Every year during No Spend Month, I like to take some time to reevaluate the bills on what I call the “negotiable categories” of our budget. These would be things like the cost of internet service, insurance, and memberships like Costco and Amazon Prime.
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Could we be saving money in these categories? Do we even need those memberships? Some super frugal people are indignant about paying for the privilege of spending more money. However, I have always found that Costco at least saves a lot more money than we spend for the annual membership.
Today I want to take a look at the cost of Amazon Prime and see whether or not I should let it off the budget chopping block.
One of the things that makes being a one-car family work for us is being able to order groceries, household items, baby supplies, and just about everything else we need online. I have an Amazon Prime membership, and I order just about every item we need there. If you’re not familiar, the Prime membership includes free two-day shipping on all “prime-eligible” items (usually those shipped from Amazon rather than a third party). So, I get it almost as fast as loading the kids up and going to the store myself. Almost.Driving vs. Delivery
Because I’m super nerdy and love numbers, let’s do a little math.
It’s about 8 miles round trip for me to go to the store. The average cost of gas here in Spokane was $3.83 for 2013, but we all know that the cost of owning and operating a vehicle is far more than just gas. According to AAA, you’ll pay $0.77 per mile to operate the average SUV. I placed 52 orders on Amazon Prime last year, so that’s 52 saved trips to the store. More if you count going to multiple stores to find the best deal.
It would have cost me $320 to drive myself to the store instead of shelling out the $79 for Prime. So, I saved $241 and untold amounts of mommy energy by staying home. You can easily do the same calculation based on your own location and shopping habits.
I have also done extensive comparison shopping and found that Amazon typically has some of the cheapest prices for many of the items I buy. So, there’s some additional savings in there that’s a little harder to track. If you enroll in Amazon Mom (free with Prime), you get 20% off diapers and other kid stuff everyday.
One of the other perks of Amazon Prime is that you get unlimited streaming of many movies and TV shows. The service is comparable to Netflix. We got this handy dandy little cable for $8 (on Amazon of course) that connects the Kindle to our TV, so I can catch up on Downtown Abbey and Smash on the big screen. If we canceled our Netflix membership, we’d save $95.88 per year, which more than covers the $79 for Amazon Prime. We haven’t canceled it yet, but now that I think about it, maybe we should. But then again, I’d really miss White Collar.