Check Receipts When You’re Checking Out

It’s so important to check receipts every time you check out. Why? It’s shopping day and you’ve diligently planned your meals, scanned the weekly ads, carefully checked prices, crafted your shopping list, clipped and printed coupons, and checked your budget. You arrive at the store (not hungry, of course), efficiently navigate the aisles, avoid impulse buys, and check out. But when you get home and unpack, you look over the receipt and wham! all your diligence is undone by an error on your receipt. It’s so aggravating. Who wants to bother wasting the gas and time to go back to the store?

check receipt

Mistakes on receipts are so very common. In fact, I find at least one mistake on almost every shopping trip! By catching them at the store, you have the opportunity to get it fixed quickly and easily without wasting your savings.

Here are some of the most common kinds of mistakes:

  • An item on sale rings up at the regular price
  • The package has the wrong price
  • Items on sale are not available or as advertised
  • Items ring incorrectly because signs are wrong or missing or have expired
  • Cashier enters the code incorrectly (usually produce or bakery) or misidentifies the item
  • Item rings up at the wrong price because the price was incorrectly programmed in the system
  • Customer mistakes, such as buying the wrong size item for the coupon or sale

In the spring, my wife purchased a seasonal item which was listed on sale in the weekly ad. It rang up at the full price (almost twice as much as the sale price) and she went to customer service to correct it. Turns out that the item was located in two places (a regular aisle and a seasonal one) and they had two different SKUs. One was on sale and the other wasn’t (the only different was one line on the package). She was able to exchange it for the sale item, but it’s a perfect example of how easily mistakes can happen.

So, check your receipt on every shopping trip. Some people prefer to watch the register as the items are being rung up. I find that I’m often busy packing groceries while this is happening, so I prefer to move my cart over to the side after I’m done checking out, and scan my receipt for problems.

To be successful at checking your receipt, it’s important to:

  • know the sale prices (I write them directly on my shopping list)
  • know what coupons you brought (again, I write them directly on my shopping list) and check that they are doubled when applicable
  • know the regular prices for the items that weren’t on sale
  • know the store’s policy on errors – sometimes they will give you the item for free or give you double the difference on the error

Next time you’re checking your receipt and find an error, head over to the customer service desk and get what you’re entitled to. If an item rang at the wrong price, you deserve at least the difference, if not more (depending on the reason for the error and the store policy). If a sale item isn’t available, be sure to get a raincheck to purchase it at the sale price another time. And if it was your mistake, such as buying the wrong item, you can exchange it for the correct item to get the deal.

When you check receipts, find errors and get them resolved, you’ll feel like you really earned that extra savings. What errors have you found, at the supermarket or on other shopping trips, and how did you correct them?



  1. Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income

    The last two times we have been to the store the receipt was wrong. My wife went straight over to customer service and as soon as they saw her walk up they said “did you buy grapes?” They knew about the problem and said it had been going for two days…and just let it keep going. Hey it’s our money, we would like to keep as much as we can.

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