Since the early 1950s, “Black Friday”—the day after Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November—has been widely regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the US. Thousands of Americans line up at malls nationwide seeking discounts on gifts for family and friends. Think of Amazon Prime Day as a turbocharged version of Black Friday.

Amazon Prime Day begins today—Monday, July 16—at 12 p.m. PST and it will last for 36 hours. To take advantage of the deeply discounted deals offered by the giant online retailer, you must be an Amazon Prime member ($12.99 monthly or $119 for the year; Prime Video is $8.99 a month). If you aren't already a member, sign up here.

So-called “Lightning Deals” are announced hourly and only available for a short period of time. Amazon allows 15 minutes for you to check out before it automatically removes a Lightning Deal from your shopping cart. If you miss out, you can add your name to a waiting list to see if more examples of that particular product become available at a later time.

Tips For Amazon Prime Day Success

  1. Become a Prime member—Sign Up

  2. Download the free Amazon app (Android and iOS)

  3. Check for deals on specific items

  4. Bookmark and watch the deals you like

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