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Is Amazon Prime Worth It Having?
Whenever I mention that my wife and I are Amazon Prime members the follow up question is almost always “yea but is Prime really worth $139 a year?”.
What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is an Amazon membership service that provides access to instant video, movies, TV, music, photos, special Prime Day discounts and two day shipping on most orders from Amazon.
Amazon Prime costs $139 per year or $14.99 per month if you pay monthly. If you are an EBT or Medicaid cardholder you can also qualify for a discounted membership of $5.99 per month. Amazon also offers a Student Prime Membership for just $59 per year or $6.49 if paid monthly.
Whether we’re shopping online, watching TV or listening to music, we find ourselves using Amazon services more than almost any other brand.
I wanted to provide a little bit more detail on why I think Amazon Prime membership is such a great deal and how it can pay for itself by replacing services you might already pay for.
Free Two Day Shipping
My wife and I really take advantage of Prime’s free two day shipping and if it’s something we can wait for, we just let Amazon deliver it for us.
We don’t mind going to stores like Target or Walmart, but we have three kids under five years old so getting out to the store is a process and can rarely be done in under two hours.
With Amazon Prime we just order whatever it is we need and it’s at our house in a couple of days. Occasionally some items will make it in ONE day if we order early enough. Update: With everything going on the world these days, some orders have been delayed a day or two. We still get the majority of our orders within two days though.
Not everything on Amazon qualifies for the two day shipping but most items have a Prime option.
Amazon will let you filter only on items that qualify for Prime so you know you’re getting free shipping. You can find this option in the sidebar as shown in the image below.
It’s a big time (and frustration) saver for us and I know we’re getting our $139 worth out of the shipping alone.
Before I move on to the next benefit I do want to point out that you do NOT need Prime to get free shipping from Amazon.
If you spend $25 or more on your order you get free shipping (standard, not two day) but with Prime there’s no minimum so if you just want to spend $0.99 on a toothbrush you can.
If you’re not a frequent Amazon shopper then this may be the way to go and a Prime Membership may not be worth it for you.
Prime Instant Video
Earlier this year I wrote a post about how my family cut the cable cord this year and Amazon Prime is a big reason why we were able to.
Prime Instant Video is essentially the same thing as Netflix with a library of movies and TV shows on demand streaming through your TV, computer, tablet or phone.
We use Prime Instant Video and Netflix together because they have slightly different content available, but Prime Instant Video includes more than enough content to keep you entertained without paying for Netflix.
We’re constantly using Prime Instant Video to catch up on old seasons of TV shows we like or stream PBS and Nick Jr. shows for our kids.
Add On Channels
If you’re looking for more than just Amazon Prime Instant Video you also have the option of adding additional television packages to your prime account.
For example you could add the following channels:
- HBO – 7 Day Free Trial (then $14.99 / month)
- Starz – 7 Day Free Trial (then $8.99 / month)
- Showtime – 7 Day Free Trial (then $10.99 / month)
- CBS All Access – 7 Day Free Trial (then $5.99 / month)
- Cinemax – 7 Day Free Trial (then $9.99 / month)
When we talk about streaming music we usually go straight to Spotify, Pandora or now Apple Music, but did you know that Amazon has a streaming music service included with Prime too?
With Amazon Prime Music you have access to two million songs on commercial free playlists or albums from some of your favorite artists.
Need more music? Amazon also offers Amazon Music Unlimited which bumps your song options up to ten million songs.
An Individual Music Plan for Amazon Music Unlimited costs $7.99 a month, or a Family Plan that can be used by up to 6 people for $14.99 a month.
Amazon is also offering a Free 30 day trial of Amazon Music Unlimited so you have time to decide whether the extra cost is worth it.
A Prime membership costs the same as a year of Spotify alone, plus you get the other Amazon Prime benefits.
Over the last year Amazon recently rolled out Prime Photos, a cloud based photo storage service, to their list of prime benefits.
The best part? It’s unlimited so you can upload as many photos of your kids, your vacation or your dinner as you want and it won’t cost you a penny more.
One thing to note – Prime Photos storage is available for photos only so if you’re a Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud subscriber and want to store PDF’s or any other work files or media you may want to look into Amazon CloudDrive for $19.99 for 100GB or 59.99 1TB per year.
If you pay for Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud to store your photos, you could switch to Prime for the same price.
Prime membership also includes other benefits like the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library where you can virtually “borrow” books from other members (if you have a Kindle – doesn’t work with iPads or other non-Amazon tablets).
You also have access to Amazon Prime Pantry where you can buy household goods for a $5.99 fee, or free shipping for Prime members on orders of $35 or more.
Cons of Amazon Prime
We love Prime but as with any service, Prime isn’t perfect but the list of cons is really pretty minimal.
For example, if you like to buy gifts for out of town friends and relatives your shipping to their house isn’t free.
There are also some shows/movies/songs that aren’t available on Prime Instant Video and Prime Music service but for most of us these are non-issues and you can certainly work around them.
Recap – So Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Amazon Prime may be worth it to you if…
- You order products from Amazon frequently (free 2 day shipping)
- You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Netflix (Prime Instant Video)
- You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Spotify (Prime Music)
- You’re looking for a place to store unlimited photos (Prime Photos)
Amazon Prime may not be worth it to you if…
- You don’t order from Amazon frequently
- Your Amazon orders are typically over $25 (Amazon offers free shipping for orders $25+ without prime)
- You don’t watch streaming video
- You don’t listen to streaming music
How Much Money Do We Save With Prime Membership?
An Amazon Prime membership delivers a lot of value.
If you replaced Netflix ($12.99/mo), Spotify ($9.99/mo) and Dropbox ($9.99) with the services that Amazon prime offers with a membership, you would save $276 per year even before the free shipping.
Your membership fee will be well worth the $139 a month cost and would more than pay for itself.
Sign Up For A Free 30 Day Trial
Here’s the best part… if you want to find out if Amazon Prime is worth it for yourself then sign up for a FREE 30 day trial and find out for yourself. I’m willing to bet you like it!
Have you used Amazon Prime? What are your thoughts on the service?