Who knew that rain checks would be a couponer’s best friend? As a KCL, I’ve learned to use every opportunity I have to save money. In the beginning as a new KCL, I would pretty much accept the empty shelves—but no more! I’ve found my voice. I’ve learned that rain checks are the best kept secret in stores and that asking for them isn’t as hard or time-consuming as many people think. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned regarding rain checks. I hope they assist you in getting maximum savings!
1. Ask the clerk to write the current price or sales price on your rain check
I learned this lesson the hard way. I once asked for a rain check for shrimp because there was a great deal at the time—buy 2 bags, get 3 free at my local grocery store. I didn’t have the cashier indicate this price on the rain check itself, though. When I finally decided to use my rain check, the price of the shrimp had gone up several dollars, causing me to lose out on some great savings.
Lesson learned: The original price of an item can change by the time you use the rain check.
2. Note the expiration date
Each store has its own policy regarding rain checks and their expiration dates. I like to highlight the expiration date on my rain check and keep it in the front of my coupon binder. I’m reminded of its expiration every time I plan a shopping trip. A rain check that doesn’t expire gives you the perfect opportunity to wait and use a coupon to make an average deal a perfect score!
Lesson learned: It’s money down the drain if you let a rain check expire!
3. Ask the clerk to write the number of deals your rain check covers
This trick has consistently saved me money. Even if my rain check states “3 deals” on it, I make sure to only take advantage of one so that others can also reap the savings instead of finding an empty shelf. When I’ve done this in the past, the clerk has adjusted the rain check to show only one deal was used, which left me with two more to use in the future.
Lesson learned: If there’s only one item available, have the rain check updated so that you get full benefits!
4. Item specificity is determined by the store
The store determines how they write their rain checks—the less specific, the more potential for saving money. For instance, if your store is offering a deal on Tide with Downy, but the shelves are empty, the store may write “Tide” on your rain check rather than the specific Tide line. This enables you to use your rain check in a broader range.
Lesson learned: Rain checks can sometimes save you more money than you originally intended.
5. Rain check details should include any rewards associated with the item
If you find a great deal at CVS that comes with a $3 ECB credit, your rain check should show details that reflect your bonus savings. After all, this may be the reason you’re purchasing the item. Remember that many times a store clerk may not realize the extra savings that are associated with some sales. That’s why it’s important to use your sales paper to remind them of the associated rewards with the rain check you’re requesting. Another great tip is to take a picture of the tag at the shelf with your phone! It’s easy to enlarge and show all of the specific details associated with a product.
Lesson learned: Rain checks allow you to maximize your savings, but you must have the deal documented completely to get credit!
This is a guest post by Tammy from St. Pauls, NC.