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Always Check Your Receipts

Make it a habit to check your receipt before you leave the store.

Around 4 years ago, I started to pay attention to how I was spending my money. The story of my shopaholic days will have to be told another day but I admit that I was not always frugal. At one point in my life, I was a full blown shopaholic who squandered money.

This is entirely contradictory to my upbringing in a frugal household. My late maternal grandmother grew up during the depression and managed to turn every situation into a learning opportunity. When we went grocery shopping together, my grandmother always told me to pay close attention to the cash till and always check the receipt. Somehow, I shunned this skill in my teenage years until my late 20s since it was embarrassing. Now, I always look at the items scanned, check my receipts and I am not afraid to speak up if something is amiss. I'm sure I am making my grandmother proud.

Since I started checking my receipts, I managed to save myself a good amount of money. In August alone, I managed to save $20 by checking my receipts. Here is one instance how checking my receipt saved me $15.

How I saved $15

In my post, How I Saved $37.20 On My $150 Grocery Bill, I outlined how I took advantage of two PC Plus offers to save $37.20 on diapers and groceries. The PC Plus program is a digital reward program offered by Loblaws which offers registered users points which can be redeemed on future purchases. Every 10 points is worth 1 cent. In my experience, collecting points at Loblaw stores has saved me a lot on my grocery bill.

However, despite my good intentions of capitalizing on the offers, my 15,000 bonus points did not show up on my receipt. This is $15 worth of points in future purchase which is our weekly budget for produce. As the PC Plus points are awarded automatically, there is nothing they can do at the store level so I had to wait until the next work day to call PC Plus customer service.

As I waited for Monday, I was kicking myself for not taking a picture of the PC Plus offers incase I misread the expiry date. Once I got a hold of a PC Plus customer service rep, I explained that my bonus offer had suddenly disappeared. The customer service rep put me on hold and told me he will look into the missing offer. Sure enough, there was a glitch in the system which caused the offer to disappear. He told me that I will be awarded my bonus points. Happy with the outcome, I hung up the phone and went about my day.

Half an hour later, I decided to check to see if the points were added to my PC Plus account. I saw that only 5000 points was added. Confused, I looked into the details and saw that he had only given me 5000 points.

So I called PC Plus customer service again to speak with another customer service rep and explained the whole situation. After a 5 minute talk, the customer service rep told me that he had added 5000 more points to my account.

Due to a calculation error on my part, I spent $148.71 instead of the required $150 pre-tax, which meant that I was only eligible for 10,000 and not 15,000 bonus points. As the PC Plus customer service rep asked me if there was anything else he can help, I asked him politely if there was anything I can do to make up for the $1.29 difference to get the extra 5000 bonus points. I was fully expecting him to say no. But as luck would have it, because of the glitch in their program combined with the error of the previous customer service rep, I was told that I would be awarded the extra 5000 points for my troubles. He told me that this is a one-time thing and that it was situation dependent.

What did I learn from this situation?

1) Always check your receipts 

Make sure the receipt:
  • Lists the correct price for the item purchased
  • Lists the correct quantity purchased
  • Deducts all your coupons
  • Awards the correct loyalty points

2) Know the prices of items purchased and offers

  • Use the calculator on your phone (or bring a small calculator) to add up your total bill. If the amount rung in is different than what you had calculated, it will be easily caught before you pay or leave the store.

3) If possible, print or save the online offers

  • This is not necessary but good for your own reference. It will help remind you what offers to take advantage of and the expiry dates.

4) Check that the original error was corrected properly

  • People make mistakes so it's always good to double check to make sure the mistake is corrected.

5) Politeness is key

  • Be polite when you are dealing with store staff (in person or over the phone). Remember that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

6) Never hurts to ask

  • Missed a deal or missed using a coupon? Be polite and ask. You might be surprised!

Happy receipt checking! :)

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