paying billsBy Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA -Family Finance and Budget

One of the biggest tasks of every new year is cleaning and organizing.

This includes eliminating clutter such as mail, papers and receipts. Naturally, when approaching this dreaded task, most people begin with actions that produce immediate results or instant gratification. This includes tossing papers and receipts. Well this year, I am recommending that you approach your receipts with a different mindset. Here are some reasons why you might need to hold on to some receipts.

 

Price Adjustments

Many stores will grant price adjustments within seven days of purchase. If you purchased last minute gifts a few days before Christmas, you might be able to take advantage of even lower prices during after Christmas sales.  You can get a price adjustment if an item is available at a lower price at the same retailer or a competitor.  If it is a competitor you may need the print ad and your receipt to receive the adjustment.  For more details, check with your local stores such as Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart.  Knowing about retailers’ price adjustment policies is important beyond the holiday season.  Also, it’s never an inconvenience to save on items that you really need or intend on keeping.

Returns

It’s important to set aside receipts for returns as well.  Most stores will allow you to make a return within 30-60 days of purchase with a receipt.  Sans a receipt, stores will only give you a store credit at the current retail price.  This alone is reason enough to retain your receipts for unworn or unopened items.  Keep each receipt for as long as you have the item.

A receipt will also come in handy if you decide to list an item for sale on E-Bay.

Manufacturer Warranties

Manufacturer warranties are important when it comes to electronics and appliances.  From small toys to washing machines, it’s important that you retain receipts for a few years in case items stop working or are defective.  Most manufacturer warranties are for one year and to take advantage of a warranty you need a receipt.   Develop a habit of setting aside time to increase your knowledge of the warranty process for all items that you purchase as soon as you bring them home.  It’s also smart to create a file for these types of receipts and go through it once a year to check for expired warranties.  You might also consider immediately scanning your receipts to ensure that you have legible copies to send to the manufacturer.

Donations

For big ticket items like furniture, televisions and appliances, you should also consider scanning receipts for your records.  You can then use them as a basis for calculating the value of the items that you donate to the Red Cross, Goodwill or other local charity.

Before you toss your receipts, take some time to consider whether you’ll need them for a price adjustment, return, future sale, warranty or donation.  Then use your free time this winter to organize them and understand your warranties.

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle Sharrow

Michelle P. Sharrow, MBA is a seasoned freelance writer specializing in personal finance. Based in Waldorf, Maryland, she holds a Masters Degree with a concentration in Finance. Michelle provides a monthly column on ways to help families maintain their finances and stick to a budget titled, Budgeting and Savings for Families.

More Family Finance:

http://extension.usu.edu/utah/htm/family-finance

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/healthy-families/family-finances

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance.shtml
Michelle Sharrow

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