FYI: This post will be a two part edition and is coming to you at the request of the lovely Mrs. 5C. Today, we'll start with Rite Aid and we'll talk about CVS another day. Rite Aid & CVS use two completely different systems, so I'll cover each separately.
My Mother-in-Law has her own personal drug store in her upstairs hall closet. That is - she stocks up on free soaps, toothpastes, shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, etc. because they rarely go bad (toothpaste does expire!). If the world ever runs out of toiletries, she's prepared. And, hey! She gets most of them for free.
Visiting the in-laws, but forgot your deodorant? No problem! Just run upstairs to the local drug store. There's no need to run around stinkifying the place!
Well, as I was incorporated into my husband's household, I became curious about this strange phenomenon. How, I wondered, does she get all of that stuff for free?! Even more of a mystery was how she sometimes makes money in the process?!?! That's just straight up CRAZY!
So one day, when mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law were heading out to Rite Aid and CVS, I asked to tag along and learn from the experts.
Now, this takes a little effort, but it can pay off. After all, small savings add up in the end.
FIRST OF ALL - Rite Aid is all about SINGLE CHECK REBATES. Just what are single check rebates? Well you are probably familiar with the whole rebate thing. You buy something at full price, fill out the rebate, mail it in, and get money back a week or two later in the form of a check in your mail. Companies are betting on you forgetting to mail the rebate or forgetting to cash the check. I'm sure the whole thing works out well for them in the end.
However, Rite Aid is a little different. With Rite Aid, you can get a bunch of small rebates on small items (sometimes the rebate will cover the entire price of the item) - but the difference is that it only comes in one big check. I know this sounds like a huge pain - but you don't have to send in a little rebate card for every single item!
You simply enter your receipt into your account online and Rite Aid compiles a list of your rebates for you. Your rebates will add up and you can get a nice check at the end of the rebate period. I've gotten up to $40 doing this, but I'm sure my Mother-in-law holds some sort of Rite Aid Rebate Record. I'll have to ask if she has a little plaque.
The trick is that you can only order your rebate check from Rite Aid once during the rebate period (hence "single check rebates"). You can order the check at any time during the rebate period, but you have to do it before the rebate period ends, or you lose it! Of course, I recommend doing it at the end of the rebate period because that's when you'll get the most money. I mark my calendar to keep track.
Confused? I was a little at first too, but let's go to the step by step breakdown. Don't let this list of steps stress you out. It's a lot easier than it seems - especially if you are related to me and would prefer to be shown this process in person. ;)
Now here's a step by step process of how to use Single Check Rebates to your advantage.
Step 1: Go to your local Rite Aid and sign up for a Rite Aid Card. You can't participate in their rebate program unless you are a member. Of course, you can do this when you first go to Rite Aid to pick up your free goodies - so don't jump the gun and go there just to get a card. EDIT - RITE AID DOES NOT HAVE A CARD - CVS DOES. YOU ONLY SIGN UP FOR RITE AID ONLINE.
Step 2: Check the weekly circular every week HERE. A new circular comes out every Sunday and the online circular will be mostly the same as your local circular. Checking the circular online will save you a wasted trip. You know whether or not there are any good deals during the week. If you are a coupon cutter, this process won't be too different.Do you see the Crest in the bottom right corner? You can get that for FREE!!
Step 3: Browse the weekly circular. Sure it will show you all of the lower prices for the week, but what you are really looking for is this:
Diapers? No - the red arrow pointing to the yellow "single check rebate" box. That's how you know if you can get a Rite Aid rebate on an item. Sometimes the rebates will be a discount, but sometimes they will cover most, if not all, of the item's price.
It's even better if you can match up a coupon with an item like this, because that means you will make money off of your purchase. Craziness. That's what my mother-in-law does. Then again, cutting coupons is a hobby for her :). Oftentimes, you can print Rite Aid coupons right from their website. Also, keep an eye out for manufacturer's coupons.
The weekly circular will also let you know if there are any manufacturer rebates being offered. This is separate from the single rebate program - but still useful to know. The manufacturer rebates usually look like this in the circular:Step 4: Go to Rite Aid and purchase the items you picked out in advance from the weekly circular. Pay attention to how many items the circular will allow you to get a rebate on. You could get 3 toothbrushes for free!
I usually make a list or grab a circular at the front of the store and go through it page by page as I walk through the store. You also have the option of creating a shopping list that you can print out while you are looking through the online circular. All of the items are listed below the circular online. Just click on the "Add to Shopping List" button (as seen below) and then print out your shopping list when you are done.
The little blue "R" at the bottom of that image is there to tell you that the item has comes with a Rebate.
Step 5: When you buy these items, use your Rite Aid Card (get one before you buy if you don't already have one) and save your receipt.
Step 6: When you get home, sit down at your computer and go to THIS LINK. This is the New Member Page. Sign up for an account to participate in Single Check Rebates. Once you have your account, you go to the Single Check Rebate page HERE. Log in, click on "Step 2: Enter Your Receipt." Enter your receipt number. The website will automatically pull up any rebate items you bought that day and update your account.
Step 7: Continue this process each week during the rebate period. I recommend developing a routine and getting the items earlier in the week right after a new circular comes out. The circular ads start on Sunday and last until the next Saturday. If you don't buy the items you want earlier in the week, then they may be out of the items by the end of the week. For a routine, I try to check the new circular on Saturday night and then go to Rite Aid once on Sundays after church. I'm a little out of the habit right now, but I'm hoping to pick the habit back up.
Step 8: Remember to order your rebate check online before the rebate period ends. When you login on the single check rebate page, click on "Step 3: Request Your Check." You should receive the check in the mail within a few weeks. Be careful because the check is disguised to look like a post card Rite Aid ad. You wouldn't want to throw away good money.
That's about it. It's really very simple and just takes a little time. Just think, you can have your own personal drug store too!
If there are any mistakes regarding this process, you can let me know and I'll fix them.