Total Higher Than Expected? Here are Some Possible Reasons

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total higher

You plan your trip, you use the match ups and you have the coupons you need but a total higher than you figured was NOT expected. There are a few things that can cause this. If this happens to you consider making smaller trips, they are much easier to control. I added some suggestions for this below.

Total Higher? What to Look For
    • Did you consider tax on your total? Look at your receipt, some products that we consider food is actually taxable.
    • Did you add something to your cart that is not on your list?
    • Are you watching the register while items and coupons are scanning? Either one can ring up wrong.
    • Do you have money makers on your list? We pay tax on the original product price. Here’s an example. A product is $0.97 and you have a $1.00 coupon giving you $0.03 overage, calculate your tax rate on $0.97 and it’s not a MM after all. Do the math before you get to the store. Here are a few more examples.
    • If you have marked down items in your cart, be sure they ring up at the correct price. Some cashiers scan the item and some hand key the discounted price. Scanning will sometimes ring up at regular price.
    • If the sale price is not on the shelf, take the item to customer service and scan it to confirm the price. Never assume it’s really on sale.
    • Be sure to double check your receipt before you leave the parking lot. If there is a problem go to customer service. If you wait until you get home chances are you won’t go back to get it fixed.
Total Higher? Circumvent the Issue

Write your shopping list on a spread sheet. I hand write one for every trip. Here is an example of what I do, click the link and scroll to the bottom of the article. If I add meat, I add the cost to my out of pocket column, I weigh produce and add the cost to my OOP column as well. Look at the match up for your store, write down the items you want then pull up the sales ad on line and confirm that the product is on sale and what the price is. Match ups are extremely helpful however they are entered by hand so mistakes can occur. Also take into consideration that you may be looking at a match up written in GA and you live in FL. Prices can even vary from county to county which is why double checking your sales ad is important.

Break your trip into smaller ones.

You  can do this a couple of ways. Put a hand held basket in your cart, add some items to your cart and some to your basket. When you get to the register ring, them up separately. Keep your coupons separate by paper clipping the cart coupons together and the basket coupons together. You can take your groceries to your car and go back in for transaction #2. You can even plan 2 different days to shop.


total higher

Rain checks

I always put my rain check items on the belt last and put the rain check on the item. This saves you and the cashier time and cashier hassle. They way they are rung up is important at some stores so pay attention to this. I’m going to use Winn Dixie as an example. It’s a cash register issue and not all stores are like this so know your store. You have 10 items, 5 will be free and you have 10 coupons. If the cashier rings up 5 items at regular price and rings up 5 items at $0, then 5 of your coupons will not work. Thus, total higher than you had planned. Some stores can over ride and key them in and some stores cannot. The register will not allow the coupon.

It can be frustrating to get to the register and have the total higher than you were expecting, but with a few simple checks, you can usually figure out what happened!



  1. Elaine Spink says

    Valerie, This is a great article that you wrote! It would be great if all the newbies and anyother wizkids to read! I loved how you described everything in so much detail. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  2. GREAT Article. Love all the details. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years; but, never really thought about it. Thank You !!!!!

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