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Is Amazon Prime a good fit for you?

Created date

November 29th, 2017
Delivery person with boxes.

Delivery person with boxes.

Amazon is the third-largest retailer in the world (just behind Wal-Mart and China’s Alibaba). It’s not hard to see why when you explore the dizzying range of items that Amazon sells. From clothing to household goods to electronics, there’s almost nothing you can’t order from Amazon. 

But doesn’t online shopping mean wasting a lot of money on shipping charges? Not necessarily, particularly if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, the retailer’s popular program that offers unlimited free one- or two-day deliveries for $99 per year or $10.99 per month. If you make frequent purchases from Amazon, as many people do, that breaks down to just a couple of dollars (or less) per order. 

“Amazon Prime is definitely worth it for retirees when it comes down to it in terms of convenience,” says Carson Yarbrough, savings expert at Offers.com. “Prime saves you the hassle of going out to the store, running out of everyday essential items, and more.”

Perks of membership

Yarbrough says Prime members also have access to the Subscribe & Save option, which gives you up to 15% off when you sign up to receive recurring deliveries of staples like toilet paper or laundry detergent.

Another huge perk of Prime membership is access to Amazon’s TV and movie streaming service. Sadie Cornelius, director of marketing for Safe Smart Living (safesmartliving.com), says Prime members get free access to thousands of TV shows and films, and can take advantage of free trials for premium channels like HBO and Showtime. 

“Many people join solely for the Amazon Prime streaming benefit,” Cornelius says. “And this may pay off if you’re a TV and movie junkie.”

Amazon Prime also includes unlimited photo storage on the cloud, a music-streaming service with more than two million songs, access to original audio series and podcasts, and a free Kindle book every month, Cornelius says.

Krista Fabregas, e-commerce analyst with FitSmallBusiness.com, says Amazon frequently rewards Prime members with new perks. One of the latest benefits is discounts on groceries at Whole Foods, which Amazon recently acquired. 

“But along with the savings, there’s a practical side that can make the annual cost worth every penny,” Fabergas says. “Amazon delivers bulky and heavy household items, so seniors don’t have to struggle to get these items into carts and cars at big-box stores.”

Val Majewski, vice president of sales and marketing at American Benefits Exchange (thinkabx.com), says the $99 annual fee essentially pays for itself if you use Amazon Prime at least once or twice a month. Remember, that includes items you may purchase for other people.

“Amazon Prime could be very beneficial if you live far away from family members,” Majewski says. “You can send the grandkids gifts directly to their home with no extra charge.”

Of course, nothing is a good deal if you don’t actually use it. You should look at your own buying habits and lifestyle preferences before you enroll. 

“Ask yourself if the convenience factor is important to you. Having groceries and other items you buy all the time delivered right to your door could save time and money,” Majewski says. “If you’re not interested in music, movies, and books, then really take into account what you plan on purchasing.”

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