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2015 – Is it Worth it for You: Let’s Do The Math on Amazon Prime

2015 amazon prime

In 2012 I made a super popular “Amazon Prime Review” YouTube video where I broke down the price structure and how much shipping you would have to do to get your money back.

Things have changed significantly since then so I’m now writing this blog post for your reference if you want to see is Amazon Prime worth it?

1st: Cost

First thing’s first. Amazon Prime costs $99 for a year.

So I see it as my job to justify at least $80 of actual cost to you.

Why $80?

Because Amazon Prime packs a wallop in convenience too. Imagine not having to run to Target or Wal-Mart another 3-4 times a year. Imagine getting your new gadget-toy in 2 days instead of 6.

That kinda stuff is worth something too.

But I want to show that Amazon Prime is mostly cost efficient, not just checkout stand convenient.

2nd: Shipping

If you use Prime for the shipping cost alone, you need to average roughly 2 orders per month to make up the $100 difference.

Why 2 orders per month?

If we conservatively the average shipping on an order at $4, then you’d need to pay that 25x to reach $100.

12 months x 2 orders = 24 orders which is right there.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to order something twice a month, just that you need to average 2 orders a month.

For example, if you’re placing 5 orders in December and 4 orders in June, when you have several birthday’s, then that would offset any down months of 1 or 0 orders.

amazon prime shipping costNote that Amazon recently upped its minimum order to get standard shipping from $25 to $35 so this becomes an even better deal. You can no longer just piece $25 worth of stuff together and get slow free shipping.

This is actually way better than industry standard. According to the Wall Street Journal, on average a customer has to spend $82 to get free shipping in online retail. It does cost money to the companies so you’re going to have to pay for it one time or another.

Of course, if you make a bunch of orders throughout the year, Amazon Prime becomes more and more a better deal.

You might not shop at Amazon that much now but maybe you transition a little more if you get a membership. Something to think about.

3rd: Free Streaming Video

When you become a part of Amazon’s club, you also get access to a decent selection of movies, documentaries, and TV shows.

In terms of selection, it’s constantly changing. I’d compare the titles to a slightly poorer man’s Netflix. However, they do put some winners in, particularly in the TV series or program realm.

As an example in movies, right now they have Wolf Of Wall Street and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire free.

With programs and TV series, they’ve got a lot of great History channel stuff and PBS shows and all that. You just have to browse to see if they have anything you like.

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As another example of the real value in streaming video, my cousin got the entire set of Ancient Aliens for Christmas.  These are about $8.99 – $12.99 apiece (or $1.99 per episode streaming) on Amazon and there’s 7 seasons.  ALL OF THE EPISODES ARE ON PRIME.

My uncle could have saved the cost of a membership by purchasing Prime and giving her the login.  (Not the same, I know, but you get my point.)

Click here to see what they have.

To summarize, if you are interested in watching any streaming video, it really does add value to Prime. I’m about to complete the History channel series, The Men Who Built America which would cost $10 on DVD. That’s a good chunk of savings for 1 month.

3rd: Borrowing Kindle Books (You Need a Kindle)

Before I begin, big * is you need a Kindle to borrow.  Kindle’s are pretty cool entertainment tablets but whether this section applies to you depends on whether you have or even want a Kindle.  Here’s the one I have.

I don’t always remember to but I try to borrow an ebook every month because Amazon Prime members get 1 ebook enrolled in Kindle Select per month.

The titles available vary based on the authors/publishing companies but I was able to get The Big Short by Michael Lewis free using my membership. The Kindle version of this book sells for $9.77.

List Price: $15.95
Current Price: $5.49
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Quite a few independent authors have their ebooks available for free so if you like independent books, this service might be even more valuable.

4th: Songs and Photos

You can also get unlimited songs streaming (don’t use) and photo storage (don’t use).

As you can see neither of these add value to me so I can’t speak from experience here but if either appeal to you, then it’s another reason to tip Prime in your favor.

Big Finish

You can now see all the costs in play. Is Amazon Prime worth it for you?

The answer depends on 3 factors:

  • How many orders you place
  • How much you would use streaming video
  • How many books you would borrow

While you think about it, you can also test it out for free: Amazon Prime is 100% free to try for 1 month.

Click here to try it out.

PS Cancelling is easy if you decide not to join.


Cool Tech Stuff I Got for Christmas from Amazon

ausdom bluetooth headphones

The #1 thing on my Amazon Christmas wish list was the Ausdom M04 Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones. I made the right choice.

These are a great value at under $50! Plus they’re super comfortable with great sound quality. Now I can pick up audio from my Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX with no wires! I use these all the time — I even make phone calls with them so I don’t have my hot cell phone against my head.

sofia and sam laptop desk

The Sofia + Sam Deluxe Memory Foam Lap Desk with Light was an unexpected gift but it’s now my 2nd favorite. This is a really cushy, sturdy laptop desk with a great light so that you can work from the couch or in bed. It’s the best laptop desk I’ve ever had and well worth $40.

List Price: $49.99
Current Price: $31.40
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IPEVO PadPillow

The IPEVO PadPillow Pillow Stand is pricey at $26 but I do like it. I lay it against my stomach while I’m in bed so my Kindle Fire is propped without me holding it.

I think it’s useful but the price should be about $20. Since it was Christmas, all the black color was out so I was stuck with khaki. Not my preference but oh well.

kindle fire hdx keyboard

Of all my gifts, this bluetooth keyboard is the one I haven’t really used besides testing it a few times. The idea behind it was to have something that I can connect to my iPhone or Kindle with and type a long blog post if I want to.

The keyboard is obviously more compact so it will take some getting used to but I can type well with it – albeit at a slower pace and with more errors than normal.

What’s nice is it comes with a very supportive case and is held onto the case with a strong magnet. This means you’re able to quickly carry a mini laptop around without much more than a Kindle Fire in its case. The bluetooth connection was easy and it quickly hooked up with my Kindle and iPhone.

As you can see everything revolved around my Kindle Fire HDX 7″ this Christmas but as you can tell from the reviews, I really like my gifts.

What tech stuff did you get?


How I Get the Most Value from Amazon Prime in 2015

Last night I was watching The Men Who Built America for free on Amazon Streaming courtesy of Amazon Prime and I couldn’t help but think of how good a deal I was getting.

List Price: $19.98
Current Price: $9.75
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I love this show and I’m watching every episode in the season (regularly $1.99 per) for free.  Best of all, I’m in bed watching from my Kindle Fire HDX connected to WIFI.  No need to get DVDs.  It just comes in online and I pause and start and stop whenever I want.

The other day I watched Wolf Of Wall Street before going to bed.  It was free on Amazon Prime videos too.

Current Price: $12.99
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So that’s me taking advantage of the free videos.

But of course the main course is free 2-day shipping on most orders.  I’ve taken full advantage of this.  During the Christmas holidays, I was ordering stuff left and right.  I didn’t need to worry about bundling orders, I just ordered.

During most months, I’d say I order 1 or 2 times, but it’s great not to have to worry about shipping or the shipping speed.

Of course, that’s not all I use Amazon Prime for.  I still get to borrow one e-book for free a month.  In January, I borrowed a book on my wish list for $6.99 for free.  Every book that enrolls in the Kindle Select program allows their books to be borrowed by Amazon Prime members for free, once a month.

By being a Prime member, you can also store photos on the Amazon cloud and stream free music but I don’t use these two benefits.

For $99, I think it’s quite a deal – especially if you ship a lot or watch a decent amount of Prime eligible movies or TV.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Amazon recently came out with Transparent which was a fairly entertaining show that my girlfriend and I watched all of season 1 of.

If you’re new to Amazon Prime, you can try it for a month completely for free.  You can check out the video section with movies and tv shows (I love the History channel specials) that are available free to members.

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I’ve been a Prime member for over 3 years now with no regrets.  All depends whether you utilize the shipping and/or the perks.



Why You Should Get Amazon Prime Now

It’s February 2014 and the jig is just about up.  Rumor has it Amazon might jack the price up on Amazon Prime $20 – $40 ($99 to $100+).  We’re still in rumor stage but at some point a price increase is bound to happen.

Look, Amazon products don’t cost very much and Prime is a great deal.  It’s such a great deal that their razor thin margins are suffering from Prime memberships (they lose money on this stuff people).  Hence, the possible price hikes.

You’ve still got to justify the cost to you (don’t buy it if it’s not worth it) but if you’re thinking about getting it, get in while the gettin’s good.

Click here to try out the Prime membership 30 day free trial and test the waters (if you buy from Amazon, you’ll love it).

Look at some of the hot best sellers you can get shipped to your home free.  Note some of these things would cost a fortune to ship on other sites.


List Price: $549.00
Current Price: $299.00
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List Price: $499.99
Current Price: $384.99
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What’s on your Amazon wishlist?


Easy Amazon Prime Review 2014

So you’re wondering if you should get Amazon Prime in 2014.  I think you should.  Here’s why:

It’s $79 a year.  That’s the huge deficit we’ve got to overcome to legitimize the purchase.

The first way to get your money back is the free shipping.  You get free two-day shipping on any Amazon prime eligible products which are most of the products (about 75%).

Second, you get to watch any Amazon Prime movies, tv shows, documentaries, etc. they have available.  The selection is similar to Netflix but not quite on that level.  Click here to see the movies on Amazon Prime.

Third, you get to borrow 1 Kindle Amazon Prime eligible eBook per month.  These can range in price from 99 cents to $9.99.  Click here to see Amazon Prime eligible ebooks.

So if you either watch eligible movies for free, download a Kindle ebook for free every month, or get stuff shipped to you free every month by an average of two times per month and place a value on speedy delivery, then Amazon Prime is going to be worth it for you.

The more you do any of the above, the better value you’ll get.  I’m happy to pay Amazon $79 for Prime because I probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 out of it.

If you don’t already have Prime, you have nothing to lose.

Click here to sign up for a month free trial.

As long as you cancel before the month is up, you don’t get charged for anything.

You can easily cancel by clicking here.



Add $50 of Value to Amazon Prime Every Year

Amazon Prime at $79 works out for me with the cost of shipping alone. But the value doesn’t have to stop there. If you have a Kindle, you can choose from literally hundreds of thousands of books to borrow from FREE every month.

I just borrowed The Suitcase Entrepreneur, an $8.99 Kindle eBook ($11 paperback), for free using my prime membership.

That’s a $9 value in one month. Not every Kindle book you buy will be this much but even if you borrow a book with an average cost of $4.16 per month, that’s $50 value in you just saved per month.

To utilize this feature you need a Kindle. Kindle’s range in price. There’s a list of Kindle’s at the end of this blog post.

One thing I love about Kindle is I can turn the ebooks I borrow or get for free (there are a ton of great free eBooks released every week here) into audiobooks. In the video below, I show you how easy this is.

I’m continually trying to educate myself and keep up on the latest in tech stuff so this is a huge plus for me. By using the text-to-speech feature on my Kindle Fire HDX (the Kindle in the video), I can turn 98% of eBooks into audiobooks to listen to while I’m driving.

Here’s my Kindle:

For me Amazon Prime is already a great deal but when you start piling on the other great uses out of it, it becomes an even smarter move. If you’re not a reader, then don’t buy a Kindle unless you intend to become one. If you are a reader, travel a lot, or have a lot of idle time, buying a Kindle is a no-brainer.

Here are some of the different Kindles and their price point.

You can view cheaper Kindles here.


How to Earn $15 Amazon Gift Cards Through Online Activity

There’s a new social discount site that’s hot right now called Swagbucks. The cool part about it is you can earn reward points and use them to get free Amazon gift cards (you can also redeem for other gift cards or cash).

Click here to see what gift cards they offer.

There are several different ways you can earn points. You can search the web through Swagbucks toolbar.  You can play games on Swagbucks.  You can buy deals and discounts (like Groupon and other sites) through them.

Click here to see the types of deals they offer.

You can also find Swagcodes (like redeemable promo codes). You can watch videos. And you can do about 4 other things but my favorite is by referring people.

So in theory, you could just post your Swagbucks referral link on Facebook and get points. It’s free to join and use. You earn all your referral’s search points (they get them too) up to 1,000 points. 1,500 points will get you a $15 Amazon gift card.

They’re basically hoping you earn points through them and give their advertisers exposure. Their search engine looks a lot like Google: Click here to check it out.

I haven’t personally tried Swagbucks yet so I can’t say I’ve had success but it is really popular and my research comes up as it’s legit.

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks.

I recommend you try it out and if it seems cool to you, earn some Amazon gift cards.

You can really rack up a lot of points if you spend your “bored” time on their messing around.

Click here to see all the different ways you can earn points in your spare time.


How to Get Cash Back and Coupons on Amazon (Limited to Certain Categories)

Anytime you can take money off the top of an Amazon order you’re doing a good job.  One way of doing that is by going to FatWallet.  What is FatWallet and what does it do?

FatWallet is a 100% free and legit website that gives you discounts when you shop through them (click their link and then shop at Amazon or wherever else).  They have a lot of stores you can do this straight cash back thing with including Ebay, BestBuy, Costco, NewEgg, Sears, Walmart, and Bed Bath and Beyond.

You don’t have to do anything special besides sign up (you can signup here) and then click on the store you want to buy from.  Once you make the purchase, you’ll be credited for a percentage of your money back in your account.

Now, back to Amazon, the other cool thing is they have coupons for random stuff on Amazon and you can browse through and see if there’s anything you’re thinking about buying.

To see the coupons, click here and then click on the Amazon button.

Keep in mind, you can catapult your cash back if you already have a cashback rewards card.  For example, if you have a 1% cash back credit card and then shop at Bed Bath and Beyond, you can get another 1.5% straight cash back.

That’s a nice little savings when you’re buying stuff you already would have bought anyways.

Anyways, you won’t always be able to save money on Amazon using this website but it’s a nice money saving weapon to have in your back pocket.  Plus, there are many other very prevalent websites you can save money on 100% of the time.

It’s free to sign up so there’s nothing to lose.

Click here to sign up.


20 Best Amazon Prime Movies, TV vs. 20 Best Netflix Movies, TV

If you currently have a Netflix membership or are thinking about getting one, you could easily replace the Netflix subscription and get an Amazon Prime membership and access to comparable free movies and tv shows along with free shipping to Amazon. That’s quite an upgrade.

The overall value is much better with Amazon Prime.

In this blog post, I run down some of the best, most popular, most recognizable, and/or new titles each has.

Netflix Selection

No Strings Attached
Breaking Bad
Family Guy
The Grey
Super 8
Lincoln Lawyer
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol
The Office
Paranormal Activity 2
The Expendables
The Lorax
Law and Order
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Captain America
American Horror Story

Amazon Prime Selection

Downton Abbey
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol
One For The Money
No Strings Attached
Captain America
The Expendables
Sons of Anarchy
Lincoln Lawyer
Super 8
Steve Jobs
The Secret
Food, Inc
Paranormal Activity 2
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
American Horror STory

Click here to see more Amazon Prime eligible movies.  This list was compiled from the most popular movies here.

A few important footnotes on the best Amazon Prime movies vs. best Netflix movies.

First, this is a cursory list compiled by browsing what both Amazon and Netflix said were their most popular movies. It is not an exhaustive list and there may very well be better titles that I did not see or mention.

Secondly, Netflix has very good titles available to be shipped but not available on Instant stream. I do not know which of the titles above are available for instant download. One major bonus to Amazon Prime is all titles are available for instant download.

Third, there may be a particular show you love on Netflix or Amazon Prime that the other does not have.  You can see all Amazon Prime available movies but I did not see a complete list for Netflix.  They want you to sign up for a free-trial membership.

The Price, Prorated Price, and Cancellation Flexibility

Amazon Prime 1 month free trial, $79/year, no cancel after free trial (comes out to $6.58/month)
Neflix 1 month free trial, $7.99/month, cancel anytime (comes out to $95.88/year)

Amazon Prime vs. Netflix Analysis

The Amazon Prime vs. Netflix comparison really isn’t even close. It’s not really Netflix’s fault. Amazon is a monster with almost unlimited power and can afford to take a loss on Amazon Prime to gain your business elsewhere. Netflix is a niche online movie rental site just trying to make it as best they can.

With Amazon Prime, you get free two-day shipping on Amazon for a year and access to comparable movies and tv to Netflix for 1 year for $79.

With Netflix, you get access to comparable movies and TV to Amazon Prime for $7.99 per month or $95.88 a year. The one trump card Netflix holds is the cancel anytime feature.

Netflix may indeed have more behind the free trial (which I did not sign up for) but I can only go by what they have listed openly and assume they’re putting their best foot forward.

One aspect I hate about Netflix is that some of their movies (many of their top titles) must be shipped. I had a subscription a few years back and this was always a major stumbling block for me (I want to watch the movie now). Also, I should mention that I do remember Netflix having a more expansive, better top title list than the one they put out.

Generally speaking, Amazon Prime romps Netflix. The best way for you to compare Amazon Prime and Netflix is to grab a free trial for both.

Click here to sign up for an Amazon free trial.


5 Tell-Tale Signs You Shouldn’t Get Amazon Prime

For those of you struggling with whether or not to get Amazon prime, here are 5 sure-fire indicators you shouldn’t sign up for an Amazon Prime membership.

#1 You don’t regularly buy from Amazon. If you don’t have an order from Amazon for an average of at least once a month, you’re not even in the running for Prime unless you plan on changing that.

#2 You don’t value 2 day shipping. If 5-8 day free shipping is just the same to you, Prime loses a lot of its luster.

#3 The majority of your Amazon purchases are more than $25. If you spend over $25, you’re typically eligible for free super saver shipping with 5-8 day free shipping.

#4 Buying from your local stores isn’t an inconvenience for you (in time, travel, or expense).

#5 Amazon prices are more expensive on the items you would normally buy at the store.

Click here to test out a free trial membership for a month.

You won’t pay a dime and all month you’ll get free shipping.