Amazon Prime is, by far, the most rewarding membership we subscribe to. But exactly how much do you really save with Amazon Prime? Over the last year I’ve learned to really max out our Prime membership. Plus, as you’ll see towards the bottom of this post, I’ve even figured out how to get “paid” by Amazon to shop. Last year our family saved at least $257 with our membership and I expect those savings to be higher this year thanks to my new found love of services like Subscribe and Save in addition to Amazon Family.
Heads up buttercup- there are affiliate links sprinkled within this article. However, all thoughts an opinions are 100% my own and I do love me some Amazon Prime.
Here are the top ways to save time and money with Amazon Prime:
1. Subscribe and Save / Amazon Family
I recently just signed up for my first Subscribe and Save item. I am kicking myself for not utilizing this service sooner. It is a simple solution that saves both your time and money on items you need on an ongoing basis. Think diapers, wipes, toilet paper…even coffee, hand soap and pet food. The more items you add to your subscription, the more you will save! And shipping is always free.
My current subscribe and save subscription is overnight undies for my preschooler. I have them delivered every other month and save $5.42 on EVERY box. I’m planning on adding toilet paper and paper towels for our next delivery.
Hold on though…you don’t actually need to be a Prime member to utilize subscribe and save (although you can deeper discounts by being one). However, you DO need a Prime membership to take advantage of a service called Amazon Family. Being a member gives you 20% off diaper subscriptions (which is another way I save so much on those overnights).
But how much do you really save with Amazon Prime? Well if you just had a baby you can expect to spend around $65-85 dollars a month on diapers. Let’s take the low end and say $65/month which equals $780 per year. If you utilize Amazon Family’s subscribe and save service you’ll save $156 on diapers during your baby’s first year. You can also save big on baby food, formula and wipes via their coupons. If you are curious to see how this would work for you, join the Amazon Family 30-Day Free Trial to see which products/brands your family uses the most are included.
The reason I didn’t pull the trigger on subscribe and save/Amazon Family sooner is because I easily forget things and don’t like to manage subscriptions. I figured I’d end up having a stock pile of products I didn’t need because I didn’t have time to update my deliveries. But Amazon makes it incredibly easy to review and update the items on your subscribe and save list. You can skip deliveries with no penalty, set them up weekly, monthly, bimonthly…etc. Need your item sooner that you thought? No biggie- just click the “Need this item right now” link and check out. After that, Amazon will ask if you need to change your delivery schedule.
2. Amazon Prime Pantry
Prime Pantry is nice for some of the items I can’t find at my local grocer. It’s also GREAT for someone that lives in a small town with no quick access to a super store.
So what is Prime Pantry? Think an online convenient store. You can buy everything from soda to shampoo and cereal to toothpaste. You fill a “box” with items (up to 45 pounds) and that box ships 2 day for $5.99. But wait! If you buy any 5 items from their “selected items” list, your entire box ships for free. I’ve ordered through pantry several times and have never had trouble qualifying for the free shipping. Usually I add a few low cost items that quality me for free shipping like hand soap, toothpaste, deodorant (things I know I’ll need but always forget to stock up on).
I typically shop Prime Pantry BEFORE I go to the grocery store- there is a spot where you can sort through products that have coupons and a sales section- many times I find those prices are cheaper than Walmart or even Costco. You can try Prime Pantry free with any Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.
BONUS– Did you know Prime members can earn Panty credits just by shopping on Amazon? You get “paid” to shop for things you were going to buy anyway! Check out #9 (below) to learn more about this sweet deal.
3. Amazon FreshAmazon Fresh basically assures you will never have to leave your house ever again. Consider Amazon Pantry as the “pantry” or dry ingredients/cosmetic and bath sections of a store, and Fresh as the produce, fridge/freezer departments. Between the two services you have an entire grocery store, only you don’t have fight for a good spot in the parking lot while it’s raining or wait in a long checkout line.
I personally have not used this service but have a few friends that have been happy with it. You have to add another membership to your Prime account- $14.99/month to be able to order from Fresh (unfortunately I can’t find a free trial for you guys). All Fresh orders over $40 deliver free and same day delivery is available. So if you use the last of the eggs at breakfast, you can place an order and they are delivered by dinner time.
Fresh is a great service if you don’t have a decent organic selection at your local store, for those that can’t get out of their home easily (new parents, elderly or someone recovering from surgery/an injury) or if you are like me and just really hate grocery shopping in stores. I cruised through the Amazon Fresh inventory to compare prices to our local store on things I buy weekly and I’ve found Amazon’s prices to be very competitive.
4. Prime Music
This has changed. my. life. I discovered Prime Music last year and have not paid for a single song/album on iTunes since. Not only can you stream music but you can download what you love via the Amazon Music app and listen to it anywhere without streaming. They also have a great list of radio stations and you can customize the playlist with their “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” feature (similar to Pandora). Sign up for the Amazon Prime + Music 30-day Free Trial to check out their music catalog and start listening.
5. Amazon Video Streaming
A few years go we canceled cable and haven’t looked back. We use Amazon Video (in addition to Netflix and Hulu) to watch free movies and TV shows. Amazon is also building their original series inventory- My husband and I are currently hooked on The Man in the High Castle (2 seasons- so so SO good), I’ve also heard Goliath and Z: The Beginning of Everything are binge worthy. Amazon’s app is available right on our Samsung smart TV which makes it super easy for us to access their content.
Not all of Amazon’s video library is available with Prime but you can easily rent or purchase any content not include via the app using your Amazon account. Click here to browse Amazon video and see what’s available via Prime. Or start your free trial now and watch thousands of movies & TV shows anytime.
Side note- did you know you can purchase HBO through Amazon? Goodbye cable! Check out the HBO Free Trial before you sign up.
6+7. Kindle + Audible Books
One of my goals last year was to start reading more, something I haven’t had much time to do since having kids. My husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I discovered Prime Reading. Your Prime membership gives you access to thousands of free books as well as some Audible Channels and audibooks. I’ve also been able to enjoy e-versions of some of my favorite magazines for free including Food Network, Martha Stewart, HGTV, O, The Oprah Magazine, In Touch, and Real Simple. With Prime Reading, in addition to my local library’s e-catalog and sites like BookBub (see a detailed review for them here by BlissfulCents), I haven’t paid for a book in over a year!
Did you know you don’t need a Kindle to access all these ebooks? All you need is the Kindle app! You can download it free on your tablet or phone. This is an option to join just the Kindle Unlimited program and but if you want to try it first sign up for this Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.
8. Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day is basically like Cyber Monday only during the summer. Prime members have access to incredible deals on electronics, kitchen and home appliances, beauty supplies, toys…etc. The date for 2017’s sale hasn’t been announced but 2016’s sale was held on July 12th.
9. The Shipping
Everyone knows about Amazon Prime’s free two day shipping but it’s still worth mentioning because, well…it’s FREE SHIPPING. If you don’t have Prime, you can’t fully understand how much this will change your life. Soon you will become a total cheap skate that expects this from all online retailers. Last year I placed 55 orders with Amazon, many of those orders included multiple items. If shipping averaged $3.95 for each order (that is a very low estimate) I would have paid over $200 in shipping fees. But this just in…
Did you know Amazon will “pay” you to shop?!
Prime members also have access to different credits Amazon offers for selecting “No Rush” shipping at checkout. Currently they are offering me a $5 Prime Pantry credit for each of the two items in my cart ($10 total- see screenshot below) if I select the 5 business day shipping as opposed to my standard Prime 2-day shipping. I’m not in a hurry for either item in my cart so I’ll go ahead and choose the 5 day shipping (still free!) and received $10 in credits for the next time I buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies in the Pantry. Basically I just got paid to shop for items I would have purchased anyway- do this 10 times in a year and your Prime Membership is basically paid for itself! I’ve also heard of them offering video and Audible credits to members.
So how much do you really save with Amazon Prime?
My love for crunching numbers is as strong as my hatred for wasting money. When we signed up for Prime 4 years ago I wanted to make sure our membership fees were not going to waste. For our family of four, it is WELL worth it. Let’s break it down-
- Shipping savings – As stated above we placed 55 orders on Amazon in the last year. Most orders contained multiple items and some of those items were heavy. If shipping averaged $3.95 for each order (again, a very LOW estimate) we would have paid $217.25 in shipping fees.
- Music savings – my husband and I have downloaded 7 albums and loads of singles via Amazon Music in the last year. If the average album cost is $10, that’s $70 worth of music in albums alone.
- Kindle eBooks – I read 8 Kindle books over the last 9 months. The average eBook cost is just over $6, that’s $48 in savings.
- Subscribe and Save – As mentioned earlier, this is a feature we just started taking advantage of. We’ve only received 2 deliveries but saved $5.42 each time for a total of $10.84 in savings. I except that number to be much higher next year as I add dog food, toilet paper and some cleaning supplies to our schedule.
- Prime Pantry Credits – I literally checked items out today (the same ones I shared in the screen shot above) and received $10 in Pantry credits which, if I’m being honest, made me me a little happy dance.
If you are adding up the savings- that’s $356.09 of record-able savings. This does not include the additional savings of Amazon Video, Pantry and Prime day. We paid our Prime membership upfront for the year so when you take out the $99 annual fee, we saved at LEAST $257.09 in the last 12 months.
Ways to get your Prime Membership free or discounted
- The best way to get your Prime membership free is the “Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial“. There are no obligations and no fees for canceling if you aren’t satisfied with the membership at the end of your 30 days. To get the most out of your trial, I’d suggest setting some time aside to download the Music App, Kindle App and setting up video on your TV/streaming device as SOON as you’ve completed the free trial sign up process. You want to use your Prime benefits to the max for those 30 days to make sure it’s a good fit for you. But as I mentioned above, signing up for Prime is worth it just for the free shipping- everything else is icing on the cake!
- Another way to “earn” your Prime membership fees back is to refer friends to their Prime Student membership. For every friend that signs up using your unique referral link, you receive a $10 credit. Guys this is SO easy to do via FaceBook and students benefit because….
- Student’s save 50% on on their Prime Membership. And the news just gets sweeter because right now Amazon, in partnership with Sprint, is offering a FREE 6 MONTH Prime Student trial period.
- One more way to get your Prime membership free is to ask for it as a gift. Ok maybe this is cheating a little because someone is paying for it…but it’s not you! I’m a big fan of memberships as gifts. We ask our families for passes to zoos, museum and travel memberships as gifts for Christmas and birthdays all the time. They are the gifts that keep on giving! A Prime membership would be a very useful wedding or baby shower gift. The 50% off Prime Student membership is perfect for graduation!
Do you love Amazon as much as I do? How much do you really save with Amazon Prime?