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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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?