Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Free: Copy Paper

In my last post I told you about how I was getting a lot of writing products for free after Rewards from Office Max.
They showed up today already. Quick quick.

Staples is another office supply store I like to shop for freebies. They are actually more fun to shop, with a challenge.
Staples has both a Rewards programs, and Easy Rebates.

The difference is, the Rewards you can only spend at Staples, and if you spend them on other items earning Rewards, you won't get the Rewards for the other items (like the way Walgreens Register Rewards work).

But you can spend your Rewards on Staples Easy Rebate items.

Rebate items get you cash back.

Check this out:
The past two November/Decembers that I've been doing the coupon/deal shopping thing, Staples (and the other office supply stores) have about 5-6 weeks worth of AA & AAA batteries free after Rewards. They run about $16.00, give or take, and you can get 2 packs a week.

Who can't use a slew of AA & AAA batteries with all the tv/video remotes, mp3 players, flashlights, etc.?

I would have gotten the batteries anyway because we use them, plus there's enough to share with my family even, but this past year I got lucky and Duracell was offering a Rebate: Get a $25.00 pre-paid Visa with the purchase of $100.00 worth of Duracell.

So I got all my money back (minus tax) from Staples in the form of Rewards, plus I got Cash money from Duracell in addition. Not to mention the year's supply of batteries.

So anyway, then I took my Staples Rewards and spent it on items that were free (or cheap) after Staples Easy Rebate.

At the first of the year Staples usually has great deals, lots of free offers for Antivirus and Office software, folders, banker boxes, stuff like that to get organized.
I was burned out (and overspent) from Christmas, so I just spent my earlier Reward on an Antivirus program that was free after Rebate and they deposited the amount into my Paypal account.

I was feeling better when my next rewards showed up, and handily enough Staples was having a few good weeks of free after Rebate copy paper and Photo paper.
The pastel paper wasn't free, it was $3.00 after Rebate, but I wanted it anyway.

I also bought 3 packages of copy paper. To go along with the rest of the copy paper I've gotten over the past couple of years.

I didn't buy the limits of items I could have, just enough to spend my Rewards because I was still trying to not spend money after Christmas. I used my Rewards and my pre-paid Visa(s) I'd earned from Rebates.

So, to summarize, I spent Cash on batteries in December (some people are much better at this game and keep Rewards/Rebates rolling so they hardly ever spend any of their own Cash), and got the same amount back in Rewards, plus Cash via the Duracell Rebate.

Then I spent the Rewards on Photo paper, Colored paper, and Copy Paper, and got the same amount back in Cash via Paypal and pre-paid Visa card(s).

Cash = Rewards = Cash = Free.

This is my stash of copy paper as of today, which I didn't pay anything (except tax) for:

The boxes of Office Max paper was my first free paper "purchase" a couple of years back when I first started this coupon/deal shopping thing. I bought the max limit because I couldn't imagine a deal like boxes of free paper would come along very often.
I have since learned that you can get free paper pretty often so it's not really necessary to buy every bit that comes along (unless, of course, you need/use that much paper. Schools should be all over these deals).

This week, Staples has a 5 ream case for free after Rewards.

Note* In store purchase only.

You pay $24.99, then at the end of the quarter you get $24.99 back in Staples Rewards. (There's a limit of 4 per customer, so you could actually spend $99.96 and get $99.96 back in Rewards, which I really wouldn't advise doing, unless you really need/use a lot of paper.)

You can spend your Reward at Staples on something you would normally be purchasing anyway, say printer ink, or hopefully there will be some free after Easy Rebate items that will be available during that time and you can turn your Reward back into Cash.

*Also, Staples has Quick Books Online Simple Start on sale this week for $90.00, with a $90.00 mail-in rebate, making it free after rebate.

Some deal shoppers more die-hard than me will invest the money into these kind of items, free after rebate, and sell them for cheaper, three-quarters or half-price, on ebay or some where like that.
I get it, even half-price is profit in your pocket. I'm just not organized enough to be able to keep all my rebates and selling and this and that straight. Wish I was, but I'd likely end up losing money trying it.


374's Wife said...

I wish I had the patience for this stuff!

Melissa said...

You could totally do this even without patience, Brandi.

I have very little patience, too. I could do a lot better if I had more, and organization, but even as flighty as I am most of the time, even I can do these deals.

Nice thing about these deals is you buy the stuff and it's a month or so before the rewards show up, and you have a couple months to spend them.

If you buy rebate items, you have 60 days to enter the info at their website.

No hurries, no worries.

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