We all know that you can find anything being sold at Amazon, including the kitchen sink. In recent years, Amazon branched out into selling e-readers through its highly popular Kindle, and with the arrival of the Kindle Fire tablet line, the company has strengthened its hold on consumers’ loyalty, not to mention their wallets.
With this scenario, it is not totally unexpected that Amazon will come up with Amazon Prime. For $79 a year, you can join the membership program that offers free 2-day shipping on selected orders. You also get other “digital” benefits with a paid membership. $79 is by no means cheap; however, you get all the streaming content you want, access to an eBook lending library, not to mention fast shipping, with a paid Amazon Prime membership.
The Basic Facts
As previously mentioned, membership costs $79 on an annual basis. The good thing is you can share the membership with up to four other people, which means the rest of your family can also enjoy the membership benefits for free. You also get access to a wide array of TV shows and movies via the Amazon Instant Video.
You can opt to start with the free trial for one month. Other benefits are offered for students or parents under the Amazon Mom and Amazon Student programs. For eligible purchases, you get two-day shipping services for free and $3.99 for one-day shipping.
Anyone can be a member of the standard Amazon Prime, although only US members can watch the streaming videos. In general, Amazon-sold items (not those sold by Amazon merchants) are eligible for the 2-day shipping privilege. However, heavy, large, or hazardous materials may be given the free standard shipping instead. The same goes for shipping addresses with PO boxes bearing US zip codes.
Faster Shipments for Less
Although you can save on shipping costs with the Super Saver Shipping, it imposes a $25 minimum order requirement. Worse, you will have to wait for 5-8 days before you receive your purchased items. With paid Amazon Prime membership, on the other hand, you get your stuff in 2 days (for most orders). This benefit alone is enough to cover your initial $79 investment. Regular shipping costs are computed depending on the items.
For example, when using standard shipping (5-8 days,) you will be charged $3.99 per shipment. Additional charges include $99/book, and another $99 for every CD or DVD. Shipping costs are much higher if you avail of the 2-day or 1-day shipping options. You can easily compute the savings you will get from a paid Amazon Prime membership depending on the number and types of purchases you do in a year.
So, can you really save hundreds of dollars in shipping costs by using Amazon Prime? The answer depends on your particular situation. Based on the example provided above, it will not take many purchases to recover the $79 you paid for your membership. You stand to save a lot of money if you, and the others you share the membership with, make several purchases from Amazon in a year. Add the savings you will get in watching streaming videos for free, which you will otherwise pay for with your monthly subscriptions to providers like Netflix.
If you will use all the benefits that come with an Amazon Prime membership extensively, then $79 dollars is well worth it. Even if you do not need or intend to avail of all the benefits, still, the savings you can get out of the features you will use, will add up to hundreds of dollars a year in savings. By shipping your Amazon Prime orders to your ShopGT mailbox, you can have your order in your hands in as little time as 4 days. All of this for just a few dollars in shipping.