At the end of the day — or rather, two days this year — Amazon's Prime Day is one big advertisement for the e-retailer who dreamed it up in the first place. The now-annual July event is packed with stellar savings, many of which include Amazon's own devices and services, but there's a clever requirement: In order to take part, you must be a Prime member. You are worshipping at the house of Amazon, and Prime is your exclusive key in the door. (Likely because Prime memberships are how Amazon stays profitable.)
For the over 100 million people who currently subscribe, this makes no difference. However, if you are not already a Prime member, there is one way to get in on this year's 48 hours of deals (July 15 to 16), without paying the $12.99 monthly fee or $119 annual fee (or the Amazon Prime Student membership annual fee of $59): Sign up for the free, 30-day trial. Doing so gives you access to all the Prime Day savings, as well as free two-day shipping privileges, Prime Music, and Prime Video. You get all the same perks as a paying member, temporarily, without paying a cent.
Just don't forget to cancel the membership before your 30 days are up. If you don't, Amazon will automatically upgrade your account to a paid membership plan and your clever attempt to sidestep the one rule of Prime Day will not work out in your favor.
The one caveat, which Amazon likely knows well, is that once you've gone Prime it's hard to go back. Waiting for more than two days for an order to arrive feels like years, and seeing the heavily discounted Prime prices on products will feel like a slap in the face whenever you drop the item, at its full retail value, into your shopping cart. There's no denying it: Prime is an incredible deal, even when it isn't Prime Day.
Go ahead and sign up for your free trial, but know that doing so may get you suckered in to a lifetime of Prime addiction.