Why I Spend $9 a Month on Amazon Prime

If you’ve never taken the plunge and tried Amazon Prime the holidays are the BEST time to sign up for a free trial. When you sign up forAmazon Prime you get a free 30 day trial. After the 30 day trial you can cancel your membership and you won’t be charged. 

However, being a frugal shopper, I like to save money and it rubs me the wrong way to spend money on things we don’t really need.

When Amazon Prime was first introduced I was skeptical.

I’m going to pay how much per year for what? 

My brother, who is always first to find out about these kinds of things signed up right away. After a year of watching him order off Amazon and never pay for shipping, while I waited for free shipping deals, trying to get my order value up to get free shipping, or missing out on great deals (for things I needed) while he was able to order them and have it delivered to his house in two days I decided to try it.

I signed up for a Amazon Prime free trial and I was hooked. After I did the math I realized the $99 fee was only $9 a month, less than two trips to Starbucks. Could I justify the $9 a month? Did the savings add up?

It did, and here’s how.

I absolutely love Amazon Prime. Not only do I receive free shipping on almost every item I purchase at Amazon, I also have free music, movies, and Kindle books! It's totally worth the membership price.

Amazon Prime is FREE for 30 days.

Yes, this is a marketing tactic from Amazon, however you can use Amazon Prime for 30 days then cancel and be charged nothing at all, ever. So for the next 30 days you can enjoy all the Amazon Prime Day deals, free shipping, holiday playlists, free books on Kindle and movies for free.

You must cancel your membership at the 30 day mark if you try it and decide it isn’t for you.

This is how I started my membership and realized about 15 days in that I loved Prime and would be keeping my $99 yearly membership.

You can sign up for your trial membership here

Amazon Prime gives you Free Shipping on thousands of items every day.

I have six kids at home. It isn’t easy to load them up and take them on errands with me. Many of the items I purchase are available on Amazon for a competitive price.

If I can shop on Amazon instead of loading up the kids and taking two hours out of our day to shop it is worth it just for that.

Also, if something is only available online, I usually purchase it from Amazon because I know I get free shipping and the price is better (which it usually is).

I do most my Christmas shopping on Amazon.

For the last fifteen years we’ve lived away from our family and have not spent Christmas with them. This means mailing gifts every single year. With Amazon Prime I ALWAYS have free shipping, never have to wait in line at the post office (seriously that’s a nightmare at Christmas) and the gifts always arrived in two days!

Amazon carries so many products it is almost impossible not to find a gift for a loved one on the site.

Amazon Prime gives you FREE Kindle books through the lending library.

I love to read, and we love to go to the library. Sometimes the books I want to read are not available at my library and I’ve waited, weeks and months for books to come in. When you have Amazon Prime you are able to “borrow” books for 30 days to read on your Kindle.

This is an awesome way to read without spending money, worrying about library fines, or lost library books. They have over 500,000 titles available in the lending library so there’s probably a few books available you have on your list.

Amazon Prime gives you unlimited photo storage.

This is a new feature for Amazon Prime and probably the one I’m most excited about after free shipping. Since I pay $30 a year to a photo storage company and another $10 a month to Dropbox to store photos this feature pays for itself every year.

Cloud Drive offers secure online storage, automatic photo backup, and lets you access your photos anywhere: on your phone, computer, tablet, or any Fire device.

After losing 40,000 and three years with of photos this summer when my son dropped my computer (some where backed up, some weren’t). I’ve been uploading photos to the cloud. I don’t want to lose any more photos and when you take as many as I do you need unlimited photo storage!

Amazon Prime gives you thousands of free videos and television shows.

I don’t use this one often because I’m not much of a tv/ movie watcher, but it’s definitely a great savings.

You can instantly stream Prime Instant Video titles from your computer’s web browser, Fire phone, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, iOS devices, and hundreds of other Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top-boxes, and gaming consoles.

They have lots of kid’s shows available for free including Thomas, Veggie Tales, Angelina Ballerina, as well as lots of holiday movies.

Amazon Prime gives you free streaming music.

We’ve been paying $9 a month for Spotify for the past year. Now Amazon Prime gives you free streaming music. They have over a million titles including holiday music and playlists (yay! Love me some Christmas music!)

This is a new benefit for Prime members that I’m excited to try out. I’d love to cancel my Spotify account and save!

Amazon Prime gives you early access to Lightening Deals.

I love Lightning Deals around Christmas time and on Prime Day because the prices are really amazing. A Prime membership gives you access to these deals 30 minutes early, so if it is something you really want to buy it will be available early and you’ll be able to get it before it sells out.

Six Month Free Trial for Students!

If you have a child with a .edu email address they are eligible for a free six month Amazon Prime Student membership. The benefits are the same for a student membership but if you decide to continue with the program it is only $50 for the year instead of $99.

Sign up for the student membership here

For my family Amazon Prime adds up!

Amazon Prime yearly membership $139 or $10.99 a month.

Things I don’t need because I have an Amazon Prime membership:

  • Dropbox $10 a month
  • Spotify $10 a month
  • Netflix $8 a month
  • Photo hosting $30 a year

Total savings each year: $366 

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership this is the BEST time of year to start your free trial! If you don’t love it, cancel before your 30 days are up and you pay nothing.

I think it is worth the $9 a month that a membership costs because I use Prime almost weekly. I’ve purchased fixtures, fans, lightbulb, paint, even wallpaper scrapers from Amazon in the past year and I’ve never had to worry about waiting for an item to arrive or paying for shipping!

Do you have Amazon Prime? Do you think it is worth $99 a year? 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

How to Reduce Spending and Tighten the Budget

When you see your bank statement and realize how much money you spent, it can be earth shattering. Learning how to reduce spending and tighten that budget is possible, if you have the right tips. Slowing down your spending is a matter of determination and finding a formula that works for you.

Learning how to reduce spending and tighten that budget is possible, if you have the right tips and find a formula that works for you.

Get everyone on the same page

The first step to reduce family spending is to get everyone on the same page. Also known as having that awkward money conversation with your spouse (and with older kids in the house, if they are aware of what’s going on). By getting the whole family on board, you are going to see success sooner.

Cut out extracurricular activities

This one is going to be painful, but it is worth it. If you can’t afford to pay your bills at the moment, then something has got to go. Usually the first thing to go are extracurricular activities. If your kids are old enough to pitch in and help pay, great. If not, it might hurt a little bit, but you have to get that budget under control. You can’t get it under control if spending is over the top.

Know what you are spending

Most people don’t keep track of their spending because they don’t want to know. The only way you will ever reduce spending in your family and tighten the budget is if you know what is going out. You can easily reduce spending by keeping track of your bad spending habits. Buying coffee, going out to eat, trips to Target – it all needs to be documented. It is going to hurt knowing the truth, but it will be worth it.

Work on getting rid of debt

I have noticed in our family that debt really hurts our overall budget. When I take time to look at our debt and figure out a way to reduce it, things look better. Credit card debt, medical debt, and vehicle debt can weigh your family down financially. Working on getting rid of debt can help you reduce spending and tighten the budget.

Stay organized in your finances

Last, but not least, you need to stay organized when it comes to your finances. Organization is the key to reducing family spending. Keeping track of finances, keeping track of the budget, and executing your financial plan are all parts of staying organized in the finance department.

How do you plan on reducing family spending this year? How do you plan on tightening your budget? Share your tips below!

More budgeting tips

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10 Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers for Under $20

It seems like all my friends are using essential oils these days. And since I’m always looking for fun, cute, and affordable Christmas gift ideas, I compiled a list of some essential oil accessories I’ve been thinking of buying for my friends this year.

All the gifts are under $20 (most of them are under $10), so they are easy on the budget and the essential oil user in your life will love them!

A list of our ten favorite essential oil stocking stuffers under $20. They are easy on the budget and the essential oil user in your life will love them!

We’ve compiled ten of our favorite essential oils gifts and they all are under $20! These gifts are perfect for stockings, secret Santa presents, under the tree, and more.

Aromatherapy Necklace with Leaf Charm

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Necklace with Leaf Charm from The Oil Collection

You can’t go wrong giving this beautiful diffuser necklace as a gift! You can diffuse your oils all day long when you wear diffuser jewelry. Just add a drop of oil to the pad and place in the locket. Your oils will be nearby at all times.

Essential Oil Travel Bag

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Travel Bag

With this essential oil travel bag you can take up to 10 oils with you in your purse!  The individual mesh pockets for each bottle means the oils are not rolling around or banging into each other. This bag will keep essential oils safe also make it easy to identify the oil bottles.

Essential Oil Car Diffuser

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Car Diffuser

Diffuse in your car with this aromatherapy car diffuser that plugs right into your car charger. This one also includes a usb port so you can charge your electronics and diffuse your oils at the same time.

Diffuser Bracelet Set

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oil Diffuser Bracelets

Diffuse on the go with this braided diffuser bracelet set. Place a drop of oil inside the bracelet and you can take your oils with you no matter where you go. This casual braided style is great for teens and adults. We like to layer them with other bracelets for a fun look!

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

These stainless steel drinking straws are perfect for drinking water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. These hypoallergenic straws won’t react with your oils and are reusable!

Glass Roll-on Bottles with Stainless Roller Balls

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Roll-On Bottles with Stainless Steel Rolling Balls

These glass roll-on bottles are perfect for use with essential oils. Use the roll-on bottle to apply the perfect amount of product each time. The Amber glass provides protection from potentially harmful light and the convenient size makes it perfect for travel.

Aromatherapy Jewelry Refill Pads

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Jewelry Refill Pads

If you already have diffuser jewelry these refill pads are the perfect stocking stuffer. Includes 25 pads for use in diffuser necklaces.

Essential Oils Keychain

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oils Keychain

With this TSA approved keychain you can take your oils anywhere! Includes bottles and lids.

Essential Oils Roller Ball Cap Opener

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Essential Oils Universal Key

Avoid using teeth, knives, fingernails, or other unwieldy tools to remove roller bottle or reducer caps. These universal keys work with all essential oil bottles and are great for replacing orifice and roller bottle caps without damage.

Stainless Steel Diffuser Wrap Bracelet 

Essential Oil Stocking Stuffers Under $20 - Aromatherapy Diffuser Bracelet (be sure to get the coupon)

This diffuser wrap bracelet is slightly over our $20 budget, but it’s so beautiful I had to include it! Diffuse your favorite essential oils all day long in this hypoallergenic bracelet with double wrap leather band. Comes in rose gold or stainless finish and a variety of bands. Save 25% (and get the price down to $20) on this bracelet with the code SPARKLE.

Thanks The Oil Collection!

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6 Ways Penny Pinchers Make Toiletries Last

Penny Pinchers don’t waste a single drop of their toiletries, and they implement simple tips and tricks to make them last. You don’t need to go to extreme measures to make the most out of your toiletries, you just need to try these few tweaks. Take a look below at 6 ways penny pinchers make toiletries last so you too can get every last drop out!

 You don’t need to go to extreme measures to make the most out of your toiletries. Learn these six ways penny pinchers make toiletries last so you too can get every last drop out!

1. Follow the usage instructions

How often do you pour yourself a handful of shampoo, not even looking at the instructions on the bottle? Chances are you only need a nickel sized amount, but we typically use much more. Before using any toiletries, read the usage directions to make sure you aren’t over using. Using more than recommended is wasteful and may not give you the intended results.

2. Use the rinse out method

Before tossing any shampoo or conditioner bottles (or soap or detergent bottles for that matter), try the rinse out method. Pour some warm water into the bottle and give it a good shake. Let the bottle sit upside down for a few minutes and then you should be able to get a few more uses out of it. Using warm water is important, as it can help loosen the product and get it moving easily.

3. Store bottles upside down

Penny pinchers store toiletry bottles upside down. This keeps the product from getting caught in the corners of the bottle where it gets stuck and wasted. It also makes pouring product out much easier on you. Store your products upside down, if possible, to keep the product flowing and out of those tricky corners.

4. Keep scissors in the bathroom

Penny pinchers keep a pair of scissors in the bathroom to cut open stubborn tubes. If you think your tube of toothpaste is out, just cut it open down the center and see how much more you can squeeze out. Chances are, there is a ton hiding in there. You can also use this trick when dealing with tubes of hair product, lotions, skin products, and other tube toiletries.

5. Model moderation to your children

Many times children aren’t shown how to use toiletries, and so they waste them during use. Show children how much product they should use so that when they wash their hair or face or brush their teeth, they are using the appropriate amount and not over doing it.

6. Don’t open a new product until the old one is empty

Many times we reach for a new product when the old one is only 80% empty. Be sure you aren’t opening a new product until the previous one is 100% gone using the methods mentioned above. This way you are getting every single bit out before moving on.

Penny pinchers use these tricks for making the most of their toiletries. Give them a try and see if they help you stretch your products and your budget.

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