My year without Amazon: How it’s going at the halfway point

I’m six months into my year not spending any money with the online giant.

Back in January I set myself the challenge to completely avoid using Amazon in 2021. I’d already been making a conscious effort to use it less the year before, but this was going full turkey.

So halfway through the year, how’s it gone?

My Amazon spend in 2021 so far

I’m really pleased to reveal that so far I’ve not spent any money directly with Amazon at so far this year. Absolutely nothing. I really didn’t expect this at all. And it’s been a lot easier than I expected when I set this challenge.

I’ve actually saved money

In fact, cutting out Amazon has worked out significantly cheaper. So far I’m £157.02 better off! Half of this is simply from finding cheaper sellers for the same items.

The other half is the £79 annual Amazon Prime cost. I’ve included it from the start as over the year I will be paying for delivery elsewhere, though obviously this gain will reduce in size as those costs add up over the full year.

Unavoidable indirect spending

There will have been some indirect spending thanks to Amazon Web Services which many services use to host their websites.

I’ve paid for subscriptions for the likes of Disney+ and some of that would ultimately have gone to Amazon. But since it’s not direct spending with Amazon, it’s not part of the challenge.

How I’ve managed it

I’ve had to plan ahead

One of the big reasons people love Amazon is the fast delivery. I’ve certainly used Prime for this when I needed something last minute. And this is where I thought I was most likely to fail.

But so far thanks to a little thinking ahead I’ve not needed to get anything shipped next day.

Everything’s been on sale elsewhere

When I started I thought there would be instances where I couldn’t find what I needed elsewhere. But that’s not been the case. So far, everything I would have bought on Amazon has been available at another retailer.

One trick I’ve used before was to see if the seller on Amazon actually has its own website and one directly to them. This helped on a few occasions.

At other times I simply used some price comparison sites to track down other retailers with the product.

If anything I’ve noticed just how much of my purchases weren’t available on Amazon. Regardless of whether I’d have essentially prepaid for Amazon delivery with Prime, I’d still have had to shop elsewhere to get those items.

Prices have been similar and lower elsewhere

I’ve been going on about always comparing prices for so long now that I wasn’t surprised to see other retailers were the same price. What did surprise me was that the majority were even cheaper than Amazon.

Even when delivery was factored in, when I compare that to the costs with Amazon (either paid per order or via Prime), this was still the case.

This doesn’t account for buying things on Amazon when they were heavily discounted that I didn’t need at that moment, but would later on (so things like the odd bottle of spirits or laundry detergent), but you can still get these on sale elsewhere if you look.

Lessons so far

I’m actually buying less

Here’s something really unexpected. I’m buying fewer things. With Prime I was regularly tempted to check out special offers or take part in sales like Prime Day. And I’d sometimes buy things if I felt it was a good price. The most common example used to be 99p Kindle books!

But I’ve cut all of that out as part of the challenge – and I’ve not replaced it with purchases elsewhere.

It’s been an eye-opener that even someone as savvy as me would sometimes fall for marketing and sales gimmicks and buy items I didn’t necessarily need or want.

Prime Day was a non-event

Amazon’s big annual birthday sale for members can bring about very low prices. And as a bargain hunter and deal lover I expected this to be where I really lost out financially.

As it happens, there was nothing on sale that I wanted or needed, so I didn’t miss out at all. I definitely think if I wasn’t doing this challenge I’d have picked something up, even if it was something a little mundane but useful like boxes of tissues!

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

Have I missed out at all?

I’ve had to say to no some extra discounts

Amazon often runs broad promotions where you get free credit or a discount for spending some money.

On Prime Day I probably would have taken part in was £7 credit if I topped up my Amazon account by £50. Another deal offered £10 off a £25 spend.

So I lost out on £17, but it would have required me to spend money – potentially on things I didn’t really need. And as everything else so far has shown I’ve probably made that back by finding the items I wanted for less elsewhere.

Waiting for streaming

One area that I have missed a little is Prime Video. There have been a handful of boxsets, movies and a Crystal Palace FC documentary that I would have watched in the last six months.

But everything I can’t watch now will still be there next year, and I expect I will sign up for a month (with the free trial!) in early 2022 to catch up.

The next six months of the challenge

If you want to follow my progress for the rest of the year, along with some tips to find alternatives and reasons to reduce your Amazon spend, then make sure you follow my Instagram account.

Cancelling Amazon Prime

If you’re keen to use Amazon less then I really believe cancelling the annual Prime membership is the key. Here’s a video on how to do it:

One thought on “My year without Amazon: How it’s going at the halfway point

  1. I think it is disgusting that Amazon just dumps stuff instead of giving it to charities. Surely some cost effective way can be found to deliver the stuff in bulk to the main charity warehouses .

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