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Do you ever wonder where your money is going? I know I do at times! The phrase “easy come, easy go” seems to ring true quite a lot these days. Do you also have a closet or trunk full of items you aren’t going to use or that don’t fit or that you don’t really need? I know I used to!
One of the biggest money mistakes I used to make was not returning items I purchased that weren’t going to work out. We used to joke that our garage was like a mini Home Depot because we had so many items left over from projects or that we didn’t end up needing for a project. The same held true for clothing items, too. I’d pick something up for my husband that he didn’t like or that didn’t fit and into the closet it would go. My biggest fail was buying clothing for my teenagers that they didn’t like, and then not returning them. (Pro tip from an old mom: don’t bother buying your teens clothing without them being present!) Maybeeee these items would make it to the car, but I thought returns were such a huge pain it wasn’t a priority to return these items.
So silly! So lazy! So ridiculous!
Now I make it a point to return items as soon as possible after realizing they aren’t going to work out for us. It is saving us SO MUCH money. We are mid-renovation at our lake house and as a recent example, I bought tons of flooring that I was going to use throughout our lower level. We added a bedroom and I started with the flooring in that room. And I HATED IT. It was difficult to install, it doesn’t look great and it was not what I wanted. It’s staying in the bedroom because I can cover it with an area rug and it’s not a huge deal, but I’m not going to use it in the rest of the areas like I had originally planned.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have returned it. It was heavy. There were 20+ awkward boxes. I had to haul it up the stairs, through the house, then up more stairs and then finally load it into my truck. Then, since nothing is close to our house, I had to drive 45 minutes back to Menards, load it onto a flat cart, and then drive alllll the way home. Total ordeal.
Years ago, I would have kept it until it was too late to return it, and then I would have ended up donating it to ReStore, so it’s not like I would save myself the above hassle, I would just delay the inevitable since we don’t have room to store items we are never going to use long term.
But I returned it and ended up getting back several hundred dollars. It would be silly NOT to return it. It was totally worth my efforts, even if it did take me about 3 hours to load it into my car, drive to the store and drive back home.
Now if I buy something and we don’t use it, I put it in my back seat and then make a bunch of returns all at once, but always within a couple weeks of the purchase so I am sure to get all of our money back. It’s really not that much of a pain once you realize how much you’re saving! Now I am completely nuts about returning stuff- I returned a can of hairspray last week! It all adds up. If I am buying a lot of stuff for our house or the seasons are changing and I am updating our wardrobes, it is not out of the realm that I will end up returning a couple hundred dollars worth of items that we aren’t going to wear or that I don’t like once I see them in our house.
Are you guilty of not returning items your family is not going to use? If you are, I challenge you to go through your house (and your garage!) and gather up everything you need to return and actually return it. Be sure to check your closets, your kids’ bedrooms, hall closets and anywhere else you tuck things. Do it and see how much money you get back- I bet it is worth the time you spend making returns!
If you need some added incentive, think about what you can do with this “extra money.” Can you add it to your vacation fund, or use it towards a bill that is stressing you out? Or redecorate a room? Find something you want or need and use this money to meet your goal. Be sure to work “Make Returns” into your weekly schedule so you can use running out of time as a cop out!
Ready for more money tips? Then check out these great posts that will help you make the most of your hard earned cash!
10 Sneaky Ways to Save Money Each Month (This post shows you how to use the money saving app Acorns to save your spare change electronically! It has an awesome savings calculator to show you just how much you can save from spare change over the years.)
5 Totally Awesome (and Totally FREE) Money Management Tools
Money Matters: 7 Things Millenials Can Learn From Talking to Their Grandparents
10 Surefire Ways to Save Money Like a Genius
Pro Tips for Shopping at Target <– make sure you return the stuff you’re not going to use when you make a Target run!
For more money-saving (and making!) tips and ideas, check out our Frugal Living and Money Matters Pinterest boards. They are loaded with hundreds of money-making and creative budgeting ideas from other top bloggers.
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