Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rite Aid

I have never done much shopping at drug stores unless it was because I needed to grab a greeting card, pick up a prescription, or needed something quick and didn't want to drive all the way to the grocery store.  I was always under the impression that drug stores are more expensive and for the most part they are, unless you utilize their sales and rewards programs in order to buy non-perishable type products to build up your stock pile.

I have found that the drug store rewards programs are not like the reward programs for other stores, they're much more complicated.  Borders bookstore, for instance, has a rewards program where every dollar you spend earns you a point, after you earn a certain amount of points you get $5 that you can use on anything in the store.  Rite Aid, on the other hand, has +UP Rewards, Wellness+, Single Check Rebates, Video Values, and sometimes they throw in some extra promotions just to make things more confusing.  Not all of these are necessarily linked to a rewards card but they are all things that can save you money if you use them correctly.  For my own sanity, until I feel like I really have a handle on Rite-Aid's programs and how to best take advantage of them, I have only been shopping at Rite-Aid instead of all the other drug stores as well.  I think it would be too much for me to handle trying to figure out all the programs at all the stores all at the same time.  You can do what is best for you but if you tend to get easily overwhelmed then you might want to limit the number of places you shop at first.

Lets take a closer look at Rite-Aid's programs:

  • Wellness+ - This is Rite-Aid's rewards card.  In order for you to be able to get the sales prices that are advertised in their weekly circular you'll need to have one of these cards.  It is a free program and you can sign up at the register.  Having this card also allows you to receive a 10% discount when purchasing Rite-Aid brand products.

    In addition to the sales it also has a rewards program attached to it.  You will earn a point for every dollar you spend on non-prescription purchases and 25 points for every prescription.  Once you earn 125 points you'll receive a one day 10% off shopping pass.  After earning 500 points you'll be upgraded to Silver+ status and receive 10% off all non-prescription purchases everyday and free health screenings; and after earning 1,000 points you'll be at Gold+ status where you'll receive 20% off all non-prescription purchases every day.

  • +UP Rewards - You'll notice that +UP is mentioned quite a lot in the weekly circular.  What this means is that if you buy certain items you'll receive a coupon back at the register for a certain dollar amount off a future purchase.  In the image above you'll see that the sale price for the item is $2.99 when you use your Wellness+ card.  When you purchase the item a coupon will print at the bottom of your receipt that shows you received $1.00 +UP reward.  The next time you go to Rite-Aid you can use that $1.00 coupon to take $1.00 off your next purchase.  Some exclusions apply to this. You cannot use it to purchase cigarettes, alcohol, prescriptions, prescription co-pays, gift certificates, online purchases, money orders, money transfers, lottery tickets, licenses, prepaid cards, stamps, or other mail services and items prohibited by law.

    The great thing about this program is that you can just keep rolling your reward dollars into purchasing other items that produce more reward dollars.  This is one of the ways that you can get items very cheaply if not free.  Like I was saying in one of my earlier posts though, there will be some out of pocket money at the beginning when you purchase items that will produce you the reward dollars.  Going back to the image above, it states that it's like paying $1.99, and I suppose it depends on how you think about it, but I don't totally agree with that.  If you're just starting out, you'll be paying the $2.99 (unless you have coupons for that item that you can use on that transaction as well) but if you were to go back to the store and purchase the same item again and use the $1.00 reward that you received from the first purchase you will only pay $1.99.  Just be aware that there will be an out of pocket expense when you first start doing this but the idea is to search out the good deals using the tools I posted about yesterday, stack coupons on top of the sales, and then get the rewards dollars to use in the future as part of your long term couponing plan.

  • Single Check Rebates (SCR) - Every month Rite-Aid has a list of items that you can submit rebates on and a lot of times if you submit the rebate you can get the item for free (or possibly even make money on it if you were able to use a coupon when you initially purchased it and then receive the rebate for the original sale price).  You can either pick up a rebate book from the front of the store each month (usually next to the weekly circular) or look at the list online, sometimes they'll also list some rebates in the weekly circular.  Sometimes the weekly circular will have a SCR if you purchase a certain dollar amount of a particular brand (for example $5 SCR when you purchase $20 of Maybelline products).  The important thing to note about that is that the dollar amount that you're being asked to purchase is calculated prior to any coupon savings so when you stack coupons on top of potential SCRs it can make for substantial savings.

    Once you purchase the item you take your receipt and enter the information from it onto the Rite-Aid website here (you'll need to create an online account to do so).  Rite-Aid will then verify the information you entered with the store where you made the purchase.  Once they confirm it you can request your check online and you'll receive it in the mail in as little as two weeks.  SO much easier than other rebates that make you mail in copies of your receipt and UPC codes. SCR FAQ

  • Video Values - This is another part of the Rite-Aid site where you'll need to create a user account.  Once you do that you can earn Rite-Aid coupons (which can then be stacked with manufacturers coupons) just for watching short videos.  You do have to watch the video though, you can't leave the browser because once the video is done you'll be prompted to enter a captcha before being able to print your coupon.
You can find Rite-Aid's coupon policy here.

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