Do you check your grocery bills for mistakes?

How often have you walked into a store and swiped your credit card without paying much attention to the cashier?

This weekend I went to the grocery to pick up some items. I picked up a few containers of fruit, some cookies that were on sale, and ice cream. I needed something sweet that weekend! When I went to cash out I ended up talking to a friend while cashing the items. Once the cashier finished, I faintly heard her say my total and I swiped my credit card. It was only once I was done talking and already signed for payment I realized the bill was wrong. She told me those items cost $31!

Unless I bought some exotic fruit and ice cream with gold flakes in it there was no way it cost this much. I knew the fruit cost roughly $12 so when I went through the math in my head the total came up to roughly $20. Somebody owed me $9 so I quickly told the cashier and she told me to see customer service. Once they reviewed my bill they realized that none of the discounts were taken off the items. My grocery store is awesome and has great member saving deals every day.

If I was not a member then the bill would have cost $31. Thankfully I was and they realized it was a computer error. They ended up telling me I would get $9 and change back.

This is why it is so important to know what you pay for. Now I am not telling you that you need to know the exact cost of whatever you purchase. But if you purchased two items for $5 each and the cashier says it cost $20, something should go off in your head. Either you did not qualify for the discount or the machine messed up.

This is the problem with technology today. It has made our lives so easy that we no longer check the total cost. We sometimes assume the computer is always right and just continue on our merry way.

Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your bill:

Did I purchase all these items?

Here is a pro tip. Never go to the grocery hungry! Before you know it, your cart will be filled with a ton of treats you did not even realize you purchased until you see a bill double what you were expecting. Believe me, I have done this. Instead, go with a list in mind. This way you normally have an estimate of the cost already in your head.

Were all the discounts applied?

In my case, I was supposed to get two containers of fruit for $6 each. Nonmember price is $6.99 which led to the bill being overstated by $0.99 per container of fruit. Since I bought two, this added up to almost $2 in savings. Additionally, the ice cream was $2 cheaper and the cookies came up to roughly $5 cheaper since I bought two. If you know that you were supposed to receive a discount carefully check the bill before you leave the store. Should you find mistakes, simply go to customer service. Some stores have a policy to give you back more than the overcharged amount. However, this policy varies from grocery to grocery.

Final Thoughts

Unless you enjoy giving your money away for free, which I assume you do not as you are reading this blog, do yourself a favor and spend a couple seconds glancing over your bill. You never know what may, or may not, be on there.

How often do you check your grocery bills? How does your store handle the refund?

Blog Update

As some of you may have realized, I failed to post last Thursday. I am currently studying for my CPA exam, which is next Wednesday, and felt I needed to focus on myself rather than one post. As my family is coming to the US this week, I will not be posting again until the following Thursday, November 10th. Make sure you are checking my Twitter as I will be posting pictures of the adventures and the New York marathon this weekend! See you all next week.




11 comments… add one
  • Kim Oct 31, 2016, 9:44 am

    When I first moved out on my own, I checked my receipts meticulously. I have slacked since then, but I really need to pick the habit back up! Thanks for sharing!

  • Financial Panther Oct 31, 2016, 9:54 am

    Admittedly, I never check over my grocery bill. I’m just scared of being that guy who holds up the line because I’m complaining about some small mistake. I probably shouldn’t care what people think, but I can’t help myself!

  • Amanda @ centsiblyrich Oct 31, 2016, 10:37 am

    YES! I check my bill. In fact, I missed an error at the checkout last week, but I always look at my receipt before I actually leave the store. They had overcharged me on one item. The sweet thing about that store is, if they make an error, you get the item free. I scored $4.71 worth of groceries. It’s not much, but every little bit adds up, plus it took less than 5 minutes.

  • candy Oct 31, 2016, 11:39 am

    I try really hard to keep track of any receipts and yes I have found several mistakes that had to be corrected.

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Oct 31, 2016, 11:51 am

    I aaaaalways check the grocery receipt for errors. In fact, I get Mr. Picky Pincher to deal with loading the groceries onto the counter and packing them up just so I can watch the cashier ring up our purchases. We’ve caught quite a few mistakes, too! I do address it with the cashier, but it’s always important to be polite about it.

  • Finance Solver Oct 31, 2016, 10:08 pm

    Good luck on both the CPA exam and the Marathon!! I know that you’ll crush it Stefan 🙂

    I actually used to spend a lot of time tracking every single penny that was going out. I didn’t have too much to do back then, I guess. Nowadays, I just lose track of time and value convenience over anything else. I haven’t checked my receipts in a long time and probably should to check for any errors!

  • Mrs. PIE Nov 1, 2016, 6:43 am

    I do self checkout at the grocery store, which is a great way to keep on top of all the prices. It’s a little confusing because sometimes discounts are not applied until the end, but It’s easy to catch errors and get them fixed there and then. It’s also been a good way for me to understand my spend better.

  • Dividends Down Under Nov 3, 2016, 8:10 pm

    Good luck on your CPA exam!

    I do often glance over the receipt when we do our grocery shopping. I also watch the total on the screen as they’re scanning our items. Always good to be reminded about the aspect of human error though, it’s way too easy to be overcharged accidentally!


  • Mustard Seed Money Nov 4, 2016, 8:15 pm

    We’ve been really lucky not to have any errors on our grocery bills or maybe we didn’t notice it. Yikes!!! But have definitely found errors before on your restaurant checks. Definitely not fun telling the waiter that the bill is wrong. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • DiviCents Nov 7, 2016, 11:28 am

    I check mine like a freaking hawk!
    Like everyone, they make mistakes. It goes both ways though. I have even returned to pay more money when I haven’t been charged.

    The Visa is the one that is wrong the most. I can’t tell you how many times I have been DOUBLE charged.

  • Dividend Diplomats Nov 13, 2016, 5:14 pm

    Good luck on your exam Stefan—-BURY THAT TEST!!

    To answer your question, I always look at my grocery bill for some unexpected surprises that were added before I swipe my card or leave the store.

    Take care!


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