7 Ways Receipts Can Save or Make You Money

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Is there a wad of crumpled receipts in your purse or pocket? If so, don’t toss them just yet. Those receipts could save you a significant amount of cash.

The money-saving potential of receipts isn’t limited to just the physical slips filling your wallet either. The strategies listed below extend to the digital receipts you get from some retailers as well.

Here’s a look at some of the ways receipts can save or make you money.

1. Get a partial refund when there’s a sale

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There’s nothing worse than buying something and then seeing it go on sale a week later. Fortunately, if you still have your receipt, you could be refunded the difference.

Consumer Reports put out a call to their audience a few years ago to ask readers if they had much luck getting partial refunds after an item went on sale. Many did, but they all agreed that having a receipt was essential to getting the refund.

To get a refund, stop by the customer service desk to see if the store has a policy on refunding the difference between the regular and sale price. If they don’t, you could use your receipt to return the item and then repurchase it at the new, lower price. That might sound like a hassle, but if the sale discount is significant, it could be worth the effort.

2. Price match other stores’ sales

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You may be able to receive a partial refund when an item goes on sale even if the sale is at a different store. Target is one example of a store that will match a competitor’s sale price within 14 days of your purchase. Simply bring proof of the competitor’s price and your receipt to your local store.

Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Staples are among the other retailers that may price match after a purchase.

3. Earn cash back through rewards apps

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There are numerous apps that will provide cash back or points in exchange for uploading your receipts. Here are some examples:

Ibotta: This app offers cash back for both online and in-store purchases. Before shopping locally, check the app for retailers you plan to visit, select the items you plan to purchase and then upload a photo of the receipt when you’re done. Cash-back earnings should be credited to your account within 24 hours.

InboxDollars: There are many ways to earn money through InboxDollars, from reading emails to taking surveys. You can also earn grocery cash rewards by selecting offers prior to going to the store. Buy those items, and then scan your receipt to earn cash back for those products.

Fetch: Fetch is a nice alternative to other receipt-scanning apps in that you don’t have to select offers in advance. You simply scan your receipts, and Fetch looks for qualifying purchases. With this app, you don’t get cash back, though. It offers points that can be redeemed for gift cards.

4. Claim mail-in rebates

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Although not as common as they were in the past, mail-in rebates are still a thing. You might find hang tags on items in the grocery store or deals on Black Friday that will allow you to mail in your receipt for cash back.

If do submit a receipt for a mail-in rebate, make a copy first so you have your own record of the purchase.

5. Complete receipt surveys for coupons and freebies

Woman checking long receipt
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The next time you get a receipt, look at the bottom or flip it over. There may be an offer to complete a short customer satisfaction survey in exchange for a discount or freebie redeemable during a future visit.

These deals seem to be particularly prevalent at restaurants with Burger King, Chick-fil-A and Culver’s being among those that reportedly have freebies or discounts attached to their receipt surveys.

6. Save money on taxes

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If you purchase something for your small business or side hustle, save the receipt so you can deduct that expense from your taxes. For example, if you buy printer ink for a home office, meals while traveling for business or a reference book for your work, those might be deductible — but you’ll need the receipt in case you’re audited.

Government rules can be complex so consult with a tax professional to confirm whether something is or is not tax deductible for you, and whether it’s worth it.

7. Receive reimbursement for work expenses

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If you are not self-employed, the number of deductions you can take at tax time may be limited. However, you could still use your receipts to be reimbursed for work-related expenses by your employer.

Some companies have specific policies about what is reimbursable while others handle requests on a case-by-case basis. Bottom line: If you are asked to pick up something by your boss, ask if you can submit your receipt for reimbursement.

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