Monday, February 15, 2016

Modern Monday: Amazon Prime

I have a confession. I am an Amazon addict, an Amazon Prime addict. I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've been an Amazon Prime user for more than five units now, and it's only been getting better. If you've heard of Amazon Prime, I'm sure you know that it involves (free) two day shipping, but Amazon Prime is really so much more.

Currently Prime membership runs $99/year. You can get a student membership for only $49, but the features are more limited. So what all can Amazon Prime do? They are always adding new features, and most members aren't using it to its full potential. Free two-day shipping; free same-day shipping; video streaming; music library/streaming; photo storage; cloud storage; free Kindle books; exclusive Amazon Elements; early access; Prime Pantry and Amazon Mom.

SHIPPING: Prime membership includes free two-day shipping on (most) items fulfilled by Amazon. This is especially great for holidays. Larger items may take longer to ship and occasionally products fulfilled by other companies may take a day or two to ship an item, then it takes two day shipping. Smaller Amazon purchases may require non-members to purchase at least $35 for free, but prime members are not required to.

SAME DAY SHIPPING: That's right, if you live in one of the participating metros (I do!) many items are available for same-day delivery. This speed will cost $5.99/order, unless your order totals more than $35. (Learn more)

PRIME NOW: In select cities you can get an item within two hours. That's right - LESS THAN TWO HOURS FOR FREE. For an extra fee, in one hour. Now your probably wondering when could I be so lazy that this is a good thing? When a GI bug infected the whole family I was able to order bleach, ginger ale, Gatorade, and a few other items, and have it shipped to my house FOR FREE within TWO HOURS! 

VIDEO STREAMING: Amazon offers thousands of free movies and television shows. There are tons of kids shows too. We've cut the cable, and my son loves a number of shows on Amazon Prime. Recently Amazon added HBO series. Like Netflix, Amazon has been adding its own programming and it's getting great reviews. Note: If you use Hulu or Netflix, I find there are many movies/shows that do overlap; however, I have read that Amazon has more than 17K movies/tv series, compared to 10K on Netflix. If you only used video, Amazon is $21 less a year than Netflix. (Learn more)

MORE VIDEO: Prime members can purchase add-on video subscriptions from services like showtime, stars, and comedy central. (See the list here). Many of these have a week free and then a per month cost.

VIDEO GAME DISCOUNTS: Prime members now get 20% off the price of new games. This includes preorders and new games for two weeks following their release. Many years ago my husband preordered a game from Amazon, and it arrived the day of release (some reported the day before), saving you time and money!.

MUSIC STREAMING:  Prime membership includes access to more than a million songs, albums and playlist free of advertisement. This selection isn't as great as Spotify, but free Spotify includes ads and membership costs $120 a year (again $21 more per year than Amazon).  Amazon's cloud feature allows you to upload songs of your own (more on this later). (Learn more)

PHOTO STORAGE: Prime members can archive unlimited photos for free as part of their membership. That's right - UNLIMITED photo storage for FREE. Additionally you have 5 GB on Amazon cloud for photos. Other free services are limited in storage space, or cost as much as or more than a Amazon Prime membership. One of the few downsides is that Prime Photos Storage does not include an automated back-up process, as many other storage solutions do. (Learn more)

FREE KINDLE BOOKS: Amazon prime readers have access to the Kindle owners lending library and Kindle First. The lending library reportedly holds more than 500K books, including some best sellers. You can borrow one book per month for FREE. Through Kindle First, prime members have a first chance to download one of 6 editor picked books before they go on sale. Note: you can also get free books from your library - and there is now Kindle Unlimited for an extra fee.

AMAZON ELEMENTS: A new Amazon brand exclusive to Prime members. Currently they only have one product: baby wipes. At 0.02/wipe, they run the same price as target and have great reviews. It appears these were developed from customer input; and Amazon intends to roll out more products in the future. (Learn more)

EARLY ACCESS: Prime members get 30 minute early access to lightening deals on Amazon, and sale events on (Learn more)

PRIME PANTRY: Members have access to Prime Pantry. For a flat rate of $5.99 you can have groceries delivered to your house. (Compared to bulk buying other items on Amazon). I've used this service once before for baby food, formula, chips, soda, beans, etc. when I was pregnant. Came straight to my door! Many of these items compare in price to the grocery store, and sometimes have coupons. (Learn More)

DEALS FOR MOM: Amazon Prime members get 20% off a diaper subscription, and up to 15% off other baby registry items (it is only 10% for non-prime members). You can subscribe and save to many different items.

FAMILY SHARING: Up to two adults and four children can share a prime membership (read this as your own account without shared purchase history) - however, the (adult) accounts share payment methods. All shared accounts have access to instant video, lending library, early access and subscribe and save. There's also options to limit sharing of purchased item (read this as keep the kids safe).

FREE-TIME UNLIMITED: This plan is discounted for Amazon Prime members and transforms your Kindle Fire device it to a kid-friendly tablet, limiting access to kid's games and shows. (Learn more here)

Don't have prime? Amazon offers a free 30-day trial. Go ahead and give it a go!

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