I Quit Amazon Prime Years Ago. Here's Why I Don't Regret It

At the start of 2020, I decided to let my Amazon Prime membership lapse. The price of an annual membership had gone up a couple years prior from $99 to $119, and something about that extra digit made it feel like a little too much of a yearly credit card charge, even though it wasn’t even an extra $2 per month. I wanted to see how I’d get by without Amazon Prime, so I let it go. 

Four years later, and I’m doing just fine.

One of the main tipping points in my decision was when I realized I was buying things from Amazon just because I had the membership and I wanted to make sure the fee I was paying was carrying its weight. I found I was looking to buy things online that I could have just as easily purchased in person, whether it was sunscreen or hair products or laundry soap.

A lot of what I was buying on Amazon were items I could easily find in a local store. Buying them in person meant I wouldn’t have to wait the two days of shipping to start using them, and I could avoid the higher carbon footprint (and associated guilty conscience) that comes with having such basic products delivered to my doorstep. Even during that first year of the pandemic when we were all scared to go to the store and shop in person, I never felt like I needed to bring back my Prime membership.

Sure, there are plenty of random or obscure items on Amazon that I can’t find in a local shop, and I’m happy to have a place to buy those. But I don’t live in a super remote area, I have a car, and my schedule is flexible. It’s easy for me to shop for basic items in person, so why was I paying a fee to shop for them online?

I haven’t sworn off Amazon entirely

Every once in a while, I get an offer from Amazon for a free trial of Prime, usually for 30 days. Especially if the holidays are coming up, I’ll snag this offer and do a good amount of gift shopping to take advantage. A lot of my loved ones live out of state, so using this free trial saves my bank account since I don’t have to pay to ship individual items to a bunch of different locations.

I’m also a fan of the wish list feature on Amazon, where you can publicly or privately save items that you’d like to get in the future. It’s an easy way to shop for gifts for people, since they’re telling you exactly what they want. But it’s also a good way for me to bookmark particular items for myself that I don’t need but might want

Then, when I know there’s something I want to buy and can only find it on Amazon, I have a list of bits and bobs I can sort through and add to the order. That way, I’m able to reach the free-shipping threshold without randomly adding things to my cart on a whim. I feel better about making a few conscious orders on Amazon a year rather than lots of one-off orders whenever the mood strikes, even if the standard shipping takes a few days longer.

Just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean it’s worth it

If you’re assessing your personal finances and trying to find some places to cut back, take a look at the memberships you’re paying for. There’s no denying that Amazon Prime is convenient, and it includes plenty of entertainment options in the fee, from books to music to TV shows. If you find that you get a lot of use out of your Prime membership (or other streaming platform, or music service), then no need to strike it from your budget just to save money.

But if you think you’re using that membership mainly to justify its cost, then maybe that’s something you could do without. The cost of an annual Prime membership went up to $139 in 2022. That means that by going without Prime these last few years, I’ve saved $655. I’m more than happy to pocket that cash and live with slightly slower shipping.

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