For those of you who may not know, Amazon Prime is a $119 per year membership that includes a discount and free shipping on a wide range of items. Most members are aware of this, but some of the more hidden perks of this membership are especially handy for teachers. We’re going to take a look at a few of these lovely perks and discuss ways you can take advantage of your membership and shop more intentionally and thus smarter.
Create An Amazon “Needs” List
What goes on your list is entirely up to you, but we think the Amazon Wish List is a bit of a trap- it moves things out of the “needs” category and into the “wants” category. So just mentally erase the word “Wish” and replace it with “Needs”. I know this may take the fun out of shopping for a bit, but when shopping for your job, you need to focus on the bottom line. The biggest trap is finding yourself shopping for your classroom like it’s a room in your home. Cut that out! There are plenty of ways to jazz up your classroom for free or very little cost. Edit your list regularly to make sure you have only the essentials. We like to start with absolute musts and call those a top priority. A top priority is something you can not begin instruction without and something that is not already provided at your school. You know that each school is widely different so find out ahead of time what’s in your classroom already. Then, start adding in your items according to function. You can always clear your list and start over. Pro Tip: One-Click Purchases are a spending trap. Do your school-specific shopping on a laptop or desktop. Even better, do your school-specific shopping on your desktop in your classroom so you can see what you need and have a lot of motivation to shop efficiently and wisely.
- Check out Prime’s 90-day free trial for the longest promo period joining bonus (over a $30 value).
Did you know that a number of books, and magazines are available for loan through Prime Reading? If you have a Kindle, you can simply head to the Amazon Prime area, go to the top browser, click “more”, click on “Prime Reading” and add items to your virtual library. To view these books, you will need to have a Kindle. That’s the only part that’s not free. For instructional purposes, you can easily plug your Kindle into a projector and viola, you and your class can explore your virtual library together. Like with all libraries, there will be a return date. Be sure to keep an eye on those as you don’t want to accumulate any unnecessary fees. Luckily returning your book or periodical is as easy as clicking the “Return” button.
- Check out Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans for access to millions of ebooks readable on the device of your choice.
If you don’t mind spending a little bit of cash, for about $15.00 per month you have access to almost never-ending audio books. Luckily, Audible comes with a free 30 day trial and may be cancelled at any time. And no, you don’t lose all of your audio books when you cancel. We love this option for the thriftiest of teachers. Take a month to collect some books, and then just cancel. Call this teacher hack 101.
Amazon Prime Video
The same principle applies with Amazon Prime Video. Amazon is a huge successful company, and one of the reasons they got that way is by paying attention to their consumers’ needs. After all, Amazon couldn’t allow Netflix to take the lead on video streaming, and recognized that the world became almost insatiable when it came to viewing material. Use your video for school or for winding down after a long day at work. Many of the items are free to view, and not available on Hulu or Netflix.
- Check out this free trial of Amazon Prime Video for instant streaming of thousands of educational movies and television shows.
We know that initially this may not seem like a teacher necessity, but we love this option for almost anyone on a budget. It goes without saying that entering into a shop leaves you open to impulse purchases and leaving with items that maybe weren’t on your list to begin with. We know that it’s possible to impulse purchase on Amazon, but less so if you have a focuses list. Just like separating your school supplies shopping list from your personal shopping list, we recommend doing that for your professional wardrobe as well. We know that you spend a lot of your time in your professional wardrobe, so we’re not suggesting you pick boring clothing but following strict guidelines before making any purchase is a wise move. This is what we love about Prime Wardrobe. You can try on and return any times that don’t work. Shopping online means you can search for essentials and add them without racks and racks of temptations. Whatever you don’t love for work can be easily packaged and shipped back at your local Whole Foods. Now, resisting the temptation to spend your saved money at Whole Foods is something we can’t help you with.
- Find thousands of wardrobe offerings that can easily be returned through Prime Wardrobe here.
Amazon Prime Day is actually a 36 hour “day” that occurs each year where Amazon Prime members receive deep discounts on just about everything. There are literally millions of items for sale and the build up to this day is bigger (and way less hectic) than the build up to Black Friday. As the day approaches, Amazon does a slow reveal of all of the great items available and their drastically slashed prices. You’ll save hundreds of dollars on big ticket items, and all without the stress of huge crowds. Also, there’s no pressure to be up shopping at 4AM. For this one day we recommend you actually use the Amazon App if you’re the type of person who would like to monitor sales from wherever you are. Note however, that his can be another trap. One way that companies encourage you to make impulse purchases is to create a “deprivation state” adding a sense of urgency that you will NEED to purchase that item before it is YIKES too late. This adrenaline boost and sense of deprivation is actually a primitive response. So, to avoid that and make this whole process a lot more calm and sensible, you could simply elicit the help of Amazon Assist, sit calmly at your desktop with your favorite cup of tea and compare prices to those found on other sites. Ahh… much more relaxing, and much more likely to only make smart purchases.
- Find the latest news on upcoming or previous Prime Day deals here.