Amazon Prime, which started as free expedited shipping on any order, has grown to include many perks and benefits. As someone who primarily shops online, I am a big fan of Amazon Prime. I also love Prime Video. I am sure I am not the only one eagerly anticipating the return of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Unfortunately, along with additional perks, the price of Amazon Prime keeps rising as well. Since we're not giving it up, let's look at how we can optimize an Amazon prime membership and take advantage of all its perks.You can make the most of your Amazon Prime benefits by taking advantage of the free books, movies, and exclusive discounts available through your membership.
What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a subscription service that gives members access to various services such as free two-day shipping, fast delivery for a fee through Prime Now (where available), streaming music and video, a discount at Whole Foods, and other benefits.
What Are Some Of The Best Perks Of Amazon Prime Membership?
We all know about free two-day shipping, but there's so much more to Amazon Prime. The full list of perks is long, and everyone knows about the fast and free shipping, so let's look at some of the lesser-known benefits of Prime.
I had Prime for a while before I discovered I can borrow books and magazines from the Prime Reading Catalog. I am a huge fan of the library, and I can borrow practically any eBook for free, but it's nice to have another option. This also gives me faster access to new releases.
Amazon First Reads is another option for free books. Every month Amazon sends out an email with a list of select new releases, and you can download one book for free. The list usually includes books in different genres, like literary fiction, kids reads, non-fiction, mystery, etc. The only problem is deciding which book to pick!
Audible Channels for Prime is an add-on paid subscription service. I am not a huge fan of adding another $14.99/month on top of paying for Prime. You do, however, get a free 30-day Audible membership, plus two audiobooks. So if you like audiobooks, download the two free books and cancel the subscription.
Prime Early Access
Prime Early Access allows Prime members to receive a 30-minute head start to buy Lightning Deals. This means that Prime members can access certain Gold Box deals before everyone else. The deals change every day but, in my opinion, the most valuable deals are on the discounted gift cards.
You can buy many retailers' gift cards at 15-20% off, so it's an instant savings off your purchase in addition to all the regular store sales and coupons. Need new back to school clothes for your kids? Watch out for JC Penney or Kohl's gift cards. The most popular gift cards tend to sell out quickly, so early access to these deals is a valuable benefit of Amazon Prime.
If you have a Whole Foods store in your area, don't automatically discount it as expensive and incompatible with FI. This is especially true if you have Amazon Prime. Since Whole Foods was acquired by Amazon, I've seen a lot of great deals and reduced prices on everyday essentials like fish, chicken and produce.
There are also rotating sales exclusive to Prime members and an additional 10% off sale items. Whether you have any special dietary needs or just prefer shopping at Whole Foods, having Amazon Prime will save you a lot of money. And, as a bonus, there are sometimes Whole Foods gift cards that pop up at 15-20% off. This where the Lightning Deals will come in handy.
Amazon Prime members also enjoy unlimited photo storage and up to 5GB for storage of video, documents, and other files. If your phone is full of cute kids photos, this is a great back-up option.
When ordering a Prime-eligible item, I always check if there's an option to get a regular shipping instead of expedited two-day Prime shipping. Amazon gives you $1 toward digital items, such as Kindle books or digital movie rentals, every time you choose standard shipping. If I don't need the item in a hurry, I select that option.
How To Save On Amazon Prime Membership
Currently, an Amazon Prime membership costs $119 annually or there's a month-to-month subscription rate of $13. There's a free 30-day trial and you can cancel anytime. If you are considering Prime, sign up for the free trial before you purchase the full subscription. This way you can get 13 months for the annual rate.
Students get six months free and 50% off Prime membership thereafter–all you need is a .edu email address.
A lot of grocery stores carry Amazon gift cards, so if your grocery store has fuel rewards program or if you get a discount on future purchases, purchase Amazon gift cards and use them to pay for your Prime membership. You'll save a few dollars on a tank of gas or on your next grocery shopping trip.
Amazon gift cards are also sold at gas stations, office supply stores, and many other retailers. If you have a credit card that earns bonus points in any of these categories, this is a great way to earn some bonus points on Amazon Prime membership.
An Amazon Prime membership is a great value if you know how to optimize the benefits. And the best way to do that is to not only save on the cost of the membership but to maximize the features and services it offers.
As for me, I do love it for the free shipping when I need something in a hurry, but the credit toward digital items and Prime Video make it worth the cost. And all the great discounts I get at Whole Foods as a Prime member don't hurt, either.
Whatever features you prefer, make sure you're using them to their fullest capacity and let them save you some money in the process.
There are so many valuable Prime benefits. Share with us the benefits you find the most useful and how you save on everyday essentials with Prime.
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