The MoneySavingIdiot reclaims £80 – by going through old emails

Right, some of you know the drill by now, but if you don't, here it is. While working at MoneySavingExpert means I help others save money, when it comes to my own cash, I'm usually in a muddle. But now I'm looking to unmuddle myself and, in the process, motivate fellow MoneySavingIdiots. Previously, I've covered train delaysoverseas travel and credit scores. This week: reclaiming cash (kind of).

'Kind of' because this isn't a story about how I got £1,000s back, as you can by reclaiming packaged bank account fees or getting flight delay compensation. I'm talking about (sliiiiightly) smaller wins.

If, like me, you're daunted by major MoneySaving endeavours, a quicker and easier way to get your reclaim motor up and running is to scour your memory (and emails) for anyone who owes you, like when you've been overcharged, haven't got what you paid for or received service so bad it angry-ed up your blood.

If you didn't follow them up at the time, you might be surprised at the minimum-effort money-back opportunities you find. At least, you might be if you're anything like me – if you're a MoneySaving pro, this post may not do a lot for you, but you can always post your amusement/pity/derision in the forum or the comments.

1) I got a £30 refund from Just Eat, because the pizza place just didn't deliver

Searching through the dense jungle that is my email inbox at the end of last year, I happened upon an order confirmation from online food delivery purveyors Just Eat. Nothing out of the ordinary there (to the chagrin of both my wallet and waistline)... except I never received said order, for which I'd paid £29.60. True, I made the order at 1am, and I may have fallen asleep after doing so, but I paid for pizza and when I awoke, no pizza.

On re-discovering this state of affairs a couple of weeks after the event, I hit up Just Eat via live chat and explained the situation. The live chatter who dealt with my query, let's call her Penelope, called up the pizza place, and it assured her all deliveries were made on that date.

I reiterated that had not been the case and Penelope offered me a voucher I could use for a future order. Nice one, Penelope. Then she told me the voucher would be for £15, leaving me £14.60 out of pocket. Bad Penelope.

Like a battle-hardened MoneySaver, I took a deep breath, cracked my knuckles and replied saying that unfortunately I wouldn't be able to accept the offer and would have to ask for a full refund. A pregnant pause. "I will be requesting a full refund in the form of a voucher, will you accept that?" That'll do nicely, Penelope.

That £29.60's long gone, so don't even try it, smart guy

2) I got a florist to pay £31 towards Mother's Day flowers

In the run-up to Mother's Day last year, a florist accidentally charged me twice for the flowers I'd sent Ma MoneySavingIdiot. On noticing the mistake, I'd emailed the florist and it had replied asking for my phone number so it could refund the £31 I'd been overcharged over the phone (it was a small independent shop).

Of course, being as proactive as a coat hanger, I didn't do that. Two MoneySaving emails in the same month? I'm not a machine.

But in the run-up to Mother's Day this year, inspired by my Just Eat success, I finally replied and requested that the florist put the money it owed me towards another bouquet, and I'd pay the few quid extra it cost (my mum had been well-behaved for most of the year). Cue £31 reclaimed and a happy Ma MoneySavingIdiot...

She's going to love that name

3) I got £22 off a Rolling Stones record

Now I was on a reclaim hat-trick, but to complete it I had to delve back even further into my inbox.

A couple of years back, I ordered a record (The Big Moon's Love in the 4th Dimension, music fans) from the website of a shop in Leeds for a mate's birthday. Unfortunately, it never arrived at my mate's flat. I got in touch with the shop at the time, and it promptly sent me a voucher code for the value of the order. I then promptly forgot about it and my mate never got his present (sorry Gregg).

After a bit of hunting around, I tracked down the email with the code, but headed back to shop's website fully expecting the code to have expired given it was more than 18 months old. After spending way too long choosing a record to get the newly vinyl-obsessed Pa MoneySavingIdiot for Father's Day (The Rolling Stones' On Air, music fans), I clicked through to the checkout, entered the code, aaaaand...

I guess you might say I did get Satisfaction...

So if chasing 'lost' money isn't something you usually do and you want to get started, check your email. If you've a similar approach to personal admin as me, there could be gold in there. Just try to be patient if you have to dig for it, and firm yet polite if you encounter resistance. Let me know what you find in the forum or the comments below.

For full info on consumer rights and how to get money back, check out our Consumer Rights guide. And to claim back BIG money on packaged bank account fees, flight delays and more, see Reclaim £1,000s.