I am a collector of receipts. People make fun of me because I have a detailed file system, with categories for electronics, office supplies, travel, and more. But I’m the one laughing all the way to the bank, because my receipt hoarding helps me earn hundreds each year.
From hitting up the local coffee shop to buying a new sweater, you can end up with several crumpled receipts in your pocket at the end of the day. In an increasingly paperless world, it makes sense that you usually just toss those receipts in the trash.
However, ditching your receipts could be a costly mistake. As I’ve found out, you could be throwing money away.
1. Price adjustments
One of the best ways I save money is monitoring stores after I’ve made a purchase. If I see a new coupon or sale on what I bought, I visit the store’s customer service department and ask them to adjust the price. I can save as much as 25 percent by just watching the sales and taking a few minutes to stop in.
Your receipt on a recent purchase could save you money even days or weeks after your purchase. If you buy an item and it goes on sale afterward, you can usually get a price adjustment by heading to the store and showing your receipt. Stores such as Banana Republic, Best Buy, and even Walmart allow price adjustments within 14 to 30 days after the purchase.
If you do a lot of your shopping online, you can automate the price adjustment process by signing up for Paribus. Paribus connects with your mailbox and searches for receipts and compares them to retailers’ latest prices. If the price has dropped, Paribus files price adjustment claims on your behalf.
2. Product warranties
I bought my husband a tablet for his birthday that had a great warranty. Except I lost the receipt, so when it stopped working, the company wouldn’t honor it. I learned my lesson from that experience, so I hold on to receipts for items with warranties for months — even years.
Product warranties can be a lifesaver if an item you purchased breaks. A warranty can help you get a replacement in case a refrigerator or even a phone malfunctions. However, you usually need to show proof of purchase — such as a receipt — to qualify for the warranty.
Without the receipt, you might not be eligible for the warranty, and you could end up stuck with a defective item.
3. Tax deductions
Since I freelance, I have some business expenses that I can deduct on my taxes. I can deduct purchases such as a new computer or even the gel pens I like. However, when I was just starting out, I didn’t realize that. Because I didn’t keep track, I missed out on hundreds of dollars worth of deductions.
Your receipts can give you a significant break at tax time. For example, if you own your own business, freelance, or are job searching, the purchases you make can be deducted on your taxes. Those deductions can reduce your tax bill or boost your refund.
However, it’s important to have exact numbers; your taxes are not the place to estimate. Also, if the IRS audits your return, you might be asked to show proof of your expenses. Without receipts to document your purchases, you could end up paying penalties and fines.
When in doubt, hold on to the receipt; if you’re unsure if a purchase qualifies for a deduction or not, check with your tax preparer.
Most stores allow you to return your purchases if you change your mind, but some will only let you if you have a receipt. If you don’t have one, you could end up stuck with a lousy sweater or ill-fitting dress.
Whenever you make a purchase, it’s a good idea to hold on to the receipts or confirmation emails for at least 30 days to ensure you’re satisfied with the item and don’t need to return it.
If you throw out your receipts as soon as you leave the store, you can miss out on significant discounts and special offers.
Stores such as Target, CVS, and Michaels often include valuable coupons at the bottom of their receipts. You can use those coupons during your next trip to save money. Without the receipt, you lose those savings.
Target now knows what brands I love, so I often get offers for discounted shampoo or nail polish. I can use those coupons the next time I shop.
Apps including Ibotta, Checkout51, and MobiSave allow you to earn cash rebates by just submitting a picture of your receipts. If you shop at one of their participating stores — which typically includes grocery stores, pharmacies, and big-name retailers — the apps automatically scan your receipts and give you cash.
For example, as of August 2017, Ibotta is offering a $3.00 rebate on Ketel One Vodka. If you shopped at a liquor store and purchased that item, the rebate would be added to your account.
Signing up for these apps is an easy way to earn extra passive income. In one year, I earned nearly $200 with these apps. That’s certainly not life-changing money, but it’s a nice bonus I can use for holiday shopping or other splurges.
Managing your receipts (without going crazy)
Although your receipts can be valuable, dealing with the clutter can be frustrating. That’s why it’s important to come up with a system for managing receipts that works for you.
Some people who prefer paper copies like to keep files for their receipts. They might have separate folders for tax deduction receipts versus everyday purchases. By keeping the receipts filed, they can keep track of them and access them when needed.
Alternatively, you can take pictures of your receipts and upload them to a folder on your computer or cloud storage. You can easily categorize and delete them, or hold on to them for tax time.
Whatever way you choose, keeping your receipts for just a little longer can help you save money quickly and easily.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|