Save More by Checking Your Receipts

posted by Andrea | 08/31/2011
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Have you ever left a store, gotten home, looked at your receipt, and realized you were over-charged?

I’m guessing that you have… and if not, it’s probably because you never look at your receipts!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some MAJOR grocery shopping to stock up our new deep freezer, our pantry, and our fridge in preparation for the two International Students who arrived earlier this week and will be living with us all year long.

I’ve spent significantly more than our normal $25 per week grocery budget, but now we’re stocked up on the basic essentials for several weeks, if not months.

And you better believe that whether I’m buying a huge cart-load of groceries from the supermarket, a few things at the drug store, clothing from the mall, or even dinner at a restaurant…

…I always check my receipt before I leave!

I know this might sound overly “cheap” but I’ve been burned too many times. And once I’m home, a few dollars doesn’t really seem worth a trip back to the store.

However, when I’m right there, only a few steps away from the service counter, it is worth it for me to explain the errors and collect my well-deserved refund! 

Just this week I saved almost $12.00 by checking my receipt!

I saved $0.52 on a $2.00 purchase from Walgreens = 26% savings

I saved $1. 10 on a $4.50 purchase from RiteAid = 24% savings

I saved $10.34 on a $33.26 purchase from Meijer = 31% savings

All of these savings were simple cashier mistakes, items that didn’t ring up according to the advertised price, and coupons that didn’t process correctly.

I didn’t have to wait long, I didn’t get any grief from the people at the service desk, and I didn’t even look like a “cheapskate” {I don’t think!} I simply explained the issue and my money was promptly returned.

So you can see, it really DOES pay to check your receipts! 

Have you had similar experiences with being overcharged? Did you catch it… and did they refund your money?

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  1. Virginia Phillips


    My mom taught us to always watch the register as the groceries are being checked. I hate the ones where you can’t see as your items are being rung up. I have had to go back to the service desk for adjustments before and I hate having to do it because they make you wait in line and then act ugly about it. Definitely best if you can catch before the transaction is finished.


  2. Demaroge


    I made a purchase at a craft store today. I chose two skeins of yarn BECAUSE they were on sale $2 off the normal price. At the register the two skeins came up at the regular price. When I mentioned it to the cashier she checked the sale circular and said, “These are supposed to be $2.99” and she fixed the error right then BEFORE the end of my transaction.

    Then she also scanned a 40% off one item coupon for me … so I saved $6 total. $4 was the cash register error.



  3. Ashley


    This is a habit I’ve watched my mom play out for as long as I can remember, with many trips back to the register! It’s the simple things that add up over time. Plus, why should we pay more ?? Great post!


  4. Mama Stowe


    I get frustrated when I have to stand in a line at a service desk just to get back my money. In my opinion, if you catch the error while you are in the store, you should be able to go to the front of the line, or the supervisor should go handle it for you and bring you the money. Especially when refrigerated food is sitting in your cart. The biggest offender: Walmart! Good luck getting much help at all after the holidays, when service desk lines are a mile long. One of the many reasons I dislike Walmart and their policies.


  5. Linda


    I’m very interested in your statement, “I’ve spent significantly more than our normal $25 per week grocery budget.” HOW do you live on a$25 weekly grocery budget??? Do you have a post on that? I’d love to read it!


    Andrea Reply:

    I’m a pretty frugal grocery shopper and can often get out of the grocery store for $25 or less 🙂 Here are a bunch of post about grocery shopping:


  6. Jess


    We actually had this happen to us today! I was so proud of my husband, Kevin. He caught the mistake (an incorrect price/ lb. on grapes, over $1.00/ lb. difference!) He politely explained to the cashier that the display clearly stated the different price and asked that it be changed. It was the sort of situation where I’d usually insist it was changed and he’d be a bit embarrassed over the whole deal.

    Great post! We really enjoy your blog.


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow $1/pound is a big up-charge — glad your hubby caught it!


  7. Kristine


    I know this is an older post, but it came in so handy for me. I don’t normally check my receipts (I know, I know- I can envision my mom pointing her finger at me) but in my quest to really stick to our budget and be more organized, I’ve started implementing this. To my surprise, the other week, I was overcharged over $5! So..thank you!


  8. May


    In Canada, don’t forget about the “scanning code of practice”, it’s pasted on most tills at grocery stores. If the item does not ring up at the right price you are entitled to that item for FREE! (up to a value of $10 and only on the first item if you bought more then one) It’s a great way to get free stuff!


    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — that is a good reason to watch as your items scan and check your receipt!


  9. Gloria


    I use to work at a grocery store (won’t mention the name) part time. They did not give me much training as a cashier, directed me to the cash register and told me to start scanning the items. I know I made so many mistakes, scanned things twice, didn’t always have the right code for vegetables and fruit, so please always check your receipts.


  10. Lindsey


    Andrea, the store policy about giving you an extra $5 for when it’s marked wrong ends tomorrow.
    It was called the Michigan scanning error and Rick Snyder signed to end it September 1t 🙁 sad day. It made for some really great deals!!


  11. Kalyn


    Just today, I was actually under priced – the cashier didn’t scan one of my items. When I got out to the car I looked at my receipt and found the mistake. I honestly debated whether or not to go back in, but I realized that if it was the other way around (overcharged), I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for my money back.

    It was a good lesson learned!


  12. Stacey


    On several occasions I did not get the coupons for money off my next trip with the “get $x if you spend $y on such and such products” promotions from Meijer. At the service desk they ended up giving me more than i was supposed to get because they used a generic code for printing off the coupons. Works for me:) The service rep said this happens a lot of Sundays (my normal shopping day) since it is the first day of the advertised sales.


  13. Julia


    As usual, I love your blog posts. They’re always quite timely (God works that way, doesn’t he?) Anyhow, I wanted to say that I watch the register ringing up like a hawk. My MIL actually got free groceries the other day because at Albertsons they give you the merchandise if it rings up incorrectly. Interesting policy, no?


    Andrea Reply:

    Julia, I too have gotten free food by pointing out a wrong price. At the store I shop at, they have a policy that if the item is marked wrong, you get the difference plus $5 — which means some items have been free!


    Ann Reply:

    That is Michigan State law, not the store you shop at!


  14. cassie


    This has happened to me too! So, now I always check the receipt before I leave. It may only be a couple of dollars one way or the other, but in today’s economy, every dollar counts. =D Great post!


  15. Margaret


    I have often found errors and always ask that they be corrected. The other day I was almost “cheated” (inadvertently) from $4 in rebate from a grocery store purchase. I asked the cashier about it and was told to go to the service desk. They were quite gracious and happily gave me my $4.

    Sometimes I have been thanked for bringing the problem to their attention so they can fix it.

    Once, I got some free food because the shelf price reflected the last week’s sale. They not only gave me the sale price, but some free because they made the error! It always pays to ask and one should never, ever worry about looking cheap.


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, those rebates are tricky! you have to be on-top of your game to make sure you don’t miss those!