Quitting Amazon Prime – How It Feels One Year Later
Around this time last year, I dumped Amazon Prime membership. I figured it would be interesting to describe what’s changed for us, what hasn’t, and our road ahead with Amazon. While I’m certainly not unique in quitting Amazon Prime, I feel it’s important to let everyone know it’s possible to live a fruitful life without it. I say this half-jokingly, but it’s also indicative of where we’re collectively at with this company. How people “cope” with not having Amazon Prime shows how far Amazon has sunken their claws into our society. Speaking of, I highly recommend everyone watch the PBS Frontline episode on Amazon from February last year. I watched it prior to quitting Prime, and it played a huge role in my decision to do so. That, and the seven reasons below.
A Quick Reset of Why I Quit
- Increasing Cost of Amazon Prime Membership: Slowly but steadily, prices continued to go up.
- Benefits We Didn’t Use: We prefer to own music and certain films. We take advantage of our local libraries. Therefore, we didn’t need Amazon Music or Video. Prime Now and Amazon Family benefits weren’t necessary for us, either.
- What’s the Rush: We didn’t care about getting stuff fast, and Amazon was delivering more slowly, anyway.
- The Competitors Caught Up: We were happy with our online shopping experiences with Target and Walmart.
- Big Value Is on Stuff We Don’t Need: We haven’t needed items Amazon discounts substantially.
- Amazon Prime Membership Is Dangerous: Amazon Prime made impulse buys too easy for us.
- I Have Alternatives with Amazon: The Prime breakup isn’t necessarily permanent. I have lower-cost, and free, options available.
The Past Year – What’s Changed
Not surprisingly, our amount of Amazon orders and spend in the last year has decreased. Since May 2020, we have ordered six times from Amazon. I’m proud to say that we have not ordered at all from Amazon in 2021. Shipping on all of our orders was free. The total spend for these six orders was $656.16. But that’s not the whole story.
The actual prices of merchandise were much higher than $656.16. How? Because we used Pay with Points promotions on four of the six orders. These promotions saved us 20-40% on each order. On top of this savings, we used discounted Amazon gift cards to pay for the orders (including all but one penny in each Pay with Points order).
Also, I’ve largely quit wasting time surfing on Amazon’s site in the past year. And time is the most valuable asset to me during my current life season. I can always make more money, but I cannot make more time.
While I’ve always enjoyed saving on Amazon, the savings from this past year have been an even higher portion of the total spend. Indeed, this past year has been more highly focused on precise, highly-discounted purchases including Pay with Points and discounted gift cards. Additionally, our overall online shopping spend across all retailers greatly decreased in the past year.
By the way, our total spend in the past 12 months would’ve been substantially lower, but I had to buy a new unlocked phone. This skewed the total up a bit, but I got a great deal.
What Hasn’t Changed
While our amount of online spend decreased in the past year, much of our involvement has been redirected to other retailers. We’ve spread out across the board, but mostly toward Target and Walmart. We also continued receiving acceptable delivery primarily from UPS and FedEx. I don’t miss the Amazon driver parking on the wrong side of the road in front of our house, or worse, blocking our driveway.
As I expected, our access to Prime didn’t drastically change, either. Throughout the past 12 months, my wife and I were each routinely offered a 30-day free Prime trial. I took advantage of the offer once in early December. We enjoyed access to Prime Video around the holidays, including our favorite holiday special on Amazon, The Snowy Day.
The Road Ahead with Amazon
I expect our Amazon consumption will continue to decrease. The fact that we haven’t made a single Amazon order so far in 2021 is a great start to the year. I expect a purchase here or there, especially when we get closer to the holidays. Speaking of the holidays, I’ll happily take up Amazon on another free Prime trial later in 2021.
I won’t say we’ll never pay for Amazon Prime again, but I’ll be surprised if we do. I’m not a reseller and I won’t get into buying groups. If anything, I’ll order a deeply-discounted gift card or a pair of running shoes every now and then.
Quitting Amazon Prime – Conclusion
Quitting Amazon Prime mostly turned out how I thought it would. I didn’t go cold turkey on Amazon purchases, but my orders drastically decreased. I encourage each of you to look at how you use Amazon and if you’re happy with their products and services. Even more importantly, are you happy with your own Amazon behavior? Always know that quitting Amazon Prime is an option. Look at your Amazon history, crunch the numbers, and decide for yourself. Take that control back. Have you quit Amazon Prime? Why or why not?