When people begin to coupon, one of the things that they fail to take advantage of far too often are rainchecks. In fact, when you start couponing on a regular basis, you soon learn that a raincheck can be one of your best friends when it comes to saving money on your groceries. When you get to an aisle where you were expecting to get a great deal to find that the product has been completely wiped off the shelves, don't despair. In fact, if this happens, there is a good chance that you're going to end up getting a great deal, and one better than what caused the item to sell out in the first place.
One of the most important things to do when shopping is to always look for things that are out of stock that you would buy (even if you were not planning to buy that item right then and there). When a store has a special, even when it's not matched with a coupon, they will sometimes sell out of that item. When that happens, it pays to ask for a raincheck.
Rainchecks work differently depending on the store, but basically it gives you the opportunity to buy the product at the advertised price at a later date when the product is in stock again. The best way to find out the store's policy is to go to the information or customer service desk and ask an employee how to get a raincheck for an item that has sold out.
The reason that this can be an excellent deal for you is that when items go on sale for greatly discounted prices, rarely can you match a coupon with the sale price. While stores will often have sale prices matched with coupons, rarely do they have deeply discounted sales paired with coupons. When things tend to run out on the shelves, it's due to a deep discount where a coupon isn't needed.
When you get a raincheck, you usually have a several month period in which to redeem the raincheck. In many cases, a coupon will become available for the product in questions during the time the raincheck is valid. When this happens, you can get the product for the deeply discounted sale price with the raincheck, then use the coupon on top of that to further reduce the price of what you are buying.
In this way, rainchecks can become one of your best friends when it comes to getting great deals on food at the grocery store. It won't take long for you to be hoping that certain items are sold out so that you can get a raincheck for them because you know that this will possibly be better than getting them for the advertised price. In te worst case scenario, you get the product at the deeply discounted price.
If you have not been taking advantage of rainchecks up to this point, it's time to start. Make a note that anytime you see something that has sold out at the store to ask for a raincheck. The worst that can happen is that you never use the raincheck. If you do, however, you are bound to get a great deal in doing so.
(Photo courtesy of Edward Falke)