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Last night, Bart paid the credit card bill and since it was a bit higher than normal, I told him I wanted to look at it (because, as you know, the spending of money makes my blood freeze up). We pulled it up and looked over it – everything looked right.

And then, almost at the same moment, we saw a line item that nearly gave us both a heart attack: Prime – $79

The study exploded in a chorus of “Oh no!”s and “Why didn’t you CANCEL that?” and “EIGHTY DOLLARS!!!” and “Why didn’t you remind me to cancel this?”

As you can probably guess, Bart had ordered a textbook early in the semester, had been offered a free trial of Amazon Prime which would allow him to received free shipping, and had signed up, with the good intentions of canceling it before it expired. Of course, now April 20th, the day it went from being a free trial to a one year membership at the low, low cost of $79, had come and gone. Also, needless to say, we had not ordered one additional thing from Amazon in the past three months and thus not enjoyed a dime of benefit from our free trial.

I said, “Let’s try and cancel this right. now.” (Please note that it was, at that moment, 11:17 p.m. and we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. Eighty dollars waits for no man, friends).

We waited breathlessly while Bart’s account loaded, then I was crying, “That button! Push that button!”

Happily, Amazon will let you get a full refund of your money if you have not actually used your Amazon Prime benefits as of yet, which we had not. Two mouse clicks, and our $79 was winging its way back to our credit card.

Bart and I often talk about how, for us, a credit card is more real to us than cash. Cash leaves no paper trail. It’s there and then it’s gone. A credit card statement tracks everything you spent. You think about what you spent not only in the moment you swipe your card, but again when you have to pay the full balance at the end of the month. We smile smugly to ourselves when people go on and on about how cash is the only way to be accountable and how credit card users will eventually end up paying the interest with their first born son.

Well, one point for you, cash money folks.

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  • Reply nancypearlwannabe May 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Wow, that’s awesome that Amazon gave you your money back, no questions asked.

  • Reply Heather May 1, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Wow, you really slid under the wire on that one. So glad you didn’t lose the eighty bones. I like having the written record of where all the money goes too. And since I don’t spend more than I have in my account, I love using credit.

  • Reply Kristi May 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Whenever I set up a free trial for something (amazon prime, fun family rewards) I set up a reminder on that sends me an email like a week before I am supposed to cancel. I like that because I get a new email (which I check often) and when I get it I am at the computer and can cancel it straight away. Or I can set up another reminder for the day before. Good work getting back your money!

  • Reply tootie May 1, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I would have freaked out, too! Glad they refunded your money.

    I feel the same way you do – we pay with credit for almost everything, and seeing the online statements keep us accountable!

  • Reply heidikins May 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I heart you and your frugal ways. Heart and double heart. I have now learned the real price of milk at my grocery store and it if goes up .10 cents, I know! I feel so Janssen, and I absolutely mean this as a compliment. :o)


  • Reply S May 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I just signed up for that trial yesterday because I wanted the free two day shipping. I made sure to mark my calendar so that I can cancel after the trial period. I did notice that they will refund your money if you haven’t used it. Glad to see that is really true! Yet another reason to love Amazon!

  • Reply megan May 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    We always think our credit card bill is too high, but that’s because we spend a lot… But with the Costco Amex, where you get 3% cash back, no costco fee, and some percentage of costco money back, it’s good with me to run everything through it. Our rebates were good this year.

    It seems ok, not great, but ok, to lose money when you meant to have spent it. But when you are trapped into something just because you forget…ARGGGGHHHH!!! The same kind of thing happened to me yesterday, when I realized I didn’t cancel the 3 free movie channels from direct tv in time. 3 months of never watching one of those channels=$39.99. When I cancelled them, unlike you, I had to pony up some dough. I only got 21.99 back. Bother! Dumb tv. I don’t watch anything but Maverick anyway. Oh well, Roger likes it.

  • Reply Science Teacher Mommy May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I feel the same about cash–I’m often LESS accountable with it than my paper money.

    Glad you got your “money” back.

  • Reply Kelly J. May 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I got a total sick sense of joy when I canceled mine just a day before I, too, would get charged an obscene amount. This was reminiscent 🙂

  • Reply Emily kate May 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I had the same prob a few years ago but we couldn’t get our money back. Luckily you can split the membership with other people don’t ask me how. So my mom sister and I all get the benefits and share the cost. We all use amazon often so it works for us!

    And I agree about credit cards. I hate cash!

  • Reply Packrat May 1, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Oh, have I done the same thing. Irks me to pieces. Glad you can get your money back.

    Cash vs. Credit Card: Debit card which can be run through like a credit card. I can use my debit card like a check or credit card as long as I have enough money in the bank to cover the charge. Keeps me on my toes.

  • Reply emandtrev May 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I’m sure that was a shock! I feel the same way about cash. I like having some in my wallet, just in case, but I am much better at tracking my spending and sticking to a budget with an itemized accounting of everything I spend. It gets a lot harder for me to do that when I spend cash and don’t get a receipt for every little thing.

    That is great that Amazon was good about giving your money back!

  • Reply Jess May 1, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I have the same feeling about credit vs. cash. Cash just flies out of my wallet never to be seen again. Credit card bills I analyze very closely. Glad you got your money back from Amazon.

  • Reply Katie Rich May 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    I HATE those limited time “free” offers. We were just hit for something Joey signed up for at Borders not knowing that it wasn’t really free, but we too are getting our money back. Good for you!

    I totally agree about credit cards feeling more real than cash. Some people say that cash is better to use to save money because you see it physically leave your hand, but I like being able to check my account and see all the small things I wasted my money on rather than a stack or receipts that are much more difficult to look through.

  • Reply Rhiannon May 1, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I had this exact same experience with Amazon Prime. SO GLAD they refunded my $80!

  • Reply Jenna May 1, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Husband is the saver, I am the spender. Thus, if we were in your situation, I would have been arguing that the only way to make things right would be to order lots of things from Amazon and take advantage of the free shipping that comes with Amazon Prime. 🙂

  • Reply hollyhs May 1, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    we’ve done that a couple times too… forgot to cancel something and it is such a pain!

    i totally know what you’re saying about the cash thing. i am way more accountable when i use a credit card because there’s proof of what i spent and where i spent it. with cash it’s just gone! 🙂

  • Reply Bean May 1, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    If I have cash, I spend it like that! (snaps fingers) But credit card, I’m aware of EVERY SINGLE CENT.

  • Reply Alison Stewart May 4, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I got that Amazon prime for the free shipping too….for the first time in my life, I actually cancelled it before we got charged….there’s a first.

  • Reply the cubicle's backporch May 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Man… I don’t know how many times I’ve done that. Done the free membership with the intent of cancelling it then forget until we get a charge. Ugh!

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