Save on Books, Diapers, and Much More With an Amazon Membership Program

by Kelly Kehoe on 6 December 2012 4 comments
Photo: MikeBlogs

Since its inception, Amazon has dominated cyberspace in terms of print book sales and nowadays, e-book sales. It is a frugal source of literature for millions of bookworms looking to stock their shelves (or Kindles) with books. For the rest of us, it's a good source for everything else, from tools to toiletries. Recent programs — such as Amazon Prime, Mom, Student, and Local — have made Amazon’s wares even more affordable to customers who fit within these demographics. Thinking of becoming a member or subscribing to one of these services? Check out the following to determine whether one of Amazon’s membership programs is right for you. (See also: Filler Strategies for Amazon's Free Super Saver Shipping)

Amazon Prime

The biggest program that Amazon offers is Amazon Prime. For $79 per year, Prime members have access to a vast array of deals and freebies. For instance, why pay extra for shipping if you can get free two day shipping on most items on the website? This is the most-raved about benefit offered to its members, and this alone makes it worth the monthly or annual cost if you purchase enough physical goods in the span of a year. And instead of paying for a video streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, Prime offers unlimited streaming of over 25,000 television episodes and movies. Both Hulu and Netflix charge $7.99 per month for streaming, but can they claim the same added benefits as the Amazon Prime program? Clearly Amazon Prime is the winner when you factor in everything else.

Let's not forget that you can save money with the Kindle lending program, which offers Prime members one free book per month through the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. With over 180,000 books to lend out, you’re guaranteed a steady supply of exciting digital literature at no additional cost.

Unsure if you want to take the leap with Amazon Prime? Check out the free trial offer listed on their website.

Amazon Mom

Amazon Mom started as a simple concept — give mothers more discounts for products mothers buy a lot of, such as diapers and baby wipes, as well as the benefits of Amazon Prime. It offers 20% discounts on “diapers and wipes subscriptions,” as well as exclusive, family-oriented deals sent via email. Although it sounds like a great deal, it's probably not too cost-effective for mothers of kids older than 10 or 11, as the discounts are mostly targeted at younger families.

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Amazon Student

Though many companies offer small student discounts, few can compare to the Amazon Student program. Amazon is very college student-friendly in terms of discounts on school supplies and textbook offerings (they even offer a textbook buyback program). Through Amazon Student, members get partial access to Prime benefits (e-book lending and free, two-day shipping) at a lowered cost of $39 per year for four years (assuming you graduate upon the fourth year, after which the rate rises to Prime’s regular $79 per year). Only those currently enrolled in college with a valid .edu email address are eligible for Amazon Student.

Note that Amazon's textbook buyback program isn't always the best option. Sometimes you could get a better deal through other buyback programs, such as through Chegg.com or BookScouter.com. 

AmazonLocal

Created to compete with daily deal giants such as LivingSocial and Groupon, AmazonLocal lists a variety of restaurant, entertainment, and product deals as well as getaways. By entering your zipcode, you may browse deals based in your region (or on a national level, if your state isn’t listed). Discounts generally range between 20-75% off the retail or actual value of the item, vacation package, or event. It’s as easy as subscribing to AmazonLocal, browsing through the updated selections, and purchasing vouchers when you find something you like. They even offer a 24/7 customer service hotline for those who are new to AmazonLocal or have questions. The only downside is that, due to its newness, AmazonLocal does not operate on as great a scale as its competitors, and it's advised that you always compare deals through other outlets before finalizing your decision to purchase a deal. Getting AmazonLocal's deals does not require paying a fee.

What about you? What’s your favorite Amazon money-saving tip? Tell us in comments below.

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Guest's picture
Michael

Amazon Mom now requires an Amazon Prime membership. You can get that for the first three months free but if you choose not to pay for Prime after that, you lose the Mom benefits.

Meg Favreau's picture

Thanks for the catch! We've updated the piece.

Guest's picture
Guest

7.99/mo for amazon prime is no longer offered.

Meg Favreau's picture

Thanks for the heads up! It's too bad they decided not to continue with that pricing for the moment. I updated the piece.