Day 6: Power in the Policies
Now that you know how to clip, file, shop, talk the talk and walk the walk, you’re almost there, but you’re not done yet! All your coupon skills are useless without a solid understanding of store policies. Like Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is Power”.
Follow these important steps to ensure you’re armed with the right kind of knowledge.
1. Pick a store. Beginners should get to know one store at a time. Each is a little different in their policies, promotions, and reward systems. As soon as you get one store down, move on to the next. In no time, you’ll be familiar with a handful of stores, completely confident, rocking your coupon knowledge, and slashing your budget.
2. Obtain the store’s policy. Many store policies can be found at TheKrazyCouponLady.com, or, to conduct your own search, go to the store’s official website and enter “coupon policy” in the search bar. Print off the policy, and keep it in your binder. Ideally, you’re going to contact your chosen store (via phone or email) and request that a copy of their coupon policy be mailed to you. When you receive a hard copy, it will come on company letterhead addressed straight to you. Find a sample email for requesting these policies at TheKrazyCouponLady.com.
3. Keep the policy with you. Make a spot in the back of your binder for store policies–that way you’ll have them with you when you go shopping. This comes in handy at checkout when a coupon is being refused or a situation arises. It’s no longer your word against the cashier’s. You’re now armed with the corporate policy on company letterhead. Who can argue with that?
4. Befriend the Bigwigs. Take the time to set up a meeting with management. If you are serious about couponing, this really is an important step. Through experience I’ve learned that sooner or later you will end up speaking with the manager. So why not ensure that it happens in a controlled, peaceful environment rather than in the midst of a controversial discussion with your cashier? Make it a quick meeting where you simply introduce yourself, inquire into the coupon policy and see if there’s anything you should know about that specific store. The manager will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll leave feeling better prepared and more comfortable shopping at that store. Hopefully, in the end, you’ll also have a new coupon ally.
5. Understand Rain Checks. A Rain Check is a slip of paper provided by the store when a sale item is out of stock. It authorizes you to come back when the item is again in stock and buy it at the sale price. Rain Check policies vary by store, so learn your store’s rules.
Rain Check Points to Consider
• Make sure the coupons you plan to use on the Rain Check item won’t expire before the store restocks
• Don’t bother getting a Rain Check for something that is also included in a Promotion like, “Spend $10, Save $4 Instantly” UNLESS you know the Promotion extends beyond the sale date. The Rain Check is valid for the sale price only.
• You cannot get a Rain Check on clearance prices
• When redeeming Rain Checks, be courteous of your checker. Let her know beforehand that you have a Rain Check; she’ll need to enter the amount manually.
Rain Check Kraziness
Is a favorite, can’t-live-without something on sale? Get a Rain Check for the maximum quantity allowed. Then hurry your little self over to Ebay, and buy all the coupons you need. Go back to the store when the item is in stock (or consider special ordering) and use your additional coupons. Voila! Easy as Rain Check pie!
If you’re feelin’ the power, then it’s time to head on over to Day 7 and prepare your Checkout Checklist!