Saturday, June 23, 2007

Return Policy Tricks That Save Money

I like to outsmart the stores' return policy and save money! You can too!

Okay. I admit it. My name is Jennifer and I am a "return" addict.

It's true. I like to return things. I know the return policy of almost every store. I also like to save money. Combine these two things and you get a "return" addict.

Oh, don't worry. It's not just the Christmas gift you gave me last year (though I might have returned that too!). It is stuff that I have purchased myself as well. I am an equal opportunity returner.

My philosophy is that if I wouldn't go out and purchase that item today, I should return it. I realize this is a minority opinion. However, it is a great way to save money. It is also very similar to advice I often hear Dave Ramsey give on his radio show. (There's even a technical name for it that I can't for the life of me remember right now.) For Dave it is usually referring to advice about whether or not to sell a house. For example, someone inherited a house and they don't want to live there but they are considering renting it out and they ask Dave for his opinion. Dave always asks, if you hadn't inherited this house would you go out and purchase it to become a landlord? The caller invariably answers "no" and Dave tells them to sell the house.

See? My "returning" addiction is sanctioned by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host!

Okay. Not exactly. But the same principle applies.

Before you can save money by returning things, you will first need to learn the return policy of the stores in your area. Most stores have a return policy that allows you to return any item for a full refund within 30 to 90 days of your original purchase. A few stores have a return policy that will allow you to return for up to six months and a few will only allow you to return for up to two weeks. But even if you have an item that is past the return policy time frame, you might still get lucky. It all depends on the cashier you get. It is worth giving it a try if it will save money!

The Top 3 Reasons You Should Return Something This Week:

1. You can get cash back or a store credit.
How's that for earning easy money? If it was a gift or you can't find the receipt, bring it back anyway and you can usually get a store credit.

2. Less clutter in your house.
If you don't like it and you don't use it, it's clutter. Get rid of it! (And the price you will get for returning it will definitely be MUCH higher than what you will get when you sell it at a garage sale or on ebay next year!)

3. You can save money by getting the sale price on EVERY purchase. (Also known as You can get MORE cash back.)

How can returning things do this?

Well, most people know that if an item they purchased goes on sale they can bring their receipt back to the store (usually within 2 weeks) for a price adjustment.

What many people don't realize is that you can almost ALWAYS get the sale price on ANY item no matter how long ago you purchased the item.

"How?" you ask? Let me teach you how . . .

Say you bought your daughter a pair of new sneakers last month for $60. Then the next time you go to the store you see that those same sneakers are now on clearance for 50% off. There's $30 bucks you wasted, you think to yourself. You know you can't get a price adjustment because you bought them two months ago and you can only get the price adjustment within two weeks. And you probably think that you can't return the sneakers because your daughter has been wearing them for two months and they are filthy. You probably didn't think of this next option.

Buy the exact same sneakers in the exact same size at the exact same store - for the new sale price. Then, a week later, go back to the store with the new sneakers and the receipt for the first sneakers you bought for $60. So, you return the new sneakers with the old receipt. You just got the sale price! Do this for all of your purchases and you will really save big!

It is very important that you purchase the exact same product, however, or it won't work. Most receipts track the exact size and color, etc. of the product you bought.

This method works really great after Christmas when just about everything you paid a fortune for a month ago, is now on sale for dirt cheap.

Now do you see why I'm a "Return" addict?