Price check please: why you should always check your supermarket docket

Bessie Hassan 17 August 2017

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Make friends with your receipt and save yourself a small fortune.

Nipping out to the local supermarket is anything but relaxing with two young children in tow.

Just the thought of the ensuing arguments about who gets to push the trolley or why my five-year-old can’t have ice cream for dinner is enough to make me want to forget the whole idea and just order Uber eats instead.

So to discover on top of that that I’ve been overcharged at the checkout makes me see red – especially if I’ve already struggled to buckle the little darlings into their car seats.

Unfortunately there are plenty of ways you can get ripped off when you’re doing the weekly shop – from being charged twice for the same item to an advertised discount not being applied.

Supermarkets get away with this because customers either "trust supermarkets to do the right thing" or don’t bother to check what they’ve been charged for.

I don’t fall into that category. I always check my receipt and it seems I’m not alone - with a recent finder.com.au survey revealing 3 out of 4 Aussies check their supermarket docket to check if they’ve been overcharged.

Interestingly, those with adult kids (82%) are the most inclined to examine their receipt, followed by those with teen kids (78%), and those with young kids (76%).

On average, a $10.50 overcharge is what it takes before customers will demand a refund.

But if you ask me, that’s being too generous. I’d much rather that $10.50 be in my hot little hand, rather than filling the coffers of some supermarket giant.

Weighing up whether it’s worth addressing being overcharged, would probably come down to how much patience I have left on that particular day, but I’d like to think even a $5 discrepancy would have me returning to the checkout to request a refund. You need to be smart with money, no matter how small the amount is. It’s the principle – no-one likes getting ripped off.

Not only does It gives me a virtuous glow knowing I’ve picked up a mistake, it can save me a small fortune.

The research shows I’m more frugal than the majority of my generation – in fact Generation Y have the highest threshold when it comes to being ripped off – tolerating being overcharged to the tune of $13.30 before they return to the supermarket to ask for a refund.

But if you ask me that $13.50 would be much better spent on a bottle of wine as a reward for surviving another grocery shop.

Bessie Hassan's Money Expert column provides advice to help you make the most of your money. It appears regularly on finder.com.au.

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