Saturday, November 21, 2009

Multiple Transactions

So, you've gotten the hang of drug store shopping, using register rewards and ECBs and rolling your rebates. Now it's time to master multiple transactions. At first glance, it seems that breaking up your order into a few smaller transactions wouldn't save you much money, but with a little planning, it can save you a significant amount of money by reducing your out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses. Basically, it allows you to use newly acquired rebates immediately, rather than paying OOP for your items in order to get more rebates. Here's a example to illustrate what I mean. Let's say you're at CVS and you buy the following items:

Deodorant: $4.00; $2.00 coupon, $2.00 ECB
Shampoo: $5.00; $1.00 coupon, $5.00 ECB
Razor: $8.00; $4.00 coupon, $5.00 ECB
Toothpaste: $2.50; $1.00 coupon, $2.00 ECB

If you start the day with $5 in ECBs, here's how it breaks down in one transaction:
Total (without tax): $19.50
After coupons: $11.50

Once you spend your $5 in ECBs, you are still paying $6.50 OOP. Now let's say you divide your order into 2 transactions:

Transaction 1:
Razor: $8.00; $4.00 coupon, $5.00 ECB
Toothpaste: $2.50; $1.00 coupon, $2.00 ECB

Total (w/o tax): $10.50
After coupons: $5.50
After ECBs: $0.50
ECBs earned = $7.00

Transaction 2:
Deodorant: $4.00; $2.00 coupon, $2.00 ECB
Shampoo: $5.00; $1.00 coupon, $5.00 ECB

Total (w/o tax): $9.00
After coupons: $6.00
After $5 ECBs (from razor): $1.00 OOP

So after 2 transactions, you're only spending $1.50 OOP and you still walk away with $2 ECBs. With 1 transaction, you walked away with the entire $14 in ECBs, but you had to spend $6.50 OOP. You're still earning the same amount in ECBs, but with multiple transactions you save $5.00 in out of pocket expenses!

  • Multiple transactions can be used at CVS and Walgreens, where you get register print outs instead of mail-in rebates.
  • Use it any time you have several items which will earn you ECBs/RRs.
  • Try to limit your OOP expenses to $2 or less per transaction
Don't be discouraged if you end up with fewer RRs/ECBs after your shopping trip. Remember, if you're using multiple transactions, you don't needs as much "start up money" because you're rolling your rebates in several small transactions instead of one big one. Even if you only use it twice a month and save $5 each time, you're saving $120 per year. Rolling rebates is all about using free money to get more free stuff. Using multiple transactions will just make that free stuff even "free-er"!

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A Random Thought

If you wouldn't have bought it to begin with, you didn't save money on it!

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