PFT #17 - How Receipt Tracking Can Help the Budget and Save the Environment

This week’s personal finance tip is about managing your receipts after purchasing items from retailers.


It is obvious that we should save our receipts so that we can return items if needed; however, it is another to understand the rules.


The first one is knowing what is acceptable to get a full exchange for a returned item: -Some policies dictate that you need a receipt for full credit, while others will provide a return by tracking your debit or credit card from their database.


-The other factor is understanding a company’s return policy: you can run into return expiration dates or be subject to store credits rather than a straight money exchange.


Retailer Store Return Guidelines Differ


Let’s review some examples of company guidelines:


At Best Buy without being a member, most returns are due within 15 days and there may be a restocking fee.


When shopping online at sites such as Amazon, the return policy is clearly stated and it depends on their guidelines or third-party seller rules. When shopping at Costco, other than specific electronics and diamonds, for the most part they have a 100% guarantee. So you’ll see people returning mattresses from three years ago and they’ll still accept it.


Use an Expense Tracking App


So when it comes to managing receipts, the best way is to store them digitally by taking a photo or using an app. For example, a popular one is Genius Scan by Grizzly Labs where you can take pictures of all your receipts and store them in one location.


It is free to use and if you upgrade for a small fee you have additional features with cloud storage, security and organization tools.


Plus they give a portion of their revenues towards helping the environment.


Less Paper and Chemical Consumption in the Environment


Keep in mind that going digital means less paper; and in the US alone, we kill 10 million trees and use 21 billion gallons of water to make paper. Plus most paper receipts contain BPA and BPS which are linked to many health problems which is why you see plastic bottles that say “BPA” free.


The bottom line is that we have a multifaceted topic. One, is that understanding return policies saves money; second, is to be organized by taking pictures of your receipts or using apps such as Genius Scan.


The end result is that you can play a small part by using less paper and chemicals which gives back to the environment as well as your budget.


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Episode Link:

Tracking receipts with apps and the budget impact