$99/year for Amazon Prime- Is it worth it?

$99/year for Amazon Prime- Is it worth it? Check out an honest opinion from a budget-conscious person

AMAZON PRIME HEADER

I remember first signing up for Amazon Prime when I was a freshman in college. If my memory is serving me correctly, it was FREE to students, so I didn’t pay a dime. I can’t remember if this was a promo for a year or the entire time that I was a student, but either way, what. a. steal. I was able to order many of my textbooks at the time with free shipping

Post-college I remember having to pay the $79 yearly fee—another way I was initiated into adulthood. However, I didn’t really mind. The benefits of having Amazon Prime far outweighed the yearly fee.

Then in 2014 the fee went up to $99/year. I remember feeling somewhat disgruntled at the price raise, but that quickly turned into a shoulder-shrug. By then, I was already utilizing my Amazon Prime account for a number of things and couldn’t really imagine life without it.  Not to mention, if you do some basic math, it comes out to costing you $8.25/month.

Now that I’m (quite a bit) more money-conscious and… you knowrunning a blog about being “budget-savvy”, I recently re-evaluated our Prime membership.

And you know what? Being the budget-conscious person that I am these days, I’m still convinced that our Amazon Prime membership is a fabulous deal. 

(and if you don’t believe me, try it yourself for 30 days for free!)

HERE’S WHY I THINK AMAZON PRIME IS WORTH $99/YEAR:

(AKA for a calculated $8.25/month all these benefits could be yours!)

FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S. and other shipping benefits.

I would pay $99/year just for this. Amazon Prime has gotten more and more flexible with this over the years. Your purchases used to have to total $25 or more to qualify for free two-day shipping, but now many (not all) items can be shipped by themselves totally much less than that.

Most places have a minimum amount you must place before you can get free shipping. But with Amazon Prime, it’s amazing to be able to order a pack of 10 baby washcloths for $6.99 from the comfort of my home and have it delivered to my doorstep within 48 hours…for free.

Now, I should mention that in our household, we utilize online shopping often, so this benefit is appealing to us. We have a toddler, so I avoid going to the store more than necessary whenever possible. So if I’m planning (at least 2 days) in advance, I’ll just order whatever item I need on Amazon, as long as it’s the same price or cheaper and free two-day shipping. It’s just more convenient for me and I’m certainly not losing anything, apart from possibly missing out on an opportunity for a toddler melt-down in public. Side note- don’t worry, despite being online-ordering fiends, we still get out of the house plenty.

They also have free ONE-day and SAME-DAY shipping in some area codes, depending on whether or not your purchase qualifies. I have utilized these a few times, but am usually totally okay with 2-day shipping. Really can’t complain about free 2-day shipping.

ALSO… a friend just informed me that if an Amazon order doesn’t make it by the 2-day deadline, if you contact their customer service they will extend your Prime membership by one month for FREE!  I did some research and the fine print can be found HERE.

Amazon is often cheaper than other places

Amazon is a great place to order random doo-dads that you aren’t sure where to find elsewhere, such as replacement waterbottle straws. It’s also a great place to order birthday gifts, toys, baby items, some medical items, books, household items, some clothing items, and much more.

FullSizeRender 2For example, instead of spending over $100 on one of those cute Pottery Barn armchairs for our son, I found this adorable denim mini armchair (which I think is cuter anyways!) on Amazon for less than $65 and it arrived at my doorstep within 2 days  just in time for Christmas last year.

I don’t have any actual statistic on this, but I have noticed that in general items on Amazon are often cheaper than at other stores or websites.

Yet…this is not true for all items, so always be sure to check. For example, I have noticed on Amazon that a certain brand of laundry detergent that I use is listed for $7 more than in store, which is total inflation. But it’s usually fairly obvious whether or not buying a product off Amazon is comparable or a better deal. You can always do a quick google search on an item if you’re not sure to price compare.

**FOR THE ABOVE TWO REASONS, I AM 100% POSITIVE WE ALREADY MAKE BACK OUR $99 THROUGH THE MONEY WE SAVE AND FREE SHIPPING ON ITEMS WE WOULD ORDER ONLINE ANYWAYS.**

 THENNNN… take into account

Prime Video: unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes.

I read a crazy article on Yahoo! Finance the other day that the average cable bill is now $99/month. People. This is crazy! You could be paying $99/YEAR for unlimited streaming. Now, granted they may not have as big of a selection as your hundreds of cable channels. However, if you’re trying to cut costs, cable is one of the first places to start.

We got rid of our cable a few years ago and have never looked back. We used to have both Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming and recently actually got rid of our Netflix subscription because we weren’t using it much.

Netflix is $7.99/month for streaming and Amazon Prime comes to $8.25/month. Now please know that some episodes and movies are part of Amazon’s Video on Demand (VOD) service, so you have to pay for the episode, season, or to rent (similar to iTunes).  So not everything  can be streamed for free. However, it is up to you in what you choose to watch and pay for beyond the $99/year flat rate. And also, remember that Amazon Prime offers so many more benefits beyond streaming videos.

I will mention that I have read that some people complain that Amazon Prime doesn’t have as great of a selection as Netflix. I’ve never noticed, but we also aren’t huge TV junkies. But… if that were the case, subscribe to both. You will still be saving much more money than if you were paying for cable.  You can always try Prime for free for 30 days and see if you want to make the switch.

“But,” you may be protesting, “I love my cable-channels and ESPN!” Not to worry- for a $39.99 one-time fee, you can be a proud owner of an Amazon Fire TV Stick which will give you access to live ESPN, CNN, AMC, A&E, HGTV, any many more channels! I’m guessing that adding this one-time purchase  would still be cheaper than an actual cable subscription.  **EDIT** Someone has graciously informed me that to watch these channels, you still have to have a subscription to cable or “internet cable” provider.  The description on the product’s homepage is a little deceiving which reads- Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HGTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.”  Although there is no fine print in the Fire TV stick product description, Sling TV is actually a $20/month subscription. So I’m not sure that requiring an additional subscription to watch those channels through Fire TV stick constitutes (completely) “cutting the cord”.  However, it *appears* to be a cheaper option than a full subscription to cable (which is also supported by the Fire TV stick).  You can learn more about the Fire TV stick and what it includes/doesn’t include here, but unfortunately my first statement about a 1x purchase above was too good to be true.  It sounds like in the best case scenario it would be purchasing the Fire TV stick and then Sling TV for $20/month.**


Other benefits

Prime Music: unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and more than a million songs.

You may have heard of Spotify. Well, this is like Spotify but ad-free (as a Prime member). I’m currently jamming out to an uninterrupted streaming playlist to drown out other coffee-shop goers. Love it.

Prime Photos: Secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive.

This is a perk I recently found out about and have yet to try. However, many Apple users pay for Cloud back-up. If you are predominantly just storing photos, you could potentially eliminate this cost by utilizing photo storage on Amazon Prime. 

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: essentially renting e-books for free.

(I’m game… as soon as I find time in life to read again.)

 

Even more benefits 

(some of which you may not even know existed!) I pretty much took the following info directly from Amazon’s site.

Prime Pantry: Access to Prime Pantry, where members can purchase and ship to addresses in the contiguous U.S. low priced grocery, household, and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99 for each Prime Pantry box.

laptop caseAmazon Elements: Access to Amazon Elements products, Amazon’s own line of everyday essentials.  (By the way, I got this “Amazon Elements” laptop case for $12 last month and absolutely love it.  And to me, $12 is a great deal!) 

Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and new events on MyHabit.com.

Kindle First: Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks.

 Video Add-On Subscriptions: Members can purchase Video Add-on Subscriptions to premium content providers.

Deals and Discounts, Compliments of Amazon Family: These include 20% off diapers through Subscribe & Save and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry.

Prime Exclusive Savings in Video Games: Members in the U.S. save 20% on new release physical video games during pre-order through two weeks after launch.

Prime Now: Get FREE two-hour delivery or scheduled delivery on over 10,000 items, from groceries to electronics and more.

Restaurant Delivery: Get one-hour delivery from popular restaurants with Prime Now. Available in eligible zip codes only.

Membership Sharing: Two adults living in the same household can create an Amazon Household to share certain Amazon Prime benefits. (NOTE- My husband and I share an account with 0 issues.)

Even as I’m writing this post, I’m realizing there are definitely benefits of Prime I haven’t tapped into yet and need to try!

All in all, if you haven’t tried Amazon Prime, definitely check it out. In my experience, it has been well worth the money. And you have nothing to lose with their FREE 30 DAY TRIAL.  You will have to put in a credit card and information (as with most trials), but if you don’t like it you can cancel before your 30 days are over and not pay a dime. Try your Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial TODAY!


By the way, already have Prime and love it? You can now “gift” it to someone else. This is a great gift for college students!  Or even to an older person who has trouble getting out of the house.  You can send it to someone as a gift by clicking HERE (Give the Gift of Amazon Prime).  You can even set it up to send at a future date.

Do you have Amazon Prime?  What do you love about it?  What doesn’t impress you about it?  I’d love to hear others’ experiences.

For now, I hope that if you aren’t already benefiting from Amazon Prime, that you’ll give the FREE 30 DAY TRIAL a shot!  What do you have to lose?

18 thoughts on “$99/year for Amazon Prime- Is it worth it?

  1. Latoya @ Life and a Budget says:

    I wasn’t aware of some of these benefits, so I will definitely be taking another look into using them. I currently have hulu and netflix and have been satisfied with both. I order a large subscribe to save order every month through Amazon, but it qualifies for free shipping because of the order. I tried the Kindle Lending Library and didn’t like the offerings, but maybe the selection is better now and worth another look at. Thanks for providing such an in-depth review. I also didn’t know that if they missed the shipping deadline you could get your subscription extended by a month. You learn something new everyday! Thanks again!

  2. Cassie says:

    I didn’t know that all of these benefits existed, but the price is definitely worth it to me for the free shipping. I go with it every time. 🙂

  3. Keating says:

    My husband and I had Prime for a year and I only used it for the shipping. I felt that it really didn’t include the features it says it features. Like the unlimited streaming. There really wasn’t a whole lot to choose from that was on Prime when it came to movies and television shows. Anything we wanted to watch had to be paid for in addition to the $99/year. There were many features we really didn’t try out but the only two we wanted or needed was the unlimited streaming and free shipping. In the end, we ended up getting rid of it.

    • Mallory Bacon says:

      Yes, I mentioned this in the post. For us, we occasionally rent or buy things (also used to have Netflix in addition), but we’ve been able to take advantage of a lot of the free streaming through Amazon Prime. We don’t have a huge agenda with TV though. It’s different for every family and not right for everyone depending on what you watch.

  4. Mrs. Stacy McKinnon-Lake says:

    I’m an American living in the UK. I was wondering if you think AmazonUK prime is worth the £99 price tag as well?

  5. Heather @ Simply Save says:

    I usually would agree but lately I’ve been rethinking it. I’ve been keeping it for the free shipping since I buy some much on there, but lately I’ve been using free no-rushing shipping anyway. I just renewed for like $76 last month so I have another year to reevaluate it!

  6. Cat says:

    Holy semoly, I had no idea there were so many potential benefits! We just signed up for Prime last month, and Hubs is loving it. I never watch television, but I will enjoy the free two day shipping. Perfect for Princess Impatient {me!}. I didn’t know about all these other goodies though. Great post!

  7. Kari Ann says:

    I have Amazon as well and I do a lot of product reviews so the free shipping alone is well worth it! I also love the fact that we can share our membership. Movies and shows are a great benefit as well.

  8. Tanya says:

    Did not know about the music. Need to add up what I am paying to Pandora might be worth it. What are the Christian stations like?
    We live in the wilds of Colorado so amazon is our life line. Thanks for all the great tips!

  9. Jenny says:

    I absolutely love Amazon Prime! It makes it even better than in my area you can do the delivery service since we live fairly close to a Amazon distribution center. 🙂

    xoxo, Jenny

  10. Landie says:

    Living out here in the “country” – I’m on Amazon CONSTANTLY. Amazon Prime is something I doubt I could live without, its a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL service. I’m SURE I’d spend more than $99 on shipping without it.

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