Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
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Is Amazon Prime worth it or not? This topic can be one for hot debate. I wanted to share with you, mine and Ryan’s opinion on this subject but please remember that it is only our opinion. The bottom line is, when it comes to money, you should not feel guilty about spending money on the things that are truly important to you even if they are things that are completely unimportant to someone else.
Before we dive in to the discussion I wanted to share with you my story of ordering dog food. I know that sounds lame, but here we go. It’s crazy to me how much remembering to buy dog food could have an effect on the day. For some reason, it’s something that’s easy for me to forget to buy until we’re almost out and scraping the bottom of the bin. Then it results in an inconvenient rush to the grocery or a small argument before dinner (which is also silly). So about a year after having Amazon Prime and a few months after a family member had gifted us an Echo (Alexa), I scooped out some dog food out of the almost empty bin. I thought about it for a second and then I asked Alexa to order dog food while I was cleaning up the rest of the kitchen and within 3 minutes I had a shipping notification for it to arrive in two days. I may have already been a little emotional, but I felt like I could cry about how easy that was and what a weight it lifted off my shoulders! That being said, I think you know were I’m going with this…we’re big Amazon Prime fans around here.
How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost?
Amazon prime is now $119 a year if you pay annually or $12.99 a month if you pay monthly. So you’re saving about $3 a month by paying for the year in full, which is what we do. We have an Amazon Prime sinking fund in our budget and we set aside $11 every month so that when the time is do for our membership to auto-renew, we already have the cash for it.
If you want to test it out for being committed, sign up for the Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
Students can even sign up for a Prime Student 6-Month Free Trial and pay a discounted rate after that.
You can also give the gift of Prime in 3-month or 12-month subscriptions.
Now that we know what Amazon Prime costs you, let’s talk about what it gets you!
Amazon Prime Benefits
FREE 2-Day Shipping
Probably what Amazon Prime is most known for is the Free Unlimited 2 Day Shipping. There are now over 100 million products available for Prime Shipping. There’s no limit for how often you can use it and no requirements for the size or weight of the shipment.
If you break down the cost of the membership, it’s about $9.92 per month. If you ordered two packages a month, you’d be spending around $5 per package. You would definitely make your money back AND be receiving the packages in two days. Plus, let’s not forget that shipping something larger would probably cost you more money AND the Prime membership includes way more than just shipping so you can add that to your cost break down.
The two-day shipping has been a blessing for all the times I’ve procrastinated ordering birthday or Christmas presents. Lot’s of items are even less expensive on Amazon than buying them elsewhere. Remember my dog food story from the beginning of this post? The dog food is cheaper on Amazon than our local grocery store, and someone drops it on my doorstep in two days rather than me hauling it all over the store, into my car, and then into the house.
No Rush Shipping Benefits
As if the free 2-day shipping wasn’t awesome enough, they’ve added another option. If you’re totally opposite of me and you actually order stuff ahead of time when you don’t need it rushed…you can choose free no-rush shipping. You still get the item within 6 business days and they give you a reward either as an immediate discount or a promotion on a future purchase.
Pick Your Delivery Day
Another advantage just for Prime Members is the option to pick your delivery day. You pick which day of the week you always want your packages to arrive and that’s when they will be delivered, even if you purchase multiple times throughout the week. This would have been great when I was working my previous job and always home on Fridays…I wouldn’t have had to worry about packages sitting on the porch all day, or my husband seeing all the packages arrive (kidding, kind of).
And if all these shipping features didn’t already have you sold, just this year Amazon upped their game and started offering free one-day shipping for about 10 million products. It just keeps getting better!
Free Music Streaming
An Amazon Prime membership gains you access to streaming over 2 million songs ad-free! It may not have every single song you’re looking for, but it’s a good selection and worth ditching your other subscriptions and saving some money since this is already included in Prime. As a bonus, if you buy any vinyl or CD on Amazon it will add the digital version to your account (get double your money by giving the physical one as a gift and then having the digital version on your account!). And if you do decided to upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited for even more selections, Prime members get a discounted rate.
Free Movies & Video Streaming
There’s so many options on Amazon Prime Video that you might be able to cancel all your other streaming subscriptions and cable. There are so many great videos and movies for kids and we feel comfortable letting our toddler choose what he wants to watch with supervision. There are even some Amazon original channels. Stream video content to your tablet, phone, laptop, smart TV, or you can add a Fire Stick (or Roku) to an older TV. Some videos can even been downloaded for offline viewing. Perfect for long road trips with the kiddos!
Another great feature is the Prime Reading Library. You just need the Free Kindle Reading App (or a Kindle E-reader or Fire Tablet). Selections may be limited but there’s sure to be something in the genre you’re interested in. The kids selection is decent and a fun way to take books on the go without all the bulk or having to purchase them. (Don’t confuse this with Kindle Unlimited, that’s something extra you pay for separately).
Amazon First Reads
If you’re interested in getting a free book download before the book is even released to the general public, here’s your chance. Each month they release 6 editor’s picks and Prime members can choose one to download (or purchase more than one with a small additional fee).
For those of you that would rather listen to audiobooks, you just need to download the Audible App and Prime members can stream a selection of audiobooks for free. (Don’t confuse this with an acutal Audible subscription which is something extra you pay for separately).
Free Photo Storage
Prime Photos offers free unlimited photo storage to Prime members and up to 5GB for videos and files. You can share the storage with up to 5 people and share the photos in a Family Photo Vault. Save and share from your tablet, phone, or desktop. It can be sorted by date or even facial recognition. We only recently found out about this option and I don’t know why I didn’t start using it sooner! No more dealing with “Full Storage” on my phone!
Benefits For Babies
You can get 20% off diapers (plus the free two-day shipping) when you sign up for subscribe and save, which means you will receive them on a regular scheduled basis (but you can cancel any time). Non Prime Members just get 5% off for subscribe and save. In addition to that, complete your Baby Registry with Amazon and Prime members get 15% off whatever is left (non-Prime members get 10%).
With Prime Pantry, you can fill a box with grocery items (non refrigerated) up to 45 lbs with a $35 minimum and you receive the free shipping. Many grocery items can be cheaper on Amazon as well, and it beats making an actual trip to the grocery store.
Try Before You Buy Clothes Shopping
This is probably one of my favorite new features! Prime Wardrobe allows you to choose 3-8 items of clothing (or accessories) to be shipped to your home for free. You have a 7 day period to try them on. Within the 7 days you just checkout online and only pay for what you want to keep. Send the rest of the items back in a resealable box with prepaid label for free. So if you want to know what that dress looks like with the shoes you already own, there you go! Or if you’d rather ditch the dressing rooms, not have to haul the kids to the department store, whatever the excuse, this is the solution.
Recap & Conclusion
Let’s Recap the Benefits
Free 2-day Shipping (select items available for free 1-day shipping)
The ability to pick your delivery day
Free no-rush 6-day (or less) shipping which earns rewards
Free music streaming
Free movie & video streaming (with some available for viewing offline)
Free books including Amazon First Reads and some audiobooks
Free Unlimited Photo Storage
20% off diapers with free 2-day shipping
Registry completion with 15% off
Prime Pantry grocery delivery ($35 minimum)
Prime Wardrobe buy before you try 7 day service
Don’t Forget Prime Day
With all the above mentioned benefits (and to be honest, there’s probably some more I don’t know about, they’re always adding stuff), it’s easy to see why we think Prime is great. On top of all those things, Prime members also get to participate in Prime Day which is thought to have even better deals than Black Friday. During Prime Day (and even throughout the year) Amazon will have Lightening Deals in which products have a limited quantity available for a limited amount of time at a great discount. Prime members get early access to these deals.
As I mentioned before, this blog post is only meant to give you my opinion. You should only do what’s right for you and your family. For us, the benefits of being a Prime Member have far outweighed the cost and we’ve definitely made our money back in savings (and probably double that). But since I am a personal finance blogger and I fully believe in living a debt free life, I encourage you to make sure you’re purchasing an Amazon Prime membership when you can afford it. If you need that $119 a year to go towards debt payoff, then make that be your first priority. If you do have the money to spend on the subscription, I think it’s well worth it.
A perfect time to try out the service and see if you like it is when you can overlap your Free 30-Day Trial (or 6-Month Trial for Students) with Prime Day or Black Friday deals! We always do some early Christmas shopping during Prime Day! We plan ahead for this so that it doesn’t bust our budget. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we save a little each month in a sinking fund for Amazon Prime and we do the same thing with a Christmas sinking fund. This way, when Prime Day (or any other good deals we find elsewhere throughout the year) comes along we can go ahead and spend the money knowing we’ve planned for it. Talk about reducing money stress!