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Coupon Commandment #5

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Today’s installment of the Coupon Commandment series is an important one to remember with all the new-found deals that are popping up. Remember this week has 5-6 inserts, which is a very high amount compared to a typical week! So grab your coupons and settle in to read this lesson in couponetiquette.

Coupon Commandment #5:
“Thou shalt have a backup plan”
Growing up, my mother always used to tell me “life isn’t fair.”  I hated that saying as much then as I do now, but the words (whether I like them or not) are true. Life isn’t fair. Sometimes the early bird gets the worm. Sometimes the villain gets the girl. Sometimes your best laid plans don’t always go…well…according to plan.
So instead of getting mad, I recommend having a backup plan. Continuing on with yesterday’s lesson in professionalism in the coupon community, it is important to remember not to lose your temper when your deal plan doesn’t pan out.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to a store super excited for a deal, only to find out that the store was sold out before I got there, or worse, the store never carried the item to begin with. It is super frustrating to find out that all your work was for “nothing” and you don’t get the amazing deal you came prepared to leave with.
But….but…my awesome deal…. 🙁
The good news is, in these unfortunate cases you have a few options. If you plan ahead, you can bring back up coupons to use for a slightly different deal. Perhaps it might cost you a couple dollars more, and maybe isn’t as good as your original deal, but it’s better than nothing. For example, say you were all set to use your $1.00 off a box of Cheerios coupon. Let’s say that coupon doubled to $2.00 off and made for a $.50 box of Cheerios. Sweet! But then you get to the store, and they are completely wiped out of Cheerios! BLAST! Well, if you planned ahead and brought what I like to refer to as “contingency coupons” you might have a $.75 off a box of Chex coupon, that will still double, and still make for a good deal. That way you don’t totally miss out!
An example of a CVS Raincheck with ECBs
Sometimes that isn’t always possible. Another option you may have is what is known as a Raincheck. A raincheck is a piece of paper some stores will issue in the event of an item outage that extends the sale price once the item comes back in stock. Stores like Rainbow and CVS offer rainchecks for their products, and often Target will too.  You just need to ask at the customer service desk. The unfortunate part about a rain check is that after the sale is over, you usually won’t get added bonus items (such as a Catalina that was supposed to print with purchase, or a free gift card with purchase, with the exception of CVS who will still issue you the ECBs advertised in the deal!) however, you will still get the sale price, when the sale is over, which usually means demand for the item is lower.  If you bring in your raincheck on a subsequent double days, then you can still use your doubled coupons on that item. Otherwise you can use regular coupons on a regular day.
If the store doesn’t offer rainchecks, and you don’t have any contingency coupons, you could try another location of the same store. For example, I usually shop at one Rainbow Foods store closest to my house, but there is another one about 5 minutes down the road that gets less couponers. Sometimes if it’s an especially good deal, I will try that store too. The same goes for Walgreens, CVS and Target: there’s usually one on every street corner. Try ones closer to your place of work, or a relative’s house. You might be surprised that one area has less couponers than others. I find that sometimes stores in “nicer” more expensive communities tend to have less couponers (those rich people are missing out!) and so they will often have deals in stock a little longer than others.
If all else fails, and you miss out completely, don’t have a cow. Chances are the deal will come along again in a few months (sometimes sooner!) in some other shape or form. No need to get upset! Remember, couponing is a FUN yet profitable hobby. Don’t let it get you down!
Coupon Commandment #4
Coupon Commandment #6