I often get asked, “Is Amazon Prime worth it or does it just contribute to bad spending behavior?”
The answer really depends on what you need and what kind of shopper you are.
Amazon Prime offers a huge value to people that take advantage of all the benefits, but it’s not for everyone.
What is Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is a membership program that provides free shipping benefits, free unlimited photo storage, free unlimited streaming of movies, tv shows, and music, as well as exclusive discounts, sales, and more.
What are the Perks of Amazon Prime
Most people think of Amazon Prime as free 2-day shipping. But Amazon Prime is actually a huge value, offering loads of perks and benefits.
Fast and Easy Shipping Options
The first Amazon Prime benefit most people think of is the free two day shipping, but did you know there are millions of items eligible for free 1-day shipping?
Amazon Prime members can also get free same-day delivery in select areas on orders of $35 or more.
Amazon actually has quite a few different shipping options for Prime members.
- Free grocery delivery in select cities with Amazon Fresh
- Free Prime Pantry delivery on orders over $35
- Free release-date delivery – be the first to get the new release delivered right to your door the day it comes out.
- No-rush shipping perks – get rewards toward a future Amazon purchase when you select, standard slower shipping options
- Amazon Day – select your shipment day to make sure you’re home
- Amazon Key – have your packages delivered to your car or left inside your home
If you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, these shipping options are a huge time saver.
As an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows.
You’ll also be able to enjoy award-winning Amazon original series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Fleabag, and A Very English Scandal, as well as original Amazon Prime movies, documentaries, and stand-up comedy specials.
Prime Video also gives you the option to add on Prime Video Channels. Premium channels like HBO and Showtime are offered on a monthly basis with no need for a cable subscription.
With an Amazon Prime subscription, you can save money by ditching your Spotify or Apple Music subscription and using the included Amazon Prime Music.
Prime Music allows you to stream more than 2 million songs.
If you’re a current premium Spotify listener, you’re already paying as much for your music service as you would for all of Amazon Prime’s benefits.
One of the most practical reasons to sign up for Amazon Prime is the unlimited photo storage options.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced the panic of hard drive failures and the frenzy of trying to clear out space when I discover at the most inconvenient time that I’d filled up my phone’s storage.
Having an online cloud backup solution is the perfect answer for both of these situations. And Prime users get it free!
If you’re using a cloud storage solution like Dropbox or iCloud to backup your photos, Prime Photo can eliminate that monthly or annual fee.
Are you a gamer? If so, Amazon’s Twitch Prime has got some perks just for you.
Every month you can get free games and in-game loot to help you level up or customize your character in a variety of popular games.
Your Amazon Prime account also gives you access to a free channel subscription on Twitch.tv each month to support your favorite streamers.
Another perk of Amazon Prime is that it allows adults in the same household to share their membership at no extra cost.
By linking your own personal accounts and a shared payment method you can each enjoy all the perks of an Amazon Prime membership including shipping benefits, video streaming, photo storage, early access deals, and more.
You may not need separate accounts, but it can be a good idea if you like to organize your photos differently or enjoy custom recommendations.
Being an Amazon Prime member has a load of secondary service perks as you’ve read above, but it also offers some exclusive discounts and deals that make it an even better value.
- Amazon Prime Day – Get massive discounts on what has become one of the biggest and most popular shopping events of the year.
- Get early access (30 minutes) to Lightning Deals
- Access to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Credit Card (earn 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases)
- Exclusive discounts on Subscribe & Save items
- Amazon Family – get up to 20% off diapers plus additional discounts and coupons
- Enjoy exclusive savings at Whole Foods Market
Amazon also has a Prime Member Deals page that highlights member only discounts.
Prime Try Before You Buy (previously called Prime Wardrobe)
I don’t know about you but I absolutely hate clothes shopping.
I’m super short (5 feet tall) so standard sizes just don’t fit. I wander from store to store trying to find things that require the least amount of alterations.
With an Amazon Prime membership, I can take advantage of Prime Try Before You Buy and try on clothes, shoes, and even jewelry from the comfort of my own home.
Keep what you like, send back what you don’t. You only pay for what you keep.
I’m a huge fan of ebooks and have an ever-growing library on my Kindle bookshelf.
If you’re a big reader too, the money you save by taking advantage of Prime Reading may be enough to cover your Amazon Prime subscription cost.
As a Prime member, you get free access to over a thousand ebooks, magazines, comics, and audible books.
With Prime Reading, you’ll also get to pick a free Amazon First Reads book every month as well as access the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
You don’t have to have an actual Kindle to take advantage of these offers. Just install the Kindle app on the device of your choice.
How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost?
As of 2021, an Amazon Prime membership costs $119 a year, or $12.99 per month.
If you’re a regular shopper on Amazon or consistently using the streaming services, you’ll save just over $35 by opting for the annual plan.
Amazon also offers special discounts for people who qualify.
- In addition to an extended, 6-month free trial, students can join Amazon Prime Student for 50% off.
- Qualified EBT cardholders can also receive a discounted rate of $5.99/mo.
How Much is Amazon Prime Really Worth?
According to a study done in 2018 by JPMorgan, everything you get with Amazon Prime would cost you over $780 a year to piece together from other providers.
All those “cheap” monthly subscriptions really add up.
Of course, the value Amazon Prime offers to you will depend on which services you actually use.
If you currently pay for Spotify ($9.99/mo), Netflix ($12.99/mo), and Dropbox ($99/yr), you could replace them with Amazon Prime and save over $250 a year.
So how do you know if Amazon Prime is worth it for you?
Amazon Prime Is Worth It If:
- You buy a lot from Amazon already. The free shipping options plus the exclusive deals and credit card can save you both time and money.
- You’re looking to cut the cord or reduce your entertainment costs. Amazon Prime Video offers award-winning original content as well as old favorites to keep you entertained.
- You’re looking for an alternative to Apple Music or Spotify. Prime Music has a large library included, but even if you find it lacking, you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited for more options and still spend less ($7.99/mo).
- You want a place to backup all your photos.
- You read a lot and can take advantage of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
- You have a baby and can make use of the 20% discount on diapers.
Amazon Prime Is Not Worth It If:
- You’re not a frequent Amazon shopper.
- You have a tendency to impulse buy or overspend.
- When you do shop on Amazon, your orders are over $35.
- You don’t watch streaming video or listen to streaming music (or are satisfied with what your library offers).
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Amazon Prime Membership
An Amazon Prime membership is a great deal in itself, but there are some tips you can use to make sure you’re getting the most out of your membership.
- Take full advantage of your free trial – Sign up for your free trial before Prime Day or Black Friday to maximize savings.
- Make sure you actually use your unlimited photo storage by setting up automatic uploads from your phone.
- Download the Amazon app on your phone to get alerts when items on your wishlist go on sale in lightning deals.
- Choose no-rush shipping to build up rewards you can use for future purchases.
- If you don’t plan to use all the streaming features or photo storage, sign up for just a month at a time, when there are deals you want to take advantage of.
So Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
For me, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
An Amazon Prime membership is a huge value if you actually use the things that are included.
Even if you only take advantage of a handful of Prime benefits, you’ll likely save time and money by being a member.
Only you can decide if it’s a good value for you, but for our family, Amazon Prime is absolutely worth it.
The prices mentioned in this article are accurate as of the day this article was last updated and are subject to change. You can check the current price and offers for Prime membership on Amazon’s page.