Teaching others to prepare on a budget!

{ Drug Store Reward Cards – Why I DON’T use them! }}

reward cards 009A friend of mine approached me the other day with the “perfect idea to save money and stock-up” and then she hit me with the punch line. She shows me a very successful “couponing website and her newly acquired Reward Cards from the THREE major DRUG STORES!

I threw my head back and said, “You’re kidding me right?”

Solemn faced… she replies, “Oh, no… I’m going to save to more these cards than you’ve ever dreamed of and although you did write an e-book on this and have researched it – you’re research is wrong!”

Hmmm, I thought to myself but didn’t go into my dissertation at that time.

To shorten this story some; I went to the same website she mentioned and saw Irish Spring Soap (3 bars) regular price $3.49 on sale for 2/$3.00 with a $1 UP+ reward. It was at Rite-Aid. Here’s a picture of what I saw on that website which irritates me too! I’ve highlighted in yellow the deal I will follow and show you results for later…

From the "deal" website. At the bottom notice "makes it $2.50)

From the “deal” website. At the bottom notice “makes it $2.50”)

My first thought was how does it make this soap $2.50 when the Rewards program doesn’t let you use these rewards until after 6 a.m. the following day of your purchase? This soap will still cost me out-of-pocket $6.00 for 2 packs to satisfy the sale requirements. (note: read the requirements carefully!)

This point, right here, is one thing I hope all you remember. If you don’t read the rest of this post, just remember this point! Rite-Aid’s policy changed a few months ago or maybe a couple years ago… I don’t shop this store or the other major 2 because they are small retailers in the scheme of things and they can’t get the same discounts as larger retailers – making their mark-ups and prices higher.

Moving along… I purchased 2 packs of Irish Spring soap (6 bars total) and I saw a deal on Xtra Laundry Detergent and threw that in there too. The Xtra detergent was 2/$6.00 with $2 +UP rewards.

Because I’m a savvy shopper and budget-wise preparedness person… it’s hard for me to make laundry detergent at this price… so anywhere close to $3 (.o4 an ounce) for laundry detergent is a good deal to me. Yes, it’s cheap stuff, but in an emergency I’ll use it.

My purchase from Rite-Aid

My purchase from Rite-Aid

The above purchase was $12.00 and then added tax. And at the bottom of the receipt it says I have $3 (monopoly money) to spend at Rite-Aid in the next couple of weeks. They are betting I forget that I have this $3 or that I’ll buy some outrageous over-priced item while I’m there tomorrow and those $3 will be added to their bottom-line somehow!

My monopoly money

My monopoly money

But, not me… I’m a little smarter than that… I’ll show you tomorrow what I do with my $3.

Back to my friend and how all this got started (again)… here’s the heart breaking thing… she “thinks” she’s saving money. She’s never done the leg work to see if she’s saving money or not. She’s a sheeple.

I drove across the street to Dollar General… and that same Irish Spring soap was only $2.25 regular price.

reward cards 006You’ll notice I also bought  a 6 pack of soap but that was for another experiment in showing folks how to save money on prep items.

Here’s a picture of the 3 pack from Rite-Aid ($3.00 each) and the one from Dollar General ($2.25 each) they are the VERY same product!

reward cards 005

In Summary:

I made myself a promise years ago when I started this blog that I wouldn’t advise others unless I had done it myself. If you want to save REAL money – you’ve got to know you’re lowest retail price available to you to start with.

Stop buying into “it’s like paying x amount” or “it makes it x amount”… seriously ya’ll …

If I go tomorrow and use my REWARDS on more soap I’ll generate another $1 +UP reward that I’ll have to go back AGAIN and use. Give me a break! This is where the cycle is never unbroken. This is what the store(s) are banking on! This is what keeps you going back and back and back. Break the cycle if needed.

I could have easily saved .75 on the same 3 bars of soap by driving straight to Dollar General and not having to return to Rite Aid tomorrow (before I forget that I have $3 in monopoly money to use!)

On the flip side, I’m going to get real pencils tomorrow at Rite-Aid. For some reason my husband wants pencils and they are B1G1 so we’ll see how I use my $3. I’ll be interested in seeing (overall) if I saved a dime or not.

By Friday, I’ll break all this news to my friend, without crushing her money-saving-want-to-stock-up-spirit and simply show her how to spend more wisely.

Hope this helped someone out there. Do your homework and spend more wisely than ever!

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