Saturday, July 13, 2013

Are The Penny Sales Worth It?

It's that time of year again. The office supply stores are having their penny sales. These sales are geared to get you to the store with the hopes that you will buy more stuff once you get through the door. These wonderful sales usually have requirements. This week you need to spend $5 to qualify for the penny items at each of the stores. This is a deal IF there are items totaling $5 that you already planned to buy. If you are just randomly picking up $5 worth of stuff to qualify, they are NOT!

Example: At Staples this week they were offering pencil cap erasers, black pens, and note cards for a penny each. These are items I use all the time in my classroom. To qualify you had to purchase at least $5 in other items. This was easy since they were offering a ream of copy paper for $6.99 with a rebate of $6.98 through their rewards program. So technically I get the paper for a penny too! Of course it is not a straight up rebate, I do have to spend the money at Staples but there is always something I need there and I can use the rebate on sale items!


Staples also allows teachers to buy more than the limit stated in the weekly flyer. So let's say you wanted to buy three packs of eraser caps, you would pay $0.01 for each of the first two and  $1.49 for the third pack. Then  Staples mails you a credit of $1.48 in Staples rewards. 

Below is the result of my trip to Staples with my son. The picture shows our combined purchase. Having us each check out half the items below we will only have to wait for the reimbursement for the paper not the other penny items since each of us qualified for two of each penny items.



Our purchase:

                                                 2 reams of printer paper ($6.99 each)      $13.98
                                                
                                                 4 binder dividers ($0.25 each)                     $1.00
                                               
                                                 4 packs of eraser caps ($0.01 each)            $0.04
                                                  
                                                 4 packs of black pens ($0.01 each)             $0.04

                                                 4 packs of index cards ($0.01 each)           $0.04

                                                               Initial out of pocket total                  $15.10

                                                                            Staples rewards $                - $13.96
                                                                               
                                                                      Total after rebate                     $1.14

Not bad considering I will use every bit of the supplies pictured above.

Another office supply store had a similar sale this week offering glue and folders for a penny. Unlike Staples, this store does not increase the limit of items for teachers. Also there really wasn't anything else I wanted at this store. So spending $5 to get 10 folders is totally not worth it for me. It would have cost me $5.10 to get my penny items. So I went back to Staples and bought 20 folders for $0.20 each for a total of $4.00. So I saved a dollar and have twice as many folders. BONUS! 

So my advice is to "do the math." Don't get taken by the penny sales. Buy only what you need.


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