Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Save Time and Money with Amazon Prime

That headline just sounded like an advertisement, didn't it? I promise you it's not, though if Amazon wants to pay me, they're more than welcome to.

As I've written before, one of the ways you can help yourself in finding your bliss is to reduce your expenses so that you're no longer forced into work you don't like just to keep up your lifestyle. In my household, that means that we don't have cable, but we enjoy Netflix. We also cook more often than we go out.

With the holiday shopping season bearing down upon us, it seems like now is the time to recommend time and money savers that can keep you sane and keep your wallet (mostly) full. My husband and I have found that one of the ways to do this is through Amazon Prime. What is it, you ask?

Basically, you pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping of pretty much anything Amazon sells directly. Yes, I'm advocating you spend $80 a year to save money.

If you're like us and you buy a lot of books, CDs, DVDs and other small items for Christmas, the fact that you can order as much and as often as you like and not worry about racking up hundreds of dollars in shipping fees is a blessing. Even more of a blessing is that I don't have to go to the mall or bookstore to procure gifts for my lovely friends and family. Time saved right there. It's also great for last-minute stuff, because hey, it comes in two days! So if you forget something, or you don't want to wait a whole week, this takes care of that too.

Another perk is that up to four people can use the same Prime account, so if you have a lot of family members who need books or music throughout the year, this cuts down on costs as well. Add to that the fact that Amazon is consistently cheaper than most stores and you don't have to use any gas and you're saving money there, too.

Of course, there are times where used books will work fine--for this I like you don't need to own the book and can use the library, but for gifts and hard-to-find books and music, Amazon truly is a godsend.

Just as I discovered with Google Reader, there are some things the internet brings us that we've never had before. I am a big believer in finding ways to streamline the time and money you spend procuring information or the items we use on a daily basis, and I think it's worth sharing the experience if it can help others.

Are you already an Amazon acolyte? Or does the thought of ordering your books, music and other gifts online fill you with dread? Let us know in the comments what your favorite time or money saver is for shopping, and as we get closer to Christmas, I'll post the standouts.

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