Amazon Prime, an annual subscription service offered by Amazon, is designed to offer free two-day shipping on qualifying purchases, as well as entrance to blowing video and music services, free e-books through the awaken Owners’ Lending Library, free photo storage, and unlimited cloud storage of files through Amazon Drive, and early access to select lightning deals. Is it worth the cost? We break down the cost of an Amazon Prime membership to determine if it’s right for you.
The Cost of an Amazon Prime Membership
At first glance, you might think that Amazon’s premium service for $99 a year (or $10.99 a month) is not worth it. After all, many of its competitors—including Netflix, Hulu, and Best Buy—offer their services for less money. But before you cancel your membership, consider what you get for your money: access to more than two million songs, two-day free shipping on purchases of over $35, and discounts on select products from third-party sellers. And that’s just scratching the surface! How much do other services cost? To put Amazon’s pricing in perspective with other online retailers and entertainment services, we’ve broken down how much they’ll cost per month if you use them regularly or semi-regularly.
Why You Shouldn’t Subscribe to a Free Trial
Even if you’re not likely to actually buy anything during your trial period, you may be spending money without realizing it. Several subscription companies, like eHarmony and Birchbox, offer free trials that automatically renew if you don’t unsubscribe before they expire. If you do forget to cancel in time—or simply never bother to try out a paid service in the first place—you could end up being charged for a service that has nothing to do with your needs or preferences. To avoid an accidental (and costly) subscription: research your potential subscriptions carefully and don’t sign up for any free trials unless you fully intend on using them once they end. Here are some more tips from our friends at DealNews on how to save money while shopping online!
How it Can Save Money
The most obvious—and lucrative—way to save money with an Amazon Prime membership is through shopping. You get for nothing two-day shipping on suitable items, plus access to a huge selection of movies and TV shows through Prime Video. Also, it’s not uncommon for Amazon to discount certain items to non-Prime members, which can make all those daily essentials (like paper towels) even cheaper. And if you have a Kindle or Fire tablet, you can get instant streaming of thousands of titles at no additional cost through Kindle Unlimited or Kindle First. But there are other perks that aren’t so obvious: The membership costs $99 per year, but remember: That includes your phone lines and streaming video devices as well.
The Value of 2-Day Shipping
You can get almost anything you want from Amazon shipped to your door in two days or less. With free, two-day shipping on more than 100 million items—and a slew of subscription-based shipping options that are even faster—the convenience of receiving products quickly is undeniable. But it’s not just about expediency; there are a number of cases where one- and two-day shipping isn’t worth it. For example, when buying heavy or bulky items that cost more than $25, it makes sense to opt for standard shipping over expedited options so you aren’t stuck paying extra fees when what you want costs less than $100.
The Drawbacks – Amazon Prime
It’s true, that Prime membership has its drawbacks. For example, people who are not eligible for an Audible subscription can still take advantage of a limited selection of audiobooks. However, if you have another favorite service (like iTunes or Google Play), you may be able to access your audiobooks through those platforms at no extra cost. If not, sites like AudiobooksNow and BookPlayer can fill some of your needs—and they’re free. The bottom line: As long as you have another way to get your favorite audiobooks, there is no reason not to enjoy a full library at no extra cost. (If we were ranking based solely on value for money, though, Audible would win hands down.)
An Alternative – Amazon Prime
If you’re not looking to invest in an annual membership, you can also opt for a 30-day free trial. This way, you can give it a shot and cancel if you don’t find yourself using it. If you are going to take advantage of a trial membership, however, make sure that when your time is up and the billing starts that you change your account settings so that it doesn’t automatically renew. Otherwise, you may end up charged when your trial ends without even knowing.