If you have $99 to spare, one of the best deals on the internet is Amazon Prime. The benefits you can reap with an annual subscription are beyond comparison, and you earn them the second you sign up. Small surprise that Amazon Prime has attracted so many subscribers; Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates the number to be about 80 million.
There are so many benefits; it’s a safe bet that subscribers don’t know them all. Aside from free shipping and movies, did you know that free books and free photo storage are also part of the deal? Click here for seven Amazon Prime perks you’re probably not using.
But not everyone likes to pay membership fees upfront, especially when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or you’re wary of enrolling in new services online. Luckily, there are loopholes to help you bask in the Amazon sun. Here are nine tricks to score Amazon Prime perks at a discount.
1. Get the free trial
Like many online services, new Prime subscribers can sign up for a free 30-day trial. As usual, you’ll need to provide your payment details, and if you want to cancel you’ll have to do that manually when your trial ends. A month is plenty of time to take the service for a test drive to see if an ongoing membership is worth it.
2. Go monthly
If you only want Prime for the short term, you can sign up for a $10.99 per month subscription. This makes sense if you do most of your shopping around the holidays or binge-watch one particular show that happens to be included with Amazon’s streaming video service. Just remember to cancel when you’re done, or you’ll get charged every month indefinitely.
3. Get six months free
Prime Student is a discounted version of regular Prime that costs $49 per year, but you have to be a student with a .edu email address to qualify. Amazon is currently offering a free six-month trial of Prime Student that makes it an even sweeter deal for students on a budget.
4. Discount for people on government assistance
Amazon recently announced a major Prime discount for people enrolled in certain programs, bringing the monthly fee down to $5.99 for qualifying customers with an EBT card. You will need a valid EBT number to confirm your eligibility. The offer is good for up to 48 months, and you will need to re-qualify every 12 months. Click here to learn more about it.
5. Talk to customer service about late shipments
Amazon takes pride in prompt shipping, but every once in a while a certain address poses problems. If you already have Prime and you have a problem with shipments arriving outside the promised delivery window, get in touch with Amazon’s customer service. Service representatives have been known to extend Prime memberships with an extra free month as a way to make up for late deliveries.
6. Wait for a sale
Amazon Prime doesn’t offer blanket membership discounts very often, but they do happen from time to time. For example, when Amazon’s original show “Mozart in the Jungle” won a Golden Globe for Best TV Series in 2016, Amazon dropped the Prime price down to $73. It also lowered the price to $80 last November to promote its new show “The Grand Tour.” This is an unpredictable way to save on Prime, but it’s worth jumping on if a discount pops up.
7. Set up Amazon Household
You can split the cost of Prime with a willing family member. When two adults have a separate Amazon account, Amazon Household lets you share Prime benefits. This usually works best when you share with a family member you live with, typically your spouse. You have to link your accounts and share payment methods, but you will both be able to take advantage of free shipping and streaming of digital content. Household also lets you add profiles for up to four children, but the kids can’t use your account to shop on Amazon.
8. Use Subscribe & Save
You don’t have to be a Prime member to get Amazon’s Subscribe & Save discounts. By committing to a recurring ship date for certain eligible items, you can save up to 15 percent on those purchases. These offerings include quite a few grocery, household, pet, personal care, and office supplies. The more items you subscribe to, the higher your savings percentage. You can always skip deliveries or cancel your subscriptions.
9. Settle for the free shipping on $25 purchases
If you don’t care about the bonus Prime perks like streaming video, two-day shipping, photo storage, and streaming music, then you can skip the whole membership deal and just settle for free shipping. The only catch here is that you need to have at least $25 worth of eligible items in your cart to qualify. This is an easy option for patient and frugal shoppers.
How else can you use the internet and save money? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.