I think it’s safe to say that we live in a society where everything moves very fast. Most of us are busy, and life just seems to fly by. I think it’s great how much stuff we can get done at any given time, but it’s important to slow it down sometimes to make sure we aren’t being taken advantage of. Here are 3 instances I think it’s important to take a step back and make sure you aren’t being overcharged.
1) Grocery Store Reciept– I don’t know about you, but I hate grocery shopping. I’m a poor college student so I tend to shop at Wal-Mart (it’s so cheap). Wal-Mart alone is probably why I hate shopping. It’s always so crowded, which make it impossible to navigate the isles! People are always walking around slow. They stand side by side and block the shelves. It’s just a giant mess. Because I hate it there, I’m always in a hurry to checkout. They don’t really use baggage people so I’m always busy packing up my own groceries. I’m sure there have been times where I’ve been overcharged because I wasn’t paying attention. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t have baggage people just to distract their customers from noticing items being rung up twice or with the wrong amount. This is why it’s important to put the rushing attitude behind at the checkout stand and make sure you’re not overpaying.
2) Monthly Bills– I’ve always been terrible at combing through my monthly bills. I like to just pay them and get it over with. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about companies tacking on extra fees. It feels like most companies want to hold you upside down and shake every last penny free. Their like bullies stealing lunch money. Most of us probably have no idea if we’ve ever actually paid these extra fees, but in these tough times it’s important to pay attention and end the shakedowns. If we keep paying the fees, they’ll keep adding them.
3) Foreign Travel– My girlfriend’s parents recently got back from a cruise that went to Komodo Island. Tourist from all over the world travel to this island to see the endangered Komodo dragon. Before the cruise ship company would let them off the boat, they made sure they booked a tour with the local Komodo dragon tour company (they are a monopoly). The tour cost over $175.00 a person. If they didn’t book a tour with them they wouldn’t let them on the island. My girlfriend’s father is a very thrifty guy, and he read ahead of time that he could get a private tour of Komodo Island by going to the ranger station and paying $15.00. When he tried to do this the local tour company through a fit. It took a while to work out, but they ended up getting a great tour for 10% of the cost. This example shows how important it is to be informed when you travel to another country. He did his research and was able to get a great deal, and if he would have just gone on with everyone else he would have been overcharged.
March 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM
Wow!! We feel famous now! Good blog Chris!!
March 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM
I watch the screen like a hawk at the grocery store checkout. But my wife gets embarrassed when I point out wrong prices, so I only do it when I’m alone!
March 19, 2012 at 7:59 PM
You should always do it! It’s like using coupons when there is a long line behind you. It can be embarrassing (if you have a lot), but if it saves you money who cares! I think if they ring up the wrong price it’s like they are stealing from you.
March 26, 2012 at 2:35 PM
You are dead on about monthly bills. I returned all of my cable equipment two months ago when I switched to a dish company and the cable company is still charging me for equipment rental!
March 26, 2012 at 4:09 PM
Cable companies are the worst! It’s sad, but it seems like you just have to assume every company is out to get you.
March 29, 2012 at 12:05 PM
My 14 year old daughter relentlessly watches the screen when we grocery shop. She always spots if we get charged full price for something on sale or if we get charged twice for an item. It’s wonderful- and it saves us money! =)
March 29, 2012 at 12:45 PM
That’s wonderful she’s starting so young!
March 29, 2012 at 7:31 PM
Thanks for stopping by my blog … i 100% agree with these tips. it seems that its always the things we tend to over look that end up costing us over time. it might be tedious but we have to be sure to check everything for our own sakes!
March 29, 2012 at 9:52 PM
It definitely can be tedious, but most important things are! If we don’t watch out for our own finances no one else will.
March 30, 2012 at 8:45 PM
Agree with you totally Chris. We have to pay close attention to our bills. There was recently a sales event called ‘Fashion Night Out’ where lots of retailers were offering discounts and specials. After I finished purchasing at a particular store and checking my bill, I realized that my receipt didn’t have the 20% discount that they promised. So I went back and pointed it out to them. Even though the 20% was a small amount I refused to let it go. So they had me go back in the store and pick out something else for the same cost. I think we really just have to be vigilant.
Btw thanks for visiting my blog!
April 4, 2012 at 8:49 PM
Being vigilant is key. I have let small things go before, but all those times added up actually makes a substantial amount of money. Good job on your vigilance!
Daina H. Dillabough
March 31, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Our local grocery stores have self serve check outs now, my personal fav most people aren’t comfortable with checking themselves out! One local Costco has this too.
And thanks for the look at my website. Your writing reflects your education.
April 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM
We have the self checkouts too. I like to use them if I only have a few items, but I get annoyed when the machine tells me to bag my items when they are already in the bag. Thank you for your compliment.
March 31, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Good tips, Chris! I was once overcharged $50 at a grocery store because I was stocking up on sale items – which they rung up at the regular price. The clerks are in just as much of a hurry as we are, so mistakes are going to be made.
As far as bills, I would add to especially double-check hospital bills, as they sometimes automatically charge for “routine” services that you may not have even received (for example, one hospital tried to charge me for IV pain medication that I had refused to take during labor).
You can also occasionally call and ask for specials from some companies. I’m saving $20 a month on my phone/internet bill right now from one such phone call. That is well worth the time I spent not only on that call, but on the others where I was told no.
April 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM
I think hospital bills are tricky because you can actually negotiate them sometimes. Even though I love to save money i’m terrible at negotiations! That’s great you’ve saved money on your cable/internet bill. Charter won’t stop calling me. Maybe I should answer and ask them! Thank you for your comment.
April 3, 2012 at 5:30 AM
Agree about checking grocery bills… I find groupon or other group buying sites have also been a bit shady in they don’t tell you the full terms of the deal until after you purchase the deal…. something to watch out for
April 3, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I didn’t know that. I’ll have to check my Groupons closer. Thanks for the tip
April 3, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Yeah, those old Romans didn’t leave us: “Caveat emptor” for no reason…
Well, seems to me, we can have cheap Wal-Mart without much service or more expensive places with more services. If we go for the cheap, we then provide our own service instead of buying it from our supplier…no free lunches; we pay our money and make our choice. And Wal-Mart doesn’t pay for top cashier talent so we have to watch them. Cheap ain’t free, right?
Tourists are marks world wide. You can usually swindle the ignorant, right? The wise follow your advice and survey the minefield BEFORE walking in it! Works at home, too…
April 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM
The ignorant definitely get taken advantage of. Every time I purchase something I don’t know a lot about I feel like i’m getting the short end of the stick. You’re right life is all about give and take. When it comes to Wal-Mart I prefer to give a little and take a lot.
April 4, 2012 at 4:19 PM
Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping by and “liking” my blog! Hope you come back and visit again! I enjoyed reading your posts! Glad you found your passion with finances…stay with it…follow your heart!! 🙂
April 4, 2012 at 9:04 PM
Thanks for the comment. I really enjoy your site!
April 5, 2012 at 8:57 PM
Smart advice especially for elderly tourists who often get scammed. LIke your blog; it’s useful.
April 5, 2012 at 9:05 PM
Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
April 6, 2012 at 9:34 PM
I was just considering heading to Bali next year for a volunteer and sight seeing expedition, so the overseas travel advice sounds brilliant. Our Grocery store equivalent to wal-mart here in New Zealand is named Pak’n’save, and your right by the time I hit the checkouts I’m completely over it. A small piece of advice to New Zealanders that are just getting a few items like less than 20 or so, go into the self checkouts, which are great because you are unable to scan another item until the other one is bagged. No Double scanning! 🙂 Anyway thanks so much for your few tips and I will definitely keep it in mind! I was also wondering if I could share a link to your blog from my blog that I’m in the middle of drafting mostly to do with budgeting advice?
April 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Of course you can share a link! Have fun in Bali. We are going to Ireland in June. Safe travels.
April 12, 2012 at 1:46 AM
Great article Chris… i have been recently been cheated out of my money while doing grocery shopping. I went to three shops that day, with a grocery list…i bought my stuff, paid using my card. Next thing i know, i my balance does not match the things i paid for. We are still busy trying to sort out the mess, and its taking longer than the time it took for me to lose my money…. I must say, i have learnt my lesson now.
April 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM
Nice post, thanks!
April 18, 2012 at 7:45 AM
No, Thank you!
April 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Great post Chris! I don’t do any Foreign travel, but I watch the other two very closely. I also like to watch the prices of items as they are scanned into the register. I have NEVER seen one error in MY favor. Sort of beats the odds, huh? BTW, thank you for stopping by my blog. If it’s OK with you, I’d like to link to yours.
April 18, 2012 at 7:13 AM
How weird, I’ve never had an error in favor either! Sure you can link to my blog. Later today i’ll link to yours too.
April 27, 2012 at 5:02 PM
Great practical advice. Thanks.
April 27, 2012 at 7:17 PM
Thanks for the comment!