counting penniesBy Michelle P.  Sharrow, MBA – Family Finace and Budget

When was the last time that you reviewed your register receipt?  Have you noticed that many store receipts now include 800 numbers or internet sites for you to complete customer satisfaction surveys? In fact, sometimes the cashier goes out of their way to mention it and circles it, too.

These surveys are often short, requiring less than ten minutes to complete, and upon completion, you earn a few dollars off your next purchase, or are entered into a contest to win a gift card, or some other phenomenal prize. Stores only ask that you complete the surveys within 48 to 72 hours of the date of purchase.  Though on the surface this might sound like a nuisance, given the amount of time that is required, this is a great way to save on future purchases.  And, who knows you might get lucky.

 

Are you worried about the paper accumulating?   No need to worry.  Many stores, such as Sears and Old Navy, are providing customers with the option to have their receipts e-mailed in addition to, or in lieu of being handed one in the store.  You could create a folder in your e-mail account to store your electronic receipts for future use.  Not only does this eliminate the paper, but also for those with smartphones, this allows you to access the folders containing your receipts from anywhere, at any time.  You could look up a receipt in the middle of a shopping trip to check a price, or to confirm that you’ve already purchased something.  Now that’s efficient.

As we jump into full swing with back to school shopping, it’s important to hang on to your receipts for returns.  Many bargain hunters will argue that it’s not worth it to drive from store to store trying to save  money — .10 or $.15 on folders or pencils, while I agree with that, for items like jeans or uniforms, the savings can be much greater, making a second trip well worth it.  Also, you can save gas by thinking efficiently.  For instance, if you know that you will be shopping over several days, or if you make weekly or biweekly trips to the same shopping center, keep items that you are a little unsure about in your car trunk along with the corresponding receipts.   This will make it easier for you to make a return and quickly puts money back into your wallet.   

Savings are everywhere, and often times in the palm of your hands.  Customer satisfaction surveys can be completed a few minutes before bed, while you are waiting to see a primary care physician, or sitting at the playground. Also, the next time the cashier starts speaking to you about what you believe is a push to apply for a credit card, before you tune him out, listen to the offer.  It might lead to free money, which is certainly worth your time.

Looking for more ideas on how to manage receipts?  Check out my past column on the subject.  

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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