Spending $ to Save $???

How do you know if you’re really getting a good deal if you have to SPEND money to SAVE money?  You might be thinking… I don’t need 5 shampoos or 10 tubes of toothpastes!  How do I figure out the bottom line?  It can be VERY CONFUSING!

When trying to earn CVS’s Extra Care Bucks (or ECB) or Rite Aid’s Up Rewards (UP), you might have to spend a certain amount to get something back.  You can then use those rewards on future purchases.  (If you have enough patience and a kind enough store staff, you could do multiple transactions at one time so that your “future purchases” are just minutes into the future.  Just don’t do this if there are people behind you in line.  Be considerate!)

To figure out if you’re getting a good deal when using and getting rewards, compute your “net” spending.  This means your rewards as well.  If you use $5 in rewards, but only get back a $2 reward, consider that $3 spent.  For instance (totally hypothetical):

Deal: Buy 2 toothpastes at $3.99, get $2 rewards.

Toothpaste cost :  7.98

Ideally you’ll have (2) $1 coupons:  subtract $2.00

Total Cost $5.98

If you have $5.00 rewards from before, you could use them now, making this Out of Pocket (OOP) transaction only $.98.

However, since you’re only replacing your previous $5 reward with a $2 reward, the actual NET COST for these 2 toothpastes is $3.98.  (NOT a very good deal for toothpaste… you can often get it for free or a money maker).  Don’t double dip your rewards and count them in multiple transactions — count the difference between what you had and what you’ll get!  This will give you a realistic idea of what you’re spending.

Sometimes you’ll have rewards that expire.  In that case, you’ll have to decide how badly you need toothpaste and if it’s worth it to you to not “lose” your rewards.

And what to do about those extra toothpastes?  Consider  sharing!  There are others who don’t have the time or coupon resources, but who desperately need personal care items.  Put a bag together to give to a friend, a neighbor, a child’s classmate’s family, your local church or other charity.  SHARE THE WEALTH!

Feel free to ask questions in the comment section about calculating your net cost.  This is confusing and I’m a math teacher!  🙂


2 Responses

  1. Thank you! There are a bunch of blogs out there trying to tell people how much they can get free and cheap and they are double dipping their rewards to do it. You can’t count them in the purchase when you get them and the purchase where you spend them! Way to go Kathy- loving this blog already!

  2. […] already have 10 (or even 5 or 3) of the deal in your closet.  — Although, read the end of this post for ideas about what you can do with those […]

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