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Even after a price increase, Amazon Prime can still save you money.
Amazon Prime might be the most popular subscription service in America. When you consider how many benefits it unlocks, it’s not hard to understand why.
But at $139 a year — or $14.99 a month — a Prime subscription can take a big chunk out of your wallet. So even if you’re an Amazon die-hard, you have to ask the question: Is Amazon Prime worth the money?
Yes, Amazon Prime is worth it even at $139 a year
If you’re using all the benefits that Amazon Prime unlocks, those perks more than make up for the steep cost. In 2018, banking firm JPMorgan even estimated that a Prime membership is worth $785 annually — and that value has only gone up as new features and services get added.
For the $139 yearly or $14.99 monthly fee, Prime members earn a ton of benefits. These include free one-day delivery, two-hour grocery delivery, premium streaming services like Prime Video and Prime Music, and an unbelievable amount of extra discounts and coupons. You’ll also get access to Prime Day discounts on everything from new TVs to Instant Pots to Amazon Echo devices.
Even if you’re not using every feature included with your Prime membership, it might still be worth it for the time saved alone.
Here are some of our favorite Amazon Prime perks that make a subscription worth the cost, even at $139 a year.
Save on shipping costsFree shipping is one of the key benefits of Amazon Prime.
Your Prime membership includes free two-day delivery on over 10 million items. And if your order is over $25, you might even unlock free one-day or same-day shipping. Without Prime, you’ll only get free regular shipping if your order is over $25.
Without Prime, shipping fees usually cost between $4 and $10. This means that it doesn’t take many purchases with Prime’s free shipping to start noticing your savings.
A 2019 study showed that Amazon Prime members spend an average of $1,400 on the platform every year. If it weren’t for free shipping, that number would be hundreds of dollars higher — more than enough to pay for a Prime subscription by itself.
Order fresh groceries with two-hour deliveryYou can order groceries with Amazon Prime in many locations.
Amazon operates two different grocery store brands: Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh. With a Prime subscription, you can order groceries and everyday essentials from both brands and have the products delivered right to your doorstep. And the prices aren’t much different than those in physical grocery stores.
This service isn’t available everywhere, and depending on where you live, you might need to meet a minimum price. But if you’re in a big city like New York or Los Angeles, you’ll probably be able to have your groceries delivered in less than two hours.
Stream movies and music in HDPrime Video offers exclusive shows and movies.
Patrick Semansky / AP Images
Your Prime subscription comes with a free membership for both Prime Video and Prime Music.
Prime Video is one of the hottest streaming services around, offering thousands of movies and TV shows. These include popular titles from the past few years, along with original Amazon shows like “The Boys” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Some titles can’t be streamed for free, but you can still buy or rent them for an extra fee.
You’ll also have access to Prime Music, Amazon’s music streaming app with over 2 million songs. There are no ads, and all the music streams in high quality.
Compare these two services to Netflix and Spotify Premium, which cost about $25 together. Saving $25 a month with Prime Video and Prime Music pays for Prime’s yearly membership cost in six months.
Earn free video games and Twitch subsPrime Gaming links with Twitch for extra perks.
Prime Gaming lets you subscribe to one Twitch streamer for free every month — it normally costs $4.99 — which unlocks exclusive emotes and stops ads from playing while you watch.
But what some Prime subscribers don’t realize is that Amazon gives out free games to every Prime subscriber every month. These include fighting games, puzzle games, RPGs, shooters, and more. You’ll also have the chance to redeem free rewards in popular games like Warframe and League of Legends.
Few Amazon Prime perks give you more than Prime Gaming — be sure to take advantage of it.
Store all your photos and videos safelyAmazon Photos is a great cloud-storage alternative.
Amazon Photos lets you save and share an unlimited amount of full-resolution photos across all your devices, as well as share that unlimited storage with up to five people. If you’re paying every month for extra iCloud or Google Drive storage just to make room for your photos, you can cut out that cost.
You’ll also get five GB for videos and files. And Amazon Photos comes pre-installed on Amazon devices, so you can also view your photos on a Fire TV or Echo Show.
Save money with Prime Day and exclusive dealsPrime Day gives you access to the best deals around.
Amazon Prime Day is an annual shopping holiday, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, where thousands of items go on sale. Log into Amazon on Prime Day, and you’ll find gadgets, furniture, clothing, accessories, and more selling for lower prices than they do all year.
But here’s the catch: Those deals only show up for Prime subscribers. Aside from free shipping, Prime Day is probably the number one way to save money with your Prime membership. If you’ve been saving up for a certain product, like a TV or game console, check it out on Prime day for the best price.
Your Prime membership also unlocks an exclusive coupon book and regularly rotating deals. And if you choose the “no-rush” option when you’re placing an order, you’ll earn discounts on future purchases in exchange for waiting a few days longer for that order to arrive.
Try clothes on at home before actually buying themPrime Try Before You Buy makes online shopping easier.
The best part of going clothes shopping is getting to try clothes on before you buy them. But Amazon Prime subscribers don’t have to give that up when they shop for clothes online.
The Prime Try Before You Buy perk lets you order up to eight items to try on for a week. Keep the ones you want to buy, and send back the ones you don’t — you’ll only be charged for what you kept.
And for an extra $4.99 fee, you can hire a personal stylist to pick out a set of clothes for you.
If you’ve ever gotten burned by online clothes shopping, Try Before You Buy is a great way to save money and frustration.
Buy your medications at lower pricesPrime Rx can save you money on medication.
Amazon/Handout via Reuters
Amazon Prime Rx is a newer feature that lets users find the cheapest prices for their medications, and have those medications shipped either to them or a nearby pharmacy.
You don’t need to have insurance to use Prime Rx. For users spending hundreds of dollars each month on medications, Prime Rx can be a life-saver.
Access books, magazines, and comicsPrime Reading offers a digital library that’s tough to beat.
Prime members get access to Prime Reading, a massive digital library for books, magazines, and comics. The exact titles available rotate occasionally, but members can read anything in the library for free. Some titles even come with audiobook versions, perfect for listening on the go.
Alongside Prime Reading, Prime also includes the Amazon First Reads program, which lets you read selected titles before they go on sale to the public.
Sign up for kid-friendly subscriptionsAmazon Prime has additional benefits for kids.
Amazon Prime isn’t just for the grown-ups. Prime members earn discounts on two premium kid-focused subscription services: Amazon Kids Plus and Amazon Book Box.
Kids Plus offers a suite of age-appropriate books, movies, shows, and apps for kids from ages 3 to 12. There are also parental control options that you can use to finetune exactly what your child is seeing. It costs $4.99 a month or $48 a year for Prime Customers — down from $7.99 or $79 for non-Prime users.
If you want to stay away from the apps and games, consider Amazon Book Box. Made exclusively for Prime members, Book Box lets you order a box full of curated children’s books every month. You get to pick an age group before you order, so the books will always be age-appropriate. It costs $16.99 for the first box, and then $19.99 for every box afterwards.
Unlock discounts and perks on other websitesPrime gives you access to perks from other partner brands.
Amazon’s reach stretches far beyond their own website. Amazon Prime customers shopping on Shopbop, East Dane, Woot!, or Zappos will get free shipping, discounts, and more.
Zappos especially loves Prime customers. Logging into Prime on the Zappos website or app lets you earn the double the VIP points on every order, and try on shoes for up to 30 days before deciding whether to buy them.
Get cashback on every purchase with a special Visa cardThe Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card takes your benefits to the next level.
Want to keep saving money, even outside of Amazon? Prime subscribers can apply for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.
This card will get you 5% cashback on all Amazon or Whole Foods orders, 2% back at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% back on everything else. And that’s not even counting the points, which you can turn into more cashback or Amazon discounts.
If you’re approved for the card, you’ll also immediately receive a $70 Amazon gift card.
Get Prime 50% off if you’re a student or EBT recipientStudents and EBT recipients get a discount on Prime.
If you’re currently a student at an American university and have an .edu email address, you’re entitled to a six-month trial of Prime Student at no cost. Once it’s over, your Prime membership will be half the price of a normal membership ($69 a year or $7.49 a month). It’ll last for four years or until your indicated graduation date — whichever comes first.
Similarly, qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card only have to pay $6.99 a month. There’s no yearly plan.
Share your Prime benefits with the entire familyAmazon Household supplies Prime benefits for the whole family.
One of the easiest ways to maximize your Prime savings is to use Amazon Household. This lets up to two adults, four teens, and four child profiles link up in a “Household” and all enjoy every Prime benefit for no extra charge. This is leagues less expensive than having everyone pay for their own Prime account.
Adults on the account will also get to approve any purchase a teen profile makes, and set parental controls on child profiles.
Give yourself time and flexibilityThe best part about Prime is flexibility.
Brendan McDermid TPX Images of the Day/Reuters
More so than money, maybe the most valuable thing Amazon Prime can give you is time. Between quick shipping times and release-day deliveries on brand new products, you’ll rarely have to wait long for your orders to arrive.
Features like Amazon Day and Amazon Key In-Garage deliveries give you more control over when your packages arrive too. You don’t need to worry about missing your deliveries because you’re not home.
Amazon Prime gets you millions of items quickly and cheaply. There are few deals better for your money.
Who Amazon Prime isn’t worth the money forAmazon Prime isn’t right for everybody.
For most customers, Amazon Prime is a great way to save money over time. But every customer is different, and not everyone will be amazed by Prime’s benefits and features.
If you don’t buy items from Amazon a lot, you might not save enough on free shipping to justify the $139 yearly fee. Same goes if you don’t plan on using the entertainment services that Prime unlocks, like Prime Video, Prime Music, and Prime Reading.
Some of Prime’s benefits are also pretty niche. Kids Plus and Book Box won’t mean much if you don’t have children. And the Prime Gaming perks are aimed at users who regularly watch Twitch streams and play games like League of Legends, which might not be you.
There’s also a human cost. Reporters have written countless articles about how Amazon’s push to ship products as fast as possible has led to unsafe working conditions for its employees. The more customers order products using Prime, the faster Amazon’s warehouses have to move to fulfill those orders. Depending on your views, the money saved with Prime might not be worth that.
Amazon Prime is a massively popular and cost-effective subscription. But it’s not for everyone — think about what services you know you’ll use before you sign up and pay $139.
Mara Leighton and Tercius Bufete contributed to a previous version of this article.
Read the original article on Business Insider