How To Avoid Losing Your Receipts

When shopping, you often get asked if you want the receipt in the bag. Forget that; make sure it ends up in your hand instead. When the cashier sticks it in the bag, you're probably going to forget it's there and toss it out with the bag. Here are a few tips to help you avoid losing receipts -- and your ability to return unwanted items.

Photo by Ben Osteen.

Put The Receipt In Your Wallet

The period of time to return items is often pretty short, especially for change of mind purchases. Usually, you get a week or two. (Note that if an item is defective, a store can't enforce a strict limit in this way.)

If there's any chance you might need to return the item you bought, don't put the receipt in the bag. Take it directly from the cashier, fold it up, and stick it in your wallet. Not only will this keep it safe in the event of a problem, but if you go to return the item, you'll already know you have it with you.

Scan The Receipt With Your Phone

Your phone's camera isn't just for photos -- it's fully capable of scanning a receipt. If you're worried about losing that important slip of paper, just snap a picture so you have a backup copy. If you've got a smartphone, you can take it a little further and use an app designed for scanning and storing receipts. Previously mentioned app Lemon (for iPhone and Android) is an excellent (and free) receipt scanner. It also handles plenty of other digital wallet-type things as well, but the receipt functionality is enough to make it great. If you scan all your receipts right after purchase, you'll always have them in your pocket without the need to stuff them in your wallet.

Manually "Tag" Each Receipt For Easy Identification

When you're looking through receipts to find the right one, it can be difficult because they all look the same. The easiest way to identify them quickly is to "tag" them, just as you would a video or blog post online. On the back of the receipt, take a pen and write where you bought the item and what the item is. For example, "Apple, Overpriced HDMI Cable" is sufficient. If there are a lot of items on the receipt you can just tag more generally. It's an extra step, but it only requires a pen and a few seconds to potentially save you a lot of time when you need to find the receipt you're looking for.


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