On 9/25/15, I signed up for Amazon Prime, again (note: that link will get you a 30 day free trial). A few months ago, I wrote about how I was letting my Amazon Prime membership lapse after several years. It was a decision based on perceived value and I haven’t changed my mind that it was the right one. I have actually gone about 6 months without really using Amazon and have survived. However, things can change quickly and I found a new reason to have that membership.
This is a story about protecting my most cherished memories and it resulted in a reconciling of my Prime membership (relationship?).
On that Friday, the one year membership price was reduced to $67.00. With tax it was $72.53, but I used my Chase Freedom card and will get 5% back in Chase Ultimate Reward Points (5% back from Amazon this quarter), that puts the total cost at about $68.40.
Last time, I focused on my purchasing activity when deciding whether or not to keep Amazon Prime. I was not using it enough on free 2 day shipping to justify the recently increased cost to $99. However, I did not really cover 2 other important aspects of the membership that provide quite a nice value proposition.
Free Hard Drives!
First, is the photo, video, and file storage solution that is aptly named Amazon Cloud. It comes with 5GB of storage for videos and files (for me that would include tax returns, must have spreadsheets, etc). For photos, the storage is unlimited.
In the past, I had used backup external hard drives and more recently Dropbox. The cost of losing my photos has gone up exponentially in the last 3 years. Instead of keeping photos from college and vacations, I know have to protect wedding pictures, baptisms, birthday parties, etc. I could never replace the pictures from my 2 boys’ first birthday parties.
Since external hard drives can fail, I wanted to have a cloud based solution for my photos. Even though storage prices have dropped, buying a new hard drive every few years is expensive. Also, you never know when they will fail, so you would probably keep two going, which creates even more hassles.
That leads to Dropbox. Dropbox was an okay deal at $99 and I really liked the interface. With the i-phone app, I could see all of the uploaded pictures, files, and videos easily on my phone. I have never had any problems with it. You can get about 2.5 GB of storage for free, but there is no in-between from the free service to the 100 GB for $99 a year. I have a lot of pictures now, but the videos make up a big chunk of the storage needs. I should probably try to delete some of the worst quality or redundant videos as well.
Videos and Shows
Okay, so not everyone is a cord cutter. I am officially a cord cutter as of about 2 weeks ago! I can now utilize the plethora of movies and tv shows available with an Amazon Prime membership. Having gone all in with an Amazon Fire TV now, I have to say we have been using the Amazon Prime tv shows quite a bit. For the cartoons and many other shows. I have to say my favorite is Suits. It was a show on USA that I had seen once and decided to start watching it. My wife is now somewhere in Season 3 about 10 shows ahead of me!
We utilize this portion a lot (so far), but we may not use it very often later on once the newness wears off. We have also found a lot of cartoons and movies for the kids to watch. I think it will be nice to have, but the photo storage is really the value piece for us at the moment. Hulu will probably be our main tv connection and Amazon Prime videos will be number two (currently it is about 50/50 on usage).
Recommend it or not
So, I suppose outside of my photo back-up story, the real question is whether or not I would recommend Amazon Prime for $99 (or less). I think the answer is, it depends. If you like to order things from home without the hassles, it is for you. If you want access to a bunch of tv shows and movies, it might be for you. If you want unlimited photo storage, it might be for you if you do either of the first two things.
I don’t currently use the music streaming feature or the book borrowing feature that migh be appealing to some. We will probably make a few orders as occasionally Amazon has the best deal. The free 2 day shipping will be nice. We sometimes use the subscribe and save along with coupons to find a really great deal (you have to watch for them).
I think it all comes down to what you want or need. Please note the amazon links are affiliate links, but this post was based on my thought process regardless of whether or not I get any clicks. Hopefully, I gave you something to think about. For those that already have Amazon Prime, I hope you realized there are some extra benefits you might want to try out! Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial and support Early Retirement Ahead!