Amazon Prime’s $20 Price Increase Comes With 1 Strange Perk-Now I’m Saving Over $1,000 a Year

Amazon announced surging profits in the fourth quarter of $14.3 billion, and it’s costing Prime members. The trillion-dollar company is raising eyebrows as its raising the price of Prime membership. Unlike its $10 delivery fee that comes with one major perk that can help save the environment, the additional $20 per year comes with one major, money-saving perk that will put hundreds-or even thousands back in your pocket. 

As new and existing members learned that they will now have to pay $139 per year for the must-have membership, I learned how to save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year. No coupons or black hat tactics required. 

Like millions of other Prime members, I depend on Amazon for nearly every, everyday item, from toothpaste to pet supplies. But while Amazon enables us to shop in our pajamas-without schlepping to the store, it isn’t the only modern-day mall where you can go to find just about anything in one location online.

So as Amazon makes the short-sighted mistake of thinking it is, I found myself forced to do something I admittedly don’t love to do. I went shopping. But not on Amazon.  

I went back to the first place you would go just a decade ago when you wanted the simplicity of knowing you were getting the lowest price: Walmart. Being the adult that I am, I took off my pajamas and put on my yoga pants for the event. And I was amazed. 

After years of shopping on Amazon, I knew that while Amazon was convenient, it wasn’t the cheapest. But I didn’t realize how much more expensive it is for a number of everyday products I purchase frequently. 

For example, I could save $65 per year on shampoo alone. And I’m not talking about buying fancy salon-quality products, but my late dad’s favorite (and very pragmatic) pick, Pert Plus. At Amazon one bottle costs $8.30-a price my dad would have thought outrageous. But over at Walmart, it’s a practical price of $2.88. 

It wasn’t just some strange difference in shampoo prices. There are dozens of common items that add up to savings between $20 to $100 or more per year each. From paper towels, which cost over $16 on Amazon, and just $4.92 at Walmart (for a two-pack of Bounty Select-A-Size) to toothpaste, deodorant, or surge protectors. Never mind things like home goods, plants, toys, clothing, or electronics. 

What I also didn’t realize is that I didn’t need to put on pants to shop at Walmart. 

Not because Walmart gives shoppers a pretty loose dress code, but because it gives you other ways to shop beyond in-store. In addition to curbside pickup, it offers free 2-day shipping for orders over $35, and to directly compete with Amazon Prime, there’s Walmart Plus. Which offers free same-day shipping. 

Of course, Walmart probably isn’t even the cheapest. But while Amazon has become something of a necessary evil-just as Walmart once was (and for many, still is), it’s making a mistake that no company should: it’s getting so comfortable that it’s getting complacent. 

The reality is that while the $20 per year price increase is nominal at just $1.67 per month, the higher price isn’t what will end up pushing customers away. It’s the lower-priced competitors that might lure them in. Because it’s not just that Amazon isn’t paying enough attention to its customers-it isn’t paying enough attention to its competition. And though your competitors shouldn’t run your business, you also don’t want your customers running to your competitors.  

For me, the price is still worth its value between its unique and hard-to-find products, extensive product reviews, extras like Prime Video, and its game-changing features. And of course, there are a number of items there that are priced below the competition. But moving forward, I am going to save more money with the same income by being a more conscious consumer and taking advantage of its competitors who offer the same products at cheaper prices.

 After all, it’s about time Amazon gets some healthy competition. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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