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5 Amazon Prime pro tips to stop you wasting your money

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With Prime Day on the horizon, you may be looking at signing up to Amazon Prime for the first time. If you are, we've pulled together five money-saving tips that you can use to get a membership for less and get the most value out of your subscription fee.

Make use of Amazon Household

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If you live with someone else who also has an Amazon Prime account then you're wasting money. There's no need for you both to sing up as you can make use of the Amazon Household feature and split the cost in half. This allows you to share your Amazon Prime benefits and digital content with one other adult and up to four children all as part of the same membership fee.

Simply enter the details of the personal account you want to add to your Amazon Household and they will get many of Prime's key benefits as well. This includes unlimited free delivery, access to Prime Video, access to Prime Reading, early access to lightning deals and, of course, Prime Day deals. Any digital content owned by the linked accounts can also be shared: be that books, games or video.

For child accounts, you can set these up and choose which content is accessible on specific devices. So, any apps, movies, TV shows or books that you want to keep off the youngster's devices can be deselected so they don't accidentally view anything you'd prefer them not to see. It's worth adding, too, that children's accounts cannot be used to shop on Amazon, so don't worry about any surprise purchases - it's purely for assigning them access to certain content.

Get free ebooks with Amazon First Reads

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Book lovers will enjoy this somewhat under publicised feature of a Prime membership that can get you one free ebook each month. 

Amazon First Reads gives you early access to range of hand-picked new or upcoming titles each month. It covers a selection of books from different categories and genres, including crime, contemporary, historial and children's. Generally, there's something there for everyone.

Now, usually, you have to pay $0.99/£99p for one of these editor's picks. But Prime members can choose one for free every 30 days. It's a fantastic little freebie that's a great way to expand your digital book library with new releases throughout the year at no additional cost.

Buy essentials through Subscribe and Save

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We all have those household essentials we buy on a regular basis, usually on the same fixed schedule every few weeks. But then there's the one time we forget about them in the weekly shop and everything falls apart.

Amazon's Subscribe and Save (opens in new tab) feature is a way to avoid that, as it gives you the option to set up regular orders for a whole host of household and grocery items. And, as an added bonus, you actually pay less for these repeat orders – up to 15% less when you set up five or more.

The service is fully customisable and flexible, so you can choose how often you receive items to a schedule that best suits your use. And it's easy to change it to be more or less frequent if needed. Plus, you can cancel a subscription at any time, too, if it turns out you don't really need toilet roll, dishwasher tablets or coffee beans every three weeks.

Do look for any exclusive Subscribe and Save coupons (opens in new tab) that reduce the cost of these items even further as these can be combined for even bigger savings. And we'd all apprecaite any opportunities to pay less for these essential products right now.

Claim bonus Amazon credits and subscriptions

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So, you're all set up with a cheaper Prime account that you've also shared with your household. Now, you can get a few bonus credits and freebies in the run up to Prime Day that can help you save on your next shop or try some of Amazon's additional services for free. These offers vary by region, but here's what you can get today.

For the US, you can collect over $100 in credit by completing a few actions across your account. The easiest of these to complete is the Prime Stamp Card. All you have to do to get a $10 voucher to spend on Prime Day is make a Prime-eligible order of $5 or more, watch a show on Prime Video, listen to a song on Prime Music and borrow an ebook through Prime Reading.

That's just to start. Next to that, you can shop household essentials to get $20 back in credit and earn up to $10 when you buy a Lightyear cinema ticket or related merch (opens in new tab). Lastly, there's another chance for Prime members to get over $60 in credits (opens in new tab) by completing more actions across your account ahead of Prime Day.

As for those in the UK, all of the current Prime Day bonuses are listed out on the main sale page (opens in new tab). In terms of money back offers, there's £10 off your first three grocery shops and £5 extra when you top up your Amazon account by £60 or more.

There are even better offers for anyone interested in trying out some of Amazon's extra subscription services. Usually, you can try the majority of these for around a month at no additional cost, but that introductory free period has been extended ahead of Prime Day. Today, you can get Music Unlimited, Audible, or Kindle Unlimited for up to four months without paying a penny. It's an amazing bonus if you love streaming music, listening to audiobooks or reading ebooks. Oh, and for gamers, here's over 30 free games through Prime Gaming.

Sign up for an annual membership

Admittedly, this one starts before you've even hit the button to become an Amazon Prime member. Of course, your first stop should be the 30-day free trial (opens in new tab) that's available to new subscribers and anyone who hasn't been a member for the last 12 months. 

That's not an option for everyone, though, so the next best way to make is saving is to pay for your Prime membership annually.

Prime costs $14.99 per month or $139 for an annual membership (opens in new tab) - that's a saving of $40 if you go for the bulk option. Similarly, in the UK, Amazon Prime costs £7.99 per month or £79 for a year-long subscription (opens in new tab) - making a smaller but still reasonable saving of almost £17 if you pay upfront.

Understandably, that large single payment might not be a viable option for most. Plus, if you only really want to be a member for big events such as Prime Day, then it doesn't make the most sense to choose this option. 

However, for those who expect to use the many Prime benefits throughout the year then it's better value for money to pick an annual plan so you pay less overall.

James Pickard

James Pickard is a Deals Editor at TechRadar. After many years of scouring the net for the cheapest games and tech for his own personal use, he decided to make it his job to share those bargains with you. James also has over five years of experience covering some of the biggest sales events of the year at Eurogamer and VG247, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day. When not deals hunting, James can be found on the PS5, watching a classic film noir or cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.