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How To Save on Amazon Prime

Updated on December 15, 2015
Nightcat profile image

Nightcat is a Jane of all trades and likes to pass on tips she’s found useful around the home.

Onward, Brave Shoppers!

Why am I writing a second article on Amazon Prime? Well, if I was going to do this thing, which seems big and scary when you have to pay the ninety nine dollars membership fee up front, I needed to figure out my budget down to the penny and figure out if it would really work for me.

And so far, even though it is early on, it is. I might even report in once per month here with a savings report, being honest about how happy I am. January and February should be good barometers of that as all the frozen meat will be gone and it will be interesting to see if I can stick to the program.

Please keep in mind that results vary on Amazon. I don't like quoting exact prices as they can change, but I literally saved more than a membership costs just picking up a year's supply of allergy meds with the same active ingredient as the OTC med I'm using now.

And you can really save on Prime items, easily making your membership fees back, and enjoy free shipping. Did I mention that being clever can help you absorb the costs of Prime Pantry boxes? If there are no promotions for free shipping you can always clip coupons, or use add-on items once you hit you minimum. This usually more than makes up your fee, provided they are cheaper than a similar Prime Pantry item, but results do vary.

Please keep in mind this Hub will not be completed for a year, as to keep myself honest and on track I've decided to use it as a way to track my own spending and I invite you to come along with me.

As always, all written content and photography is my original work. If you use any photos or quote this article, a link and credit are appreciated. All videos are used for educational and entertainment purposes only, if you wish to have something removed, please let me know.

Got any Additional tips?

I'd love to hear from seasoned Prime and Prime Pantry shoppers.

Got Prime? Got the Fire TV Stick?

Be Careful of Your Budget

We all know one, a person who is penny wise and pound foolish, yet they stubbornly insist their way is the right way, and we can all become that person. Prime example, I shop once a week, that's it. Naturally, I spend a week's budget at that time. And don't we all know a person who will jump in and burst our buying bliss?

Let's take a woman that shops on a daily basis. She might be pretty darn proud she doesn't spend what those once a week shoppers spend in one trip. But what are her real costs? She has to gas up her car for every trip, so there are daily gas expenses, they the daily groceries she buys. At the end of the week her total fuel costs and grocery costs might be a real eye opener. Let's not forget the quick meals she grabs on the run or to take home. And eating out. Cha-ching!

How can we avoid being her? Be honest! We all do it. That newspaper, coffee or pack of gum we don't count. That fast food or sit down meal we think the budget will just absorb. Or spending a small fortune on fuel or bus fare to get to a remote place for savings. And that's OK if we can afford to do so, but it does add up. By being honest we get a real look at our financial picture, at least as far as groceries and fuel expenses go.

I'm recycling photos until my next order comes in, have patience, dear ones. But the box is huge!
I'm recycling photos until my next order comes in, have patience, dear ones. But the box is huge!

How I Set Up My Budget

I feel the numbers are a bit personal but I looked at what I honestly spend in stores, instead of wishful thinking based on grocery prices of just a few years ago. It hurt a bit, but it actually fit my original budget instead of wishful thinking.

I added two weeks together, and then broke that amount into two parts. An Amazon Prime or Prime Pantry week has seventy five percent of my two week budget. This is the week to make up a Prime Pantry box unless I find Prime items to be a cheaper option, and I budgeted in for the $5.99 shipping fee.

The alternate week I have twenty five percent left over. Now, I can choose to do whatever I like with that money. The gas station, the bus and store or Amazon are all options, but I do not get to go over it. So, if the bus is taken the four dollars are deducted from that week's total. I can also, obviously, save that money if I don't really need anything.

I get the best of both worlds and in this way I am one happy Prime customer.

Like Christmas Morning, Only Better

Seriously when you've been waiting for it, getting your order in is the best thing ever. This was my first Prime Pantry box ever.
Seriously when you've been waiting for it, getting your order in is the best thing ever. This was my first Prime Pantry box ever.

Am I Missing Anything?

Mm, not really. So far I don't mind as I'm not a fussy eater. I honestly don't mind eating from boxes, bags and cans. Keep in mind I'm still getting to eat normal food. A light cereal bar for breakfast, perhaps a sandwich later as I can still shop for groceries Amazon doesn't carry.

I still make chili, soups and stews, I still have flour to make my own bread and I like making my own coca and such. Come spring and summer perhaps I'll grow a veg or two, but as a single gal I go a little nutty as you can't buy just what you need in fresh veg at my cheapest local store. So even though cheap, veg go flat before I can finish, and no, I don't know a single gal who'd like to go in with me on a bag of potatoes or the like.

At one point I was cooking and freezing potatoes like a madwoman, then having to cook them a second time to use, and, yeah. I'm sure the electric company wanted to cuddle me at the time. So I often stick to canned or boxed.

Streaming Movies to Your TV

How to Save On Your Prime Orders?

Clip The Coupons: Amazon, unlike local stores will cheerfully remind you if you didn't clip the coupon and the total you save can be a fair amount.

Compare Prices: Just take a second to see if you are getting the best deal. Is it the item with the coupon or another one? Say, perhaps, an add-on item?

Add-on items. Three cheers! On my Prime Pantry or bigger grocery weeks it is easy to hit the twenty five dollar minimum and add on add-on items. I saved quite a bit on one order by combining Prime Pantry items that had coupons with add-on items. It will be two separate shipments, but I honestly don't mind.

Free Shipping: Prime items ship for free, with two-day shipping. Add-on items also ship for free. And there are even promotions in the Prime Pantry from time to time to get free shipping. In November of 2015 I simply had to purchase four qualifying items and enter a code at checkout. As I did this twice I saved my shipping fees for the month.

Stick to Your Budget: I keep saying this because I'm the worst offender. I know all too well the hidden allure of buying in bulk or raiding the sales bin to stock up. If that industrial kitchen sized bag of flour or sugar would blow your budget, skip it. I don't care what a good deal it is. Unless you are a baker you'll likely not use it.

Don't Double Buy: Don't buy powdered milk to 'save money' then get a gallon of moo juice every week. The powder will languish in your pantry. If you aren't a milk fan in the first place, don't buy either. Same goes for powdered eggs and powdered butter.

Bing: Those who can sign up for a Bing account (US residents) can earn Bing points and get Amazon gift cards. I average around $50.00 a year in gift cards, results obviously vary.

Saving On Items You Actually Need

I tried living without paper towels for a few months. I went through dish rags like crazy and kept having to wash them. Amazon lets me shop around at my own pace and save. Yes, ladies, those needed items were super cheap compared to local prices.
I tried living without paper towels for a few months. I went through dish rags like crazy and kept having to wash them. Amazon lets me shop around at my own pace and save. Yes, ladies, those needed items were super cheap compared to local prices.

November 2015

I started my membership mid-month, pretty sure this was when a distant relative sends or used to send an Amazon gift card. The gift card didn't show up as of yet, so I hope all is well. But I did manage to get some good savings this month.

Free Prime shipping. Used it to ship a year's worth of allergy meds to my door and used it on my first test order. Total uses: two.

Free Prime Pantry shipping. Used the Amazon promotion of buying four selected items to get free shipping. Total uses: two.

Prime Video: Watched a free behind the scenes Avenger's clip. Going to watch Ultimate Avengers: The Movie. Free for Prime members, a rental of this film goes from $2.99-$3.99. To buy? $9.99. (Update: Kind of went on a movie watching binge. Total in rental fees saved: $20.95)

Kindle: Downloaded free Kindle app. A kindle device is no longer needed. I can read books on my computer.

To be honest, I went a little overboard on my first Prime Pantry order, and had I realized I could order add-on items after I hit my minimum my saving would have likely been higher.

Total monthly savings were a little over eighteen dollars, excluding the free streaming in Prime video.

Unexpected Savings: I can't really afford a second cable box at the moment, so being able to stream free movies and music on my computer is a great option, ditto the selections being fresh and exciting compared to my cable package.

Black Friday Savings: I got The Book of Life on DVD. A plain edition cost me $3.99 ($4.23 with tax). List price is $29.98, so I saved $25.99.

Monthly tip: Shop around! If it is cheaper to just order Prime items and add-on items, do it! That Prime Pantry box is just one of several options, and keep an eye out for coupons and free shipping deals.

Ultimate Avengers: The Movie

Ultimate Avengers The Movie
Ultimate Avengers The Movie

The true test for the Avengers this time around may be Assembling! Time has passed and Cap has awakened to a very different world and the Avengers are not yet a team. Can they unite in time to battle an alien menace? Free streaming for Prime members.


December 2015

We're not quite through with December and already my careful plans took a slight bump. It wasn't Amazon's fault. I've been picking up a goody here and there 'extra' when I got the unexpected largess of a ride somewhere and saw good sales or was walking by the gas stations anyhow...

So, what are my thoughts after thirty days? It's a good program, and I still believe it will earn its keep. On the Christmas/Yule eats and treats alone I saved a good deal, and although I'm not streaming as many films lately, they are there to be had.

There is also a sort of deal if you take slower shipping to get $5.99 off your next Prime Pantry order, though it does expire and you can only use one promo at a time, no stockpiling little order promos into free groceries, dang it.

Still, free is free and when an unexpected gift card arrived in the mail my Prime membership helped me snag more gifts for under the tree and a few treats to eat as well. All in all a good program thus far, and I know I won't die if I don't go to the gas station for bread or milk.

That powdered milk I mentioned as an example? Still sitting in the cupboard.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
As you can see, fairly well packed.Didn't see the damage here...A few slightly crushed bar boxes, one popped open, no big deal, but if you are fussy something to keep in mind.
As you can see, fairly well packed.
As you can see, fairly well packed.
Didn't see the damage here...
Didn't see the damage here...
A few slightly crushed bar boxes, one popped open, no big deal, but if you are fussy something to keep in mind.
A few slightly crushed bar boxes, one popped open, no big deal, but if you are fussy something to keep in mind.

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