What Is Amazon Prime — and How Joining Can Save You Money

by Nindo Mom on July 28, 2011

Amazon Prime is Amazon.com’s membership-only special shipping program. To join the Amazon Prime program, a customer simply signs up for the program and pays the annual fee. There’s also a free Amazon Prime trial.

For years, I was always a Free Amazon Super Saver Shipping girl. (Most items sold and shipped by Amazon are eligible for Super Saver shipping, although there are some exceptions.) With Super Saver Shipping, I got free shipping when I ordered at least $25 worth of merchandise. (So I always made sure I ordered the minimum.) But when it came to shipping speed, Super Saver shipping tended to be a bit slower than standard shipping.

Top Benefits of Amazon Prime — and How Each Helps Keep Your Cash in Your Pocket

Free 2-day shipping — Saves Money, Saves Time

Amazon’s free 2-day shipping is my favorite benefit benefit of the Prime program for two reasons–first, I hate waiting for my order to reach me. But with Amazon Prime 2-day shipping, it’s about as close to instant gratification as you’re going to get when ordering stuff online.  Also, it seems to take Amazon much less time to fill orders placed through Amazon Prime. (Items shipped with Super Saver shipping can sometimes take days just to get into the mail–but with Amazon Prime shipping, it never seems to take more than 24 hours–at least, for the orders I’ve placed.)

No Minimum Order Required for Free 2-Day Shipping

Unlike Super Saver shipping, which requires a minimum $25 purchase per order, Amazon Prime’s Free 2-day shipping has no minimums. (You can even order a $5 item and have it shipped for free, as long as it’s a qualifying item.) And having no minimum order requirement means you won’t feel compelled to order more than you need just to get the free shipping.

Free Streaming Movies and TV Shows

Amazon offers about 6,000 movies and TV shows for free viewing for Prime members.  I’m kinda lukewarm on this benefit–mainly because the movies and shows currently being offered are either pretty obscure or shows that came out many years ago.  But tastes vary, and many Amazon Prime members love the older stuff–so this free digital content will give interested customers many hours of enjoyment.

So How Does Amazon Prime Save You Money?

1. Free 2-Day Shipping

2. $3.99 (per item) 1-Day Shipping — this is particularly helpful if you frequently have emergency purchases of items you can’t wait for and can’t find at a local store.

3. Free streaming movies and TV shows–can save you money while keeping your family entertained. (What would you be doing with your family if you weren’t home watching videos? Whatever it is, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be free.)

4. No minimum order size–so you only order what you need without padding the order with other stuff

5. Fast shipping means you can make more of your purchases on Amazon and take advantage of their frequently lower prices.  Gummy Vitamins, for example, are a product my son and I use every day. I realized yesterday that we only had a couple of days’ worth left: I hadn’t been an Amazon Prime member, I would have had to purchase more Gummy Vitamins at a local store–which would have cost me a lot more money. (My other alternative, of course, would have been to skip the vitamins for a week or two–but I’d hate to do that.)

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