Financial Education

Always Check Your Itemized Receipt!

check your receipts, shopping tips, receipts checking

I’ve never seen my wife open up her purse and hand a complete stranger $60. Think about what it would be like to open up your wallet or purse, take out three crisps to the touch twenty dollar bills and just hand them to someone for no reason at all. Had my wife not double checked her receipt from the salon, that’s exactly what she would have done.

My wife had gone to her favorite salon for some services. When I picked her up, I asked for the receipt so I could enter it into the account register. She looked at it as she extended her arm to hand it to me, then pulled it back with a confused look on her face. She pulled out an itemized version of the receipt and compared it to the customer copy with the total. The amounts didn’t match.

She recounted to me how the total didn’t seem right when she was at the counter either. She had asserted they must have charged her for a full color instead of a touch up (which is usually less expensive). The receptionist was adamant the amount charged for her hair was correct, so my wife paid it.

A call back to the salon revealed that they had mistakenly charged her twice for the pedicure she had done. The employee apologized repeatedly, stating that $60 would be refunded back to her debit card within a few business days.

When making any purchase, always follow these guidelines:

Ask For Your Receipt

Many people find receipts to be a waste of paper and just throw them away. For this reason, many cashiers will ask if you want your receipt and throw it away for you. I always, always, always take my receipt until I see the purchase post in my account.

Ask For An Itemized Receipt

If you’re making a purchase that includes several items, there will be an itemized receipt stating details of your purchase, and a summary receipt you sign with just the total. Always ensure you get both.

Review the Itemized Receipt

Ensure what you paid for is exactly what you got. If the server or cashier made a mistake and you don’t catch it, you’ve just handed the business free extra money.

Wait Until Transaction Posts

Once you’ve determined you paid the correct amount for the services or products you purchased, tuck the receipt away until the transaction posts in your account. If there’s ever a problem, you’ll need the receipt to resolve the situation.

Following these steps and checking your itemized receipt only takes a few moments, but it should be a part of everyone’s financial habits. It verifies you received exactly what you paid for, and keeps those crisp twenty dollar bills in your pocket.

How about you, Clever Friends, have you ever found a significant mistake on a receipt after you left a business?

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • We always check our receipts for groceries and other places where you get a large number of items, but may not be able to stand there and check right there in the store. You’d be amazed at the number of times you will find something that, as an example, a sale priced item was charged at full price.

  • I’ve had a server at a restaurant charge double for food and also had one that changed the tip. I always make sure to keep both the itemized and summary receipts at restaurants so I can double check the charges.

    I’ve also been overcharged at Walmart but caught it in time before leaving the store. This happened where they scanned an item multiple times and reversed the charges but did not reverse enough. It was something like I bought 4 of an item and they scanned one then hit the button multiple times and rang up 6, then reversed 1….overcharging me by 1.

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