The Benefits of Amazon Prime (Frugal Friday)

Amazon Prime is a great way to enjoy quick shipping, instant streaming, and Kindle reading for less than $7/month.

I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for a few years off and on, which means if you make a purchase through the Amazon links here on Life as MOM, Amazon pays me a small portion in advertising fees.

However, I’ve been a loyal Amazon shopper for 14 years, back when my internet connection was run by a small squirrel running in a cage dial-up. It took us what seemed like hours to place an order, but we knew we were saving money by ordering through Amazon.

A few years later, free Super-Saver shipping came on the scene as well as high speed dial-up. Wow! With a few clicks of a mouse, I could order any book or kitchen gadget for a great price AND get it within about a week or two.

Next came Amazon Prime, a service that included 2-day shipping at no extra charge. We’d had a trial subscription once upon a time and really liked it. But, we’d never been willing to fork over the cash. $79? Hmmm…. I’m forever forgetting to order school supplies in time to really use them when I want to. So, the idea was tempting….

Free 2-Day Shipping

Recently, however, Amazon has expanded the benefits of Amazon Prime. Not only do you get the 2-day shipping (which sometimes feels like two hours it arrives soooooooo quickly!) but an Amazon Prime membership also provides instant streaming of movies and TV and access to a Kindle lending library.

Now $79? Really? Is it worth it?

Free Movies

At first that seemed like a lot of money. However, I browsed the selection of movies available and found it very comparable to our now-canceled Netflix. Last year we spent well over $100 on Netflix. We recently downsized our cable. And as much as I love RedBox, I’m not wanting to get in the car to get a Dora video. No, no, no.

And there’s an amazing selection of preschool shows available for FREE via Amazon Prime. Already it’s a stellar replacement for Netflix, which I found didn’t have a great selection for streaming anyway.

Free Kindle Books to Borrow

I haven’t explored the Kindle portion of the program. I’ve been so happy with what we have so far! But, you’re allowed to borrow one book a month with no due date. So, if you take two months to read a book, that’s fine. Unfortunately, you do have to own a Kindle to use the Prime service lending library.

Budget-Friendly Entertainment

If you have the budget for entertainment, I think that Amazon Prime is a great way to go. It turns out to be $6.58/month for free movies, free books, and 2-day shipping.

For me, that totally works. So much cheaper than Netflix! And in the long-haul, it’s saving me money by not paying for extra shipping, not buying books I might not want, and getting free Kipper and Caillou whenever I need a break!

How do YOU save money?

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Comments

  1. You need to own a kindle to use the lending library.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      You’re right. I’ve been digging deeper just to be sure and was just coming back to say, I see what you mean. Bummer. Thanks for pointing that out!

  2. Ps you also can’t have 2 out at once.

  3. I had a free Amazon Prime membership when I was a student…oh, how I miss it! I have been wanting to sign back up for it and I think you just convinced me! We have Netflix and aren’t that happy with it. It has maybe 10 movies that I like and then shows for the kids. I am getting the new iPad tomorrow so if the Kindle thing works, even better!

    My one question- do you run the movies through the Wii to your TV like with Netflix? I only have basic cable so not sure how it would work. Thanks!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Just know that I corrected the post (probably while you were commenting). Apparently, you can’t borrow a kindle book to any device other than the kindle.

      As for running Amazon movies on your TV, we run an HDMI cable from my laptop to the TV. Some TVs are equipped for internet apps as are some Blu-ray players. I don’t know about the Wii.

  4. It is still a valuable feature and you can pick up an early gen kindle used!

  5. We have Amazon Prime through my student email address and only paid $39 for the year. Several months ago we cancelled our Netflix streaming because it seemed like a lot for a little (very few things we wanted to watch) but I was browsing Amazon Prime movies and TV shows today and there are a ton of things I want to watch. Also my husband found out about Amazon Local that emails you good deals (like Groupon), today we got a family membership to a museum I’ve wanted to go to forever for a lot less than 1 visit with our 5 children (I love membships in general but this was an exceptionally good deal)

  6. Hold up, they have Caillou? Don’t tell my son!

    I thought about paying for prime after amazon mom ended and my free netflix subscription was over. I’m really tempted, but haven’t done it yet. Thanks for the review.

    And thanks for the link up!

  7. I love Prime. That is all :)

  8. We get all that from our library. For Free.

    Except the shipping takes a bit longer. LOL

    • Annie Kate, your library streams videos?

      We love Prime. We finally upgraded to a HDTV and our Panasonic has Amazon built into it so it’s really easy. My kids are loving Mister Rogers Neighborhood.

  9. I started with an Amazon Prime membership for free as a student. Now they offer students a Prime Membership for $39/yr. It’s a great deal! I haven’t used the streaming movies & I own a Nook, instead of a Kindle, but just the free 2-day shipping sold it for me. I love Amazon Prime!

  10. I couldnt justify spending the $79 a year BUT I found out you could split the membership between 5 people so it ended up being just under $16 a year.(no one knows each others account info or anything) I love the 2 day shipping! It came in handy when one of the pups chewed through one of the cords on a laptop

    • It was my understanding that you’re only supposed to split it between members of the same household. I need to go research that option.

      • bobbi jo says:

        I called and you are allowed to split it with people that do not live in the same household. However, only the free shipping feature applies. I shared my prime membership with two friends and once their “free month” (everyone was entitled to it when they signed up) was over, they could no longer stream movies even though they were sharing my membership.

  11. Wow a sub for Netflix?!? We’ve been Prime members for years, thanks to my BIL. This would be an awesome way to save money if it really does compare. I see some research in my future!

  12. hmmm…I’ll have to look into this and show it to my husband. We don’t have a kindle though.

    Thanks for the linky.

  13. Hubby and I were just talking about Prime last night. We recently got Netflix {and love it} but hadn’t thought of using Prime as a replacement for our movies. When you put the cost into a monthly figure it sure looks tempting!

  14. I got a Kindle for Christmas (love my husband!) and I’m due with our fourth child in July. Unless my second decides to get with the program (highly unlikely at this point) I will have three in diapers! So, Amazon Prime is worth it to us without the streaming movies. But adding that on, it’s AWESOME!!!

  15. I have been on the fence about Prime. We get Student Prime since my husband is a student. That includes the shipping but not the free lending library/movie. Now that i have a Kindle Fire that is REALLY tempting…

  16. We’ve had Amazon Prime for two years now and love it. The first year was much cheaper because my daughter’s in college and she had Amazon Student before we bought Amazon Prime. It really came in handy with shipping fees around Christmas and when she purchases textbooks. My husband bought a Roku for Christmas and there’s an Amazon option to watch movies through it with your Prime membership.

  17. LOVE prime! As soon as my year of amazon mom is up, I am signing up for the half-price amazon student and cancelling Netflix. Has anyone noticed that Netflix’s streaming options have REALLY gone downhill??

  18. With my family being terribly spread out Amazon Prime has always been worth it. I order everyone’s Christmas gifts and birthday gifts from Amazon and ship them right to them and I love it. If your whole family or even most of them are near you then it doesn’t help, but if not it more than pays for itself. In 2011 I placed 53 orders with Amazon, so having prime really does save me money. 31 orders in 2010, but we had a baby that year, so some of those orders are 20+ items long.

    Plus I live in North Dakota, so there are some things I just have a really hard time finding here… and while I’m not so stuck on brands for a lot of things, there are some things that I am particular about… like Wright’s Silver Polish.

    I love having it and have renewed ours every year since we first started using it in 2006. If you have any questions about anything feel free to email me.

  19. I did not know you could get free movies with Prime. I’m going to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

  20. I just signed up for the free trial of Amazon Prime mostly because of the free 2 day shipping. However, I’m not sure about using the streaming service as a replacement for Netflix because you have to pay extra to watch a lot of the newer movies on Amazon. I think that might ruin the savings over Netflix pretty quickly, especially at $3.99 per movie. Anybody else used it longer that could share whether this is still a good value?

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yes, if you weren’t going for the free movies. But, my experience with Netflix was that the selection for streaming wasn’t that good anyway. Plus, doesn’t Netflix now charge more for DVDs? That was the only way we were able to get new releases.

      Not all Amazon movies are $4. We’ve found good ones for $2 or less — and loads for FREE. (But, we still do RedBox for somethings.)

      • I guess it might depend on your personal viewing habits? I don’t actually care too much about most new releases, especially since a lot of them are available on Redbox. It’s $7.99 more a month for DVD’s on Netflix, so if you were watching more than 2 new movies a month on Amazon, that might be worth it. Also, we don’t have a TV right now, so we use Netflix to watch TV. While a lot of shows are free on Amazon, it seems like some of the shows I like are an additional $1.99 an episode on Amazon, whereas I can get whole seasons for no additional charge on Netflix. So that’s frustrating. But I do like the selection on Amazon, so I’m going to have to do a little more research I guess…

  21. Our family will gladly pay the $80 or whatever for Amazon Prime!

    Just in time, I read about Amazon Student. Since hubby is a FT student, perfect timing as our sub. was set to renew this month.

    We set it up as a student account, get 6 months free then $39/year for the next 4 years! Sweet deal!

    We live in the middle of nowhere, it seems sometimes (central Iowa). We order a LOT of stuff…we ordered our new bed, frame, sheets etc last fall and loved having free shipping and no tax on such a pricey purchase. Same with our tv 2 years ago!

  22. I signed up for Prime right when it was first introduded in, I think, 2004 or 2005 (pre-Kindle) and I’ve always felt like it was worth it, even just for the free shipping w/o having to reach $25. I’d never let it lapse–they’ve added so much to make it worthwhile! :D

  23. That sounds pretty great…cheaper than Netflix AND free 2day shipping? Yes, please! I’d have to invest in a kindle, though.

  24. I love prime, I purchase so much of our food and personal items from them that I can’t find where I live. Last year I totaled up all of my shipping costs and it was a lot more that 79.oo, it’s worth every penny and I love getting my shipments so fast, although I am so spoiled I think other companies take forever!!

  25. I am absolutely loving your blog! Just wanted to add that I got my Kindle for FREE doing surveys in my spare time at Opinion Outpost. You can “cash out” with an Amazon.com card, so since I couldn’t justify spending $$ on a Kindle, I decided to “earn” one and didn’t pay a thing out of pocket.

    Anxious to try out the Amazon Prime after reading your post. We were thinking about it before but when you break it down over a year, it really is a great buy – especially because we purchase things from Amazon.com all the time. Thank you for your posts – you are an inspiration! :)

  26. I love Amazon Prime! I haven’t checked out the movies yet, but I’m so glad that was mentioned and I can’t wait to start! I’ve found Amazon Prime super helpful for birthday presents– my extended family lives all over America and it’s so fun to pick out items that they like and ship it to them for free for their special day! We’ve also bought great things for our new home like a weedwhacker, I got a bunch of great things for our wedding a couple of years ago, and I love using my Swagbucks (swagbucks.com) to pay for stuff and then get free shipping! You can’t beat free and free!

  27. I can see the benefits of getting Amazon Prime, but I don’t spend enough money on Amazon to make it worth the yearly fee. I use DISH Online to watch TV shows and movies because most of the content is free. They have several shows and they are current and old episodes, which is really cool. I go on there to catch up on shows and watch something new. A co-worker at DISH told me to check it out, so I did, and I absolutely love it! This site is free and gives me plenty of content.

  28. Eliza Sewell says:

    Thanks for your quick breakdown of the benefits of Amazon Prime. I recently came to the same conclusion about the $/mo breakdown… Even if you just have Netflix streaming video (no DVDs), it costs $8/mo, so you save nearly $1.50/mo for the same service with Prime streaming video, plus the additional Prime perks (which are pretty awesome when you both shop online, and use a Kindle for your reading, like I do).

    I just wanted to add, for the benefits of your readers, that ‘Amazon student’ members can get their Prime membership for only $39/yr for up to 4 years, as long as they are students. So that works out to only $3.25/mo for all the perks you outlined in this blog. I don’t know about anyone else, but that makes thebudgeter in me VERY happy. :D

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