Friday, 23 November 2012

Frugal Friday...

Check, Check, and Check again...

How often do you check your receipt after you've visited the shops? We all know we're supposed to, but judging by the quick surveillance operation I carried out at Tesco on Friday, very few folk do. I'm guessing that even those who check their supermarket receipts on a regular basis tend to do it less often in other sorts of shops (My quick check of my Boots receipt on my big stock up recent revealed one item (which I had three of) mis-charged, and another which was meant to be being cancelled through the till, not credited, but not in my bag either!  Tesco receipts regularly reveal goods that are over-charged (oddly enough, less so ones that have been charged below what I was expecting!) and as they will refund you "double the difference" of anything you have been wrongly charged for, a quick scan over the receipt can sometimes prove lucrative! Other supermarkets also offer price guarantees which can pay more than just a straight refund if you are incorrectly charged on your shop.

View from Burrival, North Uist
How about bank statements? I have blogged before about how we got caught out some years ago by being charged someone elses water rates for a while - a significant sum which, as we'd not checked the statement regularly, we had simply failed to notice the going of. At that time I used to check quarterly, but it was only when I broke that pattern for some reason that I noticed the unexpected debit from the account, and investigated...why? Because the payment out was also quarterly, but didn't happen within the same statement-month that I was routinely checking, so each time it happened, my check missed it. Either a monthly check or at the least an irregular one would have caught this much sooner. Credit card bills get scrutinised every month - and always have. We use a single account with one of us as a second card holder (NOT a joint account - these do not exist in the world of Credit cards) so as all our spending goes to the card to maximise the cashback earned, it's necessary to check through to allocate who needs to pay what.

Sunset - Locheport, North Uist
Gas, electric and water meters - left neglected, these can result in either you being a long way into credit and paying more than you need each month, or worse, getting caught out paying insufficient to cover your use and owing your supplier a large sum, which they MAY demand back in one go! A lot of energy providers will also offer an incentive for you keeping them up to date with your readings too, either by way of a reduction on your bill or by giving you loyalty points for one or other of the schemes out there. On that same subject, it's worth checking out whether your supplier are part of one of these schemes - British Gas for example have a tie-in with Nectar and I believe EoN are partnering with Tesco Clubcard. Cook your food and be rewarded with points to help pay for it, while being accurately charged only for what you have used - that's a win/win situation surely! Of course it also goes without saying that it's well worth checking whether your current tariff is the best you could be on!

Beach - Balranald, North Uist
On the subject of those annoying plastic cards that end up filling your purse - do any of those have points balances on them you've forgotten about? How about those clubcard vouchers you have on the fridge - are any of those risking running out of date? If so strike quickly to either spend them in store, or better still exchange them via the current "Clubcard Voucher Exchange" for double their value. (This is one of the best of these they have done, with frozen food being included).  Better still use them on rewards for meals or days out that you would have paid for anyway - this multiplies their value so you can get - for example - a £20 Pizza Express voucher or £10 to spend on travel with Red Spotted Hanky or Megabus  in exchange for a £5 clubcard voucher.  You can check for any Clubcard Vouchers you had forgotten about or lost via Tesco's own website too. Nectar have a smartphone App these days which allows you to check your points balance, and of course Boots have their "Advantage Kiosks" which not only let you check balances but also dispense tempting money saving vouchers!

Stornoway - Isle of Lewis
Have you ever been taken by surprise when you've checked a receipt, statement or bill? Or worse, been caught out like we were by NOT checking one? What other things do you make a habit of checking to ensure that you're not missing out?


ps - yes, totally unrelated photos to subject matter. Nice though, aren't they!

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