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Amazon’s yearly Prime Day sale is fast approaching, bringing with it plenty of great tech deals for the savvy shopper. It’s the Black Friday of the summertime, with less violence but a few extra rules. You’ll need to be on your toes come the 16th July to snatch the best deals, so pay attention to these tips if you want to make the most of the sales.

First thing’s first: these deals are only for Amazon Prime members. If you’re not signed up to the $120/year perks club, never fear. You can cheat the system and sign up for a month-long free trial while the deals are here, and you’ll get access to the whole lot. Then, so you don’t forget, you can immediately cancel your subscription to stop it auto-rolling into a paid one the following month.

If you’ve already been a Prime member within the last year, you won’t be eligible for the free trial, but you can still sign up for a single month’s membership to get the deals without paying for an entire year of Prime.

Next up, you’ll need to know exactly when these deals are taking place. The answer is complicated, which is Amazon’s way to keep you browsing as often as possible: Prime Day officially starts at 3pm Eastern Time on July 16, and runs for 36 hours until 9pm July 17. (In the UK, things kick off at noon.)

During that time there will be a bunch of so-called “Lightning deals” that change throughout the day; download the Amazon app and refresh it often during the sales to keep track of these new deals. But don’t snap up everything you see on a whim! We’ve got a much smarter technique to ensure you don’t waste your money.

If you see a Lightning deal you like and are worried about missing out, simply add it to your basket in the app. This grants you 15 minutes to decide whether you really need it. Meanwhile, you can check historical price-listing site camelcamelcamel.com to see whether the quoted price really is such a good deal. Don’t be swayed into buying something if it’s only slightly below its usual price – but if the site shows that a product has never ever dropped this low before, you’ll know you’re getting a bargain.

It’s also worth noting that some things are already on sale even before the doors officially open. Amazon’s own Echo Show is the cheapest it’s ever been, while you can currently get 3 months of Kindle Unlimited for just $1.

We’ll be back on the 16th to let you know the best tech deals we can find – last year there were a ton of great products, cases, and accessories for iPhone and iPad, and we’re expecting more of the same this time.