A yearly subscription for Amazon Prime now costs $99 per year. I can’t remember the original price when I first signed up, but it was cheaper than it is now.
Recently, Amazon had a sale for Prime membership at $72 per year for new members. I guess I could have signed up using my married name and perhaps gotten the cheaper price since my membership was still under my maiden name, but I had already made the decision months ago to cancel it the day before it would have auto-renewed.
My addiction to living a more minimal and zero waste lifestyle was the main factor in deciding to cancel my membership.
There were several perks of having a Prime membership that we didn’t use or used infrequently. We rarely streamed video content. It’s uncharacteristic of me to binge watch TV shows, though in the last two weeks we had the membership I did watch Transparent (I highly recommend it), and we did re-watch American Horror Story: Coven because it’s our favorite season. We watched very few TV shows with Amazon’s streaming service in the last 3 years. We have streamed very few movies over the past year or two as well, only because 99% of the movies on our Netflix queue are not available on Amazon. We also don’t subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service because almost none of the movies we want to watch are available there either.
I have never downloaded or listened to music on Amazon. Amazon Prime offers members the chance to borrow one book for free each month. I used this service very infrequently in two years as most of the books I wanted to read were not available for free.
The biggest perk of having the membership is the free shipping and free two business day delivery. However, since I started this minimal lifestyle a year ago, I find myself buying less. I did not take the time to add up all the items we bought over the last year to figure out how much the shipping would have cost us if we didn’t have the membership. However, if I’m buying less things off of Amazon, then I would assume that it wouldn’t be as worth it to pay for the membership. I believe the lack of free shipping will force me to re-evaluate purchases.
Hoarding all the packaging like the packing paper, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes was helpful when we used to ship more gifts and give larger gifts. Most of the packaging can be reused, which is excellent. Another option is to give it away for free. Luckily, in Charlotte, cardboard can be recycled, and we use the packing paper for fires, but bubble wrap is not environmentally friendly. I have reused bubble wrap to ship some gifts this past December. The goals are to reuse the rest of what I have and to prevent more of it coming into our house.
Many of the items I have purchased from Amazon are easily found in stores around the city. I won’t deny that it is easier to sit on your couch and order something that comes directly to your door. However, we live in the largest city in North Carolina with hundreds of stores, many of which I can easily stop at on my way home from work. Since I drive a Prius in a big city, it is more ecofriendly for me to drive to a local store and purchase an item with a reusable bag (or no bag if I can easily carry whatever I bought to the car in my hands) than it is for me to pay for a bottle of shampoo (which I admit I’ve done) and its packaging to be driven from another time zone hundreds of miles away in gas-guzzling trunks to be delivered to my front door approximately 20 feet from my couch. Really, Stephanie? Buying a bottle of shampoo with two business day delivery? I can get that same bottle of shampoo 10 minutes from my house.
Now, if you live in a rural town or area with limited access to certain products that you need/want or you don’t/can’t drive, then having a Prime membership makes sense. I hear having the version of Prime membership for baby products that are conveniently delivered to your door with a discount so you don’t have to pack up the baby to drive to a store is awesome. Does Amazon have the movies and TV shows that you want to watch or music that you want to listen to or books you want to download? Then a Prime membership makes sense for you. Not that you can’t do any of these things without a membership, but you save money on so many things if you pay the annual fee.
We’ve made some awesome purchases with Amazon Prime including the chandelier in our dining room. Our local lighting store had the chandelier that we wanted, but not in the store. They were going to charge tax and shipping, and it would have taken 6-8 weeks to arrive. I bought our chandelier on Amazon, minus the tax (before they charged tax for North Carolina) and the shipping, plus it arrived in two days. I also just replaced a toilet tank lid which was broken with the exact lid I needed. It was one third the price on Amazon versus every other website I could have ordered it from, and I couldn’t find it available in our local hardware stores.
That said, Amazon Prime membership might make sense for many people, but at this point in my life I don’t think it makes sense for me. Maybe in 1-2 years I’ll be writing a blogpost about why I re-signed up for Amazon Prime.