I used to be Amazon Prime's biggest fan. I mean, what’s not to love about free two-day shipping? Not to mention, the free movies, music and books! I would tout how much I loved Prime, convince people to sign up for it and pretty much buy everything I ever needed (and didn’t need) from Amazon.
Then one of my friends informed me there’s a tiny link hidden deep in Amazon’s navigation that allows you to see what you are spending. I was curious and decided to check out my own order history report. And wow, was it eye opening. I was spending a lot and my order history report showed that. I looked at the years before I had Prime and the years I had Prime and the spending difference was huge. I realized that everything I loved about Prime was really just making me spend more money on things I didn't necessarily need. As someone on a budget, I needed to make a decision that almost seemed unthinkable. I had to break up with Prime.
I felt the key to my increased spending was Amazon’s ability to remove purchasing barriers. In the past, I had to get in the car and drive to the store to buy something. That’s a barrier. Then came online purchasing. It was easier to buy things online but most companies still made you pay for shipping and you had to wait a week or two to receive the item. That’s a barrier. With Prime, all of those barriers were removed. I found I was not disciplined enough to purchase without that barrier. I knew I had a purchasing problem when an Amazon box would show up to my door and I couldn’t even remember what I purchased. (AKA “Primenesia”)
By canceling Prime and forcing myself to have a purchase barrier, I am pleased to say that I have dramatically reduced my spending. Using the order history report, I can see I reduced spending to 58% of the previous year! Here’s the other thing. I still can make purchases on Amazon and get free shipping. I just need to have $25 in my cart. I now wait until I get that to make the purchase. This causes me to think about the upcoming purchase for a few days rather than a few seconds when I had Prime.
If you’re interested in getting your own order history report, you’ll need to go to Amazon.com on your computer and click the “Account & Lists” tab. On the left hand side you’ll see a box titled “Ordering and shopping preferences.” Look for the link “Download order reports” and click that. Select your dates and you’ll receive a generated report in Excel.
You might be surprised at how much you spend. And if you think you need to make that breakup call, just tell Amazon “it’s not you, it’s me.”
Hey folks! I’m Danny and I’ve been with Virginia Credit Union for 11 years where I started as a teller at the Short Pump branch. I currently work in VACU’s marketing department as their multimedia and video guy. Being a husband and Dad to two children, I have learned the importance of budgeting and living within my means so I’m excited to share some of my tips and stories with you.
Other stories by Danny S.