It’s Thrifty Thursday and one way to be thrifty is to return items to stores that you don’t need or you don’t want.
Doing returns seems so obvious, but sometimes I would get lazy and just keep items. I would justify that I would use the product eventually or the item wasn’t worth my time to drive back to the store. Or I would wait too long and the receipt would expire. But since I have decided to be more thrifty this year, I have been a diligent returner.
I finally returned some Sponge Bob underwear to Kohl’s that I had had for over 10 months. (Shortly after I had bought it, Crew informed me that he no longer wanted to wear any underwear with characters on it. He requested white Hanes or Fruit of the Loom underwear only.)
I even did a measly $1 return to Target.
Sometimes I have had to be inventive in my returns.
For example, I bought some burlap Christmas ribbon for next year from Ballard Designs, but when I got it, the color wasn’t right for me. However, the shipping to return it was almost as much as I paid for it. So instead of sending it back, I called a neighbor to see if she would want it. She loved it, bought it from me, and I wasn’t out any money. And the ribbon was not sitting in a box in my basement. We had a win-win situation.
I have been more successful with returns this year because I block off one afternoon every other week or so for returns and errands. I knock it all out at once. I do my best not to take my kids with me because I can go so much faster. (Bless you babysitting co-op!)
And I will tell you a little secret if you promise not to make fun of me… I plan my route so that I only have to make right turns. This saves me little bits of time. Or I go to the farthest errand first and work my way back home. That way if I don’t get it all done, I only have the closest stores left. I got these two helpful tips from a time management book I read a few years back.
When I realize I don’t want or need something, I put the items to be returned in the original sack with the receipt inside the bag and then I keep all the bags in my return basket. Keeping the receipt in the bag, is so much easier than rifling through a bunch of receipts in my wallet when I get to the customer service counter. I take the basket in my car on return day.
If you are wondering why that basket is labeled ‘stores’ it’s because I also have a return basket labeled ‘people’ for stuff that needs to be returned to family and friends. Like right now my ‘people’ basket contains my nieces sunglasses, my brother’s burp cloth, my friend’s movie and my sister’s sippy cup.
I keep my baskets in my linen closet near my garage door so I can just grab them when I am heading out. I like that the baskets contain and conceal the junk until I am ready to deal with it.
Another idea is to keep a basket in the back seat of your car with your returns, so you can do your return whenever you find yourself with some extra time or passing by the store you need.
Now that I have done so many returns this year, I think it feels just as good to return something as it does to buy it.