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Amazon Prime Membership: The Cost vs the Return

Amazon Prime is a great all-in-one subscription service for those who love to stream tv, movies, and music, as well as shop on Amazon frequently. However, you might be wondering if the $139 annual fee is worth it.

In this blog post, we will help you figure out if the cost of Amazon Prime is worth it to you for everything included. We will also discuss saving money on Amazon Prime and some alternatives if it is not currently within your budget.

If you somehow are sure if it’s worth it by the end of this post, Amazon offer’s a free 30-day trial so you can test it out.

Amazon Prime and Its Benefits

Amazon Prime is Amazon’s membership program. It’s a subscription with both annual and monthly options, that comes with a lot of extras. Here is everything included in a Prime Membership:

  • You get free two-day shipping on most Amazon orders,
  • Access to Amazon’s streaming video and music services, 
  • Prime Gaming
  • Exclusive deals, discounts, and Prime Day sales.
  • Household connections and controls
  • Prime Reading
  • Amazon Photos
  • Try Before You Buy wardrobe

Let’s dig into each of these and compare them with the other services that Amazon offers.

Amazon Prime’s Free Shipping

While Prime members get free 2-day shipping on any prime qualified order. Non-Prime members can usually qualify for free shipping if the order total is more than $25 dollars.

So with a bit of planning and grouping your Amazon orders, you can avoid paying for shipping.

However, if you are constantly thinking of things that you need to get and order as you go, then the free shipping with Prime can mean huge savings!

Prime Music vs Music Unlimited

Prime Music and Amazon’s Music Unlimited are both great options for music streaming. Prime Music offers a limited number of songs, while Music Unlimited offers a much wider selection.

Prime Music is included in your Prime membership at no additional cost.

Music Unlimited is a monthly subscription can be purchased even if you aren’t a Prime Member for $9.99/month.

However, Prime members can get a discount on their Unlimited Music plan, with the option to pay (an additional) $8.99/month or $79/year.

Prime Reading vs Kindle Unlimited

Prime Reading is included in your Prime membership at no additional cost. But only gives you access to a subset of books included in the Kindle Unlimited Subscription. Though Prime Reading does include access to over 1,000 titles, so it’s not like you options are too limited.

Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription that can be purchased even if you aren’t a Prime Member for $9.99/month and gives you access to over 2 million titles. And even though it’s named “Kindle Unlimited” you don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of the subscription, you just need to download the Kindle App onto your device.

Amazon Photos

Unlimited photo storage is included via Amazon Photos as part of a Prime membership. You all get up to 5GB of video storage. If you’re looking for a cloud storage option to back up photos and video, then this could be a great option.

Amazon’s Try Before You Buy

If you’ve ever had or considered something like StitchFix, then this concept will seem familiar.

Basically, Amazon Prime members can try clothes before they buy them. This is a program where you can pick some clothes to have shipped to you and try them on to see if you like them. If you don’t, and you send them back within a certain time frame you are never charged.

Unlike Stitchfix or similar programs, there you can choose to either pick your what you want to try yourself (no additional fee) or request styling by a personal shopper, it costs just $4.99 and can be put towards anything you decide to purchase.

If you don’t purchase anything then you are out the “styling fee”.

How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost

Amazon Prime generally costs $14.99 per month or $139 per year. Amazon also offers a discounted monthly or annual plan for students and those on government assistance programs.

Prime Student Membership

While you don’t have to use your .edu email address to sign up for Prime, you will need it to verify your student status.

New Prime Student Members can try Prime for free for 6 months and then after that the cost is 50% off a normal Prime membership. So Prime Students would pay either $7.49/month or $69/year.

After 4 years (or you finish your studies) your Student Membership will convert to a normal Prime Membership.

Government Assistance Discount

Those who receive certain Government Assistance can submit information to qualify for a discount that brings the monthly cost for a Prime Membership down to $6.99/month.

Just as students have to verify their student status, so too must those receiving government assistance. They will also have to requalify every 12 months and can only receive the discount for up to 4 years.

Is the cost of Amazon Prime Worth it?

Whether Amazon Prime is worth the price depends on how often you use it. If you frequently shop on Amazon and wouldn’t be paying for other services, then it may be worth the price.

However, if you only shop on Amazon occasionally and wouldn’t take advantage of the other Prime benefits, such as access to Prime Video and Prime Music, then you may not get your money’s worth out of the membership.  If you are interested in the other services and benefits of a Prime Membership, then that may also factor into whether Amazon Prime is worth the price for you.

How to cancel Amazon Prime if you decide it’s not for you

Amazon Prime is a great service but if you’ve decided that Amazon Prime is not for you, don’t worry – it’s easy to cancel your subscription. Just follow these steps:

First, log into your Amazon account.

Then, go to your “account and lists” dropdown

Select “Prime Membership”

Click on the button that says “End Membership and Benefits”.

Confirm your decision by clicking End My Benefits.

That’s it – you’ve successfully canceled your Amazon Prime subscription!

Alternatives to Amazon Prime that Might be a Better Fit for You

The right alternative will depend on what you primarily were looking to use Amazon prime for, shopping benefits, streaming, or something else?

Amazon Prime is a great service for many people, but it may not be the right fit for everyone. There are a number of Amazon Prime alternatives that offer different features and benefits that might be a better match for your needs.

If Prime Now or grocery delivery was a focus for you, one alternative to Amazon Prime is Walmart. This service offers FREE store pick-up on orders over $35. If you want delivery they offer Walmart Plus for $98/year or $12.95 a month with no order minimums. You can also get discounts on fuel at participating Exxon, Mobil, Walmart, & Murphy stations gas stations.

If free shipping and convenience is a focus for you, another Amazon Prime alternative is Target Circle. This free program offers exclusive coupons and deals, as well as early access to sales and special events. Plus, you’ll earn 1% back on every purchase made. And for your birthday they’ll send you a 5% off coupon to use on your entire order. Additionally, Target offers free same-day pick up with no minimum order and free shipping on orders of $35 or more (or free if you have a REDcard).

If streaming is a focus for you, there are a number of free streaming services. Most music streaming apps offer a free plan with ads, but there are also tons of free video streaming services including:

  • Pluto TV
  • Crackle
  • Peacock
  • Sling

You can also usually get several channels for free through a cheap ($20) digital antenna for your TV.

The Pros and Cons of using Amazon Prime

The main benefit of Amazon Prime is that it is an all-in-one subscription that includes easy shopping, entertainment, and more.

The free two-day shipping can be a great perk for online shoppers, especially during the holiday season when shipping times are longer. Amazon Prime also offers unlimited streaming of movies, TV shows, and music, as well as access to exclusive deals and discounts.

Amazon Prime members also get early access to Lightning Deals, which are limited-time sales with deep discounts on popular items, and Prime Day sales. Some Amazon Prime perks are only available in certain regions, such as Whole Foods grocery delivery in select markets.

There are a few downsides to Amazon Prime membership. The $139 annual fee can add up, especially if you only use a few of the benefits. Additionally, AmazonPrime tends to favor shoppers who live in urban areas where they can take advantage of same-day delivery. Rural customers may have to wait longer for their orders to arrive due to the distance their packages have to travel.

Final thoughts on whether or not Amazon Prime is worth the cost

So, is Amazon Prime worth the cost? In our opinion, it depends.

The free two-day shipping is a major perk, especially for busy families or people who order a lot of items online. And the added bonus of getting access to exclusive deals and discounts makes Amazon Prime an even better deal.

That said, we understand that not everyone needs all the features that Amazon Prime offers, we suggest trying out Amazon Prime for free for 30 days to see if it’s a good fit for your shopping habits.

FeaturePrimeAvailable Stand AloneAlternativeWalmart+Target Circle Rewards
Cost$139/year or $14.99/monthN/AN/A$98/year or $12.95/monthFree
Free 2-Day ShippingIncludedYes, if you purchase a certain amountYesOften available If you spend above a certain threshold
Photo StorageUnlimited photos & 5GB of video5 GB combined photos and videoDropbox + OthersNoneNone
Music StreamingPrime Music IncludedAmazon Music Unlimited $9.99/moTons of free music streaming with ads available6 free months of Spotify PremiumNone
Video StreamingIncludedNoMany, Netflix, Hulu + moreNoneNone
Reading/BooksPrime Reading IncludedKindle UnlimitedLibrary or purchase books individuallyNoneNone
Try Before You BuyIncludedNoStitchFixNoneNone

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!

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