How to Deal with Coupon Mistakes
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How to Deal with Coupon Mistakes

Posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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There is nothing more frustrating, I think, when you finish checking out and realize that your grocery total came to more than you expected it to, discounts weren’t taken or those catalina coupons that you were counting on just didn’t print.

The other day, I did a deal that was supposed to give me an instant $7 off plus print out two catalina coupons for $4 off my next order ($8 total). Unfortunately, the $7 never came off and the catalina machine literally ate the second $4 catalina leaving a smudged mess and a ripped and torn paper.

When the catalina got caught in the machine, the cashier ripped it off and then threw it in the trash. I waited. She started ringing up the next customer. I was out $4 plus the instant $7. That was a lot to me and would affect my grocery budget.

Coupon mistakes can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes they are caused by a cashier who forgets to scan a coupon or isn’t knowledgeable about the store’s coupon policy. Sometimes sales or price amounts aren’t properly entered into the store’s database, so they don’t automatically reflect the right price. Sometimes the shopper makes a mistake in her own calculations or inadvertently offers an expired coupon.

If a coupon mistake happens, it is best to deal with it right away. Going back to the store can be inconvenient, so you probably won’t do it. Also, if you address something immediately, the deal and the circumstances will be fresh in your mind.

First review your grocery receipt to see what happened. Look for instant savings, sales prices, coupons and doubled or tripled coupon discounts. Bring the receipt, store flyer and your groceries over to the customer service desk.

Go ahead and circle sales information on your copy of the store flyer to make it easier to explain the issue. Be pleasant and polite and explain the discrepancy. Most customer service people are more than happy to help clear up a concern, especially if you are nice about it.

If you need to return something because a deal didn’t work out, it can be easier to do it at the customer service desk. Often the cashiers are overwhelmed and have to call over a manager anyway, causing a delay to everyone in line behind you.

Finally, one way to avoid coupon mistakes is to be prepared ahead of time. You should double check your deals at home before you get to the store and roughly add up the cost of your items. This will help you identify any mistakes quickly. Also double check your coupons to make sure that none of them are expired. Make a note of any that have limitations or restrictions. Carrying a copy of the official store coupon policy when you go shopping can help as well.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.