Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's All About the Rite-Aid Baby!....A Woot!, The End of an Era and some Ranting

Ok, so that title may be a little misleading.  It IS about Rite-Aid but in a larger sense it's about couponing too in general.
So even if you don't Rite-Aid, it's worth reading....maybe. ;-)

First off, I need to catch up with a Rite-Aid trip I took weeks! ago.
It's a big one......are you ready for it?

1 x Doritos on sale=$2.50

No Coupons were used.

I used $2 in +Up Rewards to pay and put the .50¢ remaining on my free to me Rite-Aid gift card.
I received no new +Ups.

Here is my updated Grand Totals at Rite-Aid for the September SCR Period.....

Number of Transactions.....1
Total Spent....$.50 put on free gift card
Value of Items....$4.29
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$0.00
+Up Rewards spent.....$2.00
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$0.00*
And I have $32.65 left on my gift card.**

And now, the monthly totals so far.

Number of Transactions......1
Total Spent....$.50 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP

Number of Items purchased.....1
Value of Items purchased....$4.29
SCR qualified for....$0.00
Other Cash....$0.00
Additional Rebates....$0.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for September SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 8/26.....$2.00

+Up Rewards spent....$2.00
+Up Rewards earned....$
+Up Rewards left....$0.00  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period

*If you remember, I was owed $2 in +Up Rewards from last month.  I opted to return the item instead of fighting to get my rightly deserved +Ups from Corporate.  So instead of having $4 in +Ups, I started September with $2.

**After returning the item in question above, I got a credit toward my gift card balance so that it why it is larger than August's ending balance.

If you haven't noticed yet, I've been taking a Rite-Aid break.
I want to share 2 different thoughts on deal hunting at Rite-Aid with you.

First I want to blow my own horn.

Since I wore myself out physically yesterday at storage I have been doing nerdy sedentary things going over all my spreadsheets and transaction logs for recent years from Rite-Aid.
Because that's what us nerds like to do! 8-)

I found I achieved a major accomplishment with my Rite-Aid shopping.
From September of 2010 through August of 2011, I spent not one cent of my own money at Rite-Aid.
That's one solid year, 12 months, of hauling home bags and bags of goods without forking over ANY CASH.

Sssssshhh....don't tell them.
Between sales, strategic use of coupons, +Up Rewards and free gift cards I was able to supply my family with toiletries, HBA, cleaning supplies and a little bit of food(and non-foods like snacks and candy) for $0.00 spending.

It would have been 3 months longer(from June 2010-August 2011)without spending actual cash, if I had taken a RA gift card on vacation with me in August of 2010 and hadn't paid $8.99 cash for that coffeemaker I bought at a Rite-Aid in New Hampshire.

Here are the numbers.....

From September 2010 through August 2011 at Rite-Aid--
I spent $0.00 cash OOP.
I spent $141.97 in gift cards that cost me $0.00 cash to obtain.
I took home merchandise that retailed for $11,224.28.
I earned gift cards/certificates worth $95 during this time.
I earned cash rebates of $412.12 during this time.
I also sold excess items for $682 cash.
I gave away many items to friends and family, as well as made 3 sizable  food bank donations from the excess items.
I also still have an "ass ton" sized stockpile of drugstore items.

So you could look at this and say that I was paid $1,094.12 in cash(rebates and garage sale profit)to take $11,224.28 worth of merchandise home from the store.
Now if THAT is not an accomplishment, I don't know what is!LOL

You may notice that my free gift card value earned was less than my gift cards used during this 12 months, so how did I not spend any cash on all this?

In 2010, there were MANY SCR deals that gave gift cards instead of cash.  I must have pursued ALL of those deals, since from 7/2010 until 12/2010 I earned $280 in free gift cards.(I earned even more gift cards earlier in 2010 which I am not recounting here.) And that $280 worth doesn't even count the ones I earned from transferring prescriptions to Rite-Aid last year that earned me a $25 gift card for each one.  This explains why all my $141.97 OOP was paid for with gift card that cost me nothing to obtain.
And I still have about $70 left from my gift card stash.

Another thing I noticed was that since Rite-Aid introduced the +Wellness and the +Ups Rewards program early in 2010(Feb. in my area since it was within a test market program), this is the FIRST TIME I have had NO +Up Rewards in 20 contiguous months to spend.  At. All.

My Other Thought--
Now, I love my Rite-Aid stores here and the people who work there.
While my local employees are missing me coming to see them(yes, I am loved!lol),the bean counters in corporate are breathing a sigh of relief that, for now, my plundering and pillaging of Rite-Aid is over.
Now they don't have me to bring down their profit numbers.
Maybe now, my local Rite-Aid stores can show a profit. ;-)
(Did I say NOW enough times for you in the last few sentences?lol)

So I'll look at my Rite-Aid break as my way of helping them stay in business.
Because it everybody shopped there like I did/do, they would be long gone. ;-)

On the down side, the "perfect storm" of conditions that aided me in getting so much for free at Rite-Aid no longer exist.
I benefited from being able to combine SCR deals, free gift card deals, liberal coupon policies, bonus coupons and deals and promotions from the company and some amazing deals that made many items free.  It was all perfectly ethical, legal and in every other way acceptable.  I didn't scam any one or do anything immoral to get what I got. You just had to be motivated and dedicated enough to work all the angles and take advantage of all the opportunities.  It was by no means easy and yes, it took time and energy.

Currently, Rite-Aid offers no prescription transfer incentives, no survey coupon incentives, no $X off $XX coupons, no gift card SCR deals, +Up Rewards and Single Check Rebates that require you to spend too much OOP even after coupons to get them.
Add in that they have restricted their Coupon Policy twice in the last year and that the Manufacturers have clamped down on releasing high value coupons or even any coupons at all for certain products
AND have raised the cost of their products in this economy.

Every opportunity has tightened up so much(if it even still exists!), your results will NOT net you as much free stuff as before.  Not at Rite-Aid or any store that you can name.
That's just the world we currently live in.

Will it change?
You bet!
Retailing is ever could get better or it could get worse, and it will probably do both over the coming years.
Just keep your thumb on the pulse of retailing and be prepared to seize deals and opportunities when you find them.

I, for one, am anxious to see where shopping in 2012 leads us!



  1. "So you could look at this and say that I was paid $1,094.12 in cash(rebates and garage sale profit)to take $11,224.28 worth of merchandise home from the store"

    I aboslutely LOVE this ^^^! You just rocked the Rite Aid world :) For a YEAR!

    Because I was never anywhere near that into working the angles and deals (let alone figuring them all out in the first place), and because they sure have tightened up everything, I haven't actually been to a RA now in weeks. I have some gc "money" left to use at some point, because something will come along that I might actually want/need. But, yeah, I don't think Rite Aid wants me there very much anymore...

  2. Pretty--Thanks! And I love it too....
    Now just don't go telling Rite-Aid what I

    I could have kept on rolling +Ups for awhile longer but seriously it would just be to get more of things I already have so at this point, since I don't have anything left to prove, why bother?lol

    I figure RA is losing some business now with all the tightening up of deals that will cut into their profits.
    Then they'll put a few chinks in the deal dam and things will get better for the deals and I'll jump back in.
    If they just bring back to rx gift card deals that would please a lot of their customer base.

  3. Hmmm, Sluggy, Do you think you might have had anything to do with deals going away? lol You had me all fired up to start seriously doing what you have done. Then, you pulled the rug from under me by telling me it's over, done, gone.

    I don't understand why having the products already is stopping you from continuing to get more. Prices are not coming down next year. You will probably to continue to brush your teeth, wash your hair, and use tp. I find that I use items or give them to my children as fast as I get them. Okay, so I have 50 toothbrushes and 50 tubes of toothpaste. If the deals stop, the use-by dates are 2013, so I figure there will be no loss.

    Your success and deals have been phenomenal. I love it so much. You are such an inspiration to me as a couponer.

  4. Practical--I am stopping right now because I NEED a break from the Rite-Aid deals and I just have. so. much. of. it.
    I really don't have room for any more in the house.
    I could keep buying and give it all away, but there are costs in energy and time(and some peripheral costs like paper, ink, gas, etc.)too.
    And I have other things I want to spend my time on for now.
    Once I need more toiletries, I'll start again.
    I'm just taking a break and preserving my free gift card funds for now.

    It's just a different, less friendly couponing world in 2011 from 2009 & 2010. Gotta work harder lately to get the deals. ;-)

  5. I think this has been my favorite post yet. You are amazing.
    I do have to add that I think that the area that you are in is starting to do things more like here. Meaning that every company is very strict with coupons and the coupons that we get in the papers are low value. It does make it harder. And since it is a bigger town there are more people fighting for the few things on the shelves. I think that in this area I am considered a good couponer. At least that is what they say at CVS. LOL
    My question to you to ponder is if everything is changing for the worse(in my opinion) how do evolve and adapt to this new shopping environment?
    I'm really a dork for thinking that this is an issue!

  6. Since Rite Aid no longer really offers a lot of good deals, aren't you glad that you shopped when they did? You are so well stocked. Your numbers are terrific. Congrats!


  7. SonyaAnn--We have ALWAYS gotten horrible Qs in the papers compared to other regions so that hasn't The IPQs seem to be worse now or nonexistent.
    I have been lucky here to have not as much competition at R-A. Wags and CVS(when I did them here)was a different story. Like you, I had mass competition.
    The adapting part.....I can lay low in regard to adapting my toiletries/HBA shopping for now. I am using less Qs for the food shopping and buying from non-grocery stores more(restaurant supply stores, farm stand, outlet, the $ store-don't laugh at that one!lol).
    We can do what we can to keep our costs lower but in the end, it will only help some. I am resigned to paying more for everything but will keep striving to keep my costs as low as I can.
    And no, you are NOT a

    Precious--Yes, I am thankful that I was able to acquire all I did this past year. I just wish I had as tremendous savings & stockpile on the food part of
    Thanks for the compliment! 8-)

  8. sluggy-If you are resigned to pay more that isn't a good sign for the rest of us. Now I really do believe that we are headed for another downturn!


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