We all have things in our lives that make everything a little bit easier. Now, before you start down the wrong path, I’m not talking about coffee, alcohol or even ice cream – this isn’t a post about coping mechanisms. I’m talking about the tools we use to make life run a little smoother, less stressful or just more entertaining.
I have a whole handful of favorites, so I thought I’d pass them along. Anyone that knows me very well knows that this is probably one of my favorite things to do. I love it when I discover some new trick or product and get to tell everyone about it. I suppose I’m a perpetual salesman. Unfortunately, no one ever pays me for these endorsements. Maybe one day?
Anyway, enough about me. Let’s move on to the first thing you can’t live without – or at least won’t want to.
Amazon Prime is probably my favorite service. I’ve been using it for almost two years, and it is a lifesaver. Having five young children makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do much shopping. Just getting everyone ready to get out the door can zap me of any energy left in my reserves. I have to find 12 shoes to go in public. Twelve! Not only that, I have to have one right shoe and one left shoe in each size. Then they are supposed to match? Let me just say shoes take a long time around here. I included my shoes in the count because Hope and Henry are constantly wearing them around the house and leaving them in obscure locations. I actually found one of my shoes on a pantry shelf one time. I assume it was left there when a certain little girl was helping herself to an unauthorized snack. In fact if you look real close, my flip flops are often mismatched. It’s so bad that when a friend stopped by the other day, within 20 minutes, one of her shoes had disappeared. We couldn’t find it, so I ended up sending her home in some of mine. She seemed almost dumbfounded, but I assured her it was just life as usual over here.
Even if I could get out the door with everyone somehow still having enough energy to shop, it just wouldn’t work. Hope and Henry scream anytime I take them in a store. I’m not sure when they are going to get over that, but it’s not looking like it’s anytime soon. This leaves me with no hands or attention to watch the other three kiddos, much less focus on what I’m supposed to be buying. You know something I’ve learned? When you have two kids and one of them is screaming in the grocery store, people look at you like, “Oh…poor thing. We’ve all been there.” When you have five children they look at you like, “Well, what the heck did you think was going to happen?” I actually think that most people who give me that face are more shocked than anything else because I’ve only gotten the “serves you right” look a few times.
Wow. I’m not exactly sure how to gracefully find my way back to the actual subject of this post. Sorry. Just consider this my transition.
Bottom line, Internet shopping is a great alternative to carting children around town. The only problem with it is you have to pay shipping, of which I’m not a fan. Online, items tend to be the same price as in the store, but after paying shipping, the total cost ends up being more expensive than retail. Well, Amazon Prime eliminates that dilemma. At least if you’re buying something on their website.
Here’s how it works. You pay $75 a year for a Prime Membership, and you get free two-day shipping on most everything, and one day shipping for $3.99. This comes in super handy if you need a last minute gift of any sort. You can get it somewhere quickly and for much cheaper than the post office.
With Prime, you also get free unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows from Prime Instant Video, as well a free Kindle book rental each month. In our house, we think that’s quite a bargain. You might think, “But Jessica, I don’t buy that many books. Why would I want to pay for the free shipping?”
Well, let me tell you. The short answer is that Amazon sells pretty much everything. For example, so far this year we have ordered books, diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, lotion, soap, peanut butter, kitchen utensils, kitchen appliances, a polka dot tea pot and a desk. I know we have ordered other things, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately. Oh, and the last several Christmases, I did ALL of my shopping on Amazon. I mean to the extent that if your request was available on Amazon, you were good to go. If it wasn’t, you were flat out of luck.
Another great thing about Amazon is that they offer a service called ‘Subscribe and Save’ on most of their dry goods and items you need regularly. You can set how often they are delivered and can delay or cancel a subscription at any time. By signing up for a subscription, you get it at a discounted price, and you don’t have to mess with it anymore. I mean, how annoying is it to truck around the store with paper towels? Due to my ridiculous level of clumsiness, I usually run my shopping cart into several things anyway. Add limited vision due to mega packs of paper towels and toilet paper to the mix, and I might as well lawyer-up. At our house, we subscribe to paper towels, toilet paper, diapers and baby wipes. Notice everything has to do with controlling messes. There’s a little insight to our lives right now.
I will say, one thing you need to be mindful of is the price when ordering on Amazon. Most prices on are comparable to retail, but every once in a while there will be an item that is just outrageously expensive for some reason. For instance, my sweet mother hopped on Amazon and bought a package of chocolate Tums – her favorite flavor. Since they are hard to find, she usually orders them from Amazon, so she didn’t pay much attention to the price. Well, two days later a $25 regular-sized container of Tums was delivered to her house. Sweet mom. She may never live that one down.
So, have you ever tried Amazon Prime? Think you’ll give it a shot? I’d love to hear your thoughts.