I remember back in the days when I was a stay at home mother with little money but a lot of time on my hands. I found it relatively easy to keep my budget within the limits, and I had lots of time to figure out how much money we had at any point in time, sometimes daily.
I was home to cook, so we ate fast food maybe 2 or 3 times a year – not that we could afford to eat out living below poverty level! I learned to make the most delicious homemade pizza and could rise the dough and bake it within an hour. Almost as quick as the local pizza joint could deliver; but for pennies on the dollar. That little trick really helped when we moved out to the country, where they still don’t deliver pizza!
But now that I’m constantly on the go, I find myself forgetting to do little money saving ideas that I’ve employed all my life, like neglecting to check my grocery store receipts to see if the scanner overcharged me. I am overcharged at least 3 to 4 times each month at various stores. Interestingly, Walmart rarely overcharges. Last week I bought a frozen pizza on sale for $2.99 and was charged $6.98. If I hadn’t looked at the receipt, I’d have been out $6.98. The store manager decided to give me the pizza for free. Some stores in our area will give you the first item free if under $5. It’s a reward to the customer for bringing the wrong price to their attention. And it’s supposed to be a heads up to them that their scanner is wrong for that item. Some stores are real good about changing the price immediately, while others don’t seem to care since most people don’t care that they are overcharged. At one store the clerk acts resentful when I show up at customer service yet again, with a wrong price. She acts like I’m ripping off the store by getting the item free. Well, it’s not MY fault that their scanners and the price on the shelf don’t match up.
I also used to have a lot of time to take things back to the store that weren’t working out. Even little things, for example, my husband recently bought some shirts for himself. He didn’t know that I’ve discovered it is a waste of money to purchase Fruit of the Loom’s “Golden Blend” t-shirts as they are thread-bare out of the package. While folding laundry, I noticed several new thread-bare t-shirts, looked at the tags and mentioned to hubby that these were the wrong kind to buy. He said he wondered why they were so thin. He bought two packages, and we need to take those back and exchange them for another brand, which will last much longer, and they don’t cost all that much more for quality t-shirts. But since they only cost a few dollars per package, and I have so little time, it seems like a bigger ordeal to find the receipt [dh hopefully has it in his wallet], get the t-shirts together and take them back to the store, than to worry about the ten bucks or so that they cost us.
Thankfully most stores that we shop have a 90 day return policy, which gives us some breathing room.
I remember hearing about people who would give away a small dollar item that didn’t work out, rather than return it to the store to get the money back. I couldn’t imagine back then. That is because I had enough time on my hands to locate the receipt, as I’d had time to file it, and time to find the item, the package it came in, and the time to remember to return it. I have unfortunately done the same thing in the past year, but I’ve not let it become a habit.
I hope someday to be in a position where I’ll have plenty of money coming in, and much more time on my hands.