Is An Amazon Prime Membership Worth It?

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For over a year, we enjoyed Amazon’s free two-day shippings benefits courtesy of Amazon Mom. When our extensions ran out, we quickly ran the numbers and decided to go ahead and purchase the $79 Amazon Prime membership.

When it runs out this fall, I have no doubt that we will renew.

What makes Amazon Prime worth the $79 per year for us? Here are the five reasons:

#1 The monthly cost – Mentally, I like to break that $79 cost into a monthly expense. When I do that, I realize that we’re talking about just $6.58 per month. That’s a lot easier for me to swallow. And considering that over 20% of all online sales worldwide go through Amazon (that’s just a staggering statistic to me), I’m fairly certain that I’ll be buying through Amazon a lot.

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#2 Two-Day Shipping on thousands of products - If I need a new charger for my iPhone or a set of headphones for our van’s entertainment system (both purchases I’ve made in the last several weeks), I love that I can find the best deal – and get it shipped to me for free. In two days. (Sometimes it comes even faster.)

#3 No up-charging mentality for the free shipping – If I didn’t have Prime, I’d feel compelled to spend the $35 minimum to qualify for free super saver shipping. Or I’d get in the car, pay $4/gallon for gas and schlep to some overpriced store with my three wily kids in tow. Last year, for example, when we bought headphones for the car (they don’t last long with our kids), we paid four times as much at Best Buy. The ones I get this summer from Amazon were $12 – and worked just as well. (Until a kid stepped on them and broken them in half, but that seems to be how things go on our roadtrips.)

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#4 Free streaming of hundreds of TV shows and movies - The basic membership at Netflix will run you $8 per month. That’s $1.42 more than the monthly cost of Prime. You will have to compare the selection for yourself, but for our cable-free home, we are more than pleased with Prime’s offerings. We get instant access to interesting documentaries (Forks Over Knives is our current favorite), TV series we never got around to watching (like Prison Break), and more than enough kid’s programs (Caillou, Blues Clues, Little Bear and many more) to keep my daughter amused in the morning when I’m hoping to catch another 20 minutes of sleep.

#5 Free lending library for Kindle owners – If you own a Kindle, as an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow one free Kindle ebook each month through Amazon’s incredible lending library. Plus, don’t forget about all the free ebooks you can download every week.

Do you have a Prime membership? Why do you think it’s worth it for your family?

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  1. Bethany Shondark Mandel says:

    I think it’s absolutely worth it. I use Amazon to buy things like shampoo, quinoa and pasta. Living in NYC it’s really difficult to bring heavy things home and driving around and price comparing is impossible. Prime makes life a lot easier.

    • I definitely think it’s great for people who live in apartments or big cities. Of course, I’m smack dab in suburbia and I still love it!

  2. The only thing holding me back is that I can’t use credit (from Swagbucks… or anywhere else, for that matter) to pay for Prime. Amazon wants the cold, hard cash. :(

  3. I love my prime membership! And sometimes I get the item in one day. You can also share your shipping benefits which I do with my sister, so that makes it even cheaper!

  4. I signed up for a 1 month free trial, and I’m leaning on not subscribing. Free shipping: if I need something quick and/or cheap, I’d rather ask a neighbor with Prime to order it for me. Netflix vs Amazon: Netflix has more content (more seasons of Caillou, etc). Plus, Amazon’s iPad app leaves more to be desired (i.e. no search). And, even my almost 3 yo knows how to get Caillou on iPad (under supervision, but she can it herself!). Kindle: don’t have one (though tempting – but we have an iPad with Kindle on it). So for $2 more a month, I’m getting a better video selection. And I don’t mind mooching off of neighbor’s Prime account occasionally.

    • That’s great that you can “borrow” your neighbor’s free shipping rights. I agree – the free shipping is the heart of the membership for me; the rest is gravy.

  5. We buy almost everything from Amazon. We both work and just don’t have time to go to the store. We do however have time to buy something through our phones while sitting on the train or something like that. We spend hundreds a month on Amazon, almost everyday we get a package, so for us its beyond worth it.

    BTW – Amazon bought Audible almost 5 years ago, if memory serves me correct. For some reason right around new years 2007-2008 is sticking in my head.

    • My understanding (and I can totally be wrong) is that Audible just recently transfered over their full lending library to Amazon. Again, I could be wrong.

  6. We signed up for Prime. We originally had it for almost two years for free under the old Amazon Mom rules, and we decided, just based on buying diapers for two kids that its worth it.
    Also, there’s NO TAX. So even getting the same deal at a store will always be 10% more.
    But what does everyone else get at Amazon that is worth it? If you buy generic and not name brands, what is still a good deal?

    • FYI – no tax depends on where you live. In Kansas, there is an Amazon warehouse, so we do pay taxes. I think more and more states are having to.

  7. I love Amazon. I buy everything there. I don’t drive and getting my husband to drive me to stores is not easy. The stores that are within walking distance are extremely overpriced and don’t take coupons of any kind so amazon is the best cheapest and most convenient option for me. Toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, tissues, soaps, shampoos and detergents… Prime gives me a bigger discount on baby items and fast (usually next day) shipping on everything else that comes straight from amazon. Friends and relatives that don’t have a computer are always calling me to order things for them and im more than happy to help others save money. I cringe when I see people buying a tiny package of diapers or a single roll of paper towels in the little grocery on the corner for a ton of money.

  8. FYI you can add up to 4 family members to your prime account for free!

  9. Love it! In addition to the benefits you mentioned, if you have an American Express rewards credit card, you can link the Amex rewards points to your Amazon account and use points instead of a credit card as a form of payment. I’ve compared points values to purchase on Amazon with points and through the Amex website store and Amazon almost always uses fewer points. Not sure if the capability exists with other credit card rewards programs. For me, I determined that the Amex annual fee is worth it because I use the benefits. This is an added plus.

  10. We have Amazon Prime but only paid half price since I have a student email address (both hubby and I are students but he doesn’t use his student email). We’ve discussed whether we would continue paying for it at full price and right now the answer is “Yes.” We have both Netflix on demand and Amazon and he and I watch a lot more on Amazon while the kids watch Netflix almost exclusively (but to be fair its easier for them to watch Netflix through the XBox and we use our Kindle Fire’s). I know we don’t use Amazon to its full potential but we live in a relatively small town so shopping is limited, the boys use Amazon to order Lego sets and other things with their birthday money that we just can’t buy locally.

  11. We JUST renewed our Amazon Prime membership. We only paid $39 – I think because I’m a student. (Frankly, I’m not sure WHY I’m paying less than the going rate for Prime, but for $39 a year, it sure is worth it!) We’re homeschoolers, too, so we do a LOT of ordering from Amazon. In addition, it saves me lots of headaches when gift buying – I have five children, and if I buy a birthday or Christmas gift for one and any of the others is with me, the surprise is usually ruined by an excited sibling. Amazon has saved me (both money and headaches) on more than one occasion!

  12. Have you read “Consumer Report”?

  13. I tried a amazon prime trial and I had two issues. One was that when I tried to get the free videos I found the search was difficult to do and my kids were unable to do it by themselves. The other was that I needed to give my kids my amazon password for them to see videos and I was afraid they would buy something. Is there a better way to use it with kids? Also, can you use the free books on an iPad with kindle app?

  14. I love Amazon Prime and use it all the time. One recent order: my son was at sleep away camp and forgot his pillow. I went to amazon, found a cheap pillow available through Amazon Prime, and sent it to him. It saved me a ton of money om quick shipping via the U.S. Postal Service.

  15. I’m still on the fence. With my free year through Amazon Mom I was ordering stuff all the time with the free shipping. Now, I think I save because I have to THINK before I order something under $25.
    This week, I bought the Kindle for $15 OOP (40% off, Rewards Visa credit). Later I was going to order a case and a light, and was trying to get to $25 to get free shipping… because I didn’t just click BUY (like I would have when I had Prime), I took the time to look at ebay, and found the items for far, far less than Amazon.

    However, I do miss out on some deals on Amazon because of that.

  16. Amazon Prime is such a no-brainer for people who do a lot of online shopping. Amazon’s prices are consistently lower than anyone else’s, shipping is quick (I have received some of my orders next day), and their inventory includes *everything* under the sun. Anything I can take off my bricks-and-mortar shopping list gets on my Amazon list, and I usually end up saving money (not to mention having to get to the store, look for parking, and time wasted waiting on line, and of course, the shlepping!). My kids were at sleep-away camp this summer, and once a week or so, I’d surprise them with a care package from Amazon, little items such as a hand-held light-up fan (for $6) – way better – and healthier – than another package of junk food. When one lost his sneakers in the lake, a click of the button arranged that a replacement pair to arrive at camp within 48 hours. I’m constantly amazed at Amazon’s efficiency and ability to undersell everyone. $79 is a very fair price for the upgrades I get as a Prime member. I recommend it heartily!

  17. Completely worth it!! I can order kosher foodstuffs that aren’t readily accessible where we live. Also, made it really easy to send fun care packages to the kids at camp!!!

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