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Old 03-26-2012, 10:09 AM
 
327 posts, read 794,730 times
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My wife and I are attempting to cut back enough so that she can stay home with our daughter (6 months old) and one of the things I looked into was an Amazon Prime membership so that we can "cut the cord" and get rid of cable. I am getting a cheap PC from a friend with Windows Media Center 7 and purchasing an antenna so that we can capture OTA TV on DVR-the Prime membership will get us instant streaming TV and movies (basically just like Netflix) for $80 a year. I was talking about this with a friend who mentioned that he and his wife are also Prime members, but that they basically use Amazon to buy everything-even groceries, diapers, etc... I've bought a few things from Amazon-mostly books, so I was shocked when I searched for (and found) everything from baby wipes to ketchup to tuna fish. The trick is that when you're a Prime member you get free two day shipping on basically anything they sell.

The way I see it there are a few possible pros and cons-obviously convenience and time saved could be pretty substantial. If we purchased most of our groceries via Amazon (basically anything besides fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and perishables like dairy and frozen items), actual grocery store trips would be smaller, shorter, and possibly less frequent. There's also the fuel savings-not insignificant with the price of fuel these days. Obviously the instant streaming is great-way more selection than cable and it costs less per year than cable costs in a month. It would also be convenient to be able to go down to the pantry and see that we're running low on paper towels for example and simply grab the laptop, order them, and have them arrive on the doorstep in two days rather than remember to write them on the list and grab them on the next grocery store trip. The one big (possible) con I see is price comparison and the ability to use coupons-I'm not aware of the ability to use coupons on Amazon but if I'm wrong on that please let me know. The other thing is that it's hard to comparison shop the grocery store vs. Amazon unless you're in the grocery store comparing prices on a smart phone (neither of us have them-too expensive!)-so I would constantly worry if we're really getting the best price. It seems as though Amazon is really about volume, much like the wholesale clubs-I have to do some more investigating to this end. I'm curious to hear from others who are Prime members.
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Old 03-26-2012, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,603,351 times
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I have attempted to save money by looking up quite a few grocery items online, and have never found anything that I can buy cheaper on line than at supermarket prices. That's list price, not even counting shipping. And if I still have to go to the supermarket, probably with the same frequency, for perishables, it costs no more to buy other things there on the same trip.

Almost all food items that can be found online actually cost more than at the supermarket, because generic brands are not available online, and nearly all food outlets online list only specialty items, which are way, way more expensive than their common counterparts on the shelves in town.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,189 posts, read 14,083,338 times
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Not a prime member but was an avid Amazon shopper but have backed off. We cut the cable over 3 years ago and just bought series we like from the past, watch some shows on their internet website (CBS, Lifetime, etc) and some on hulu but not many on there. I had shopped Amazon very heavily for awhile but they really started to raise their prices on food type items (never found other non-food grocery type items to be a good buy with them) and I began to shop other websites, smaller ones, and found better prices. I don't think I ever seen them beat Wal-Mart prices but on specialty items not available out here in the middle of nowhere, I just did better comparing costs on the different websites since I buy in bulk. I also noticed that buying in bulk over time started to mean some of the items coming in were close to the expiration date and it was hard to 6 of an item in a short time. And then you have the issue of buying 6 and you can barely choke down one. We still shop Amazon for used books, video games, CDs and DVDs but our shopping there over the last 6 months has probably dropped about 75% of what we were doing there. We generally spend over the $25.00 so the shipping is free but takes awhile. So, basically if you after just the ability to have a replacement for cable, I guess that would work out OK. Oh, and beware of signing up for automatic delivery because that lower price is most likely only for the first month and after that you pay increases as the price increases and I saw a few complaints about that and skyrocketing prices. Takes a lot of effort to save a dime these days.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:48 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,495,960 times
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We have been shopping with Amazon for many years. Before placing an order, I always compared their prices with other websites and stores in the area. Half of the time, I found Amazon less expensive than regular and/or online stores, especially with zero tax, free delivery, and no hassle return/refund/dispute. If Amazon price were higher or if their customer service were not to our satisfaction, of course we would go elsewhere. We do not have Prime membership, but most of the items we ordered were free delivery anyway (usually 5 days but never longer than one week.) For the few that were not, we used our children's Prime account (but with our credit card and our home as delivery address.)

Over the years, we have bought electronic items (TouchSmart, iPods, and GPS), small appliances (espresso machine, room heater, vaporizer, table lamps, electric blankets, beverage dispenser, etc.), gifts for the grandchildren who live in a different state, and even several items of furniture. The only bulk food items we bought (regularly but not automatic delivery) from Amazon are steel cut oats, Southern grits, and whole grain farro, things that we consume in high quantity and prefer high quality.

We don't have cable TV; we don't even own a TV. In the last four year, husband has been using Netflix, but since the beginning of this year, he started to dislike it for one reason or another. We will try Prime for one month to see how it goes. If we decide to subscribe afterward, it would not because of the free delivery (as mentioned before, we usually get it anyway) but only to replace Netflix.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 03-26-2012 at 02:16 PM..
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:58 PM
 
629 posts, read 1,370,825 times
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Buying food (even through Amazon) is one of those things that continually show up on the "do not buy these things online if you want to save money" lists that various news outlets and authors put together from time to time. You'd probably be better off to just keep lists of the dry/canned/non-perishable type foods you need and buy them at the supermarket when they're on sale and you're there for fresh produce.

Keep in mind also, that buying things online tends to cause people to buy more than they would otherwise if they had to wait until they went to a physical store. If scanning all the items online leads to more impulse purchases that you wouldn't buy during a trip to the store then it's just going to cost you more $$.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
8,881 posts, read 15,649,371 times
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I've got the free trial membership right now. While Amazon offers quite a few movies via their online streaming service, I'm not real impressed with their selection of freebies available with the Prime membership. Although I should say that I've mostly been looking for family movies that we can all watch and enjoy together; they did actually have quite a few shows for preschool-age kids, and I really haven't looked into what they have for grownups.

If you're looking strictly at streaming video, Netflix or Hulu+ is probably a better deal for the money, but Amazon Prime does have some other advantages.
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,016,307 times
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As a long term customer of Amazon I find that the Prime membership is worth the money provided.....you shop often at Amazon, own a Kindle ereader, and enjoy a wide, if not current, selection of videos.

If you only shop at Amazon then you are paying for two day shipping on most, not all, items sold by Amazon.

I bought a Kindle off ebay that I registered with Amazon to source my reading material. Shop there often and enjoy the video offerings to supplement my cable. For me and my wife it's all good since we save a bundle in bringing the world to us in our small town rather than waste time and fuel to shop outside of our small town. (nearest city shopping is 25 miles one way and 45 the other way.)

So it's the TOTAL cost(cars,fuel,time etc.) to shop that makes the difference.
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 17,016,307 times
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One point I need to add about an Amazon Prime membership.

Pay very close attention to the prices you are quoted for anything you buy since Amazon tracks what you and what you're price point sensitivity is. To high and you won't buy, to low and they loose money , their computers try to find that sweet spot that you will buy every time.

Their computer uses a cookie to ID the price you will be shown which can be ,and often is, different from other buyers.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,241,258 times
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I got a trial prime membership with the Kindle Fire I got for Christmas and decided to renew it for the year. I don't really buy groceries on there, but they do have the canned cat food we buy - they sell it by the case and it works out to about $7-$8 less than if I bought 24 cans at the pet store, so that's a little something.

Also, it has been convenient for other things that I would normally buy anyways - the price difference may not be much, but if it saves me an extra 30 minutes here and there to actually go out and buy some of these items in person, yeah...I think I am getting more than my $79 worth over the course of a year.
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:32 PM
 
541 posts, read 692,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Pipes View Post
One point I need to add about an Amazon Prime membership.

Pay very close attention to the prices you are quoted for anything you buy since Amazon tracks what you and what you're price point sensitivity is. To high and you won't buy, to low and they loose money , their computers try to find that sweet spot that you will buy every time.

Their computer uses a cookie to ID the price you will be shown which can be ,and often is, different from other buyers.
Woah! How did you find this out (source???)? I'm an avid Amazon.com shopper (buy in bulk for the Office and Home). This seems important to know about even though I do check prices before I hit the "place order" button! Found this CNN article mentioning it:
http://articles.cnn.com/2005-06-24/j...rs/3?_s=PM:LAW

To the OP, I've been contemplating Amazon Prime membership for the free movies, but I found out my ISP puts a cap on downloading and Netflix is eating it up!!!
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