Wait — aren't you signed up for Amazon Prime at birth? That's how it works, right?
I don't remember when I first signed up for Amazon Prime. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. It's kind of like, I dunno. Shaving. It was a thing that you just started doing at some point. (Erm, and that I stopped doing a few years ago.)
Probably it had to do with faster shipping. That's a pretty unsexy answer, but years ago that was the main perk, right? Free two-day shipping, and inexpensive options for next-day shipping.
The easier question is why I've continued re-upping Amazon Prime every year. That's become an easier decision, and it's never been one that I had to spend too much time on.
1. Cheaper shipping, usually ...
Here's the thing about shipping and Amazon. It's one part black magic, another part FOMO. Depending on where you live you might get free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Or you might even get free same-day or one-day delivery. Or if you're really lucky you might even get free two-hour delivery.
And for preorders, you'll get free release-date delivery.
You'll have to pay attention to the options when you're checking out, but this is what got me to be a Prime member in the first place. And if I need something in a hurry, discounted one-day shipping (again, where I live) doesn't hurt.
2. Other Prime Member discounts
By the way, there are plenty of times when I've found that prices have been discounted for Amazon Prime members. Again, there's a little bit of black magic. Is the price really lower? Or is it just not as high? Am I just fooling myself here?
Doesn't matter. If I need it and it's "discounted," I'll be buying it, thank you very much.
3. Prime Video content
If you're a cord-cutter (oh, hey, we've got an entire site for that now) and you're looking to save some more money, there's a ton of video ready to watch from Amazon Prime Video. As in, free with your subscription. And it's available on pretty much any device you can think of.
Plus — and this is one you should really check out — Amazon Prime Video Channels makes subscribing to all sorts of things even easier. Premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime. Niche channels like yoga and British content. There's a world of video out there, all billed right to your Amazon account.
4. Free music
If you're looking for some music but don't want to subscribe to yet another music service, Amazon Prime Music gets you more than 2 million songs, free with your Prime subscriptions.
Plus they're ad-free, and you can play them back through your phone, Fire TV, or through an Amazon Echo.
5. Books, more books, and other things to read
And finally, I'm a huge believer in the importance of reading, both for fun and for information. Amazon's got a bunch of free reads, including a sort of old-school lending library.
And maybe even more important is that an Amazon Prime subscription gets you a free six-month subscription to The Washington Post. (The newspaper is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos but is a separate entity from Amazon itself.) And, yeah, I'm now paying for my WaPo sub.
So, yeah. That's why I've still got Amazon Prime. Figure I'm easily getting back the $99 a year I spend to be a "member." That part's on me, though. If I wasn't taking advantage of all that free content and those services, I'd be wasting the money.
For me and my family, though, it's absolutely been worth it.
6. Amazon Prime Day!
If you thought Amazon was crazy-good 364 days out of the year, just wait until June 16. Amazon Prime Day is the one day (OK, one-and-a-half days this year) where Amazon really rips the lid off and can save you some money.
And the really cool thing is that they're starting the savings even earlier this year.