This Financial Expert Canceled Her Amazon Prime Account. Here’s How She Shops Instead

A photo to accompany a story about Amazon shopping Image Courtesy of Shang Saavedra
Shang Saavedra of Save My Cents says Amazon Prime can make it too easy to spend money you might otherwise save. Here’s how she changed her shopping mindset without Prime.
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Amazon Prime Day is fast approaching — the retailer announced the mega-shopping event will take place on June 21 and 22 this year — but not everyone is excited about it.

After all, that fast, free shipping for Prime members throughout the year comes with a cost, and some have been ditching Amazon altogether in response. 

Take, for example, Shang Saavedra, a financial educator who’s known online as Save My Cents. She says she uses Amazon from time to time, but doesn’t have a yearly $119 Prime membership. 

For Saavedra, the word “prime” doesn’t just refer to the prices and product selection. “I think Prime primes you to spend more knowing that you have that subscription. It automatically puts the mindset to ‘I can get this the next day, let me just go buy it,” she says. 

Saavedra had a Prime membership from a student discount back in 2012, but let it expire and never renewed it until October 2019, after the birth of her son. That’s when she tried Prime one more time, she says. She thought it may be helpful because of the new baby and all the purchases that come with raising a child, but she ended up canceling it again after about a month.

Rethink How You Shop

Prime, Saavedra warns, can lure you to spend outside your means.

By not having Prime, Saavedra says it encourages her to consider if she really needs something before she buys. “Over time, I realized that I’m very purposeful in what I plan to buy,” she adds.

Nowadays, Saavedra plans in advance what she needs to buy so she can hit the $25 minimum to qualify for free shipping on Amazon — without the Prime membership. This is one way she is able to remain intentional about the goods she is buying, and to avoid buying things for the sake of buying on Amazon. It’s a strategy others can easily adopt, as well. 

The same sentiment applies not only to goods and products you can order on Amazon, but for its streaming services, as well. “My husband and I are very intentional about the media we consume,” Saavedra says. Paying for multiple streaming services is all too familiar for many Americans, but Saavedra says they’ve found it more cost-efficient to simply rent a movie every month or so.

Amazon Isn’t the Only Place You Can Get Deals

And then there’s the fact that Amazon is far from the only retailer that sells plenty of essentials. 

“Other retailers have also built up their third-party marketplaces,” Saavedra says. Target and Walmart, for example, recently announced their own version of Prime Day to compete with their biggest online rival. Here at NextAdvisor, we saw some solid deals from competitors during last fall’s Prime Day.

Pro Tip

If you are looking to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day, be sure to check out our best advice on how to save money on your purchases.

In fact, shopping around between these retailers could help you save some cash, as well. At time of publication, a TCL 50” TV costs $349.99 on both Amazon and Walmart, but $429.99 at Target, so it can’t hurt to do a quick check to see if you’re getting the best price on your items. At the very least, it isn’t always a given that Amazon has the best price on something.

Life After Prime

Removing the simple convenience of a Prime membership — and the fast, free shipping that comes with it — has given Saavedra more opportunity to truly consider a perceived need before buying.

“By not having Prime, the forced slowdown about thinking about whether I want the purchase really allows me to save,” she says. 

That said, she knows the Amazon habit can be a hard one to break. If you’re on the fence, Shang suggests pausing your Prime membership for a month and seeing if it works for your lifestyle. 

“Oftentimes, if you pause or cancel your [Prime] membership, they will likely give you a deal,” she notes. You can also share your membership with multiple members in your household to save money on the annual cost.

If you’re seriously considering giving it up but have been hesitant to make a move, Saavedra has some advice for you too: Look at your purchase history and ask yourself if those orders added value to your life. 

“Most people that I talk to look at their history and say, ‘Oh my gosh, where did all that money go?’” Saavedra says. “If that’s you, that’s a sign you should quit.”