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#14
Old 01-23-2012, 02:21 PM
TheWoman TheWoman is offline
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Quote from tn_native View Post :
I don't staples much, but isn't there a general rule of thumb that you don't buy FAER items with your rebate check? (I remember bunnies talking about it in the Target Chat thread). Or you technically CAN, but you won't get credit for the FAER you just bought?
There are 2 types of "Free" stuff at staples.

1. Free after rewards. You get a REWARDS "check" back for the price you paid. This "check" is a form of store credit and the registers treat it like a coupon. Price you paid is the actual amount you pay with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card. To get the price paid, you take your subtotal and subtract all staples coupons and rewards checks you used on the transaction. For example, if I buy a $10 free after rewards item and:
  • Pay $10 with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $10 rewards "check"
  • Use a $2 coupon and pay the rest ($8) with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $8 rewards "check".
  • Use a $7 rewards check that I earned last month, and pay the rest ($3) with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $3 rewards "check".
2. Free after rebate. You will get a REAL check (or sometimes a prepaid visa or staples gift card, depending on the offer) for the amount stated in the ad, regardless of the amount you actually pay. This is a check you can actually take to your bank and cash. For example, if I buy an item that is $10 with a $10 rebate (also called SER for staples easy rebate) and:
  • Pay $10 with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $10 real check
  • Use a $2 coupon and pay the rest ($8) with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $10 real check.
  • Use a $7 rewards check that I earned last month, and pay the rest ($3) with cash, check, credit or debit card, or gift card, I will receive a $10 real check.


What you do is spend real money on things that produce rewards, then use the rewards to buy things that produce rebates. Then use the money from the rebates to buy more things that produce rewards and on and on forever.


NEVER use rewards checks to buy things that produce rewards. Use caution using coupons to buy things that produce rewards because, while it will reduce your oop it will also reduce the rewards you receive, so don't waste coupons this way unless you have a surplus.



Also, coupon use is prorated across an entire transaction. So, if you buy $100 of stuff, and $20 of that is free after rewards, and you use a $50 rewards check, it will look like this
$20 rewards stuff
-$10 coupon (previous rewards check)
=$10 spent on rewards stuff, so that is what you will get in rewards
$80 non-rewards stuff
-$40 coupon
= $40 spent on non-rewards stuff.
Thus, if you are paying with a coupon or rewards check, it is usually better to make 2 transactions, like this:
Transaction 1: $20 rewards stuff = $20 you will earn in rewards
Transaction 2: $80 non-rewards stuff - $50 coupon (previous rewards check) = $30 spent on non-rewards stuff. The oop is the same, but you will receive $10 more in rewards this way.

ETA: this information only applies to Staples, and Office Depot works pretty much the same way. Office Max is completely different.

Last edited by TheWoman; 01-23-2012 at 02:27 PM..