Like every busy mom (and really, have you ever met a mom who isn’t busy?), I’m always looking for services that simplify my life. With two children, a husband, and a full-time job, it’s hard to fit in time for shopping. I am sure I don’t need to describe the reasons why running errands with babies, toddlers, kids, or tweens in tow can send even the most patient mom over the edge. Plus, I really don’t enjoy shopping; I’m an online shopping kinda girl. Amazon has been my own personal shopping mall for years, allowing me to shop anytime from the convenience of my kitchen without having to make myself presentable, drive to the mall, and circle for a parking place. Before I became an Amazon Prime subscriber, I would add items to my Amazon cart and wait until I reached the $25 minimum for free shipping to complete my purchase. A savvy friend kept suggesting to me that I join Amazon Prime. Her selling point? Free two-day shipping on any item eligible for Prime (and the eligible items are endless), with no minimum order. She said it would pay for itself in no time (for an online power shopper like me), and the convenience factor alone was worth the cost. Do you only want to purchase one $5.99 paperback or one $9.97 bottle of shampoo? Add it to your cart on a Monday evening, and with free two-day shipping it’s at your front door on Wednesday. It’s unlikely that I’d make it to the bookstore or Target any faster. I hit the “subscribe” button, joining Amazon Prime in July of 2011, when the annual fee was $79. Now it’s $99, but Amazon has added so many additional services that I still think it’s worth the cost.
In case you are wondering, I’m not affiliated with Amazon and have nothing to gain by touting Amazon Prime, other than sharing my favorite resource with other busy moms. While I buy a surprising amount of everyday items on Amazon, I still do comparison shop, often weighing the value of my time and the cost of gas against the few dollars that I’d save by purchasing the same item at the grocery or Target. Plus, the odds are against me sticking to my shopping list at Target, so really, I’d wind up spending more!
Although Amazon Prime now offers a host of benefits, my favorite one remains the free two-day shipping. Last spring, I forgot to pack the USB cable for my camera on our annual trip to visit family in Louisiana. With one click, I changed the delivery address to my cousin’s house and had the cable in time to download all my photos on Easter Sunday.
Amazon Prime has even helped me to fulfill my required 20 volunteer hours at my daughters’ school. Teacher requests for parents to help in the classroom dropped off completely after second grade, and volunteer opportunities became difficult to find. I created my own volunteer activity, using Amazon Prime. Each year, the students must purchase several novels as required class reading. I send an email to the other parents offering to place a group order for each book. I order the books on Amazon Prime and two days later they are delivered to my front door for me to sort, label, and send to school. It’s a win/win, I log volunteer hours and the other parents can scratch one errand off their to-do lists. One grateful mom even calls me “the book mom.”
I use Amazon “subscribe and save” on a few items we routinely order, like K-cups. Free two-day delivery applies, although you don’t need Amazon Prime to use this service. You get a discount for selecting automatic delivery, and you choose how often you want the item sent. Amazon sends you an email prior to shipping your order so you can postpone or cancel it, and you can unsubscribe at any time. I have a friend who uses subscribe and save to donate to her local women’s shelter – periodically shipping diapers directly there.
I’ve only recently started to explore the other benefits of my Amazon Prime membership. I’ve used the Kindle Books lending library on my daughter’s kindle (you can borrow one free book a month). One service that I really should take advantage of more often is Prime Instant Video, which offers unlimited streaming of a good selection of movies and TV episodes. I’ve yet to try Prime Music, but from the description it sounds a lot like Pandora, offering “over a million songs and hundreds of playlists.” I recently noticed the addition of Prime Photos, which provides unlimited cloud photo storage.
If you still aren’t convinced, Amazon Prime offers a one-month free trial subscription. The only catch is that you will have to remember to cancel your free membership to avoid an automatic upgrade to a paid membership plan at the end of the trial period. Subscribe and you, too, can enjoy the thrill of an almost daily delivery to your doorstep.