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Eight reasons to love Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime, the e-retailer's loyalty membership program, offers perks that appeal to many consumers. Brad's Deals writer Caroline Thompson explains the eight reasons why she loves Amazon Prime.

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    An Amazon.com package is prepared for shipment by a United Parcel Service driver in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon Prime, the e-retailer's loyalty membership program, offers perks that appeal to many consumers, such as free two-day shipping.
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If you want to feel old, here's a startling fact: Amazon is turning 20 this month, and to celebrate, they're going big--like, Black Friday big. Yes folks, July 15 is Prime Day, and it's poised to change the way we think about so-called Black Friday in July sales.  

Now, Black Friday in July isn't a new concept, even for Amazon. The online retail giant has thrown modest BF in July sales in the past, but this event is set to be different in a couple of ways. First, as you may have gathered from the name "Prime Day," the deals will be available exclusively for Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria. Second, according to an Amazon press release, Prime Day is going to feature even more deals than Black Friday, a claim which should have all seasoned sale hunters salivating a little.

Prime Day starts at midnight on July 15, and Prime members will be able to see new sales every ten minutes, participate in Lightning Deals, and shop the seven popular Deals of the Day. And of course, everything on sale will be available for free, two-day shipping. Amazon has yet to release any deal previews, which is a surprising move. Usually they tease us by giving us a sneak peak at a few of their best deals, but this time we may have to wait and see.

Recommended: Five ways to save money when buying online

If you don't already have a Prime membership, sign up for a free, 30-day trial. When I signed up for the free trial in 2013, I just wanted to order the books I needed for my grad school classes without having to pay for shipping. I had no intention of keeping it after my 30 days were up, but I ended up finding my membership to be so indispensable that I was more than happy to shell out the $79 annual fee. For the past two years I've kept paying it without batting an eye, even after the price increased to $99/year.

So why do I love my Prime membership so much? Here are my top eight reasons:

It gives me access to exclusive sales and deals.

Prime Day isn't the first time Prime members have been able to save an extra buck. In fact, nearly every time Amazon has a sale, I have access to a select number of the best deals 30 minutes before non-members can snatch 'em up.

The free two-day shipping is a godsend.

Last Wednesday, my long-suffering vacuum finally choked under the pressure of cleaning up after two fluffy cats and gave out for good. Normally this would've been no big deal, but my parents were coming into town for the weekend, so I needed that rug to be fur-free pronto! My options were these: I could take the bus to Target, buy a big bulky vacuum and then pay an extra $10 for an Uber or cab home, or I could order a vacuum online and hope it arrived before my parents got in at 6pm on Friday. I decided to take my chances with Amazon, and picked out a Bissell model that had good reviews. Not 24 hours after I hit "order," I came home to find my new vacuum waiting for me!

Knowing that anything I need can be mine in two days or less is an amazing feeling, and as if this wasn't exciting enough, Prime members' shipping privileges are set to get even better as Prime Now (Amazon's one-hour delivery service) has begun quietly rolling out in cities across the country.

I'm addicted to Prime Video.

Like any good millennial, I love a solid binge-watching session. I pay for Netflix, but I go through all the good stuff on there pretty quickly, so whenever I find myself mindlessly scrolling through piles of already-watched content on my Netflix account, I make an effort to switch over to Prime Video, and almost always find something fresh to get into.

In addition to their critically acclaimed original shows like Transparent, Alpha House and Bosch, there's also an amazing variety of TV shows both old and new (from True Blood to 24), a huge movie selection and a ton of obscure documentaries.

Prime Music is seriously underrated.

We just wrote a blog post about this last week, but if you're into no ads, indie jams and handpicked playlists, there isn't much you wont like about Amazon's music streaming service.

I can rent eBooks for free through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

All Prime members who own a Kindle (or a tablet with the Kindle app) can rent one free eBook every month. The Kindle Owners' Lending Library has more than 800,000 titles to choose from, including (as our own Courtney Sims pointed out in her recent blog post on where to find free eBooks) all seven Harry Potter books!

My shipping benefits can be shared with up to four household members.

Yup! All your housemates can enjoy the wonders of free, two-day shipping without having to sign up for their own Prime accounts, or having to sign in using your account. Technically anyone who takes advantage of this feature is supposed to live at the same address, but if your best friend lives down the street, she can just have her packages delivered to your house and pick 'em up later.

Prime Pantry allows me to get home essentials shipped to my front door.

Prime Pantry is Amazon's grocery delivery service, which allows Prime members to order a box of things--like soda, food and cleaning supplies--that aren't readily available for purchase on the site. There's a flat delivery fee of $5.99 per box, but even with the extra cost it's still very convenient to get things like toilet paper, cereal, and sponges without having to leave the house. This is a service I haven't used much since I moved, but with my nearest grocery store more a mile away I'm sure I'll be utilizing this tool a lot more once winter hits.

When I need to free up space on my iPhone, I can upload all my photos to Prime Photos.

Prime members have access to an unlimited cloud drive where they can store as many selfies or adorable shots of their dog/cat/baby as they could possibly want. Since my iCloud account has been full since late last year, this is a revelation for me. Now I don't have to choose between saving precious memories and freeing up space on my iPhone! Quite an unexpected (but amazing) perk of Prime membership.

This article first appeared on Brad's Deals.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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