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Amazon Prime is a program that has been around for a few years now. There are multiple membership options, including the cheapest option for just $8.99 per month that gives you access to Prime Video only. Amazon Prime is well worth the money and can save money for shoppers in a number of ways.
Here are the 10 biggest reasons why savvy shoppers should invest in an Amazon Prime membership.
1. Access to Free Shipping Options
Amazon prides itself on leading the industry when it comes to providing free and reduced shipping costs. Members of Amazon Prime can enjoy additional benefits on items shipped to them. There are three primary shipping advantages open to Prime members.
- Free two-day shipping in eligible zip codes. This largely covers the whole continental US and the majority of addresses in Europe. Two-day shipping applies to practically any items supplied by Amazon.
- Free same-day delivery. Again, this applies to most zip codes in major countries. You should also remember that it only applies to certain products. However, these products are all supplied either by Amazon or by major retailers, so you’ve got a huge collection to choose from.
- Prime Now provides you with free two-hour delivery on 10,000 items. The Prime Now service is extremely limited, but still applies to 10,000 items. This relatively new service has mainly been rolled out in the bigger cities, so if you live in a rural area you likely have an ineligible zip code.
Amazon is pretty reliable when it comes to shipping on-time. The fine print states you get a free one-month extension on your Prime membership should your order be late. On any order that qualifies for accelerated delivery, if it doesn’t arrive on the day all you must do is contact customer service and ask for an extension.
Overall, the difference Prime makes to shipping costs makes this service worth it for this benefit alone.
2. Access to Prime Video
The rise of online streaming services like Netflix has prompted companies like Amazon to create a competitive alternative. They have done this by adding Prime Video to the Amazon membership package. You can purchase this perk on its own for just $8.99 per month, which is exactly the same price as Netflix.
Amazon has a huge selection of TV shows and movies. Members of Prime Video gain access to unlimited TV shows and movies every month. There are also a range of Amazon-exclusive TV shows, including The Grand Tour.
Keep in mind that Prime Video is a fluid platform. New titles are added all the time and then removed again, and every video has a date on it that states when it’s about to be leaving the store.
Prime Video is a perfect alternative to expensive cable TV. Now more than ever are people trading in their TV packages for online streaming services.
3. Music with Prime
The Prime Music service is a chance to cut down on your costs of purchasing music. Rather than paying for an independent service – such as iTunes – you can combine your musical needs with your Prime membership. You can listen to an unlimited number of songs and albums in the Amazon store.
All music tracks are compatible with common devices, including Amazon tablets, the iPhone, and Android devices. You can access your music and create personalized playlists on the go. You’ll soon find that almost every major artist has a presence on Prime Music. Like with Prime Video, the marketplace is constantly changing and evolving, so new tracks are being added all the time.
If you regularly check out new albums, Prime Music can easily save you hundreds of dollars every year.
4. Prime Photos
Everyone has some sort of device that can take pictures. Prime Photos is Amazon’s online storage service. With Prime membership you gain access to free drive storage for all your images, and you automatically gain 5 GB of space for videos and photos.
In addition to that, Amazon will give you an app that you can use to automatically upload your photos from your mobile device. Additional storage space will have to be paid for separately, but 5 GB is enough for the vast majority of amateur photographers.
This is much cheaper than paying for a separate service through Google or Apple. Furthermore, users of Prime Photos have found it to be extremely reliable and easy-to-use. With the app you can automatically upload content without having to do think about it or do anything on your end.
5. Free Online Gaming
Gaming is an expensive hobby. But what gamers will also tell you that it’s about so much more than the game, it’s about the community around those games. Amazon has teamed up with the live streaming service Twitch. Known as Twitch Prime, members of Amazon Prime gain a full membership to Twitch for as long as they’re a member.
This won’t just give you access to exclusive gaming content. It will give you access to free digital games and a variety of discounts on games. These discounts are often applied to new games and pre-release orders. On a side note, all your games and all your exclusive content will be completely free of ads.
If you love new releases the savings you make could pay for your annual prime membership after just a few purchases.
6. Early Access to Amazon Lightning Deals
Amazon Lightning Deals is an Amazon promotion where random products are chosen for large discounts. These promotions are only ever available for an extremely limited period of time. There are only a certain number of these deals, so if you aren’t fast enough you might find they’re all gone.
To avoid the rush, pick up a Prime membership and give yourself a better chance of picking up those great deals. Prime membership allows you to access Amazon Lightning Deals before they officially go live. If you happen to be buying a product and it’s about to be eligible for a Lighting Deal, you’ll receive a notification next to your cart.
Regularly taking advantage of these deals will allow you to save hundreds of every single year.
7. Get Flat Fee Groceries Delivered to Your Door
Prime Pantry gives you a chance to get groceries shipped to your door for a flat delivery fee of $5.99. Many of the groceries bought through the Amazon store are cheaper than their counterparts in-store. That’s before mentioning how convenient it is to not have to go to the store every week to go shopping.
Prime Pantry is available to all customers who live in the United States. The only addresses ineligible for delivery are ones in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. All deliveries take about four business days because Amazon is unable to delivery groceries by air due to air shipping regulations.
Not only will you save a few dollars a year, but the convenience of having groceries delivered right to your door more than makes this worthwhile.
8. Subscribe and Save
Amazon Subscribe and Save is a way to get special discounts on regular daily purchases and remind yourself that you need to buy something at the same time. By subscribing to this service, you’ll receive alerts based on your buying habits. For example, if you regularly buy a certain product every week, Amazon will send you a reminder if you forget to buy one week.
But how do you save money with this reminder service?
Every time Amazon reminds you they’ll throw in a discount because you’re a regular shopper for that item. You’re not going to be getting a big discount on a TV, but if you buy diaper, toilet paper, and other such items you might get 20% off.
The Subscribe and Save program should be one of the first things that you take advantage of as part of your Prime membership. It’s linked with the Amazon Family program, which is why many eligible products in categories like toys come with discounts just for Prime members.
9. Get Free eBooks with Prime Reading
Regular readers will quickly find that they spend a lot of money every month on eBooks alone. If you’re an avid reader, a Prime membership will allow you to rent eBooks for free.
All you have to do is own some sort of Kindle eReader or Amazon tablet/smartphone. The Kindle Owners Lending Library lists the books eligible for this program. There’s a wide range of options, including the classics and stuff by the biggest writers of today.
Books rented through Prime Reading can be kept for as long as you like. The only catch is that you can only borrow one book per month. To borrow more than one book you have to return the previous book first.
If you’re a regular reader this will be more than worth your time, especially if you enjoy more expensive newer releases.
Another part of this perk is the Kindle First program. The Kindle First program gives you exclusive access to eBooks that have yet to be released. Kindle First releases new books a month before the actual release date.
10. Membership Sharing
The ultimate benefit to Amazon Prime is the chance to share membership. This is a recent benefit. Previously you had to purchase an Amazon Prime membership for all your friends and family members. Amazon changed the rules and now there are multiple ways to share your advantages.
It’s possible to share Amazon Prime with up to four other people. You can’t share every single benefit with them, but you can share your shipping benefits. This will enable your family to take advantage of the shipping perks without requiring direct access to your account.
The catch is that the people you’re sharing your membership with have to live at the same address. Now for most people this might not sound significant. If you only occasionally order, the chances are you order from the same account anyway.
Although this is technically against the Terms of Service you know full well that because you live at the same address Amazon is not going to catch you.
But many Amazon shoppers like to customize their wish lists and place orders without someone looking over their shoulder. It’s also particularly advantageous for Christmas gifts, where you don’t want other people to know that you’re ordering something.
To invite someone to the service all you need to do is provide their name, date of birth, and email address. They will need to accept the invitation that comes via email to gain shipping benefits for their account.
11. Bonus Tip – How Students Can Get Discounted Prime Membership
The standard Amazon Prime membership is charged at $99 per year for all the benefits. If you happen to be enrolled in a college – or at the very least you still have an active .edu email address – you can get a discounted Prime Student membership. This is something not a lot of people know about, so they buy the standard membership option and pay much more than they need to.
Once your status as a student has been authenticated, you’ll gain a free six-month trial for the Prime membership. When this trial ends you can purchase the full membership with a discount of 50% applied for the first year.
You should keep in mind that this free trial doesn’t include certain benefits like Prime Music and Prime Photos.
At $99 per year, regular shoppers with Amazon won’t just make that money back in a few months they’ll be making a profit by the time the year ends. Even if most of the perks aren’t relevant to you the free and accelerated shipping benefit is worth it by itself.
Is Amazon Prime worth it? Ultimately, that’s left for you to weigh the pros and cons of what a Prime membership has to offer. Let us know if you think signing-up with Amazon Prime is worth it in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!