Special Offers & Incentives

Strategy Eleven:  Take Advantage of Special Offers and Incentives to Buy (sales, coupons and rebates) –

Many a drug rep knows the advantage of offering pens and geegaws, and sales, coupons and rebates in the food industry are even more prevalent.  Check the offers and ads when they come out, find the bargains and apply the coupons and offers to the sales price.  If you do nothing else, take advantage of sales and coupons on products you use regularly, and be open to trying new brands.  Coupon users sometimes get a bad rap, but take a look at an example of the power of applying discounts to your shopping here.

By the way, ever been shopping and you’ve decided to pick up a store brand item – you see it costs less than the brand name, on sale, right next to it?  You wonder why the more expensive (on sale) brand name slot is emptied out and shake your head thinking you have the better deal as you pick up your item.  What you MAY not know is the brand name had coupons that, combined with the sale and manufacturer or store offers may have very well made it “free” or just pennies to buy.  Sometimes, you’ll actually MAKE money on these offers.

  • To leverage your buying power, you’ll want to apply your coupons and use your rebates at the time when the product you’re interested in hits the rock bottom price.  To do this, you’ll have to be in a position where you don’t NEED to buy.  If you’ve followed some of the other strategies, (links below) you should be able to ‘wait out the market’ until your product cycles back down to a low price.  You’ll need to know the regular pricing on the item, the normal sales price as well as the low sales price for an item, how often you can expect the item to go on sale and what you’re willing to buy it for. 
  • Generally, a store will put an item on sale several times during a quarter, but drop to a rock bottom price at least once during that quarter.   If you are open to several brands of any item, you’ve just increased the opportunity to buy that item at a sales price.  During any given week, a store will generally have several really fantastic deals on one particular brand, then cycle a great deal on another brand the following week, all the better to get you in the door, my dear.
  • Track your spending, know what you’re willing to spend for the product, and have your coupons collected and ready to use when that happens.  It’s a little like playing the market, or even futures.  You can often expect sales for an item when a coupon or rebate comes out, and if there’s not a sale at that time, usually there will be one before that coupon or rebate expires. 
  • If you don’t have a coupon, check online.   Google it or go to the manufacturer’s website, or to one of the many sites that compare the sales ads with the coupons.  I’ve found several sites I rely on consistently for their diligent research and efforts, and applaud their willingness to share that information. 
  • Consider offers on products when and if it allows you to buy a product you want that would normally be out of your price range, or even a product of better quality for the same price you’d pay for a lesser brand.  Don’t get too hung up on brand loyalty, and look at store brands, too.  Don’t get in the habit of buying products just because they were ‘cheap.’
  • Cast a wary eye on some of the convenience products out there, and pay attention to nutrition and taste when you make your decisions.  I’m not as impressed as some when I see a photo of a table full of food that someone bought for $17.00 when it contains virtually no produce and is full of nothing but cookies, boxed mixes and highly processed foods.  I always secretly hope that the buyer isn’t on line so much tracking down bargains that the kids are in front of the tv eating cheese its for breakfast.  Keep in mind that good nutrition pays off.
  • Take a few minutes to really crunch the numbers on “special incentives” and make sure they’re worthwhile for you.  I’ve fallen for a few myself that were so complicated that until I was home with my receipt and calculator and able to add up, subtract, and divide, I thought I was getting a great deal.  Most probably are, but make sure you know before you buy.  
  • Know your store’s policy on coupons, discounts and offers.  They vary widely, even the same Chain will have different policies depending on the location and management.  Many stores have groups of shoppers who blog about them, or even invite open discussions, giving you a lot of information gathered by a lot of people, all in one place.
  • Watch at the register if you can, and take a quick moment to check your receipt before you leave the store.  Usually there’s a bench right up front, sit down if you need to and regroup while you scan it over and make sure the sales items are correct, the coupons accounted for.  If nothing else, sit down in the car before you leave the parking lot.  I find a mistake nearly every time I shop – just yesterday I checked a receipt that charged me $1.72 in tax for $4.97 in purchases – yeah, that’s well over our 7.125 percent! 
  • Studies show that people who shop alone spend less money, and serious shopping may not be the best time to have your kids with you, or may be an opportunity to involve them depending on the ages and temperament. If possible, shop without the very young ones. 
  • A single parent may be able to “trade” time with a like-minded mom, a dual parent household may be able to take turns shopping and caring.  I used to shop late at night when my daughter was a baby – she’d fall asleep on the drive there and sleep through the whole experience, but I had to abandon more than one cart when she was a toddler and had tantrums. 
  • Save your receipts, by the way, perhaps in an envelope labeled with the month/year so you can take advantage of any special offers requiring proof of purchase, or refer back to the pricing as necessary.  
  • Of course, avoid messy and unreasonable stock piling – but keep in mind, too, that many organizations are in need of donations, and if you do donate that product, at least you are giving a product that cost you very little, but gives a great value.

Related Reading

Links for The Twelve Strategies: 

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