NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Keep That Receipt

Keep That Receipt

          We’ve all done it – the cashier hands you your receipt, you give it a quick glance and then crumple and place in the nearest trash can – just another annoying piece of paper.

          Receipts are actually very useful pieces of paper that can help you save money. Here are some of the savings that you’re likely to find on a receipt and some instances where keeping your receipts can save you money.

          Before you leave the store, check to make sure that all of your items were priced correctly and that any coupons were applied correctly. This is particularly important if you were distracted while the items were being rung up. It’s much easier and convenient to have an error corrected while you’re in the store than it is to do it a few days later. Some stores will give you an item free if you catch incorrect pricing so it’s worth a minute to stop and verify your receipt.

          Some stores print the receipts on paper that has coupons already printed on the back. These are frequently for local services, retailers, and restaurants. Other stores print coupons on the bottom of the receipt for you to tear off and bring in on your next visit.

          Many stores have surveys on the bottom of their receipts so they can find out about your store experience.  Often you will receive a discount coupon or other special offer for completing the survey.  Sometimes a restaurant will offer a free food item if you take their survey. Other stores might offer money off your next purchase. These surveys are rarely long or complicated so it’s an easy way to score a freebie.

           If you need to return an item, the only way to guarantee that you will receive all of your money back is to keep your receipt. Without a receipt the retailer isn’t required to accept the item as a return.  If they do, they will likely only give you the current selling price which if the item you have has gone on clearance, mean you may only receive only a small fraction of what you originally paid.

          Most rebates require the original receipt or at least a copy of it.  And the same for price adjustments.  If you buy something today and then it goes on sale in the immediate future (usually one to two weeks), many retailers will refund you the difference between what you paid and the sale price - if you have the original receipt.

          Don’t just automatically throw away everything that the cashier hands you. You may throw away something valuable.

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