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Is Amazon Prime Worth the Money?

Doug Whiteman
Is Amazon Prime Worth the Money?

Here comes Amazon Prime Day, which -- despite the name -- will tempt you with two days of impossible-to-ignore deals, deals, deals. But to score the savings, you have to be an Amazon Prime member.

A standard Prime membership costs $119 a year -- or $12.99 a month (about $156 a year), if you'd rather not make the annual commitment.

Being a member not only allows you to enjoy all the Prime Day hoopla, but it also brings other perks, like free delivery of Amazon orders, special discounts at Whole Foods, and the ability to see exclusive series like Fleabag and Jack Ryan before anyone else.

Is Prime worth having? Are there ways to cut the cost? Let's take a look.

Still a lower price vs. competitors

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Amazon Prime may seem like a better deal than competitors Spotify and Netflix.

The cost may seem relatively reasonable compared to other subscription services.

Netflix, for example, charges anywhere from around $9 to about $16 per month (roughly $108 to $192 per year), and Spotify is $10 to $15 a month ($120 to $180 a year).

And, consider that each of those companies is known for just one thing: video streaming (Netflix) and digital music (Spotify).

Amazon Prime may still be a good deal given the variety of services that come with your subscription.

Big savings on shipping

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Amazon Prime offers free shipping on more than 100 million items.

Depending on how much you order from Amazon, you might make back the membership fee in shipping savings alone.

For Prime members, free two-day shipping is available across the U.S. on over 100 million items.

Amazon tops that by offering one-day delivery for more than 10 million products, and even same-day shipping of over 3 million items in certain cities.

Video and music, too

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Your Prime membership includes video and music,

A Prime membership includes Prime Video, which offers an abundance of original content such as the award-winning series Mozart In The Jungle, The Man In The High Castle and Fleabag.

They'll eventually be joined by an original Lord of the Rings series that Amazon has spent over $250 million to acquire.

Music is another bonus. Prime members have access to over 2 million songs, plus audiobook streaming through Audible.

Other bundled-in services

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Prime members enjoy special discounts at Whole Foods.

With Amazon Prime, you also can borrow an e-book a month from the Kindle Lending Library.

Other highlights of membership include discounts on select products, and access to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature credit card, which offers significant cash-back options.

Prime members also get special deals at Whole Foods Market, which is owned by Amazon. Just scan the Whole Foods app at the register and enjoy an extra 10% off that week's sale items.

How to get Prime for less

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Yes, you CAN score Prime at a lower price.

Still not sure you want to cough up $119 for Amazon Prime? If you're not currently a subscriber, you might consider doing a 30-day free trial.

You can experience all the Prime perks: the free shipping, video, music and the rest. Not to mention Prime Day. After 30 days, you'll automatically be charged your membership fee, so you must cancel by then if that's what you decide to do.

You also should keep your eyes open for occasional promos on Prime. In November 2016, the cost of a membership was cut by $20 for just one day.

College students can get a six-month free trial followed by a discounted membership customized for them. The student rate is about half the regular price: $59 a year or $6.49 per month.

Even if you can't figure out any way around the $119 fee, you may very well find that a Prime membership is good to have — if you're likely to get your money's worth out of the many potential benefits.

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