Amazon Prime: Is it worth the cost?


Since many of you have recently signed up for an Amazon Prime trial in order to get the deals for Prime Day, you may be wondering, “Is it worth it to pay for an Amazon Prime subscription?”

I polled my audience recently and asked them this question. As you can imagine, I got a wide variety of responses — some from diehard Amazon Prime fans, some from those who think it is a complete waste of money, and some from people who are smack dab in the middle and think it can be a money-saving option or it could be something that’s not worth the expense.

In this article, I’ll share some of the responses I heard over and over to help you decide whether or not Amazon Prime is worth the cost for you.

How much Does Amazon Prime cost?

First off, let’s talk numbers. A regular Amazon Prime subscription is $12.99 per month (plus taxes) or $119 per year (plus taxes). Every once in a while, they have offered a discounted rate for a few days, but I’ve not seen a discount for awhile.

If you are a college student, you can get a Student Prime Membership which gives you the first 6 months for free and then it’s $6.49/month after that. If you are a qualifying government assistance recipient, you might also qualify for a reduced rate of $5.99 per month for Amazon Prime. (Foster families: If you have a child who is on WIC, you will qualify as well!)

What do you get with your subscription?

For a long time, many people thought of Amazon Prime as “free two-day shipping”. Which could be a great benefit if you order a lot from Amazon. However, in the past year, some items are not longer being shipped in two days or less (though some of that depends upon what you order and how close you live to an Amazon warehouse) BUT they offer so many other perks for those who are Amazon Prime members.

Here are some of the perks you all mentioned loving the most:

An alternative to cable

When you have an Amazon Prime account, you’ll have access to lots of movies and shows for free. (Many aren’t free, but there are a LOT that are free with your Amazon Prime subscription.) “We don’t pay a monthly cable or satellite bill so we’re saving a ton of money on entertainment even though we pay for subscriptions to Prime, Netflix, and Frndly.” -Jennifer

By the way, Prime Video is cheaper than Netflix. So if you have Netflix, it might be worth checking into whether switching to Amazon Prime might be a better option — since you get a lot more than just streaming!

Clare said: “Not sure it’s worth it just for shipping but Prime video is cheaper than Netflix (and seems cleaner). As a homeschooling mom I have found so many documentaries for my kids on that platform. It’s also fantastic for downloading movies onto phones or tablets for the toddler in the car.”

$8/month for free shipping — no matter what you spend

“Prime is only 100 for the year, that comes out to $8 a month, for free shipping no matter how much you spend and most of the time it’s here the next day, Amazon prime TV and Amazon music. Totally worth it!” -Vanessa

Speaking of free shipping, Joy says, “For our family, shipping alone makes Prime worth it. Plus sometimes they offer digital credits for slow shipping that we use to rent or buy movies.”

There is also the convenience factor to consider, as Erin wrote: “I live in the middle of nowhere and can get a ton of things I cannot get easily. I can do a big order of those things and also get Amazon online. Is it perfect? No, but for my family it works.”

It allows you to more easily get deals

Tracy said: “If I get a deal for something that is $5, I can take advantage of the free shipping and catch the deal and get free shipping and have have it delivered in two days. This also cuts down on gas as I can order knowing right when my order will arrive! Amazon prime pays for itself multiple times over annually!”

(Note: While this can be a plus, it could also be downside — because Amazon makes it SO easy to spend money!)

Prime Music

Katie says: “We like it for the free shipping, the prime music, and the prime video options. I also use the prime reading options with my Kindle app. My kids love prime music. They all have a playlist of their favorite songs.”

(Note: You can also get lots of free streaming music on Spotify, Pandora, YouTube or other places. Yes, you might have to deal with some commercials if you don’t have a paid account, but there are many ways to access free music online.)

Free Kindle Books

If you are a reader, the access to free Kindle books could be a huge plus. Like Sharon posted, “The big thing for me though is my Kindle books. I read 5-6 books a week and would run out of reading material if I didn’t have Prime.”

(Note: You can get many of the Kindle books for free without having a Prime membership. Also, check your local library to see if they offer ebooks and audiobooks for free from the Hoopla or Libby app.)

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Photo Storage

With an Amazon Prime subscription, you’ll get unlimited full-resolution photo storage and 5 GB for video. Jessica said this: “For us, it is worth it for the photo storage. It is a very economical way to store full size photo files for backup purposes for someone who is into photography.”

It could save you time

If you have a really full life, being able to easily order online could be a real helpful! As Danae wrote in, “For me it’s a quality of life thing….it saves me a huge amount of time to be able to order something small that I need and get it in a few days without making a trip to the store, which means I can use that time for my family or my house or work.”

Downloading Shows & Movies to Your Device

When you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you are able to download shows and movies off of Prime and watch them later. Deidre shared how this has been such a help to their family: “You can download shows and movies off Prime and watch them on a tablet or phone without having internet service. We use this for car rides, flights, when the power goes out and I have scared restless toddlers, and when I know we will have lots of waiting at the dentist, doctor, etc.”

Does it really save you money?

While there are many benefits to having an Amazon Prime subscription, a number of people told me that they felt it actually encouraged them to spend more money and that they found that they could easily wait until they had $35 in their cart to get free shipping.

Like Nicole says: “I had Prime for YEARS, and gave it up a couple years ago. And go figure…. I don’t miss it! Not worth the subscription to me. I can wait for $35 to get free shipping. I also don’t impulse buy tiny things. And I used to watch prime videos all the time – don’t miss it at all. I easily fill that time with other things.”

I’d love to hear from you: do you think Amazon Prime is worth the cost? Why or why not?

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