Sunday, March 25, 2012

Staples - More FREE Paper, Batteries, ETC

Sorry to get to this so late, been a busy day getting some errands run.  I am excited to see Staples is once again offering up FREE paper, batteries, photo paper and antivirus.  Now there are many ways to do this but I had to do mine a bit confusing because I had rewards I wanted to spend without losing value in my rewards.  I also wanted to use a $10/50 competitor coupon so it would pay my tax.  If you don't have rewards to start out with, your transaction should be much easier than mine!  First, here are the deals, then I can make some suggestions and then tell you how I worked mine(and hopefully not lose you in the math)

First though, I should probably offer a refresher in the difference between Staples Easy Rebates and Staples 100% Rewards.
Now, how are Staples Rewards different from Staples rebates?  Well, rebates are just that, you pay now, submit your information(I love that you can do this online at Staples, so you don't even waste a stamp) and you have a few options for payment back.  You can get a gift card or a check.  I always pick the check because then to me it is 100% free since I will get my money back to use anywhere I choose!

Staples Rewards, you need to sign up for their free card either here or in store.  Once you've signed up you'll earn 10% back in Staples Rewards on all ink and toner, case and ream paper and Copy & Print purchases.  You can also earn rewards back on select items advertised in their weekly ads.  This week that is the batteries and the copy paper.  With Staples REWARDS, if you use coupons you will receive the reward value LESS the value of the coupon.  This coupon could be either a Staples coupon, a competitor coupon, a manufacturer coupon or even a Staples Reward certificate!  So it is important to use as little of these as possible when buying rewards items.
Also, Staples REWARDS are certificates you will receive in the mail to be used only at Staples on future purchases AND they have an expiration date.  This is why I only do them on the items I really need or want. 

So now, the deals:

From Sun - Wednesday ONLY:
$8.99 HP Everyday photo paper 8.5x11, 50 pack
Earn $8.99 in SER (Staples Easy Rebate), limit 2

$8.79 Staples Pastels 8.5 x 11, 20 lb assorted colors
Earn $8.79 in SER, limit 2, in store only

Whole week long:
$5.99 Hammermill 8.5 x 11 Copy Plus copy paper
Earn 100% back in Staples Rewards, limit 2, in store only

$12.99 Duracell batteries 16 pack AA or AAA
Earn 100% back in Staples Rewards, limit 2, in store only

$35 Titanium Antivirus 1 pc
Earn $35 SER, limit ?

$30 McAfee Antivirus Plus, 1 PC
Earn $30 back in mail in rebate, limit 1 per household(if you bought this in December, you cannot claim the rebate again)

Ok, to use the $10 off $50, you want to buy as much of the rebate items as possible, since you will get ALL your money back on those, whereas, the Staples Rewards items will only give you back the % paid on those.  Since the software is excluded from the coupon, that means getting 2 HP papers and 2 pastels which total $35.56.
So you still need $14.44 to use the coupon!  To solve this problem, I bought 1 pack of batteries and 1 ream of paper.  That brought my total to $54.54.
So then the coupon.  When you use a competitor coupon they typically have to apply the coupon to an item in the method of price modifying.  Now it is important to make sure they do NOT price modify the batteries or the copy paper.  If they do, your 100% rewards will be reduced by that amount.  It is best to have them price modify the photo paper if they will, since you also earn 10% back from the Staples pastel paper for being a reward member.  My cashier took it off the pastels so I will lose a little in those rewards :(
So, once they take off the $10 coupon, your total assuming you buy all these items is $44.54 + tax
You will get back
$35.56 in Staples Easy rebates for the photo paper and pastels
If they do not take the $10 coupon off your rewards items you should get back $18.98* of those rewards, making your profit pretty good(cost of $47.14 assuming 8.25% tax, get back $54.54 in rewards/rebates, making a profit of $7.40 + the additional 10% -$1.76- for the color paper)

For me, since they reduced my pastel papers by $10, I will only get back .76 for that, but will get back $35.56 in rebates and $18.98* in rewards for batteries and copy paper. Profit of $8.16. I bought the AntiVirus on a separate transaction to use up rewards I had that were going to expire soon.  I lost .60 in tax after my rewards so still an overall profit of $7.56 for all that is pictured.

*Should is relative here as sometimes when you use a coupon, you will still get dinged on rewards based on a percentage of rewards items vs overall cost.  For my example the rewards items accounted for 18.98 of the $54.54 total, a percentage of 34.8.  So assuming they ding me for that I will lose $3.48 in rewards.  This still will make the transaction an overall profit, but not as big of one.  Whenever possible it is best to ring up 100% reward items separate when using a coupon.  In my case, I was not to the value to use the coupon so  I chanced it to save the tax, but I tried to use the min amount of rewards items on that transaction.  Clear as mud right? :D

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