The current cost of an Amazon Prime membership, according to Amazon, is $14.99 per month or $139 per year. Those signing up for a free trial may consider becoming a member once their trial period ends, but does signing up for an Amazon Prime membership mean you save more money?
Not necessarily. Here are some situations where it might not pay to become a Prime subscriber.
You Don’t Shop at Amazon
Let’s start with the most obvious reason why it’s not financially beneficial to become an Amazon Prime member: you personally don’t use the platform.
If you don’t regularly shop at Amazon, watch Prime Video content or listen to Prime Music, the cost of an Amazon Prime membership may not be worth it because subscribing doesn’t necessarily help you save money.
Free Shipping May Lead to Impulse Purchases
Amazon Prime provides a wide range of shipping benefits to Prime members. Some of these include free one-day and two-day shipping. Same-day delivery is also free for Prime members, although the Amazon website notes this is only for qualifying orders over $25 in certain cities or $2.99 per order.
While free shipping is certainly a benefit when shopping on Amazon, Dave Bochichio — certified educator in personal finance (CEPFR) and founder of Clean Cut Finance — said it makes it easy to impulsively shop.
“Free shipping makes it easy to buy things whenever someone wants without having to pay more than the price of whatever it is they’re buying,” said Bochichio. “Because of a Prime membership, someone who is likely to impulse buy will actually spend more money from having a Prime membership — meaning Prime will cost them money versus save them money.”
Not All Prime Video Is Free
Many people subscribe to Amazon Prime to receive access to movies and TV shows streaming on Prime Video. However, if you look closely you may notice that not all offerings come with a blue check mark. Some are marked with a golden dollar sign.
The dollar sign means certain movies and TV shows are still available to watch through Prime, but subscribers will need to pay more for it. Prime subscribers may find themselves upsold into renting the latest movie releases, spending even more money than their subscription amount.
Prime Benefits May Not Be Offered on Every Product
Depending on what you’re shopping for, you may find that some products receive Prime shipping and discounts while others do not. This, of course, differs depending on every Prime shopper’s needs, but if you’re buying items that don’t tend to receive additional discounts it might be another reason to reconsider a Prime membership.
Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae, said just because Amazon has good prices on millions of items it doesn’t mean it’s always the best price.
If you frequently find better deals elsewhere, Bodge said you could potentially forgo the membership and use a shopping tool like Deal Alert to look for the best deals.
You Only Want To Subscribe to Prime Video
Let’s say you love Prime Video, but don’t necessarily want to subscribe to Prime. It is possible to be a Prime Video subscriber through Amazon.
Non-Prime subscribers can sign up for Prime Video for $8.99 a month to enjoy Amazon Originals, movies and TV Shows. This is less expensive than signing up for Amazon Prime on a monthly and yearly basis and ensures you get to keep your focus on streaming content.
You Don’t Shop on Amazon Prime Day
“Prime Day is for members-only, so if this two-day event isn’t a big shopping period for you, the membership may not be worth it,” said Bodge.
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