I love when the coupon stars align to create a great deal! I was in Walgreens recently to take advantage of an egg sale. After visiting my second Walgreens, I still couldn’t find any of the eggs on sale. Luckily, a sales associate was standing nearby so I asked if there were any still available. She said, “No, but I can substitute.” I looked in the refrigerator and the only eggs left were extra large and $2.49. Of course I said “Absolutely!” I got three dozen eggs for the sale price. Score! If you’re ever offered a substitution or find empty shelves and need to ask for one, here are 4 tips to keep in mind that will help you save more money than you had originally intended.

1. Take advantage of a coupon

Dixie Crystal sugar was on sale recently at Harris Teeter, but the shelves were empty, so I went to the service desk to get a rain check. The sales associate stated Domino’s sugar was being substituted. Guess what? I had a Domino’s sugar coupon and ended up getting four pounds of sugar for less than $1. Sometimes substitutions can save you even more money than the original sale. If you choose an offered substitution, check your coupons before the purchase to take advantage of greater savings!

2. Ensure rewards are included

As you know, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens frequently offer rewards for certain purchases. If the sale involves buying $10 worth of Bounty paper towels to get a $3 ECB, but the shelf is empty, check to make sure the reward is included with a substitution. If not, is the substitution the best option, or should you pursue a rain check? Rain checks are great things, but is the coupon you planned to use going to expire before the store restocks? All of these questions are pertinent in the decision of asking for/accepting a substitution versus rain check.

3. Save time and gas money

Time is money. If I have to go to several stores looking for a sale item, I ask myself if it’s worth it. If I ever encounter an empty shelf where a sales product should be, I think back on that egg sale. That experience taught me to simply ask about a substitution. Substituting gives me my instant gratification for the deal, and if I really need the item that day, it’s to my advantage to work with a substitution!

4. Communicate the use of a substitution 

A supervisor usually makes the decision to substitute. If a regular sales person out on the floor suggests a substitute, I make sure to verify at the register. If the cashier isn’t aware, I ask for a manager. Oftentimes the register has been adjusted to include the substituted item, but you won’t know until you ask. Communicating will save you time and dirty looks from the cashier! Believe me, it works!








How Substitutions Can Lead to Unexpected Savings