You know the feeling. You’ve prepared your list, the sales are great, then you get to the store and three of the things you wanted to buy are not there. Shelf empty, all gone, everyone else got the great deal. You’re out of luck. Right? Wrong. This is an opportunity.
At the stores I frequent the most, which are Bi-Lo, Publix, and Rite-Aid, they offer rainchecks that will extend the deal when they run out of a product. I’m fine with it when this happens. The reason I don’t mind is because when you request a raincheck, you can pick the quantity you want (most of them have a limit of 10), and it buys you more time so you can gather more coupons and look for more ways to get the item cheaper without the pressure of having to get back to the store before the prices change.
Publix rainchecks are good for 30 days, so you do have to watch that. Bi-Lo rainchecks never expire, so when I get a Bi-Lo raincheck, I hold onto it until I have good coupons for that item.
When they run out of something, write down (always keep your list, or a notebook, and a pen with you when you shop) the item, the size, the variety that is out, and the price. Go to the customer service counter and ask for the raincheck. They might prefer to look that information up themselves – if you want to be super helpful, have the store circular with the sale item in it ready to show them, or they may just take your word for it and write it up based on your notes. Different customer service people handle this differently – I have known some of them to go searching through the store (whether they were trying to be helpful, or maybe they didn’t believe me and had to see for themselves) and not write the raincheck until they had personally verified that they couldn’t find the product, and I have had others whip out the raincheck form before I even finished explaining and write it up based on my notes.
I’ll give you an example.
Bi-Lo currently has Hellmann’s mayonnaise on sale for Buy One Get One Free, regular price $5.19, sale price $2.60.
There is a current active coupon for 50 cents off that will double to $1 off, making it $1.60.
AND … there are current active competitors coupons you can use – Publix had one for $1.50 off, making it TEN CENTS, but Publix has run out of those coupons, so if you didn’t get them while you could, that one isn’t available to you. Target has one for 75 cents off, making it 85 cents. Food Lion has one for $1 off, making it 60 cents.
AND … there are coupons right in the Bi-Lo aisle right by the Hellmann’s for $2 off any fresh chicken with the purchase of any jar of Hellmann’s. If you check the fresh chicken, there are lots of choices around $2 each … wings, drumsticks, or 2-packs of thighs are all about $2, less than $2.50. Packages of 2 boneless, skinless breasts are around $3, less than $3.50.
I got this deal for as many coupons as I had (four of the Publix, one of the Food Lion, and three of the Target) and here’s what made it into my shopping cart:
- Eight jars of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
- Eight packages of fresh chicken that cost $2.03, $2.02, $2.78, $2.39, $2.21, $3.07, $3.11, $3.19
The Hellmann’s coupon states “Limit two per shopping trip”, so these were actually over 4 different shopping trips. That’s easier than you think if you go into Bi-Lo just to buy a few things because there are so many in town. If I was out running errands, it would be easy enough to stop in one and get the deal.