On May 11, the cost of Amazon Prime memberships increased from $99 per year to $119 per year. If you’re already a member, you won’t pay the increased price until your next renewal. In my case, that’s not until December, so I have a while to decide whether or not it’s worth it to me to keep my membership.
What do you get with Amazon Prime?
An Amazon Prime membership comes with a lot of benefits. Whether or not you use them, however, is what makes them worth the cost. I would bet that a number of Amazon Prime members aren’t aware of all of the benefits available.
Free Two Day Shipping – This is the one most people know about. With Amazon Prime, you get free two day shipping on most of your orders (a few items aren’t eligible). It definitely spoils you when it comes to other companies that may offer free shipping, but you have to spend a certain amount and that free shipping can take a week or more.
With a lot of items, I’ve noticed that I have the option to select “free no-rush shipping,” for which I get a credit towards something else. As of late, it’s been $1 for Amazon streaming. I’ve taken that option more than a few times for things I don’t need right away.
Free Same Day Delivery – This is only available in some areas, but for certain items, you can get free same day delivery. It’s amazing, and the one time I used it for something I needed and couldn’t find in local stores (a specific strap for my bike rack), I was so very impressed. That said, I’ve used it once. Not sure how worth it it is to me.
Free Release Date Delivery – Preorder a book or a movie? Get it free on the release date with Amazon Prime. I’ve used this a few times, and it’s certainly a nice feature, especially if you’re an avid reader or have a young person in the house who is. I remember the excitement of the Harry Potter books arriving at my house on the release date, and it’s fun to share that excitement with others. That said, it’s just a fun perk and not something I consider when I look at the cost.
Prime Video – This is likely the reason the costs have increased. Amazon is producing a number of its own shows, and that can’t be cheap. They do have quite a bit of content, however, from television to movies, so you should check out their catalog.
Amazon Channels – For a fee, you can add premium channels to your Amazon streaming account. HBO, Starz, and Showtime are all available. Starz and Showtime are $8.99 a month and HBO is $14.99 a month. HBO isn’t really a benefit though, as you can also get HBO Now for $14.99 a month. Same with Starz, which you can get for $8.99 a month directly. Showtime is also available direct for $10.99 a month, so it’s a $2 savings. Not a big bonus here.
I have used these services. I like watching Outlander, which is on Starz. I wait until a few episodes have aired, then sign up for a subscription to Starz so I can watch the full season within a month. I then cancel the subscription. I will say that through Amazon Prime, adding and removing these subscriptions is incredibly easy. No challenge to cancelling whatsoever.
Prime Music – Amazon offers free streaming music, an option I’m sure a lot of people don’t use. I have only recently started using their streaming app, though a coworker uses it daily and is really happy with the selection available.
Amazon Music Unlimited – Prime members can get a discount to this streaming service, which offers a greater selection than Prime Music. However, if you’re not already streaming music, this probably doesn’t hold much value.
Twitch Prime – This is big for gamers. I admit, it’s not anything I’ve even looked at. Apparently, you get discounts, in-game loot, and ad-free viewing on Twitch.tv.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card & Amazon Store Card – I had an Amazon Visa Rewards card long before this option was offered, but with the new program, I get 5% back on anything I purchase from Amazon, up from 3%. Not a bad deal for something I was already doing. You can also get 5% back on the Amazon Store Card.
Dash Buttons – With the press of a button, you can order refills of various items. I’m not sure how necessary these truly are, but I know some people find them useful, especially if you’re the type who continually forgets to buy laundry detergent.
Amazon Fresh – Only available in certain areas, Amazon Fresh is grocery delivery. It was offered in my area for a short period of time and it was awesome! But it clearly wasn’t worth it to them, because the service is no longer offered here.
Prime Pantry – This appears to have recently changed. Until recently, for $5.99, you can have a box of pantry items delivered to your house. Now you have to subscribe to Prime Pantry, but it’s only $4.99 a month. So if you use it regularly, it could certainly be worth it. I know a lot of people who take advantage of this to stock up on household items.
Other various discounts – There are a number of additional small discounts available to Prime members, and early access to sales.
Prime Reading – Amazon has a number of books available to borrow for free to Prime members. Of course, so do many libraries.
Amazon First Reads – Every month, Prime members can select a new Kindle book to read for free before it’s released. Some of these have been fabulous. Some have been so terrible I couldn’t finish them.
Audible Channels for Prime – If you like audio content, there is some great stuff in here. Various audio series, books, original content, probably something for everyone. I don’t use this as much as I could.
Washington Post Free Trial – Since Jeff Bezos now owns the Washington Post, your prime membership can get you a free 6 month trial membership to the online Washington Post. I already have an online subscription, as I live in the DC Metro Area, but if you’re not local, this might not hold as much value to you. (They do some amazing reporting, however).
But Is It Worth It?
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, before your membership renews, take a look at the features you use. It might absolutely be worth it to you. You can always cancel and then re-subscribe if you find that you miss it. Don’t worry, Amazon will happily take your money.
On the other hand, maybe you should check out some of the features you aren’t using. You might find added value that you didn’t know the program had.
If reading this blog post makes you want to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.