Never Overpay At A Restaurant By Using This Simple Trick


I barely got in the front door from running errands before I heard my wife trying to tell me something from the kitchen. She was asking if I still had the itemized receipt from dinner the night before, because she was sure we had overpaid.

We had been out of town and went out for dinner. The server was very frantic, and made us feel rushed. The restaurant was quite busy, and she was more interested in speed than the customer experience. We had used a coupon for a free appetizer, but by the time we were done eating our meal we were in no mood for dessert. I left cash, including a tip that represented our experience, and we walked out the door.

While I was running errands, something clicked inside my wife’s head. She found the restaurant’s website, and reviewed the menu and the prices of the items we ordered. The amounts just didn’t add up.

Remembering how much our bill had been, my wife thought we had overpaid.

I quickly located the itemized receipt on my bedroom dresser and began going over the items. The receipt include our two entrees and two drinks, but it also included the $8.99 for the appetizer.

The server had not deducted the amount for the free appetizer.

Under normal circumstances I check the itemized receipt for accuracy before paying the bill. But given our less than spectacular experience, I was in a hurry to just get out of the restaurant and didn’t look over the bill. That inaction cost me the price of the free appetizer. The ironic thing is that coupon was the main reason we selected that particular restaurant.

While this mistake occurred when our service and experience wasn’t great, it can happen any time. Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. Before paying your restaurant bill, check your itemized bill for accuracy. Dining out can be expensive, don’t pay even more than you’re supposed to.

Do you check your restaurant bill for accuracy? Have you ever found a mistake?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

Disease Called Debt

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About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Yes, I always check. Just last month, we found three errors on our receipts at different restaurants, which ended up totaling over $100 in mistakes. We’ve never had so many mistakes before. Two of the times, the server added another person’s bill to ours, which they might have even done on purpose, sadly.

    • Wow, $100 in mistakes in one month! Good thing you check consistently, those mistakes really would have added up! Thanks for sharing!

    • Very true, Money Beagle. Especially in this case where the server took the coupon when we ordered the appetizer. If the coupon would have been given right as the check was being calculated she likely wouldn’t have been forgotten.

  • I’ve subscribed for years and I’m disappointed by this posting. The “simple trick” is just checking the receipt? Come on…

    Never run out of gas by using this simple trick. Fill up the tank before the gas gauge hits empty.
    Never starve by using this simple trick. Eat food when you get hungry.

    • LOL, elliot, fair point. I might have gotten a little carried away with my attempt to create an attention grabbing headline. I appreciate the input and will take it into consideration when coming up with titles. I think the advice is sound, though….don’t just assume the bill is correct, you might end up throwing money away.

    • Good for her, Eric…..I usually don’t have a problem at the grocery store though, since I favor the self-checkout lanes. 🙂

  • Awesome reminder that it’s important to check your receipts after a meal! I typically do but not as often as I should. My boyfriend always checks the receipt so our partnership is great!

  • I always check the receipts, especially if I’m expecting a discount. Another thing some people do to save time is use the suggested tip amounts at the bottom of the receipt. Depending on how things go, those amounts may be wrong as well. I once had a restaurant bill where we were charged the dinner price instead of the lunch price for 2 entrees. They deducted the dinner prices and added the lunch prices, but the suggested tip amounts would have covered 4 dinner entrees and 2 lunch entrees! I also check grocery receipts before I leave the store, even if I use the self-checkout because the errors are usually in the system prices, not the scanning.

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