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Signed up for Amazon Prime

Written by Nickel - 24 Comments

Last week we took the plunge and signed up for Amazon Prime. In case you’re not familiar with Amazon Prime, it’s:

“An exclusive membership program that gives you and your family the benefits of unlimited express shipping on eligible Amazon.com purchases.”

It costs $79/year to join. In return for your membership fee, you get free two-day shipping and $3.99 overnight shipping on a ton of items. Basically, if it’s eligible for Super-Saver Shipping, then it’s eligible for Amazon Prime. Unlike Super-Saver Shipping, however, there is no minimum purchase required — and your stuff comes quicker.

While this is admittedly a bit of a luxury, it opens up a whole new spectrum of convenience for us. For example, our smoke detector started beeping the other night because the battery was low. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any spare batteries around the house. Had we been signed up for Amazon Prime at the time, we could’ve ordered a 9 volt battery and had it delivered to our door in two days for just $1.46. When extrapolated out over a year, this has the potential to save us a substantial number of trips to the store, and thus a good bit of time.

Sure, we could plan ahead, group our purchases together to get over the $25 minimum, and then wait patiently for our stuff to arrive. However, as our lives get increasingly busy (we’re raising four boys, coaching three soccer teams, etc.), that gets more and more difficult. In fact, I ended up pulling the trigger on Amazon Prime while gift shopping for our oldest son’s birthday just three days before the big day.

Well see how it goes over the course of the next 12 months. For the time being, however, I’m perfectly happy to pay a bit extra for some conveniences.

Published on October 19th, 2007 - 24 Comments
Filed under: Online

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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24 Responses to “Signed up for Amazon Prime”

  1. 1
    flightgirl78 Says:

    You won’t regret Amazon prime – I am the thriftiest person I know (apart from my parents) and I have already saved far more time and money than the $75 I spent on Amazon Prime – especially since Amazon is usually far cheaper – and tax free – than physical stores, it adds up quickly – I saved $40 on a Makita reciprocating saw by purchasing it on Amazon and not going to Home Depot – then I saved the $40 it would have cost to ship it because of its weight. Either way, it is $40 saved.

  2. 2
    Joel Says:

    Amazon Prime saves so much money it’s ridiculous. I use it to ship gifts to friends and family since I live a good distance from any of them. Also, Amazon generally has better deals than the brick-and-mortar stores, and with Prime I don’t have to dilute those savings by constantly paying for shipping. Plus, as you mention, two-day shipping is worlds better than the Standard (plus, sometimes the items get to me in just one day!) Good choice!

  3. 3
    Stu Says:

    Amazon prime definately rocks and is worth taking full advantage of :)

  4. 4
    Anne Says:

    Amazon Prime is great, but I have to admit I find something troubling about ordering a single battery online rather than just picking one up the next time you’re at the grocery/hardware/drugstore. For a minute I thought I was reading Lazy Man’s blog. :)

    Not to mention that when you buy a battery through Amazon, they’re going to put it in a big cardboard wrapper or box, and extra energy will be expended in getting it from its warehouse to you. That’s unnecessarily wasteful IMO.

  5. 5
    nickel Says:

    Anne: I didn’t mean to suggest that we’d really order a single battery and have them deliver it to us. I was just highlighting the lengths to which you could take this free shipping thing (and the utter lack of a minimum purchase amount).

  6. 6
    Lazy Man Says:

    I would not suggest getting a single battery shipped from Amazon :-) . That’s horrible for the environment. Instead I would suggest going with rechargeables and re-using them.

  7. 7
    Ty Says:

    Amazon prime is a joke! I’m a Hawaii resident, and they will not allow it for our area. I still get most of the free shipping offers after $25 (except tools) but they won’t consider it for PRIME. fact is, we love mailorder and online sales in Hawaii. Amazon just won’t get our share

  8. 8
    Chris Desmond Says:

    I hate to rain on your parade, but please stop for a moment and ponder the packaging, energy-consumption, and pollution output that goes into delivering a $1.46 battery to your door. Now compare that with devoting an hour or so each year to generating and working off of a home-inventory list. I keep a micro-printed copy in my wallet and whip it out every time I go to Sam’s or Costco’s or Wal-Mart, Krogers, etc. Non-perishables like batteries, cases of big-tin coffee, tuna, CFL light bulbs, toilet paper, etc. are bought — always on sale — in bulk on my cash rebate credit card and smartly stored under clothes in closets and other under-utilized spaces. After developing this habit, I have in my home a 1-3 year supply of everything from 9-volt batteries, etc. always bought on sale. Result? No wasteful, 2-day mail shipping/pollution costs, plenty of time to replenish as specific items get drawn down over their 1-3 supply and go on sale again, a lot of money saved (I can wait for deep discount, close-out and day-after-Thanksgiving-day pricing), a lot of time and gasoline saved (grocery store trips are down to 12 minutes for high-perishables like vegs/fruits/milk) from significantly reduced shopping trips over the course of a year, and a far smaller packaging-material/vehicle exhaust waste stream than your method. Up-front “capital” requirements for my “On-Sale-Hoarding” plan? About $750 for a single guy like me. Oh, and did I mention that in a hurricane/disaster all of my female friends plan on staying with me?

  9. 9
    nickel Says:

    Good grief, people… There’s no parade for you to rain on. I’m not sure how much clearer I can say it than I did in comment #5…

    I didn’t mean to imply that I actually thought it was a good idea to order a single battery and have them ship it to us in a giant cardboard box, complete with the inflatable, space-filling plastic bags that they use for cushioning. Rather, I was just pointing out how far you could stretch things with Amazon Prime. Obviously, I failed to make that clear.

    The bottom line is that it’s a huge convenience for us, and well worth the money even when used responsibly (as we intend to).

  10. 10
    Chris Desmond Says:

    Nick – Yeah, I got that; you didn’t plan to exploit Amazon’s deal in an ecologically wasteful manner, nor were you advocating it. I guess my point was that you hit a chord with me: that the Amazon deals of the world enable an instant-gratification-oriented, poor-planning (hence, chaotic and wasteful overnight-shipping scenarios) way of living, just as the bottled-water industry has enabled incredibly wasteful behavior (when I was a kid I filled up my army-surplus canteen from the tap and took it with me for the day), thus resulting in most everyone I see here in Savannah, GA (which has top-rated municipal water service) drinking from bottled water — nearly all of it coming from … a tap-water source! I otherwise look forward to your posts, as you collect very useful info on finding “the better way” of doing things. In that regard, consider my “super-stocking” technique in terms of the time, fuel and money-saving dynamic running through it (I’m still enjoying, for example, .29 cent/can 6 oz. Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna that went on sale at Krogers 18 months ago — bought 4 cases; it’s now $1.27 for the same 6 oz. on Amazon — $2.55/12-ounce can: http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-.....B0005Z7HNS
    I’ve been “super-stocking” for 20 years and have saved thousands in cash and hundreds of hours in “shopping time.” It’s the very opposite of the Amazon-enabling, hurry-up-and-click feature that yes, can be very handy and useful but also just one-more enabler of wasteful living (true, you will not use it to overnight a $1.46 battery, but look at the millions of dolts out there drinking bottled water and buying wasteful SUV-guzzlers who just know will exploit it).

  11. 11
    nickel Says:

    Chris, point taken. Regarding bottled water, we may soon be forced into drinking it instead of tap water (and eating of paper plates, etc) due to horrible drought conditions.

  12. 12
    Matthew Says:

    Yes, I do understand the environmental impact of ordering things from Amazon, but if you live in the middle of nowhere, where the closest mall is 200-300 miles away (think Wyoming), Amazon Prime is a lifesaver…

  13. 13
    nickel Says:

    The other thing to keep in mind is that items that you buy from your local store got trucked to your area in the first place (not entirely, but still…), so that reduces the impact of having stuff delivered (not to mention fewer trips out yourself).

  14. 14
    Chris Desmond Says:

    Matt & Nick: Good point on rural-living factor, bad on pointing to trucking-to-local-store costs as a way to rationalize a $1.46 battery purchase via Amazon-rush shipping: Merchandise is shipped in bulk to local stores, rather than one-at-a-time items, which you must concede consumes, cumulatively, far more packaging/energy resources. Plus, under my super-stocking style, both my time and my gasoline is conserved, and Amazon’s reserved for non-commodity, niche items that would be too costly (time/gasoline-wise) to pursue locally. Even with rural living, having stuff shipped to you one at a time, versus in bulk, itself foments waste. Bulk purchases via my super-stocking technique takes just a little bit of organization but can save a lot economically AND ecologically. Again, I have a 1-3 year supply of all non-perishables, thus enabling me long periods to replenish. Take, for example, Scott 1000-sheet rolls of toilet paper (or store-brand equivalent). It’s .55/roll right now at Krogers. Sometimes Krogers or Walgreens deep-discounts it to as low as .39 (maybe once a year on a super-sale of some sort, like maybe the day after Thanksgiving). At .39/roll, I’ll typically buy 100 – 200 rolls (right, call me “eccentric” when you see me at the check-out). Now, I can wait a whole year for it to get down to that price again, because I’ve super-stocked it. It may get deeply discounted just once a year, but I can wait a year. Meanwhile, cross that item off the routine shopping list. Ditto for each other super-stocked item. After a while, shopping for basic living stuff gets whittled down time-wise and trip-to-store-wise, so now I’m down to brief stops here and there for milk and bananas – while on my way home from something out. True, I’ve got money tied up in the super-stocked “closet inventory.” But with large-quantity buying on deep discounts, I save more than I would have made on the interest value of that money had I invested it in a CD or something (I’m in a high tax bracket, so the State and Federal tax monsters gobble up much of that gain anyway). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go open a .29 cent can of tuna for dinner….

  15. 15
    Finance And Fat Says:

    Amazon Prime is great! I’ve used it since they kicked it off. Though I’m trying to spend less money these days and I buy less from Amazon, I still keep renewing it. I just love the convenience- especially when I need to do my Christmas shopping.

    I also like to break my orders up into the smallest individual items I can and have them delivered every few days. You know, to destroy the environment faster because that’s all anyone does with Amazon Prime- right? :)

  16. 16
    Chris Desmond Says:

    Good one! Dig the name: “Finance and Fat.”
    Sorta says it all….

  17. 17
    nickel Says:

    Chris: Can we please move past the one battery for $1.46 reference?

    My point about shipping is a valid one. Remember, they don’t send a dedicated truck from the online vendor to your house carrying only your item(s). Rather, these items are placed on major carriers that are already running these routes (more or less). Yes, the more people who purchase things online the more runs they’ll have to make total, but it’s nowhere near a one-to-one relationship. My point still stands… Energy is expended getting products to stores in your area, and energy is also expended getting you to the store and you and your stuff back home.

    For the average person, this sort of service will reduce trips to the store, and that sort of “benefit” needs to be traded off against the “cost” of having stuff delivered to your house. I never said that it would be sufficient to make home delivery more eco-friendly. Rather, I was just pointing out that it needs to be considered when making these sorts of arguments.

    And if you really want to get anal about this — as you apparently do ;) — you need to factor in your increased carbon footprint from heating/cooling the space required to store your stuff. Strictly speaking, you could get by with less space if you had less stuff. Of course, this is getting to the point of being ridiculous, and there area great many counter arguments. It’s just that I think the horse is now officially dead, so we can probably stop beating it.

  18. 18
    Chris Desmond Says:

    Agreed. Ecological measurement, equestrian sodomy — either way you feel like you’re beating a dead horse.

  19. 19
    nickel Says:

    Huh?

  20. 20
    Karen Says:

    We love amazon prime. You can even ship gifts to other people via your account. My parents have been known to have us order things, have it shipped to them as a gift, and then pay us back later.
    Can’t beat that 2 day shipping!

  21. 21
    SmBusMan Says:

    We have used amazon prime ever since it started. From HDTV’s to pencils, it’s the real deal…

    it has saved us THOUSANDS in shipping costs, cost of products, and time wasted in a store shopping. I love the reviews on Amazon…!

  22. 22
    Karl Says:

    I love amazon prime. Check out http://www.iprimr.com for an easy way to just search Prime eligible items.

  23. 23
    John Says:

    Amazon prime is great! White girls with asian guys. Wgwag

  24. 24
    Stuart durbin Says:

    After signing up for amazon prime, I lost my job. I can not afford to have $79.00 dollar taken out of my account.all my account information is iin an other note book which seems to have fallen into a forth demension and I can’t find a website that will let me cancle the upgrade. It seems tobe very well hidden. I hope you understand that I am more than just a little upset over this matter.

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