While most of us that fall into the low-income bracket have learned to survive on very little, actually thriving on a tight budget is definitely more of a challenge. Surviving is all about living to see another day, both metaphorically and physically. We’re surviving on a low income when we manage to scrape together enough money to pay for the rent, utilities and groceries all in the same month. Thriving, though, is about flourishing. It’s about growing, blossoming, having the opportunity to expand your horizons and move up in the world. That, my friends, is where things get tricky.
Although I had a few good years here and there, I’ve spent most of my adult life learning how to stretch a dollar as far as it can go without breaking.
I’m going to share with you a few ways that Amazon Prime has really helped my family both survive AND thrive on a tight income. Before I do that, though, I really want to share some great news that will help other low-income families take advantage of these savings and ideas.
Amazon Prime now offers discount for families in government assistance programs
Amazon recently made a huge announcement that benefits people participating in numerous government assistance programs. Low-income families (or individuals) in those programs can now get Amazon Prime at a discounted monthly price ($5.99 versus $10.99). Currently, you’ll need a valid Electronics Benefits Transfer, or EBT, card to qualify. Signing up is crazy easy. Just head over to this Amazon Prime page and follow the directions. You’ll need your EBT card number and a photo of the front of the card handy. It takes less than five minutes to complete and you’re enrolled instantly.
Once you’re enrolled, you’ll enjoy all the fabulous benefits of Prime, including: Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and, of course, unlimited fast free shipping, all for just $5.99 a month. You can qualify every 12 months up to 4 times, and you can cancel at any time. If you don’t have an EBT card, Amazon will be adding other ways to qualify in the future.
Who does this benefit?
Families receive government assistance for many, many reasons. A few off the top of my head include:
- A single mom working 18 hours a day to stay afloat but still needs a little extra help keeping food on the table.
- An elderly couple who worked their whole lives but can’t quite make ends meet on their pension.
- A man who worked 40 years and suddenly lost his job after his company went bankrupt, and just needs a bit of help while he gets back on his feet.
- A veteran who was wounded serving his country and wants to work more than anything but can barely make it out of his door without doubling over from pain.
- A family who used to live in a low-cost area, but then the half of the city moved in and drove up the costs, so now they can’t afford to survive in their own town anymore and can’t afford to move out.
- A single mom who was doing a pretty good job making it on her own until she got sick and had to put all of her resources into just staying alive.
The list goes on and on. Every person with an EBT card has their own story, and each one deserves to thrive just as much as the next person.
How Amazon Prime Helps My Family Survive and Thrive on a Tight Budget
When I sat down to make a list of all the ways Amazon Prime has helped me save money and live a better life over the years, I was actually surprised at just how many things I came up with.
1- Great prices on the things my family needs
This is probably the most obvious. From food to toiletries to back to school lists, Amazon almost always has what I need at a price that fits into my budget. Here’s my biggest problem when it comes to shopping locally for necessities: I live within 90 minutes of multiple major cities. Our area caters towards tourists from New York and New Jersey, people who are used to paying big city prices. They come to shop here because our goods are “cheaper.” What that means is that our prices are just slightly lower than city prices. Enough so that our tourists feel like they’re getting a good deal, but still too high for many of us who actually live here and work here.
When my husband and I got back together a few months ago, he moved back here from the Midwest. He was shocked at our food prices! He said that just about everything costs at least twice as much as it did out there. Prices fluctuate all over the country, but Amazon gives me the chance to shop from a more even playing field.
2- I save money on gas & wear and tear on my ancient car:
My car is quite literally on its last leg (wheel?). Like, at any moment now, I will no longer have transportation. I can’t really afford a new car unless I find a way to buy it outright (mostly because insurance rates are astronomical in my area, because of aforementioned proximity to just several major cities). Pennsylvania also currently has THE HIGHEST gas tax in the US, at 58.20 cents per gallon AND my town was recently named as having the worst commute in the country. Yep, little old East Stroudsburg beat out Los Angeles (look up “America’s lousiest commute” if you don’t believe me)! There are times when it takes me 30 minutes to get home from a store just 8 miles away. All of those things add up, so a trip to the store for toilet paper can end up costing me a lot more than expected.
3- Outstanding coupons and sales
Amazon has some pretty outstanding coupons and sales all year long on everything from essentials to gifts. Those sales have saved my son’s birthday and holidays more times than I can count. I save up Amazon gift cards all year long and use them to buy my son’s presents. I also track how much I save versus spend. When my son was really little and still played with toys, the savings was astronomical. One year, I got $750 worth of gifts for him for $150 just by watching the sales like a hawk and jumping on them with Early Access to Lightning Deals. I really miss the days of Jake playing with toys! Look how little he was!
Now that he’s older, Twitch Prime still helps me stretch my holiday budget by offering discounts on video game pre-orders (and within the first couple of weeks after the game releases). He loves it because it also gives him access to in-game loot.
For parents with kids still in diapers, Amazon offers a ton of great discounts, including 20 percent off diaper subscriptions. By combining coupons with Subscribe & Save, you can get some pretty amazing deals!
4- Free or Super Inexpensive Entertainment
Your Amazon Prime membership comes with a bunch of fabulous entertainment benefits. Bond with your kids during a family movie night with Prime Video, get fit together while dancing to millions of songs on Prime Music or find an escape from all the stress of worrying about money by diving into a good book with Prime Reading and Kindle First.
In one year alone, I read about 50 e-books that I got either for free or super cheap through Amazon. Plus I’m supporting indie authors, which is something I’m passionate about! We also watch a lot of Prime Video.
I’m kind of in love with it because of the X-Ray feature. Whenever I see an actor and think “where do I know them from?” I can just click on the screen and find out. Hey, it’s the little things that make the world a brighter place!
My son is currently obsessed with Prime Music. I got him an Echo Dot for Easter and he uses it to listen to music (loudly) in his room. I can’t complain, I’m sure my music was even louder as a tween/teen. Prime Music has around 2 million songs that you can listen to as part of your membership. If you want more songs, you can get a Echo-only Music Unlimited subscription for just $3.99 (but it can only be used on a single Echo device, which is fine for us).
5- Free and Cheap Educational Resources
Those same benefits that provide your family with a much-needed entertainment break also give you access to some amazing free and cheap educational resources. Did you know there are tons of free classic books, magazines and even reference books available through Prime Reading? Plus, every day, tons of authors offer up their works for free or at a deep discount to help promote it and get it in front of more eyes. Whenever I want to learn more about a subject, I check Prime Reading first.
While I’m a visual learner and absorb information by reading, a lot of people are auditory learners. If you find that you can absorb knowledge by listening, you’ll love Audibles Channels for Prime. It gives you access to exclusive audiobooks, audio series and original podcasts. Prime Video also has plenty of fabulous documentaries and educational content for kids, including a great variety of Amazon Original Kids Series.
Amazon Prime probably helps me save money in a dozen more ways that I don’t even realize. I’ve been a member for so long that I honestly don’t really remember life before it. Amazon really does let you shop smarter, and I’m so happy that they’ve made it more affordable for low-income families to access all these great ways to save money.
I think this is a great move not just for the people who need it, but for the economy as a whole. After all, when we can save money on surviving, we can put a little more towards thriving. In the long run, that’s going to help people better their situations. I’m not saying a discount on Amazon Prime is going to save the economy and the world, but hey, it doesn’t hurt either! Every little step counts!
Find out if you qualify for a discount on Amazon Prime and sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial to experience the savings for yourself.
Already a member? Tell me how Amazon Prime helps you save money!