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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Cardinal Rules of Couponing that We Should NEVER Break!

So I went on a quick run to the grocery store on Saturday, hoping to take advantage of a few great bargains and printable coupons (Smith's Hefty One Zip bags for $.50 after printable coupon).  When I finished up and got into the car to return home, I was so frustrated!!!  I had gone to two different stores that day to stock up on storage bags, and both stores were completely out of what I wanted!  So as I drove home Saturday evening, I started thinking about couponing and how I had let the process control me.  Ever happened to you?  I hope not, but if it has, I thought I'd take a few minutes to post about two very important couponing rules that I broke that day.  Breaking couponing rules just leads to frustration and the feeling that we spend way too much time and effort to save some money.  Let's all commit to avoid coupon burn-out by sticking to the rules!

Rule #1:  Don't waste your time! 
Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, we all have to shop for the items we need, so we can't really avoid that part of it.  However, we can avoid wasting our valuable time by chasing deals all over the place!  Instead of trying to track down the item I wanted to get, I could have done several simple things that would have saved me from wasting my time, getting a big headache and still walking away without what I needed (or wanted!) to buy.  First, I could have simply picked up the phone.  It's amazing to me that in this instance, the thought never crossed my mind to simply call the store first.  Especially when making a special trip for something, we should always pick up the phone before we pick up the keys.  The customer service department can tell you if they have the item you're looking for, how many they have, what the price is--sometimes they'll even put the item on hold for you.  Just ask! 
Secondly, I could have price matched.  I know this can be a controversial topic because there seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to price matching.  One says that it is a great option, and the other says that we should support the stores with the lower pricing directly to reward them for offering the best deal for the consumer.  I agree with both.  I often shop different stores, but I also appreciate the opportunity to match prices at one place, especially when I'm in a hurry.  In my example above, I could have just matched the store price while shopping for other items, and I would have saved myself an unnecessary, disappointing trip.  Just an option to consider...

Rule #2:  Don't Settle for "Sold Out"!
What do we do when instead of finding the item we're looking for, we're greeted by an empty shelf?  Before I became more acquainted with the options for saving money, I just assumed that if there wasn't any on the shelf, I had to wait until the item became available again.  Sometimes, that is our only option.  But often we  have a few additional options.  We can just walk away and hope to get the deal another day, we can ask if the store has more if the item in stock or we can often request a raincheck.  I know there have been plenty of times when I have settled for "sold out."  We really don't have to do that.  Taking a moment or two to track down a store employee can really pay off big.  Ask if they have any more of the item or when it will be back in stock.  Then use one of the best savings tricks of all--ask for a raincheck!  A raincheck is basically a certificate that entitles you to purchase the item at the sale price even after the sale is over.  Most customer service desks, cashiers or self-check personnel can help you with a raincheck.  Most rainchecks have a time limit (often 30 days) but they can be used with coupons, so you can often still get the sale item when no one else is particularly interested it in.  Get in the habit of asking for rainchecks.  They are a great tool for saving money!  And ask around at your favorite stores about rainchecks.  I had no idea that stores like Kohl's even offer rainchecks!  (Keep it a secret, but I was able to get rainchecks last year for their Black Friday items!  That saved me a TON of money!)  So you never know when a raincheck might allow you to get what you need (want) without all the hassle!

I'm sad to say that on my shopping trips on Saturday I broke both of these important rules.  Thank goodness for an attentive cashier who offered me a raincheck when I didn't think to ask, so all was not lost.  However, I still went home frustrated and disappointed for wasting so much time without getting the deal.  Avoid that craziness in your life by deciding right now to keep these two couponing rules.  You'll be glad you did!     

Daily Deals--Check This Out Because There are Some Great Ones Today!

I'm going to start a new "regular" feature for what I call "Daily Deals".  These deals come from some of the new deal sites that have popped up over the last few months.  This will be an easy way for you to see what's available at a glance so that you don't have to scroll through many posts to see if there's something you want to take advantage of.  Remember, for the most part these deals are available for one day only. 

Screamin Coupons $65 General House Cleaning or Errand Service for $30!!!
What a deal!  And just in the nick of time!  Are you tired, worn down, need a break or a pair of helping hands?  Then this deal is for you!  Certficates are valid through Feb. 24, 2011 and you can buy as many as you want!!!  (Only one certificate can be redeemed per visit.)  Grab some for Christmas gifts, baby shower gifts, all of the above!  Click here now for this truly Screamin Coupons deal!

WOW!  Get $50 in food delivered to your door for only $20!  Check out all the details here and get this Groupon while you can!  Valid through Feb. 25, 2011!