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How to stop giving Amazon your money

Lifehacker logo Lifehacker 3/9/2018 Jacob Kleinman

Video by Money Talks News

It can be hard to imagine your life with out Amazon. The company offers everything from online shopping to audiobooks to AI-powered speakers, all at cut-throat prices, but Amazon also does a lot of things that you might not agree with.

The tech giant is currently under pressure to boot NRATV from its TV-streaming platform and continues to run ads on far-right news site Breitbart. Amazon’s also come under fire for its aggressive business practices, and the dystopian fulfillment centers where its employees pack orders. And good luck affording rent (or seeing any notable civic benefits) if they set up shop in your city.

If you’re ready to stop giving Amazon your hard-earned cash, you’ve definitely got your work cut out for you, but it’s not impossible. Click ahead for everything you need to know to leave the company behind and never look back.

Unsubscribe from Amazon Prime

a drawing of a face © Image: Amazon Prime

This one’s obvious. You won’t be using Amazon anymore, so there’s no need to pay $99 per year for free shipping, online streaming, and all the other services that come with Prime.

Amazon actually makes it pretty easy to cancel your subscription. Just head to this webpage and click on the End Membership button. If you never took advantage of your Prime service you’ll even get a refund, though that will take a few days to process.

Stop Using Amazon for Online Shopping

a screenshot of a cell phone © Screenshot: Amazon

Amazon dominates online shopping, and it’s killing brick-and-mortar stores too, but if you’re fed up with the company you still have options. Walmart and Jet are both convenient alternatives, though they also come with their own issues. Walmart has made a ton of money selling guns and ammo (even if it recently raised the minimum age for buying guns to 21), and Jet is owned by Walmart.

Your best bet is probably Target, which refuses to sell guns and ammo. The company also offers cheap prices (often lower than Amazon) and free shipping if you sign up for a Target Credit or Debit Card. That should help you get over the shock of leaving Amazon’s online store.

Replace Amazon Prime Now with Google Express (or Postmates)

© Image: Amazon

Amazon Prime also comes with Prime Now, a useful service for getting certain household items delivered to your door in hours. That’s really more of a perk than a necessity, but if you’ve come to depend on Prime Now, there are a few alternatives out there.

Google Express offers a similar service, promising to bring certain products to your home in under a day. Then again, Google is also under fire for serving ads on Breitbart. As an alternative, you could also try using Postmates—an app-based courier service for instant deliveries—if it’s available in your area.

Swap Your Amazon Echo for Another Smart Speaker

a close up of a device © Image: Amazon Developer

I love using my Amazon Echo ($50-$230 depending on the model), but there are plenty of competing smart speakers out there if you’re trying to distance yourself from the company. Google Home($49-$399) is a great option, though Google doesn’t have a perfect track record, either.

In this case, Apple’s HomePod ($349) is probably a safer choice, though you’ll be sacrificing some functionality in the name of ethics (also, Apple TV still supports NRATV). You could also try Microsoft’s Invoke smart speaker (currently $130), as long as you’re willing to take a chance with the company’s Cortana AI.

Stream TV on a Gaming Console Instead of Amazon Fire TV

a close up of a device © Image: Amazon

When it comes to picking a streaming set-top box that’s ethically sound, you don’t have many options if you’re not a fan of the NRA. NRATV is still available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast, but don’t give up yet.

As far as I can tell, NRATV isn’t available on Sony’s PlayStation or Microsoft’s Xbox platforms, both of which offer apps for all the major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, and more. (We’ve reached out to reps for Sony and Microsoft for confirmation, and will update if we hear back.) If you already have a system, just start streaming TV on that instead, and if you don’t, well, maybe it’s time to get back into gaming.

Scrap Amazon Prime Video for Netflix, Hulu and Other Apps

a screenshot of a cell phone © Screenshot: Flickr/

Amazon Prime Video is a great service (I love Mozart in the Jungle), but there are plenty of other places to get your TV and movie fix—as long as you don’t mind missing out on Amazon’s original programming.

Hulu and Netflix both offer tons of TV shows and movies to watch, and HBO NOW let’s you watch HBO content without a cable subscription. If you miss Amazon’s massive library of movies available to rent, you can usually find what you’re looking for on iTunes, Google Play, or YouTube.

Forget Audible, Get Your Audiobooks Somewhere Else

a drawing of a face © Image: Wikimedia

Amazon bought Audible back in 2008. Over the years, it’s helped the company become synonymous with audiobooks, but there are plenty of other competitor services to choose from. To start, you can get free audiobooks from your library. If you still can’t find what you want (or just prefer to own your books), you could also try a competitor.

Scribd offers a pretty great deal at just $8.99 for “unlimited” ebooks and audiobooks. The only catch is that if you read or listen too much you’ll get temporarily shut out of the service. That’s still a better value than Audible, which charges $14.95 per month for one free audiobook each month, along with the option to buy more at a steep discount. You could also try Barnes & Nobles Audiobooks, which doesn’t offer any sort of subscription but prices some books as low as $3.

Replace Your Kindle with a Kobo or Nook

© Image: Pexels

Speaking of books, you’ll have to give up your beloved Kindle if you really want to scrub your life of Amazon and its universe of products. Believe it or not, Barnes & Nobles still makes Nooks, and the latest models aren’t half bad. You can also try a Kobo if you feel like supporting the underdog e-reader brand instead.

Unfortunately, ditching your Kindle will probably mean paying a little extra. Amazon’s e-readers start at $59, while the alternatives from Kobo and Barnes & Nobles will both run you at least $119. However, if you’re specifically looking for a water-resistant model, then Kobo’s $179 Aura H2O actually has the $249 Kindle Oasis beat.

Replace Ring with Another Smart Doorbell

a close up of a speaker © Photo: Ring

Amazon just announced plans to buy smart doorbell startup Ring for a reported $1 billion. If you’re already using Ring ($200), you may want to replace it, and if you’re just thinking about buying a smart doorbell, you can cross this one off your list.

Google also makes a smart doorbell through Nest, and you can pre-order the Nest Hello here for $229. If you’d rather avoid Google, too, you could try a lesser known brand. Here are a few options to consider, ranging from $80-$250.

The again, maybe you don’t need a live video camera built into your front door? Just a thought.

Stop Shopping at Whole Foods

a store in a brick building © Image: Photo: Wikimedia/ChadPerez49

In case you forgot, Amazon bought Whole Foods last year. So your Amazon purge will have to include the supermarket chain, as well, to truly divest all your dollars. Try to treat this as an opportunity to shop local and support your nearby grocery, and if that’s not an option, well, there’s always Trader Joe’s.

Abandon Amazon Web Services

a drawing of a face © Image: Wikimedia

If you run an online business, there’s a decent chance you rely on Amazon Web Services to support your website. If you’re looking to make a change, Google (also problematic) and Microsoft both offer their own similar services for online computing, storage and networking.

The prices for all three services can change pretty frequently as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others try to edge each other out. Microsoft Azure offers the best pricing as of late 2017, but the exact cost may vary depending on what you need. For more information, this article offers a detailed breakdown of what each service has to offer.

Stop Using Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited

© Image: Amazon

Amazon offers two different music streaming services, and telling them apart can be complicated. Prime Music comes free with Prime but features a limited selection of music, while Music Unlimited is a paid service ($7.99 per month with Prime, $9.99 per month without it) that’s pretty much identical to Spotify or Apple Music ($9.99 per month for both).

If you’re using Prime Music, you’ll it lose automatically it when you cancel Prime. For Amazon Music Unlimited, you’ll have to do a little more work digging through menus (here’s a guide from Amazon) to end your subscription. Once that’s done, just sign up for Apple Music or Spotify and call it a day.

Oh, Is That All?

© Illustration: Chelsea Beck If you just made it to the end of this article and you’re starting to think twice about cutting Amazon out of your life, we don’t blame you. The company offers so many different types of products and services that extricating yourself entirely won’t be easy. 

But if you’re uncomfortable with Amazon’s ethics, then it’s worth taking the time and effort to distance yourself (and your bank account) from the company now. The longer you wait—and the more Amazon grows—the harder it’s going to be in the future.

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