I Gave Amazon Prime The Boot & Why You Should Too

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Canceling Amazon Prime

Canceling Amazon Prime: Why I Did It & Why You Should Consider It Too

I love Amazon, but I love saving money more.  Sometimes Amazon shopping leads to saving money, but not always.  Subliminally, we are told that an Amazon Prime Membership is necessary for frequent Amazon shoppers who like to save.  From a business perspective, I applaud Amazon for their success in connoting Prime membership as a “need” for any beneficial Amazon relationship.  Personally, I’ve reexamined my relationship with Amazon.  For me, canceling Amazon Prime was the way to go.  It’s not you, Amazon, it’s me.  Here’s why.

RELATED: Hey Amazon, Where Is Our Amazon Prime Bailout?

#1.  Increasing Cost of Amazon Prime Membership

Remember the days of $79 for an annual Prime membership?  What about $99?  Okay, we are now at $119.  When do the increases end?  They won’t.  Originally, the $79 fee for the novel-at-the-time value of Amazon Prime was easy to stomach (for me, at least).  For almost ten years, I paid Amazon’s $79 Prime annual fee, all the while being lulled into a state where this fee was “normal” – like the electricity or water bills.  I suspect I’m not alone here.

Then, in 2014, the annual Prime membership fee increased to $99.  In 2018, the fee jumped to $119.  I continued to pay for Prime membership until a few months ago, tacitly accepting and rationalizing the increases through the marginally better benefits I was obtaining.

Bottom line, I now cannot ignore that Amazon Prime is a $119 cost, and a portion of that cost is somehow justified by spending more money.

Canceling Amazon Prime

#2.  Benefits We Don’t Use

While the costs continued to rise, I found our family using less of the benefits.  We are big music fans and have an extensive library already, so Prime Music wasn’t valuable to us.  We don’t shop for groceries via Amazon, so speedy grocery delivery is another useless benefit.  The diaper discounts we previously received via what was then called “Amazon Mom” are no longer needed, nor are any of the other current Amazon Family benefits.  Also, we don’t particularly value Prime Now service.  Prime Video isn’t offering anything we are currently interested in.  And recently, Amazon opened up complimentary streaming of children’s content, anyway, which our little ones continue to enjoy.

#3.  What’s the Rush?

Getting stuff from Amazon faster isn’t worth it for us.  We have found that with a little bit of planning, we have no problem waiting for items with no shipping costs (via minimum $25 orders).  A big key to this strategy has been to only buy items we need in order to reach the $25 minimum rather than convincing ourselves to buy items we don’t need in order to meet the $25 requirement.  The “fast” shipping was also easier to give up because we increasingly experienced erratic and unpredictable Prime shipping times.

Canceling Amazon Prime

#4.  The Competitors Have Caught Up

In Prime’s earlier days, the service clearly had a leg up on other businesses in terms of efficiency and value.  However, other companies, including Target and Walmart, have streamlined their services, providing a much similar online experience in terms of service, speed, and cost.  Even taking into account Amazon subscriptions and other discounts, I’m able to obtain the same items more cheaply with Target, Walmart, or other local stores.  Also, we have been pleasantly surprised that other retailers have a better variety of choices than Amazon on many products we consume.

#5.  Big Value Is on Stuff We Don’t Need

In my experience, Amazon increasingly offers huge values for Prime members on electronics and accessories, but we are not currently shopping for any of that stuff.  The last things we need are more tablets, phones, screens, cords, adapters, etc.  With every Prime Day or Black Friday that passes, we had found ourselves shopping less with Amazon.  Sure, some of that could be attributed to our money and spending philosophy, but we couldn’t ignore that Amazon had been offering less value to us.

#6.  Amazon Prime Membership Is Dangerous

Okay, dangerous may be a bit strong, but Prime had enabled me (and, perhaps, others) to make poor decisions.  With Prime, and also One-Click shopping, virtual impulse buys are way too easy.  Whether I knew it or not, I was rationalizing buying junk I really didn’t need.  Fortunately, these were small, but avoidable purchases.  By giving up my Prime membership for “Amazon Scrub” status, I’ve made prospective purchases more inconvenient.  Consequently, I’ve forced myself to more deliberately analyze every purchase decision and avoid dumb buys.

Canceling Amazon Prime

#7.  I Have Alternatives with Amazon

While I’m not a fan currently, I fully realize I may join Amazon Prime again based on an updated cost/benefit analysis.  Also, if I do decide to join, I know there are free and low-commitment alternatives.  For instance, we can start a free 30-day trial Prime membership based on our future needs.  If we end up going beyond our free trial capacity, I know I can pay for a $12.99 subscription for a month here or there.

Canceling Amazon Prime – Final Thoughts

These are the primary reasons why we chose to cancel our Amazon Prime membership recently.  While we love Amazon, we’re still able to get outstanding value from our purchases with them while avoiding an unnecessary $119 cost.  I’m sure many of you get outsized value from your Prime membership to justify the expense.  For everyone else, I encourage you to reevaluate if the benefits you get from your Prime membership outweigh the cost.  Why did you decide to cancel or keep your Amazon Prime membership?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence. An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their travel goals, Disney-related and otherwise.

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56 COMMENTS

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56 COMMENTS

  1. Prome shipping is slow lately. I don’t blame Amazon, just saying. But I have been using Prime Video more so won’t cancel for now.

    • True. There is a great organic supermarket in Anchorage, though. I recall visiting the store while on vacation in 2018. Still, Anchorage and the rest of Alaska is many steps behind the rest of the United States in so many ways.

  2. If you live in Manhattan like I do try to get fresh healthy groceries from Walmart like I get from Whole foods. This includes nice prime discounts that more than pay for my membership. No way.
    Regarding video only HBO had more Emmy winners than Prime. I guess you don’t watch shows like Fleabag, Mrs Maisel , Bosch, the Expanse, Hunters, Jack Ryan, Homecoming, Man in the High Castle etc https://www.multichannel.com/news/hbo-amazon-prime-rule-emmy-awards-telecast
    As far as I know Target and Walmart charge tax in all jurisdictions that require it.

  3. Benjy, I’m sorry to hear that you are ignoring one of the biggest draws of being an Amazon Prime member — the special deals and extra discounts at Whole Foods Market, the organic and natural food supermarket chain that was taken over by Amazon a couple of years ago.
    That set off a round of price cutting on so many items at Whole Foods, and when you charge your purchase on the Amazon Prime Credit Card, you get 5% cash back to use on Amazon.com (5% is the largest rebate you can get on groceries with any no-fee credit card).
    So, if you have any interest in eating healthy and eating organic — as well as saving money — a prime membership is essential, even if the annual fee goes up from the current level.
    During the Covid-19 pandemic, Whole Foods has instituted a number of measures to keep shoppers and employees safe and has special hours for seniors — much like other supermarkets — but it also takes the temperature of employees right after they report to work, in the area where shoppers used to be able to sit and have lunch or drink coffee.
    So, Benjy, your decision to drop your membership doesn’t make sense. Shopping at Whole Foods Market at least once a week is a must.

      • None here also, and I don’t need/want their other value services, they’re pushing me out not enticing me to use other services

      • OK, Benjy, but at least you should have mentioned all the deals Amazon Prime members get at Whole Foods, even if you cannot take advantage of them. You’re trying too hard to make a case against Amazon, especially when you say you don’t use Amazon Prime grocery delivery or that nothing on Prime Video interests you. You’re not the world, you don’t represent all consumers; this is just your opinion, right?

    • Victor,
      How long have you been working for Whole Paycheck…Sorry I mean Whole Foods.
      Your wages must be outstanding.

      • Jen, that “Whole Paycheck” propaganda is so outdated. You might not be aware that “Whole Paycheck” instead of Whole Foods was an ad campaign mounted by Stop & Shop, a supermarket chain with an extensive line of organic products. But after Amazon bought Whole Foods, prices throughout the store were cut repeatedly, and special deals and discounts were extended to Amazon Prime members. I believe the 5% cash back I get by charging my Whole Foods purchases to the Amazon Prime no-fee credit card pays for my Amazon Prime membership. There are good buys throughout Whole Foods on organic produce, grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood. And, yes, I am comfortably retired and can afford to shop there.

  4. There isn’t enough spare time for me to watch everything I like on Prime video (including a few Amazon exclusives). The music selection is inexhaustible when I need digital music. There are a ton of free Kindle books. Prime members get 5% back if you have the card. The one to two day shipping isn’t always necessary but when it is, it is irreplaceable. Pre (and likely Post) Covid the delivery times are hard to beat. My experience with Wallymart is that they have a long way to go to catch up. Staples is the only place that almost matches the Amazon Prime delivery experience.
    I don’t know how high the fee would have to go to make it a bad deal, obviously YMMV. It seems a lot like annual fees for credit cards. Many folks aren’t able to get enough value out of benefits to justify the cost.

  5. I never understood Prime. I use my business account, and most things ship free. Many of the items that ship free with Prime are more expensive. I didn’t care when I had Citi Rewind, but without it, I do. Target and Walmart are cheaper with free shipping. I never realized how much I was overpaying on items until I did Citi Rewind.

  6. What about ethical reasons? The damage Amazon has done to small businesses, the damage to the environment that all that shipping does ( the over packaging is insane!), the crummy way the company treats their workers, or the lack of charitable or civic contributions from Bezos?

    • To answer your questions:
      What about WalMart and what they have done to mom and pop stores? And you the consumer get the benefit in lower cost, that’s why you shop there.
      Environment: When God created the Earth (read Genesis 1 for new information) He very well knew what would be needed in the future to sustain the planet. God is not stupid.
      The workers? Amazon doesn’t force people to work there ! It’s a free country.
      Lack of charitable or civic contributions: LoL….how many billions of $$$$ have you given to charity this season or any year? And most people’s gifts to others are not public information.

      • Lol Jen, you Americans are funny. God gave you the American land and resources within it did he? Funny, I didn’t see his signature on the declaration of independence.

        And pretty sure Adam and Eve were punished for what they did in Eden not rewarded. What verse exactly says go kill the trees and snakes and wildlife and you will be rewarded?

        Oh, you’re just making it up, sorry!

        And if its a free country why don’t they just get a better job? Why are unions still a big thing in America, when they’re declining elsewhere in the developed world. And why are you repeating other people’s mantras, no free thought?

  7. For me in Hawaii I only used Prime for the free shipping, I used to receive items within 4-10 days. Lately it sucks I have 3 simple food items im still waiting to be shipped that I ordered 4 months ago way back on 18 Jan!! Most other items are taking 2-3 weeks during this time. I never use the music or video. Prime only allows free streaming of old films to stream newer films there is still a rental fee which makes it pointless. I get Netflix free through T-mobile and I have a Plex account for all newly released movies for free. Once my prime subscription runs out I will not renew unless they slash membership cost drastically as I currently get zero value out of it this year.

    • Mike,
      Thanks for describing the reality of Prime for Hawaiian residents. I hadn’t previously heard specifics from a local.

  8. I’m finding almost nothing qualifies for getting no rush credits anymore. This has been a huge abrupt shift and has me second guessing keeping prime.

  9. I verified I’ve been a Prime member since a least 1999. I’m still going to stick with it since there is enough streaming options to help defray the cost.
    I will say I have been happy with Amazon customer service. On my parents account, my mom passed away in 2018 and I went in and updated the account for my dad and canceled Prime. Some how it then reverts to the monthly Prime if you don’t opt out. When reviewing my dads credit card he had been charged $13.77 for 16 months. I called Amazon to make sure they stop doing that, and to my surprise they refunded $13.77 x 16. He had never used it, but it was cool they refunded when I just wanted them to stop charging it going forward.
    BTW back in 1998 I bought AMZN stock (<$15 ) and after something like four or six quarters of them loosing money I bailed on the stock. Oh well.

  10. You have a good point – and another reason is that these days several items you buy are no longer Prime – I wonder if they might extend some sort of retention fee rebate – based on the fact that many Prime members haven’t been receiving Prime shipping benefits lately

  11. Target and Target.com match amazon prices on most items and have free shipping with the target red card and 5% off extra if use the card.
    Walmart and Target both ship free above $35

  12. The other problem is that Amazon now uses the Post Office for most of my deliveries. They generally sit at that office for an extra day. No more Fedex or UPS dropping on my door step. But, if the shipment is $10 per order and I do only 12 orders per year, it is a breakeven. Paying with Amazon gift cards is a good idea. My wife teaches school and we do buy alot of books and school stuff for her at Amazon, not to mention the things for grandkids. Some of that grandkid stuff is bulky and costs us $25-45 to send from our home to theirs. I would just as soon have Amazon do this and wrap for us too. My takeaway is buy Amazon gift cards and keep Prime. I also pay for Amazon stuff with a ATT More card that earns 3%. That is about the only thing that card will pay 3% on. I am thinking of changing to a no fee Citi card instead of the ATT More card.

  13. I agree with you totally. I have never joined prime and probably never will. Not even the 30 day trial. I have noticed they now sort of “punish” me for not having prime by purposely slowing down my orders but its rare that what I am buying is that time sensitive. A few years ago, I was in the market for a fan and Amazon only sold it to prime members. But, walmart and home depot both had the same fan at the same price with faster shipping.

  14. I’ve also decided not to renew for the folly:
    1. Greedy Prime annual increases
    2. Requirement to pay pay taxes on purchases
    3. Not so great video “prime free” library
    4. Growing number of deliveries no longer 2-day
    5. Prime membership is not considered an essential “utility” for me.
    6. Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Costco, and more all within a couple miles of my home.

    • Rick,

      All good points! In my view, the prime video library has an erratic variety for our tastes, at best.

    • Interesting comments, but not entirely accurate

      1. Greedy Prime annual increases – Freight/fuel prices go up, plus all the licensing done to get all the other stuff you get on Prime (music, video, etc). Cost of doing business
      2. Requirement to pay pay taxes on purchases – Do you blame Costco or Walmart that you pay tax too?
      3. Not so great video “prime free” library – Agreed (but still good if it’s your only streaming service)
      4. Growing number of deliveries no longer 2-day – Wrong, before Corvid-19 most things were shipping/delivering next day (unless you live in the sticks)
      5. Prime membership is not considered an essential “utility” for me. – Depends on how you use it.
      6. Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Costco, and more all within a couple miles of my home. – Me too, but some things are still cheaper on Amazon and I can wait a day or two.

      • I have mixed feelings…Taxes are forced upon by the government if a business has presence in the state. If you like reading, they have a good collection as well, I can live w/o prime video. I live in Miami and there’s a warehouse a couple of miles from my house and I have noticed some deliveries taking longer than 2 days. I am undecided at this point and I have taken advantage of the MR, UR, Discover, Thank you offers. I’ve racked up $120 already on purchases I needed to make anyways, does anybody know if I need Prime Membership for that?

    • Ben, none of the stores you list can match Whole Foods Market on organic and natural food, and that’s where Amazon Prime members get special discounts and deals, as well as 5% back when they charge their groceries and wine on the Amazon Prime Credit Card.

  15. No one competes with Amazon for prime value, delivery, selection, and many other services. They outperform most of the time and nearly always have what I need. I’ve tried Wal Mart, with very mixed results. Best Buy doesn’t even compete online, with a horrible experience half the time. Trying to downplay Amazon’s superiority is a bit laughable.

    • Zed,

      I’m glad you’ve had great experiences with Amazon and found a merchant that works best for you. Indeed, I hope everyone finds the best options for their respective situations, Amazon and/or otherwise.

  16. What about if you are locked into the old pricing or a student membership ($49/year)? Is it still not worth it?

    • Jeremy,

      Great question, but everyone’s situation is different. Without crunching the numbers and knowing a particularly person’s needs, this question can’t be answered. I encourage everyone to do their own cost/benefit analyses to ensure sound decisions. Thanks for reading.

    • I don’t know if this was mentioned, but I’m grandfathered I go an old Prime membership where my Mom and Sister also share Prime (as does my wife, though that’s kind of silly now).

      So as I see it I’m helping them out and we each have a $40/year membership.

      • I thought that Prime could only be shared with one other person (two people total). I used to share with my brother & son so cost was split 3 ways. That changed a few years ago and I don’t recall seeing any grandfathered option to continue to add 2 other people to your shared group.

  17. I never thought that the cost of Amazon prime was worth it. Even if I need something for less than the $25 free shipping amount, I can always find something that I want to get over the free shipping threshold. I do pay for a Costco executive level membership, but I feel that I get enough out of it to justify the cost. I do enough business with Costco that I usually get at least $100 back per year with the 2% executive rebate. This brings my true membership cost down to about $20 per year.

  18. when i buy amazon gift cards at office depot i get 5x miles for everything
    i buy at amazon. can’t beat that.

    • Bob,

      Yup, I too enjoy 5x Ultimate Rewards points for Amazon orders when they have the best deal. And no one needs a Prime membership to get that!

    • When I buy Visa gift cards during a sale at Office Depot, I get 5x everywhere. I’m not limited to just Amazon.

    • I get 5% back from at least two cards for nearly everything I buy on Amazon, including grocery gift cards (with no annual fee). The Visa selection is low denomination, but so iare the office supply stores. The best place to buy Visa or M/C G/C is the supermarket (better than Simon too).
      None of that requires Prime of course.

  19. I completely agree. Walmart ships in 2 days free with FedEx for orders over $35. The shipping actually works for the most part.

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