Personal finance disclosure: Sometimes I screw up. WHAT?! SHOCKING?! This finance goddess before you actually doesn’t always have it together when it comes to her wallet? Sadly, it’s true. There are days I check my bank account and see a charge I’ve completely forgotten was coming my way and hence didn’t appropriately factor into my budget. This month, that charge was $79 for Amazon Prime. (Update: the cost in 2016 is now $99 and is updated in the rest of this post).
I sense some of you may be even more surprised I actually spend $99 a year to use Amazon Prime and even dare suggest it as a “Frugal Find.” Like a desperate actress on a bad infomercial, I can tell you Amazon Prime comes to you at the bargain value of just $8.25 a month! Ladies and Gents, that’s less than Hulu Plus or Netflix! Amazon also has a sneaky way of hooking us unsuspecting frugalistas.
(Good thing this happened in the 70s before everyone got sue happy.)
With the use of a college email address, you can sign up for Amazon Student and get six months free.
The Prime membership is a worthwhile expense for me because I do a lot of shopping via Amazon. With Prime you get free, two-day shipping on select (and select is a lot) items. When I first signed up I figured if I usually spent around $6 on shipping then it would only take 13 purchases on Amazon for Amazon Prime to pay for itself. I probably making 13 purchases around Christmas time alone. I also tend to buy bath products in bulk on Amazon because I don’t have easy access to a Sam’s Club or Costco. My roommate uses Amazon Prime to buy cereal because Cheerios can run you more than $5 per regular size box here in the Big Apple.
(Come on, it really can’t be that expensive to “import” Cheerios to our island!)
To top it all off, Amazon Prime membership (affiliate link) gives you access to streaming TV shows and movies. As a “cord-cutter” it’s nice to expand my access to TV beyond Netflix and Hulu. Bookworms can take advantage of the Kindle Owner’s Library.
(Leslie Knope being the example of instant streaming would’ve been enough for me to renew my membership.)
For all you nay-sayers out there who think having Amazon Prime will just increase your general spending from surfing the shop, then you just need to work on your self-control! If you rarely shop on Amazon, have cable and access to a Sam’s Club or Costco type store then perhaps Amazon Prime isn’t for you. If you’re cheap, cut cable and can’t effectively carry a haul of bulk items on the subway then consider shelling out the $99. Oh, and they haven’t price hiked in the past two years, which is more than I can say for my internet provider (or landlord).