New to the Frugal Challenge Series? A warm welcome to you.
What’s this Frugal Challenge Series all about?
Each week you’ll get a frugal challenge. By building up your frugal skills, you’ll soon develop a frugal mindset.
Missed our earlier Frugal Challenge Series?
No problem. Click on the links below. You can do the challenges in any order.
How can this Frugal Challenge Series help you?
This Frugal Challenge Series will help you if you want to be more frugal, but don’t quite know how or where to make a start.
It can also help if you’re after practical frugal tips that really work.
Most folks think frugal living is just too challenging.
To be honest, you do need some effort. But it’s not as hard as most folks think.
Change does involve some effort. But when you do it consistently, it’ll become second nature and that is your prize.
Frugal Challenge Series Week 11
In this week’s challenge, we’re going to make sure that you’ll never get overcharged for the mistakes made by retailers.
I’ve noticed that we get overcharged for our purchases far more often than not. Agree?
How to avoid being overcharged?
Simple. Always make sure you check your receipts carefully, even if you’re busy and tired.
When do you check your receipts?
Preferably right after you’ve just paid for your items.
Our Recent Experience
This was what happened recently to Mr MMT.
As his car was running low on gas, he decided to go to the pump after work. However, he was too tired, and forgot to check his receipt after making payment.
It would have gone unnoticed, but I asked to see the receipt the next day. Something was not right. He was charged an extra $20!
Have a look at our receipt below. Apparently, he was billed for someone else’s gas as well. The staff member had forgotten to remove the previous charge from his till records. Yikes!
What alerted me was the fact that despite several discounts being applied, the final bill was still close to the original amount 🙁
Needless to say, we went back the very next day and got our refund! Phew!
Personally, I always check my receipts after I make my purchases. I do it in several ‘layers’. What do I mean?
The following steps will help you too.
Steps to Frugal Challenge Series Week 11
Check that each individual item has been charged correctly. At this point, you’ll be able to detect the price error if the scanner did not pick up the discounted price.
Another thing you have to watch out for is the ‘limit 4’ deals.
Make sure that you don’t exceed the stated quantity. In this case, it’s 4. What happened to me in the past was getting charged the full price for the 5th and subsequent ones that I purchased. I’ve since learnt my lesson.
Personally, I’ve claimed many refunds over the years. There have been many more refunds made out to me, compared to the very rare occasions when I was undercharged.
Yes, on the odd occasion, I did return to pay the supermarket the difference in price when I got undercharged.
Total up the bill. You don’t need to be precise. You can estimate the bill or get someone else to do it. My son had ample Math practice during his home schooled years.
When I get home, I’ll jot down all the different amounts and where I’ve spent my money for that day in my diary.This includes cash and credit card spending.
I’ve developed this habit over the years and it comes in handy. Find out why below.
Always keep the receipts. Do you throw them away?
Don’t. From now on, put them in a safe place. I consolidate them in my shoe box.
When the credit card statement arrives, I’ll check each of my receipts individually against those in the latest statement. This is another check done to make sure that everything is in order.
Sometimes I’m not able to store all of the receipts because Mr MMT has forgotten to give them to me. This is where my habit of jotting down the purchases in my diary helps. I just have to check the amounts in my diary.
Don’t forget to check your automatic deductions too.
After this, total up the amount in the credit card statement. Make sure it’s totally correct.
I use recycled envelopes for this last step.
Write the start and end date of the latest credit card statement.
Put all the receipts that you’ve checked into this envelope.
Seal it and put it away. I usually store these for 2 years.
Check out what I did to get my refund in #5 in 12 Surprising Frugal Tips that Thrifty People Love.
You don’t have to do all these steps. But try to do steps 1,2 and 4, as they’re important.
It usually takes me about 25 minutes for step 4.
Pros of this habit
The earlier you get into this habit, the better.
#1 Doing this allows you to make sure you’re getting charged the right amount every time.
#2 It’s also a great reminder as you get to see how much you have been spending, and what stuff you’ve been overspending on.
#3 It’ll guide you when you need to fine-tune your budget.
Give this a try! You’ve got everything to gain.
You don’t have to go through all 5 steps at once. It has taken me time to develop and sustain this habit.
Try step 1 for a few weeks or months and see how you go. Only take the next steps when you’re ready. All the best!
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