One of the ways we get the best price is by shopping Amazon.com. They use computer algorithms to decide what to price their items at, and usually their algorithm undercuts pretty much everyone. I wouldn't want to compete against them as a company, but as a consumer, they are awesome to deal with. If they are not the best price on something, I can be assured that they are at least close.
When my wife first told me about this last year, it seemed like a horrible deal. 80 bucks a year just to save on shipping? It didn't seem like a good use of that money. And a clever nerd can often score free shipping just by hitting the right sales at the right sites. But she talked me into it, and we bought a Prime account.
Not Just Free Shipping
Before we got Prime, I thought that the only real benefit to us was going to be free shipping. Over the holidays, I had bought a bunch of stuff with all my Amazon gift cards. Most of my orders were over $25, so I got free shipping, which I just automatically figured was the same thing my wife had bought. Seemed like it was just a matter of keeping all my orders above $25, right?
Nope, most of my orders were taking up to 2 weeks to arrive, where my wife was getting hers in a few days. The quality of the shipping was clearly better. She was placing an order over the weekend and in some cases getting it delivered on a Monday. I was placing my order over the weekend and wondering if I was going to die of old age waiting for it.
No Minimum Order
This took a while to completely sink in. I'm a decently paid nerd. Coming up with $25 worth of stuff to buy so I could get the free shipping wasn't a big deal. But I found myself ordering fluff items to put me over. I have no proof, but I suspect part of their pricing algorithm is to maximize the fluff you have to buy to get the free shipping.
But then it hit me. It's almost the same as going to a local store. I can buy something for 99 cents and have it be here in a couple days. Was it something I liked? Yep, I buy a couple more for $1.98 and they are here in a couple days as well.
Share With Family
Amazon allows you to share your Prime account with up to 4 close family members. I always knew that they let you share Kindle books, but this is seriously awesome. If you have a flock of nerds (gaggle?) all shopping online, then they can sniff out your Prime account at 100 paces. But there's no need to put all their orders through you - now you can share!
There's other perks, some of which we use. They have a streaming service that presumably competes with Netflix. They also offer deals on Kindle books. The wife loves her Kindle Fire, and I know that she gets the full benefits. I am currently using a Netbook as a reader, but I appreciate that Amazon is stacking up value when they could have just stopped at the shipping benefits. Prime is 80 bucks well spent.
Prime has changed the way we buy almost everything. Items we wouldn't have considered buying online we now get through Amazon. Plus, it's really cool to know I'm getting next day air delivery on a pair of socks.