#Saving Money: To Amazon Prime or Not to Amazon Prime?

If you are like me and do most of your shopping online, then it is probably on Amazon. I have been a member since 2009 but I am not a Prime member. I have rarely needed anything so urgent that the two day shipping was appealing to me. However, over the last several years as the benefits provided to Prime members have increased, I have done a yearly assessment of the value I would get if I became a Prime member. Currently, a yearly Amazon Prime membership is $99 per year. Well here is my value analysis for 2017.

In addition to two day shipping, Prime members are afforded the following additional benefits:

  1. Instant access to video streaming (Prime includes popular movies and TV shows)
  2. On-demand, ad-free music streaming (Over two million songs. Thousands of playlists and stations.)

  3. Digital Books, Magazines & More (Unlimited reading on any device)

  4. Original audio series from Audible (Unlimited listening to original audio series)

  5. Twitch Prime (Get free game content every month, exclusive discounts, plus loads more)

  6. Free unlimited photo storage (All your photos, together at last)

  7. Prime Rewards (Cardmembers earn 5% Back with a Prime Credit Card.)

  8. Get Early Access (30-minute early access to select Amazon Lightning Deals)

Amazon Prime is tempting, so I looked at each of their member benefits to see if the $99/year costs is cheaper than the services and sources I use that duplicate each of the benefits mentioned.

Benefit 1 – Instant access to video streaming: I love streaming TV shows and movies to the TVs and mobile devices in my home. My family and I watch our shows on our tablets from the comfort of any room. Currently, I have Spectrum TV cable service; not by choice, it is included as a part of our HOA. I pay extra to get their internet service and DVR. Since I cannot cancel it then it is a wash. Spectrum TV is not bad though because I have a fairly substantial “free” on-demand, that the kids love and the DVR feature is cool. We rarely watch anything live. Spectrum has an app that runs on our Android and iOS tablets. We watch TV in any room in the house via the app. You are able to use the app outside of your home as well but the number of channels are limited. Therefore, benefit 1 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 2 – On-demand, ad-free music streaming: We listen to a lot of music in our household. Unfortunately, for Amazon we use Pandora, Spotify and Soundcloud. We have been content with the free ad supported versions of these apps. I, especially like Soundcloud because there are some great Dj mixes on the available in the app. Great listening while working out or commuting. A great benefit of having Spectrum TV cable service is the abundance of Spectrum WiFi hot spots all over Orlando. I am able to stream music during my commute through the city with little hit to my data balance. Therefore, benefit 2 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 3 – Digital Books, Magazines & More: My family reads a lot of books and the occasional magazine. For books we use our local library. You can get books in Florida without stepping foot in the library. You can go to their website and put books on hold for delivery to your home via the us post office. There are very few books that we have wanted that was not available through the library. You can get a physical books, digital eBooks and audiobooks . There are two apps that you can link to the digital section of your library. They are Hoopla and Overdrive. A hidden gem is the library has a great selection of music and an OK selection of movies and TV shows. They can be accessed via hoopla digitally or you can go into your local library and get DVDs. You can get comics and magazines digitally as well via Hoopla and Overdrive. Therefore, benefit 3 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 4 – Original audio series from Audible: Audiobooks as mention in benefit 3 are available through the library. Therefore, benefit 4 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 5 – Twitch Prime: We are not big gamers. We play the occasional mobile games. The kids are into Minecraft and get their fill of watching other people play Minecraft via YouTube. They seem content with that. Therefore, benefit 5 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 6 – Free unlimited photo storage: We use Google Photos and Flickr for online photo backup. We alsoe we backup our photos locally. My wife and I each have Google Photos with 20Gb of storage and Flickr with 1Tb of storage. Between the two of us, we are able to comfortably store photos. We have thousands of photos spanning over 10 years stored in the cloud. Therefore, benefit 6 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 7 – Prime Rewards: I already have a great rewards credit card from a major bank. I do spend a descent amount of money on Amazon but I use my credit card rewards card. I don’t need another credit card. Therefore, benefit 7 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

Benefit 8 – Get Early Access: Meh. I usually don’t just buy stuff because its on sale. I only buy stuff we need or the occasional wants. I get great deals on those things on Amazon and other retail sites like Target and Walmart. Therefore, benefit 8 of Prime is not of value to my family since it overlaps with existing service we have.

So once again another year has come and my analysis of Amazon Prime shows that is not a benefit for my family. I know $99 per year does not sound like a lot for the year but why waste money if Prime’s benefits are not needed since we have free or extremely low cost alternatives.

If you have Amazon Prime or are considering  I hope my analysis helps you decided yeah or nay and maybe you can take advantage of some of the free alternative to each Amazon benefits I have outlined.

2017 is Not to Amazon Prime.

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