As the founder of Dr. Budgets, you can safely assume I have a good handle on my spending. But, even I have blind spots when it comes to my household expenses. Amazon Prime was one of those blind spots. In early 2019 we canceled our Amazon Prime subscription, and we haven’t looked back. If you have Prime, you might be asking yourself “Why would you do that?!” The simple answer is that all clutter overwhelmed us. Amazon boxes were showing up consistently at our doorstep, and honestly, we just needed a break from all the stuff (click here to read our Less Stuff, More Happiness post for more on that).
As a side note, I will say that Amazon Prime was a lifesaver when our daughter was a newborn. So, please don’t take this post as an “Amazon Prime is bad!” manifesto. It is just not a good fit for our family anymore.
In 2012, we gifted my (now) father-in-law an Amazon Prime subscription. After some initial hesitation, he started to embrace Amazon Prime and used it to fuel the hobbies he was exploring after retirement. Frequently, conversations with him included what he recently bought from Amazon, followed by “Amazon Prime changed my life.” Well, this post brings that full circle. Here is how canceling Amazon Prime has changed my life:
Less Stuff. As mentioned above, all the clutter overwhelmed us! It felt like Amazon boxes were constantly showing up at our door and scattered throughout the house. We really wanted to minimize the new stuff arriving in our home. Canceling Amazon Prime naturally reduced the number of things we ordered. If something is going to take a week to arrive, sometimes we just didn’t order it. We eliminated the almost instant gratification that one/two-day shipping created in our household.
Money Saved. The obvious place we saved money was on the Amazon Prime membership fee. We also spent less at Amazon as a fortunate side-effect of ordering fewer things. This fact is proven by an analysis of buyer shopping patterns by Consumer Research Intelligence Partners that found Amazon Prime members spend on average about $1,400 per year, compared to about $600 per year for non-member customers. Our spending went from $2,661 in 2018 to $664 in 2019… about $2,000 less! I will admit that spending at other stores increased a little, but even factoring in those expenses, we reduced our spending by over $1,000. Also, and surprisingly, we often found other places were less expensive than Amazon!
More Time. This might seem like a stretch to people, but stick with me… we’ve all heard “time is money,” but I didn’t start to truly understand how deep that was until I started embracing minimalism. That $1,000 we saved also equates to time saved. We saved time because now we don’t need to work to earn that extra $1,000. We also don’t spend extra time shopping. And the hidden time savings… we saved all the time it would have taken to maintain what we bought. It might not seem like a lot, but all that time adds up! Not to mention, we no longer have Prime Video, so we save time by not watching TV shows we don’t really care about…
More Intention. Canceling Amazon Prime provided us with a few ways to shop more intentionally:
- Our first choice for retailers now is small businesses, followed by box stores with company values aligned with our own – even if it means spending a little more. Since we no longer default to shopping at Amazon (because of the free two-day shipping), we’re able to choose who receives our dollars.
- Since we need to allow more time for shipping, we have gotten better about planning our purchases. We can look ahead at upcoming events and think about what the recipient might actually enjoy (instead of what can arrive before their birthday… in two days).
- Anytime we’ve had more than a few minutes between adding something to our cart and actually buying it, we often will decide we don’t need it anymore. Because we now have to meet a minimum order amount for free shipping, we’ll often add items we think we need to our cart and then let them sit until we hit the minimum. More often than not, we’ll decide we don’t need the item! Not having Amazon Prime has created a built-in time buffer that forces us to be more intentional with our purchases.
Those are the top reasons how canceling Amazon Prime changed my life. Do you think you could give up Amazon Prime? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below! If you would like to learn if a comprehensive spending plan for your situation would be beneficial, click here to schedule your complimentary consultation today!