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I Quit Amazon Prime One Year Ago – Here’s How That Worked Out

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Quitting Amazon Prime

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

  1. Increasing Cost of Amazon Prime Membership:  Slowly but steadily, prices continued to go up.
  2. 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.
  3. What’s the Rush:  We didn’t care about getting stuff fast, and Amazon was delivering more slowly, anyway.
  4. The Competitors Caught Up:  We were happy with our online shopping experiences with Target and Walmart.
  5. Big Value Is on Stuff We Don’t Need:  We haven’t needed items Amazon discounts substantially.
  6. Amazon Prime Membership Is Dangerous:  Amazon Prime made impulse buys too easy for us.
  7. I Have Alternatives with Amazon:  The Prime breakup isn’t necessarily permanent.  I have lower-cost, and free, options available.

Quitting Amazon Prime

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.

Quitting Amazon Prime

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?

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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  1. I also quit a year or so back. I have enough streaming and music. And living in Seattle, I feel Amazon is just too big (and they aren’t a company that gives to the community much at all — unless you count naming an arena and playing it off as helping climate change). I’m happy with that choice, still.

    • Mark,

      Thanks for chiming in. I bet it’s simultaneously interesting and frightening having Amazon as a close by neighbor.

  2. While I am a reseller, it is a violation of the TOS to purchase items for resale using Prime. Shipping supplies are a different matter and I take full advantage of quick delivery for those items. Speed is not generally important for household purchases or pet supplies that we buy on Amazon, those would work as non-Prime purchases. I wouldn’t get the 5% discount that Prime cardholders get though. We watch Prime as much as we do Netflix and it is cheaper for just that. Add in free music, Kindle books and storage, it’s hard to beat the value. YMMV, of course. I buy a ton of product from Target, Walmart and the others. There’s just no comparison. I’m trying Walmart Plus, as much to avoid checkout lines as anything else. We’ll see if they can come up with enough incentive to make me continue.

  3. A random Twitter friend added me as ‘family’ to her Prime about 12 years ago, before they changed how that works so I was grandfathered in. Although she has disappeared, I’m still on her Prime. In other words, I get it free. If I didn’t, I would have cancelled last year when Prime shipping took weeks and there was no concession in price made by Amazon for their inability to deliver on the #1 reason people subscribe to Prime.

    • Katie,

      Great perspective that you’re ready to quit whenever “free” ends. Ride the wave in the meantime!

    • You don’t need a business account to get free shipping. You do to get tax free shopping but that’s not for everyday purchases.

    • Patrick,

      There’s no mention because I mostly haven’t bothered with Amazon in the past year. I’m glad it works for you!

  4. Target has most product that Amazon has at the same price and you get 5% off on every item if you use their Target red card which has no annual fee. Plus free shipping.
    Prime is a waste of money.

    • I buy a lot of things at Target, but they don’t have even half the inventory that Amazon does. If you find everything you need there, it’s a nicer place than Walmart for sure. Covid made them step up their game last year, that helps.

  5. I also quit Prime last November. I got a offer through Discover card for 90 days free and used that from December through March. But I haven’t paid a membership fee since November 2019. I use Target order on line and pick up in store a lot more since there is a Target a less than 10 minute drive away. I’m using up Target gift cards I bought last December at 10% off, so the prices are basically the same as Amazon. Yes, they will slightly more once my stockpile of gift card value is exhausted, but I’m not paying $119 a year so I still come out ahead.

    • Arlington Traveler,

      Nice! Your comment highlights just a few of the great hacks and workarounds for similar services not involving Amazon.

  6. I’m on the other side: because I do buying groups, I find Prime a semi-necessity. It has paid for itself from buying group activity. If I weren’t in buying groups, I’d definitely drop it.

  7. I agree with your experience. I just cancelled my upcoming renewal, just now. We live in a very rural area so I wasn’t getting the benefit of 2 hour delivery or even accurate shipping times. We don’t have a Whole Foods near us. The free monthly kindle books are bargin bin selections. I like Prime Video but haven’t been watching it as much lately. I enjoy free shipping for small items and the Music seems like an Ok feature but not ground breaking.

      • Last year was a definite anomaly on shipping. If they can’t give you the benefit in a rural area, quitting is a smart move. I had a co-worker who lived in a rural area here and used Amazon to stock up since driving to far off stores was expensive and time consuming. He took full advantage of heavy item shipping that Amazon must be losing money on. Some of that you can do without Prime as long as you hit the minimum, though some items can’t get free shipping.

  8. I have also quit. It’s been about 6 months. So far so good. I’ve made about 2 purchases this year. I also shop on other websites and eBay.


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