Amazon is one of our favorite services at Money Saving Pro. It's our top choice for purchasing online electronics and that's only one kind of product it offers. An Amazon Prime subscription makes the service even better with the power to completely change the way you shop. In case you're on the fence about paying the $99 a year for Prime, though, here are specific cases when subscribing is almost always the right choice.
If You Need Things Last-Minute With Any Regularity
Amazon Prime's two-day shipping is perfect for those who need things in a hurry. If you need things for either professional or personal reasons with little warning, Amazon Prime can save you a lot of money. Two-day shipping is prohibitively expensive if you don't have Prime. Shipping one paperback at that speed costs $13. That means if you need eight books in two days per year then you've already more than paid for Prime. The comparison between Prime and non-Prime one-day shipping is even more extreme. You pay $3.99 to ship any number of items at any size with Prime in one business day. You pay $20 to ship just a paperback without Prime.
If You Don't Want to Have to Spend $35 or More
If you don't have Prime then you have to pay about $5+ for the slower 4-5 day Standard shipping. However, if your order totals $35 or more, you can get free shipping with an estimated speed of 5-8 business days. If speed isn't a primary concern for you then the biggest thing about shipping you have to consider is if you prefer to make small orders, because every time you do you're going to be paying $5 or more. The other option is to add enough items to your cart to qualify for free shipping, and it's a viable one if you're already planning on getting those things from Amazon at some point. However, those extra purchases may cause you to spend more money than you intended to. If that's the case then Amazon Prime, while more money upfront, is going to save you cash in the long run.
If You Don't Have Netflix
The major perk of Amazon Prime, outside of its shipping program, is its free streaming service. If you already have Netflix, though, you'll be seeing double a lot because much of Prime's content is already available at Netflix. If you don't have Netflix then the Prime video library is a wonderful bonus. If you do then Amazon's streaming still gives you some new options, though hardly enough to justify the $99 a year single-handedly.
If You Like Older HBO
The biggest improvement to the Amazon Prime video library was the addition of HBO series. Most completed shows are there in full, and current favorites like Game of Thrones and True Blood have their early seasons available. If you haven't had a chance to dive into the HBO catalogue, Prime is an effective way to take the plunge. If you speed through HBO's backlist you can even enjoy the bulk of its content with just one year of Prime, all for a fraction of the price you'd spend buying the seasons digitally or on DVD.
If Amazon Prime's Other Bonuses Sound Appealing
Shipping discounts and free video streaming are the biggest attractions of Prime for most, but there are a few other services that come along with it. You get a music library with a million songs you can stream, unlimited photo storage in the cloud, the Kindle Lending Library and some exclusive deals. The majority of users would probably prefer a lower yearly fee to having these options, but some people get a lot out of those services. If you're one of them, these additional perks may push you over the edge to subscribe to Amazon Prime.
One of the most beloved shopping services around, Amazon is worth it for a lot of different reasons. If any of the above apply to you, Prime would probably make your life better or cheaper.