Send It Back

Photo by tyger_lyllie

Since I’m not thinking of anything new to bring home, it’s time to think about stuff I can return to the stores.

I had an extra bag of potting soil, and some light bulbs that were the wrong size to go back to the hardware store.

There’s a small stack of books that can be taken to Half Price Books.

I changed my mind about the curtain rods, so those can go back too.

I don’t have receipts for everything, but store credit is better than clutter. Maybe I could use those things eventually, but I have an apartment mindset, and I always know that one day I’ll be moving. I don’t want to pack and move things that I don’t need, so it’s better to get rid of it now.

Plus there is always one or two bags of stuff to drop off at Goodwill.

Today I’ll load up my trunk, do a tour of returns, and come home with nothing but refunds and store credit.

I hope.

I am so amazed at how many people want to join in with No Spend Month! This is going to be fun. On Wednesdays I’ll be posting spending updates, so come share your progress for the week.
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. I have been doing the same thing this summer. The garage sale and then Goodwill. I like the one-in, one-out theory. My dad always told me to travel light. I understand that these days!! I love your blog. (Along with about a zillion others!)

    mrs. e´s last blog post..Favorite Customer Moments

  2. Ahmm are you talking about me? You did not peek into my home and then wrote this post, did you. Clutter is piling up and I so desperatly need some rainy days – oh no wait better make it a rainy week – so I get the start to clean up. But I promised myself a lazy summer, some kick-back in the rocking chair and a fresh start in October.
    Although Prince Charming and me are constantly sorting through our stuff the income seems a lot more than the outgoes. You are an inspiration and I think I’ll do a bit of doting out already this weekend.

    Nimmi´s last blog post..City T(h)oursday

  3. Taking things back and getting a refund or store credit is such a treat for me! Inspired by the kick-off of NSM, I took some clothes back to a store yesterday. Nearly $84 back into my birthday money account. CHA-CHING!

    Just getting things out of the house is so peaceful and productive. Not to mention free.

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last blog post..July 3rd: SK Showcase and Weekend Links

  4. I think it’s great…we do “pretty” good. I’ve been working hard trying to weed, clean and organize. Just takes longer than I would like it to. I put things in the trunk of the car that needs to be dropped off at goodwill, freecycle what others can use, donate books to the Library, and try hard to keep things out of the landfills.
    At the time being am “surviving” on unemployment so really do try and not spend anything we don’t have to. This month had my car smog and registration so enough extra this month already. I try to cook with the crock pot at least once a week…good way to stretch a dollar. Wishing you luck. Take care.

  5. I used to be the queen of taking things back….and then I had kids. As of now i have a Target stack and a Costco stack. Sigh.

    Have you tried selling books etc on Amazon? We have made a small fortune doing that. And hello, my name is Missy, and I am a

    missy @ it’s almost naptime´s last blog post..And the Get Over Yourself award goes to…

    • I decided to take them to the store so I could just get it over with. The prices for used books on Amazon are so competitive, it wasn’t much different. Plus with Doug looking over my shoulder, he found a couple of books he wanted to order. Not what I was going for!

      Paperbackswap looks really interesting.

  6. Michelle R. says:

    We are giving the “No Spend Month” a try too and i just sent my husband to walgreen’s this morning with a $3 return and he had a $3 rr to spend so he can spend $6 today on essentials! I also just bought a book from a garage sale and realized I just bought the exact same one at Costco so there is another $6 to buy milk! It has been fun so far! Thanks for your great idea!

  7. MaryAnn says:

    This post reminded me of the summer I helped my best friend give her house a thorough clean-out – she still refers to it as a “house enema.” We discovered enough stuff, none of which had a matching receipt, to return to fill two garbage bags. E. sweet-talked every retailer in the suburbs of Atlanta into giving her store credit, as I watched in amazement.

    E. just had her second child and recently went through the baby gifts, pulling out duplicates and not-quite-rights, and went on another returning spree, this time with both kids in tow. My hat is off to both of you!

  8. I love the phrase “house enema”!!!

    I’m so pleased to have found this website again after ages away, when I had new-baby brain and a computer on the fritz. I’ll be interested in following the no spend month again. It’s good to be back!

  9. Hi Rachel! I’m so glad you’re giving the No Spend Month another shot! I’ve done this challenge for the last 18 consecutive months and it has really paid off. I don’t exclude buying things that I need but I usually challenge myself to wait 2 weeks, build it into next month’s budget or find it used first. Over the last 18 months I’ve paid off over $10,000 in debt, I have a 3-month Emergency Fund for the first time ever, I bought a house, met some amazing like minded women and have never felt “richer.”

    Kelly´s last blog post..Frugal Memories

  10. We’re going to be putting our house on the market *soon.* {First, we have to finish all the remodeling details…} Anyhow, with the inevitable-move on my mind, it’s a lot *easier* to part with things. Asking myself, “Is this worth keeping, packing, unpacking, and storing again?” brings a whole new meaning to things I’ve been hanging on to.

    Case in point: all the baby stuff. Our kids are 5 and 3, and we’re mostly sure we’re *done*. However, I didn’t want to part with the baby things, because “What if?” Now I’m thinking that if and that’s a big IF! another baby came along, we’ll handle that when it happens — no sense of holding on to these things for something that may never happen. ; )

    Kirwin´s last blog post..Edit, Add, Appreciate — July 5

  11. Thanks for the important reminder about returning. I’ve got a pair of Haviana flip flops that are the wrong size, and a cute top from Kohl’s that I probably won’t wear (since it’s been over 30 days and I haven’t yet). And I have my receipts, yay! I’m also considering putting some old pocketbooks, books, and other things hanging around my house on Ebay. Wish me luck!

    P.S. My fear of the “no spend” month was getting my hubby to commit…and I think I may be there (almost)!

  12. I call this “Positive Shopping” when I make these trips. It’s kinda fun, actually! And it helps clean the house. :)

    Kelli´s last blog post..Zoo

  13. This totally reminded me to return the stuff I need to Urban Outfitters. Just a small return but still money just sitting there.

    Dani´s last blog post..Crime Watch Wednesday: Twice the Trouble!

  14. Hi, your challenge is very encouraging. I’m doing my own little challenge of $100 for the month for food for 2 adults.

    Question: I just realized you are posting a daily snippet at the top of your page but I’m wondering if there is a place to read the archives – I already missed days 1-4? I’d love to know how you are dealing with this challenge each day. Thanks!

  15. I am amazed at how much you can put back into your pocketbook when you commit to returning items you decided you didn’t need! I usually return between $50-$100 worth every couple of months. The only problem I have is finding that receipt again. Do you have a system you use to keep your receipts handy? Abbie

    abbie´s last blog post..A Journey Toward Being Debt-Free

    • Abbie, I usually don’t save receipts, especially after the transaction has cleared my checking account. I do save receipts for clothing or household decor until I’m sure about keeping them, and the receipts just sit in a little stack by my paperwork. Receipts for major purchases like my computer and washing machine get scanned and saved on the computer.

      I was surprised that on this trip I received cash back at a couple of stores even without a receipt. I usually shop at the same stores anyway though, so I don’t mind receiving store credit.

  16. we have cloth bags that live by the door for just this reason. generally, it contains home repair items from the hardware store, as we are in the middle of a no-buying-new challenge and home repair items (for our fixer upper) are an exception.

    nicola´s last blog post..DIY library and link round-up

  17. My sis and are going to try a Don’t Spend challenge, for one pay period. And when we are confronted with a possible frivolous purchase, we are going to instead write the item we might have bought and the cost in a book. Plus, we shall keep track of what we DO buy, rather than a budget (since we are only doing this for two weeks). Personally, I think I am going to kick her butt, as she has a weakness for pjs, e-books, cleaning supplies, and eating out. My weakness is the library and my computer.

    Danielle´s last post…Two things…