I sat down with the family the other night to watch and episode of The Goldbergs to get my fix of good old 80’s nostalgia. Part of the nostalgia from this show was QVC. Anyone know what QVC stand’s for? Me either. I had to google it. It stands for Quality Value and Convenience. It was the first home shopping network and it brought the store right into your home. People were just amazed at the things you could purchase from your television with just a phone and a credit card! How convenient! Remember the pocket fisherman, tee shirt clips, a glow worms or Jellies? All could be purchased from the convenience of your own home. Wow! QVC is still selling and wheeling and dealing today. Let’s face it we like to purchase things from our couch without the need to get in the car and drive to the store; which brings us to Amazon.
Amazon told QVC to hold its beer. I myself am an Amazon Prime member and let me just tell you that I love it! With prime, I am afforded free two day shipping. I order something and it shows up at my front door two days later. Let me tell you, I like having stuff brought to me! This is the way it should be. With Prime video, I get to stream original shows, entertainment and selected movies. (Man in the Dark Castle anyone?) As a prime member, I also get early access to certain deals that are offered including the popular lightning deals. Lightning deals are items offered at a discounted price for very limited time. Just checked my phone and an underwater action camera is on sale for $45 down from $60. Oh boy! Prime also backs up and stores my pictures from my phone for free. Movies, however, are limited. Do you have an Amazon Echo? I have an Echo Dot. I actually have two of them and I got my parents one for Christmas. I ask Alexa to play cooking music and she comes up with a playlist while I prepare dinner. Convenience is king! Pretty good value for a yearly membership of only $99 month. So, yeah, I like Amazon and Amazon likes me, but.. oh no! Here comes the but…Amazon is a business and businesses are designed to make money and trying to figure out how to make more money even when they are making money.
In the fourth quarter of last year Amazon had earnings of $60.5 billion…wow…record scratch! That is a lot of stuff sold. Amazon is pretty darn good at making money which means Amazon is pretty darn good at getting me and you to spend it. In the realm of personal finance, we need to be aware of how Amazon gets us to spend and keep our wits about us. Amazon’s convenience is the biggest driver to my spending. I just add it to my cart, checkout with my saved information and it shows up two days later. They now have 1-click shopping to save you that extra 20 seconds. You can get Dash buttons where you literally push the button for the product and it shows up 2 days later. Dangerously easy! When I get a smiley box at my front door, it is like I received a gift and it is genuinely fun to open. I know it’s crazy because I paid for it and I know what it is but hey it’s the first time I get my hands on it so cut me some slack! Prime video is great but what if the new Star Wars movie isn’t included. Just order it. It is only $5 bucks and with the click of a button, it will be playing and my credit card charged. What happens when I ask Alexa to play “My Sharona” by The Knack and that song isn’t included with Prime? It only costs $1.99 and I can order it on my echo dot. Alexa will help me order it with my voice alone (as well as my credit card that is silently charged). I’ve got lots of pictured of my kids making silly faces and such but what about my movies of them jumping through the sprinkler. Those must me be protected too! Just order more storage on the cloud to put the movies with your pictures. I hope you see my point.
Amazon makes it very easy to spend money very quickly that most likely took you a much longer time to earn. Pay attention to what you can afford to spend and don’t get distracted by all the shiny, fun convenience.
Do you Prime? Please let me know how you use Amazon and any steps you take to keep your Amazon spending under control.