last year's Black Friday prices to deem the prime deals a “deal or dud” status.

Good luck shopping! Don't buy junk that you don't need.

“Amazon Prime Day 2018” by yto is licensed under CC BY 2.0