It pays to check your sales receipt! Last week, when buying groceries at my local Safeway, the total price was more than what I had estimated. I looked over my receipt and found that I had been double-charged on two items and not given my 50% off discount on another. I immediately showed the cashier the errors and was refunded the $9.50 difference.
The next day at the farmer’s market, a salesperson charged me $1 more for kale than what the sign said. Once again, after noting the error, I was refunded the $1.
As I walked away, I realized that within 24 hours I had been overcharged a total of $10.50 – money that I would have lost if I had not paid attention.
These examples are not the exception. In fact, I estimate that by paying attention to items’ prices and checking the receipt, I have kept myself from losing approximately $200-$300 in accidental overcharges a year – and that’s a low estimate!
Here are a few simple tips to help keep the money in your pocket:
- Check your receipt before leaving the store. I try to watch the cashier’s display, but at some stores the display is not visible to the customer or the items ring up too fast for me to catch them all.
- Know the prices of what you’re buying and if there are special bundle prices. For example, tuna packages are $1.49 each, but if you buy 5 you only pay $4. There have been a number of times when the bundle price didn’t ring up and I was charged the full price.
- If you’re purchasing sale items that are featured in the weekly sales flyer, have the flyer with you. I’ve bought weekly sales items and had the item ring up incorrectly. In some cases, the difference in price was as much as $10. Having the flyer, makes it easy to show the clerk the correct sale price.
- When buying discounted products, double-check to make sure you get the correct discount. For example, I’ve had cashiers mistakenly ring up 30% when the discount was 50%.
- If you have discovered an error-free cashier, get in their checkout line. My favorite produce store has so many different types and grades of vegetables and fruits that errors are quite common, with typical overcharges adding up to $1 to $4 per visit. I’ve found a few cashiers that are always accurate, so if I see one of them I get in their line. However, I still do check the receipt!
- When possible, use the self-check line. That way you can see the price ringing up for each item. I never have an error on my receipt when I do self-checkout.
By following these easy shopping rules, you will help ensure that you save the money – not the store!