I have mentioned Amazon Prime tons of times over the years but I thought the New Year would be a great time to refresh memories about this service.
Prime service is charged at $99 per year. You get a lot of perks included with that fee so for many people it can be very worthwhile. This service is not going to be worth it to everyone but I have paid for it for years now and wanted to pass along the information so you can decide what you think.
Here are the perks:
Free 2 day Shipping on any order.
This is so nice because you don’t have to spend $35 for free shipping. It really adds up if you order lots of little things especially during the holiday season! Amazon prime saved me because I ordered so many little things and it was all shipped to me free with 2 day delivery (books, dolls, stocking stuffers etc…) I once found a children’s book for $.49 on Amazon and got it shipped free.
I often pull up the Amazon price when I am in various stores and just order on the spot if the price is better. Once example is a book I needed quickly for my daughter’s school- I stopped in a bookstore and it was $17.99. The price from Amazon was $8 for the exact same thing I didn’t have to run all around or try to price match or have any hassle. Just order and it comes in 2 days.
The major exception is if you purchase items not sold by Amazon directly- so a third party listed on Amazon. Those items do not offer free shipping with Prime.
Discounted Shipping Upgrades.
I also find this to be a huge convenience for last minute things or when the time slips past you. Get overnight shipping on your Amazon orders for $3.99. I was on vacation once and my camera broke. I had a new one to the hotel the next day for the price of the camera + $3.99. This is a weekday service but they are now offering Saturday service for $8.99.
Free Kindle Books.
If you have a Kindle device you can borrow over 350,000 books from the Kindle lending library. The books have no set return date so borrow away without any worries.
You can borrow one book per month and the books do change frequently. That is 12 free books to read each year. (Get the details on how to borrow books here.)
Prime Movie and TV Streaming.
Amazon has a bunch of free movies and tv shows that members can stream. I don’t think this benefit is available for trial offers or Amazon Student but it is a nice little perk. My kids watch cartoons like Sesame Street and Dora on Prime and I watch TV shows I have missed. (I watched Titantic the mini series last year which was really good) and I caught up with Downton Abbey prior episodes awhile back too. I find the movies to be a little bit older so you won’t be able to catch all the brand new releases for free but there is still a ton to pick from. We use this service all the time when travelling.
This is a great service right now for those of you stuck at home with the freezing weather outside! Make it movie night every night- goodness knows there is nothing on TV. (except those new Sprint commericals with James Earl Jones. Love those!)
You can share Amazon Prime with family members in your household. If you have Grandma living with you or whatever you can invite up to 4 family members to share the membership as long as it is all under the same address. As an example My Father in Law lives with his brother and her wife (they are snowbirds so only in CA half the year)- so they can split the membership between them as long as it is all sent to that CA address.
You can also share with co-workers! If you have a small business you can share benefits with up to 4 coworkers. The coworkers would need to shop under the corporate account.
The price is $79 per year. That works out to $6.58 per month.
I have paid for Amazon Prime for several years now. The way I justify the expense is one with the free book- I read a ton and I figure I spend on average $5 per Kindle book anyway.
I also justify it by the time savings. In December of last year I was looking for a movie and I drove to 3 stores looking for this movie. Two were sold out and the 3rd had it but I wanted to price match and there was a coupon to make it slightly cheaper…. well that trip made me realize that it is simply not worth my time to save the $2 or whatever. I should have ordered from Amazon and spent that time cleaning my house, making dinner, reading to my kids etc… Not running all around wasting time and getting crabby.
Free Trial Membership
If you have not previously had a free trial of this service, you can get a free 30 Day membership to check it out and see what you think. This offer runs through January 10th so don’t wait to sign up if you are interested.
And one last perk for college students:
If you are a college student you can get Prime for $39 per year! That works out to $3.25 per month!
This is a slightly different program- you get almost all the same benefits except I am not sure if the TV Shows and Movies are Free.
You can also borrow the books and the great thing is many of them are classics- which you are probably studying in your classes anyway. Dang if those book fees aren’t a killer!
This is available until you graduate or up to 4 years total. To register you need an .edu address or you need to submit proof of your status.
Oh and if you like the service you can also refer your friends and get a $10 credit on your Amazon account- the offer is not available in AR, ME, RI, MN, MO & NC.
Head over here to get all the details about Amazon Student membership.
*One last note. Sometimes people are tempted to open multiple accounts to take advantage of free trial offers more then once. I just wanted to warn you against that. Not only can it be a headache to manage but Amazon does not allow that and they will cancel your account and not let you order stuff anymore which would be very sad indeed.
Tamara H says
Not sure what state you live in…are you taxed on your Amazon Prime membership? We are in California which makes it a little more expensive…w/ tax it is like $86 and change.
I signed up for Amazon student and I have access to tv shows and movies. Of course not all shows and movie but it’s pretty comparable to Netflix. So if you pay for Prime, you could skip paying 8 bucks a month for Netflix.
There wasn’t tax last year Tamara but mine expires this month and I live in California. So an extra $.50 per month because of tax 🙂
I just wanted to add that with your Prime membership you qualify for the Amazon Mom program which gives you 20% off diapers, wipes, and some other baby items. My savings on those things more than covers the cost of the membership plus I still get all of the other Prime benefits as we’ll.
Honestly the free 2 day shipping is a life saver. I did the majority of my Christmas shopping on Amazon this year, I got amazing deals and everything I bought arrived within a few days. It was probably the least stressful Christmas ever! I am in Michigan and we have a ton of snow right now, with a ton more coming. I bought a slow blower yesterday, $166 on sale (regular $249) free 2 day shipping. Can’t beat that! I’m at the point now, pretty much anything I need to buy, besides food, I check Amazon. Like you said, it saves the stress of running around to stores trying to get that deal.
Christen- I completely agree with you. And good luck if you did run around and try to find a snow blower anyway. I bet you pay very premium prices :). I am going to send you a little California sunshine… stay warm!
Amanda, I was thinking of doing a second post to cover Amazon Mom tomorrow and then linking it to this one. I was thinking this was getting too long. I agree- especially with small children. No quick trip is ever quick 🙂
I split prime with 3 other households (all different addresses) and we each pay $20 for the year. This is our 2nd year doing so and we’ve had no issues. Only the primary person (the one who signs up first) gets the benefits of free streaming, free kindle books, and such but everyone gets the free 2 day shipping. Love it!
Rachel do you all have to use the same Amazon account log in? And is everything sent to the same house and then you just pick it up?
No, we have our own logins/accounts and shipping addresses. We are only linked through the same Prime membership.
Please do the Amazon Mom post… I’ve been debating signing up for Prime but I don’t really understand how Amazon Mom works… for instance do you have to commit to a certain number of deliveries a month to receive the benefits…
PS- thanks for all the great information and all your posts, I’ve gotten so many good deals by following your site!
Great information! I signed up for Amazon Prime this year and I’m so happy I did. It was a lifesaver during the holidays and I’m amazed at the variety of products I’ve been able to find on Amazon.