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Will Amazon Prime Day live up to the hype?

If you like saving money, mark July 15 on your calendar. Prime Day is being touted as the day to save money. Amazon, which is hoping to top its Black Friday success and sell more Prime premium memberships, is calling it the biggest online sales day of the year. For the online retail industry, it’s a big wait-and-see.

Prime Day is a one-day celebration of the online retail giant’s 20th anniversary. It promises new deals every 10 minutes, seven Deals of the Day, and a wide swath of product categories. The catch? You need to be a Prime subscriber. Cost: $99 a year for a standard membership. Student subscription rates are $49 a year.

Is Prime membership worth it?

Despite a $20 price increase last year, Prime membership remains popular for its convenience. Although Amazon won’t disclose actual figures, its executives have put the number of subscriptions in the “tens of millions.” For $8 a month, it pays for itself for women who like the convenience of online shopping. Membership offers free two-day shipping, streaming TV and movies and access to the Kindle owners’ library. Subscribing is similar to warehouse shopping clubs: If you’ll actually use it, you’ll save; but also remember that Prime Day is only one day.

It’s possible to save money on a new Prime subscription using a 30-day free trial promo code. If you don’t want to commit to one year of service for a single-day bonanza, you can still get price cuts in other ways: bundling orders to meet the Super Saver free-shipping threshold of $35, or subscribing to couponing websites for email alerts or checking Amazon price-tracker sites such as PriceJump.

Whether the event proves to be what the company calls a “Black Friday killer” remains to be seen. Amazon offered more than 3,000 deals during last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but did not always have the lowest prices. It’s doubtful, for example, whether it can beat a manufacturer’s best price.

Not ready for Prime time?

If you miss the event, you can still save money on gifts and clothing this summer. Wait until early August to see whether your state is among the 17 that offers a tax-free holiday, and then combine it with store and manufacturers discounts. You can also arrange layaways and rain checks during the tax-free weekends. Also look for Christmas in July and Black Friday in July sales by major retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy.

Here’s another online shopping tip: Always check to see whether you can stack coupon codes and manufacturer coupons on top of special “holiday” savings.

Whether or not Prime Day lives up to the hype, you can still score deals on things like outdoor furniture, clothes, electronics, toys and more. There’s no need to wait until Labor Day and Black Friday/Cyber Monday. With planning, price comparisons and coupon codes, you can create your own savings opportunities.

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