4 Ways to Make Sure Amazon Prime Day Doesn’t Leave You Broke

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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Amazon Prime Day is rapidly approaching, and the holiday shopping season is about to start revving up.

For many of us, it’ll be tempting to kick off our holiday shopping with the deals to be found during Amazon’s annual Prime Day sales event, which is Oct. 13 and 14 this year. There’ll be deep discounts on electronics like TVs, Apple products, speakers, headphones, Fitbits and smart-home devices.

Be careful not to break the bank, though. The average American spends more than $900 on the holidays each year, and Prime Day sales totals are expected to approach $10 billion this time.

All that discounted gear is tempting, especially for gift-giving, but we’ve got a few ideas on how you can set aside some money and make sure your Prime Day splurges don’t break the bank.

1. Swap Books for Amazon Gift Cards

Have old college textbooks taking up valuable shelf space? You could host a garage sale or sell them on Craigslist, but one of the easiest ways to get rid of them is through Amazon.

With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.

Enter the item’s information on Amazon’s Trade-In page to see how much you could pocket. Shipping is free.

2. Clean Out Your Closet

Take a hard look at your closet while you’re at it. Over the years, you’ve probably collected all kinds of things you don’t really need anymore. Comb through your items and, if you haven’t used them in a while, sell them and make some money.

You don’t need to go through the hassle of having a garage sale, either. Try selling your items online. Market clothes and other random knick knacks to folks in your area through an app like Letgo.

Or if you have old CDs or DVDs — or even smartphones — try selling them to a platform like Decluttr. You scan your items’ barcodes with the app and then print out a label for free shipping. Toss ‘em in a box and be done with them.

You might be surprised by how much money you can make just from cleaning!

3. Find Out if the Government Owes You Money

The government could owe you more money than just a stimulus check. Did you know state treasuries throughout the U.S. have had more than $40 billion in unclaimed funds at one time?

To see if you have any unclaimed money, check with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

Kelli Howell, a reader of The Penny Hoarder, performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name. Sure, it was only $56 in an old insurance claim, but that’s not bad for an unexpected check, right?

4. Make Money Delivering Food

Sure, jobs are at a premium right now, but food delivery is booming. The people stuck at home are tired of cooking — so they turn to takeout. That’s where you enter the picture.

A number of apps like Doordash or Uber Eats will pay you to pick up and deliver food on your own schedule. All you need to get started is your preferred mode of transportation and your smartphone.

You’ll deliver things like coffee from Starbucks or food from Chipotle, Chick-fil-A or Five Guys. You set your own hours and work as much or little as you want, meaning how much you make is up to you.

Ultimately, here’s the bottom line: If you want to go all out this holiday season, how do you plan to pay for it? Prime Day is an opportunity to kick-start your holiday shopping by scoring some deals. Hopefully these strategies will help you pay off those sweet purchases!