Frugal Tip: Check Your Receipt and Speak Up

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Last weekend I did some crazy shopping. I crossed the thresholds of six stores, some of them even twice. But, I brought home quite a lot of food for just a little bit of money, comparatively speaking.

At several stores, there were special deals, such as “Buy $X and get a coupon for $X to use on your next trip.” This is common in the way I grocery shop. What was interesting about this trip is that I had time after each transaction to pause by the front door of the store and scan my receipt. As a mom of six children, my opportunities to go grocery shopping alone, let alone at all, are few and far between. So, I have to reduce go back trips.

Well, I found an error on my receipt. Not once, but twice. The first one was in my favor for $13. The second, another $5. I’m thankful that I checked and that I was willing to go back and have the error corrected. Since I budget $150 to feed our household of 9 each week, that $18 would have taken a big bite out of our grocery money.

It pays to read your receipt and be willing to speak up. Often times, people are too timid. But as I joked with one checker, “I will not go down without a fight!” We have got to exercise our rights as consumers. We need to be wise and we need to make sure that we tell our money where to go. It will save us money in the long run.

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  1. Amen and amen – if I don't do it right then, I lose the receipt. I was overcharged by $15 on frozen veggies that I stockpiled. I always (well, now almost always) check before I leave but I was in a hurry. Now I can't find the receipt. I'm holding out that it will show up, but it's been two weeks. 🙂

  2. As a thumb rule we never spend $2 on a $4 item which we don't need in the first place! You'd be surprised at how much money you'll end up saving this way! And I buy groceries on my way back home from office instead of making a separate trip. Saves gas!

  3. I used to check them, but often as not the error would be in the store's favor, and, boy, do I hate going back to pay extra!

    So I no longer check the receipts and figure that it balances out in the end….

    Annie Kate

  4. This is especially beneficial if your store offers a price scan guarantee (Walmart discontinued it in my area, but some grocery stores still do it) – where, if an item scans incorrectly, the first one is free (usually to a limit like $3 off) and all other ones are corrected. At the store I used to shop at in Pittsburgh, they always had issues, frequently just a penny or two off of the shelf tag, but still wrong. In fact, my husband would always ask when I got home, so what did you get free today? The worst part was that unlike most stores, they didn't seem to follow-up and fix either the shelf tag or the computer…so, if it was something I used frequently, I would test it from time to time to see if they had taken action.

    Those pennies might be a small amount per person, but the store that is overcharging by that penny or nickel per item (as an optimist, I believe unintentionally) can stand to make a lot of money over time on this overage.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with you on checking receipts. Here in Michigan we have an item pricing law. Our law states that if your item scans for higher than the item is marked you get a cash "bonus" of the difference between the the scanned price and the marked price, up to $5.

    I think this law is great; it really forces stores to make sure their prices are correct because it hurts them where it really counts, the pocketbook. I've been a receipt checker for years and have found that almost all the errors I find are in the store's favor.


  6. It's also good to watch the cashier while she's scanning your items whenever possible. That way you can often correct errors before you pay. Just last night the cashier I had at the grocery store didn't put through $19 worth or catalinas I gave her. Like I'm going to just ignore the fact that my bill is $19 too high. When I said something to her about it she wouldn't correct it so I had her give me back all the catalinas and went over to the manager. The manager corrected it for me and said she would go speak with the cashier since she should have just put them through.

  7. Checking receipts is something easily missed, though I used to more often … but I'm especially impressed by your ability to feed 9 people on $600 a month. We feed 4 people on nearly as much … I'm challenged to do better. Thanks!

  8. This is definitely a good call!
    I've found a few mistakes when I've checked, as well.

  9. thank you for hosting "Frugal Fridays" every week. Its fun to participate and I always get new ideas from reading the variety of blogs. Everyone has great ideas!

  10. My DH just caught something yesterday being rung up wrong. Thanks for hosting and sorry I didn't comment yesterday.

  11. I always check the recipt , What I really dislike most is when something is on sale and the cashier argues with you that it is not and refuses to call to have it checked. This has happened quite often lately. They try to bully me out of a sale or a coupon.

    It makes shopping a challenge. I also have to watch for prices being marked one thing and being charged another. T shirts 3$ a pack ringing up 7$