9 ways to score Amazon Prime at a discount

If you have $99 to spare, one of the best deals on the internet is Amazon Prime. Its benefits are beyond compare, and you earn them the second you sign up, so it’s no surprise that an estimated 80 million people in the U.S. already have, according to the securities research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Amazon Prime has so many benefits, it’s a safe bet that subscribers don’t know them all. Aside from free shipping and movies, did you know that free books and free photo storage are also part of the deal? Click here for nine Amazon Prime perks you’re probably not using.

But not everyone likes to pay membership fees up front, especially when they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or are wary of enrolling in new services online. Luckily, there are loopholes to help you bask in the Amazon sun. Here are nine ways to score Amazon Prime perks at a discount.

1. Get the free trial

As is the case with many online services, new Prime subscribers can sign up for a free 30-day trial. You’ll need to provide your payment details, and you’ll have to cancel manually when your trial ends if you decide you don’t want it, but a month is plenty of time to take the service for a test drive to see if an ongoing membership is worth it.

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2. Go monthly

If you want Prime only for the short term, you can sign up for a $10.99-per-month subscription. This makes sense if you do most of your shopping around the holidays, or if you binge-watch a particular show that happens to be included with Amazon’s streaming video service. Just remember to cancel when you’re done, or you’ll get charged every month until you do.

3. Get six months free

Prime Student is a discounted version of Prime that costs $49 per year, but you have to be a student with an .edu email address to qualify. Amazon is currently offering a free six-month trial of Prime Student, which makes the deal even sweeter for students on a budget.

4. Discount for people on government assistance

Amazon recently announced a Prime discount for people who are enrolled in certain programs, bringing the monthly fee down to $5.99 for qualifying customers with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. You will need a valid EBT number to confirm your eligibility. The offer is good for up to 48 months, and you will need to re-qualify every year. Click here to learn more about it.

5. Talk to customer service about late shipments

Amazon takes pride in prompt shipping, but every once in a while a certain address poses problems. If you already have Prime and you have a problem with shipments arriving outside the promised delivery window, get in touch with Amazon’s customer service. Service representatives have been known to extend Prime memberships with an extra free month as a way to make up for late deliveries.

6. Wait for a sale

Amazon Prime doesn’t offer blanket membership discounts very often, but they do happen from time to time. For example, when Amazon’s original show “Mozart in the Jungle” won a Golden Globe for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy in 2016, Amazon dropped the Prime price to $73. It also lowered the price to $80 last November to promote a new show, “The Grand Tour.” This is an unpredictable way to save on Prime, but it’s worth jumping on if a discount pops up.

7. Set up Amazon Household

You can split the cost of Prime with a willing family member. When two adults have separate Amazon accounts, Amazon Household lets you share Prime benefits. This usually works best when you share with a family member you live with, typically your spouse. You have to link your accounts and share payment methods, but you will both be able to take advantage of free shipping and streaming of digital content. Household also lets you add profiles for up to four children, but the kids can’t use your account to shop on Amazon.

8. Use Subscribe & Save

You don’t have to be a Prime member to get Amazon’s Subscribe & Save discounts. By committing to a recurring ship date for certain eligible items, you can save up to 15 percent on offerings that include quite a few grocery, household, pet, personal care and office supplies. The more items you subscribe to, the higher your savings percentage. You can always skip deliveries or cancel your subscriptions.

9. Settle for the free shipping on $25 purchases

If you don’t care about the bonus Prime perks like free streaming video, two-day shipping, photo storage and streaming music, then you can skip the whole membership deal and just settle for free shipping. The only catch here is that you need to have at least $25 worth of eligible items in your cart to qualify. This is an easy option for patient and frugal shoppers.

How else can you use the internet and save money? Be sure to listen to or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2017, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.