I canceled my subscription to Amazon Prime right as the pandemic lockdowns began and 12 months later I don’t miss it at all

Jeff Bezos
Amazon cofounder and former CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • It turns out that Amazon Prime isn’t necessary, even if you’re ordering from Amazon frequently.
  • I canceled my subscription in May 2020, and it has had zero impact on order speed or pricing.
  • On the plus side, I’m saving at least $120 annually on the expensive membership fee.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In April 2020, just as the pandemic lockdowns were taking effect in New York City, I canceled the Amazon Prime subscription my wife and I shared.

In the year-plus since that subscription ended, I’ve not missed it a single time – and we’re saving $130 annually, plus tax, by not paying for the service.

We aren’t anti-Amazon crusaders by any means: This year so far, I’ve placed 15 separate orders for products delivered through Amazon. Last year, the total was 20 orders.

How much were my shipping costs for all of those orders? A grand total of $17.57 for 2020, and a whopping $12.26 in 2021 so far.

That includes two air conditioners (with free shipping), two large Tommy Bahama beach chairs (again, free shipping), and a variety of gifts sent to a relatively remote town in Pennsylvania.

Email from Amazon after canceling Amazon Prime subscription.
In the email confirming my Amazon Prime cancelation there is a massive button to re-join Amazon Prime, naturally.

While it’s true that some of those items we purchased would’ve come with a slight discount through Prime, or that some would’ve been delivered the very next day (rather than two or three days later), it’s extremely unlikely that those discounts would add up to the over $100 difference between what we’re paying in shipping now versus what we were paying for a Prime membership.

Moreover, even without a Prime membership, most items we buy through Amazon are delivered shockingly fast.

Living in Brooklyn, not too far from a major Amazon distribution center on Staten Island, assuredly doesn’t hurt! But I’ve had similarly positive experiences sending gifts through Amazon to family in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where packages arrived days ahead of projected arrival times.

But what about Prime Video? Frankly, we weren’t using it, and we’re already paying for Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. I can name specific reasons for those subscriptions – shows, movies, or entire libraries that justify the ongoing subscription fee. With rare exception, that didn’t happen with Prime Video for us.

More often than not, the video we did want to watch on Prime Video still required a rental fee. That happened enough times that we stopped turning on the service altogether.

My context isn’t everyone else’s context, of course. My wife and I don’t have kids, we live in a major city, and we own a car. Frankly, there weren’t a lot of good reasons for us specifically to pay for Amazon Prime.

Do we really need the Frankie’s Spuntino cookbook delivered the next day, or is it okay if we wait a few days? I kinda think we’ll survive.

But maybe you’re a new parent and you need diapers tomorrow, no matter what? Or you’ve got a job that keeps you from getting errands done during normal business hours? Or any other number of perfectly reasonable situations? I get it!

There is more to the calculation here than strictly financials, and the decision depends on a lot. For $120 annually, though? It’s a decision worth considering.

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