As if in slow motion, the cashier who just rang up your cart full of groceries and scanned your stack of prepared coupons opens her mouth to speak an amount that seems foreign to you. This wasn’t the total you expected. Instead, it’s a total more than your brain calculated, so you freeze. Awkward…maybe it’s time to start writing down prices and summing up your grocery bill before hitting the checkout aisle. Follow these steps to avoid unnecessary surprises.

  1. While writing out your shopping list, record the price of each item.
  2. If you will be buying multiples of an item, make sure to multiply the price by the quantity. When using coupons, put down the quantity of coupons and their value. Subtract this from the product price.
  3. Note the final price in a column next to the listed product.
  4. If you’ll be earning rewards or Catalinas from your purchase, write this at the bottom of your list.
  5. When shopping, adjust your totals as needed if quantities are different. Add any extra items you’re buying and their prices below the sale items you wrote down.
  6. Before heading to the checkout line, add up your total price of products and estimate sales tax (if applicable). Watch the scanning of your items to make sure they ring up at the correct price. Make sure to include any rewards or Catalinas you’ll be paying with.
  7. If your shopping total is different than what you came up with, look for price discrepancies, and make sure all your coupons scanned through.
  8. At the end, double check your rewards and Catalinas you earned to ensure the right amount, and verify your receipt before leaving the store.