Cleveland Coupon Divas

The Power of Keeping Receipts

on September 3, 2012

So, here I am with a stack of receipts ready to complete store surveys, enter sweepstakes and send in rebates when it hit me… why not share the benefits of truly looking at and using receipts with other couponers?   Receipts carry their own type of value – from rebates and surveys that offer sweepstakes or discounts to membership opportunities with exclusive customer panels and in-store credit.

If you are new to couponing or are not really that into sweepstakes, taking surveys, and things like that, I bet that you probably do not give the bottom of your store receipts much notice.  However, there are benefits to not only noticing the bottom of your receipts, but also holding onto the whole receipt for a period of time after your purchase.  During my early couponing experiences (ages ago!), I did not really take much interest in my pile of receipts I had wadded up in my purse or in my coat pockets until I realized the benefits of doing so…

 Rebates

Have you ever read a notice about a hot rebate offer only to realize that you purchased the item required a few days before?   Sure, that does not sound like a problem, but what about the receipt from that purchase that you trashed as soon as you left the store?  Or how about that big wad of chewed green gum from your son that you stuck in the receipt and made it impossible to use?  Even if you rationalize that it is only a tiny amount of savings, it is still money you threw away!  I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me.  I was in a bind because I did not want to waste any more of my tight budget to go out and buy more of the same item when I just bought plenty of it in the recent past.  These types of oversights add up and take away from your budget.  Be sure to keep your receipts no matter how little the purchase.  You never know, a great rebate may surface or your may have an issue with your purchase that can only be fixed if you have your receipt in hand.

 Surveys That Offer Sweepstakes and Discounts

Many stores like Target, Rite Aid, Family Dollar and Walgreens offer survey invitations at the bottom of receipts.  It is important to note that not all receipts have these survey invites printed on them, so I like to take advantage of them when I see the opportunity.  The surveys often invite you to enter a sweepstakes or give you a discount to print at the end of the survey session.  The more surveys you complete, the better your chances of winning the sweepstakes, so it only makes sense to raise your odds by doing so.  Another benefit of completing the survey is listing any issues or comments about your shopping experience that may need addressing by the company.  I have noticed that issues I list are often nonexistent after the next couple of weeks of filling out a survey and listing my concerns.  I do not always have the time to wait for the store manager in order to discuss my concerns, so having these surveys as a way to describe any issues I encountered while shopping is very convenient for me.

 Membership With Exclusive Store Customer Panels

I noticed that the more I completed surveys and entered information that mattered during certain store survey sessions, the more communications, discounts and eventually invites to exclusive store customer panels came my way.  I am now a member of a consumer panel for one of my area grocery stores and I greatly benefit from it by way of discounts and freebies.  While completing surveys usually opens doors for the store to send you more surveys by email (if you opt in for future survey invites at the end of your first survey), completing these surveys can lead to more discounts and opportunities from the consumer panel memberships that offer great incentives for being a participant.

In-Store Credit

The value of in-store credit probably goes without saying since most of us rely on store credit to fulfill so many of the amazing deals posted on the Cleveland Coupon Divas’ blog.  But if you are overlooking these credits or find yourself letting them expire, get organized and dedicate yourself to keeping as much money in your pocket as possible.  Use a system such as the one outlined below to keep you on track with in-store credits.  An organized system will allow you to maximize not only your savings but will also give you more money to use towards your overall budget.  Take the time to dedicate yourself to being the savings champ in your household by vowing to stay on top of in-store credit and using it wisely!  If you need direction on how best to use in-store credit, always refer to the Cleveland Coupon Divas’ blog for guidance.  There are store-specific posts that help you make sense of any confusion you may encounter when it comes to in-store credit.

Organization is Key

I have an organized system for addressing my receipts and any rebates or surveys that I get from my purchases.  I have a little coupon accordion file I use to store my receipts, rebates and survey invites.  I also put any in-store credits in a separate tab according to each store name.  Since I am in the accordion file at least once per week, I never miss out on using rebates or store credits that are time sensitive.

After I come home from shopping each day, I empty out my binder, pockets, purse and wallet of any receipts.  I then go to the bottom portion of each receipt and cut off any survey invites or in-store credits, which I then put in my little coupon accordion file under the appropriate tab.  I have tabs labeled according to store such as “Target Surveys” or “Walgreens Register Rewards”.  I put the rest of the receipt in my little coupon accordion file under the appropriate tab according to the store name such as “Target Receipts”.  I also pull out any rebate forms I have to complete and file them under the tab “Rebates”.  So I basically have survey tabs by store, receipts tabs by store, in-store credit tabs by store and a rebates tab all in my little coupon accordion file.  If I do not immediately fill out rebate forms, I put a little sticky on them listing which store I bought the item from so that I can easily find the receipt when I go to complete and send the rebate.  I sometimes just put the receipt with the rebate form and file it under “Rebates” just to make things easier.

Most surveys give you a seven day window to complete the survey, so it is best to address rebates and surveys at least once per week.  I pick Fridays to complete surveys and rebates because I am done shopping for the week by then and I can take my toddler’s nap time to focus on these tasks.

With a little focus, time and effort, the benefit of keeping receipts becomes obvious.  I had to get over feeling like a pack rat when I would hold onto my receipts, and I found that having the little accordion file made me feel better and it helped my desk look neater.  Having an organized system also minimizes the time I use filling out rebates and searching for receipts, which gives me more time to spend with my family.

Most “normal” people have no idea of the benefit of receipts.  Aren’t we lucky to be a part of such a great thing as couponing where we learn so much?  The benefits of couponing are many, including the value we can find on and with our receipts!  Many of us in the couponing community have learned how to make the most out of what we have, and that includes maximizing the value of receipts.  Happy couponing everyone and hang onto those receipts!

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