Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep Your Receipts!!

In all honesty, I have to thank my friend, Leslie, for giving me this money saving technique about 2 plus years ago. It was around the Christmas season, and we were talking when she mentioned she kept all her receipts in an envelope for purchases in her purse during Holiday shopping. The reason? Every day, an item would be on sale again or the price would dip even lower. The next day, it would be more expensive. You know how the sales run after Thanksgiving.

Well, with her receipt in her purse, if she happened to be in a store and saw an item she already bought go even lower, she just walked up to the customer service desk with her receipt and they would adjust it down. If she didn't have her receipt on her, the chances she would go home, get the receipt and drive back to the store for a few bucks were probably slim, don't you think? We are already crunched for time the last month of the year as it is.

Most stores have a policy of around 14 days for price adjustments. That is not a large window. But, if you look at your receipt, you will notice that most receipts will allow you to RETURN items for at least 3 months! So, for the last few years I have had envelopes in my purse for the current month and 3 months past. As I buy things, I immediately take the receipt from the cashier and put in the correct envelope. Then, each evening I pull out all receipts I don't need in my purse ( such as gas receipts, restaurant, etc ) that I know I will never get a price adjustment on later. This keeps my purse less bulky.

BUT, I do put them in a large manilla envelope for that month at home in my filing cabinet. Once the other receipts go past their 3 month mark and move out of my purse, they will join their friends in the correct month's manilla folder. You may ask why I keep all receipts...gas, groceries, etc. Well, if you read my previous article on free trials, you will realize you can get rebates at any time from companies to reimburse you for these items. But, often times...when they say they will give you $80 worth of gas rebates for a year, they mean $20 a quarter. This also means, if you get your rebates in August, per say, the first $20 rebate was for Jan-Mar. If you didn't have receipts available for gas from those months, you are simply out the $20! Keep all receipts!

So, now that I have these receipts in my purse at all times...I am set. I don't purposely go to stores to see if items I bought went down in price. In fact, I am a bargain shopper. So, most of the time when I buy things they are at 75% off or lower anyway. But, let's face it, there are times we just buy things that aren't on clearance. When my son was getting ready to be born, we needed to move my daughter out of the crib. I had decided on her big girl room bedding long ago, and had been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to go on sale. And, it just wasn't. So, finally, we just had to bite the bullet and pay the full price! But, I kept those receipts.

And, wouldn't you know...not 2 months after I bought it, it finally went down to 50% off. So, I rebought all the pieces, took my old receipt from 2 months ago out of my purse and wheeled right over to the customer service desk and returned it. Since it was the exact same items, there is no problem with this. But, please be careful here. If you buy clothes and they then go on sale later, you must rebuy the exact same piece of clothing ( size and color ) for the sku to match. You can look at your receipt to see if it is the same item. Anyway, I got almost $100 back just on her bedding.

Just this weekend, my husband, the kids and myself ran into Target to check out their clearance aisles quickly. And, there was a gift I had bought my niece from Christmas 50% off. Most of my presents had been bought earlier in the year on clearance, but she had wanted a "specific" toy. So, while purchasing all the great 75% off deals I found that day, I also rebought this. Then, I immediately returned it with the receipt in my purse. I made $19.99 plus tax and that paid for the new items I just bought.

I also did this with a toy for my nephew 2 weeks ago ( a coupon came out for the game ). So, I rebought it with the coupon, and returned it with the old receipt. It saved me $8.

My husband asked me once if I was embarrassed to walk right from the register to the customer service desk, and I said no! In fact, when I first started doing this, I was strictly doing price adjustments like my girlfriend. I went to the customer service desk and their register would not allow them to adjust down, because it was 2 days past the price guarantee terms. So, the store clerk told me to go back to the department and see if they had the item in stock and to bring it up. She would have me buy it and then return it with the old receipt. So, the store knew the work around and promoted it.

Well, hopefully, this little tip can save you hundreds a year, too. It is January, and I am already up to $30! Not bad.


cristy said...

Oh so loving this idea...I just recently had a scenerio like this, and I had to buy the items, come home, get my receipt and then return another day. Thanks for this wonderful idea, I will be using this system starting this week. YOU ARE FANTASTIC!!!

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