Over the years that I've been writing this blog, the one heart-breaking comment I seem to get on a semi-regular basis goes something like this:
"Sometimes I just throw my drugstore rewards away, because they're too much of a hassle. I usually forget I have them and then they expire before I have a chance to use them."
If you're new to shopping at Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens and you're not exactly sure how to use your rewards (Extra Bucks from CVS, +UP Rewards from Rite Aid or Register Rewards from Walgreens), I'd like to show you the quickest, most pain-free way to use them to your advantage, and it takes just about no pre-planning at all.
So here's an example of a purchase I made yesterday at Rite Aid (but remember, you can do the exact same type of thing at Walgreens or CVS):
Tom's of Maine 2-pk bar soap - retail: $5.49 at Rite Aid
Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Tough as Taupe - retail: $6.69 at Rite Aid
At full retail price, the above products would have cost me $12.18 before tax.
But I paid $7.01 total for these products without any effort at all, and here's how I did it:
First I bought the Tom's of Maine bar soap 2-pk (I'd been wanting to try their vegan and cruelty-free soaps for a long time now so I couldn't resist this sale). Through 1/21, Tom's of Maine 2-pk bar soaps, deodorant, toothpaste and mouth rinse are on sale at Rite Aid for $3.99 each and you get $3 back in +UP Rewards (these will print on your receipt).
So here's my first transaction:
Remember, I got $3 in +UP Rewards at the bottom of my receipt for the above transaction, so I immediately turned around and made a SECOND transaction (literally tearing the +UP Rewards from the bottom of my receipt as the cashier was ringing up my second purchase):
The discount of $0.67 came from using my Wellness+ Card. Just for being a Silver member, you get an automatic 10% off most non-sale merchandise, so since Maybelline is not on sale this week, the $0.67 is my 10% discount.
Then you see my $3 +UP Rewards from the Tom's of Maine purchase. So instead of paying $6.69 for the Maybelline eyeshadow, I paid just $3.02.
And THAT'S how to make your drugstore rewards work for you, in the most painless way possible without any real pre-planning required.
If you feel strange about making two back-to-back transactions at once, let me alleviate your fears. I have yet to meet a cashier at Rite Aid, CVS or Walgreens who wasn't already used to this request. In fact, MOST cashiers I come across already know EXACTLY what I'm planning to do when I say, "I'd like to pay for these in two separate transactions". Some cashiers will even go so far as to tear the rewards from the bottom of my first receipt FOR ME, to use on my second transaction! Remember: businesses want your money, in any way that you're willing to give it to them.
The only time I wouldn't suggest making two back-to-back transactions is when there is a large line behind you at the register. I find this to be incredibly rude, so if I see there's a long line at a register, I either wait until the line has died down, or I make the first transaction and then continue shopping and make the second transaction a few minutes later.
The goal is to NOT FORGET THAT YOU HAVE REWARDS. You earned those rewards, so you're entitled to use them, darnit! And the BEST way to never forget you have them is to use them just moments after you receive them. I try to make a rule that I rarely walk out of a drugstore with rewards in my pocket, because even though I live and breath drugstore savings, even I forget I have them if they're tucked away in my wallet for too long, and that's just like flushing money down the drain.
I hope this post helps those of you who are new to the world of drugstore rewards. Remember that I post the weekly drugstore deals every Saturday, so you can easily plan out your rewards purchases for beauty products just by looking at my post (located on the top menu bar of this blog - just click on "Weekly Drugstore Beauty Sales").