I canceled my Amazon Prime subscription right as the pandemic lockdowns began. Nearly 2 years later, I don’t miss it at all.

Jeff Bezos tilting his head back and holding up his palms.
Amazon cofounder and former CEO Jeff Bezos. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • It turns out Amazon Prime isn’t necessary, even if you’re ordering from Amazon frequently.
  • I canceled my subscription in 2020, and it has had zero impact on order speed or pricing.
  • I’m saving at least $US120 ($AU166) annually on the expensive membership fee.
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In April 2020, just as the pandemic lockdowns took effect in New York City, I canceled the Amazon Prime subscription my wife and I shared.

In the year-plus since, I’ve not missed it a single time – and we’re saving $US120 ($AU166) 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 19 orders for products delivered through Amazon. Last year, the total was 20 orders.

How much were my shipping costs for all those orders? A grand total of $US17.57 ($AU24) for 2020, and a whopping $US18.25 ($AU25) 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.

An email from Amazon after canceling an Amazon Prime subscription says, 'Benjamin Gilbert, we're sorry to see you go,' with a yellow button to resubscribe.
In the email confirming my Amazon Prime cancellation, there was a massive button to rejoin Amazon Prime, naturally. Ben Gilbert/Insider

While some of those items would’ve come with a slight discount through Prime, and some would’ve been delivered the next day rather than two or three days later, it’s extremely unlikely that those discounts would add up to the over $US100 ($AU138) difference between what we’re paying in shipping now and 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 libraries that justify the fee. With rare exceptions, that didn’t happen with Prime Video for us.

More often than not, the video we wanted 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 Frankies Spuntino cookbook delivered the next day, or is it OK if we wait a few days? I think we’ll survive.

Maybe you’re a new parent and you need diapers tomorrow, no matter what. Or you have a job that keeps you from getting errands done during normal business hours. Or you’re in any 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 $US120 ($AU166) annually, though? It’s a decision worth considering.

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