UNITED STATES─It is perhaps one of the biggest times of the years for retailers, and I’m not referring to the Christmas shopping season, it’s the month after. Why? It is the time for returns. Yes, plenty of people who got gifts for Christmas that perhaps they didn’t want, weren’t too fond of or perhaps you over purchased have to go back.

Yes, the past 2-3 weeks I have seen long and I mean long lines at many retailers. I always find it baffling when people make a return, but don’t have all the right things in place. First and foremost, you need to have a receipt. If you don’t have a receipt you at least need to have the gift receipt America. There is no way you could have thought that you can bring an item back to a store without a receipt. Some retailers allow some customers to get away with it, but there are plenty who just will not allow it.

I can understand completely why? I do they know you actually purchased the product from that establishment. You might think I’m crazy in saying this, but I have witnessed people actually try to con certain retailers claiming they purchased a product that they never did. It’s sad, but it actually happens. I’ve seen plenty of people get busted with this tactic, and so they should.

However, the trend that I’m seeing is more people return items because they overbought or suffered from buyer’s remorse. I know I am not the only person who has experienced buyer’s remorse. It’s when you purchase something in the moment, but after thinking about it for some time, you realize you should have never purchased the item to begin with. I did that recently with an expensive sweater that I thought was a good sale, only to find the exact same item for nearly half the price I paid. So it didn’t take a miracle for me to return the item and get nearly $80 back in cash that I used to pay off some debt.

Yes, I didn’t take the money and use it to purchase something else. I think that is perhaps the biggest thing so many Americans are doing in the month of January. It’s not focused on losing weight or eating healthy, it’s saving more money and paying off more debt. One of the best ways to do that is to return things that you are not wearing, you have no plans to use, or you wish you never intended to purchase in the first case.

There are those who might have some shame in returning items, but why would you? You didn’t want the item to begin with so why keep something that you don’t need or something that is not bringing you happiness to begin with? You shouldn’t. Get your receipt, ensure the item is not damaged, hasn’t been used or worn, read the return policy (ensure you haven’t had the item longer than the return period) and go get your money or that credit back to your account if you used a store or credit card.

The only thing that is problematic with returns is that you might have to wait in a long line. Yeah, all those employees that have been at the stores during the holiday shopping season are not there anymore so staff has been sliced nearly in half if not more. So bring your patience.

Written By Zoe Mitchell