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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How to Play The Drugstore Game at Rite Aid

Updated 10/12/10

The Drugstore Game is really just the combination of sale prices, store rewards programs, and coupons. Your success in The Drugstore Game will depend on how well you are able to combine these elements to minimize your expenses.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to Rite Aid:

Wellness+ Program
Rite Aid has introduced the Wellness+ program, which is really just their store loyalty program. You'll get a card that you should have scanned with each transaction in order to get the most from your shopping. It will give you exclusive sale prices, access to special deals that yield rewards, and tiered discount, culminating in 20% off all non-prescription purchases.

+UP Rewards
With your Wellness+ card, you can get +UP rewards on certain transactions (you'll see them listed in the weekly ad and/or tagged in store). For example, the deal might be Colgate toothpaste on sale for $2.99, but you'll get a +UP reward for $2, making the toothpaste only 99 cents after +UP rewards (less if you use a coupon). The limits on +UP rewards are unfortunately extremely unclear and seem somewhat random.

Single Check Rebates
Rite Aid has a monthly rebate program called Single Check Rebates. Each month, there will be different participating products that have SCRs. For example, Colgate Total toothpaste might be on sale for $2.99 with a $2 SCR. The store expects you to pay $2.99 + tax, and give you back $2 via SCR at the end of the month.

You can find the partipating products online at Single Check Rebates. Your store may also have monthly booklets near the weekly ads, especially at the beginning of the month.

You’ll need to register for the SCR program, and then enter your receipt information online. You’ll know within a few days if your rebate has been approved, because the info will be right there when you log in. You can only request one check per month, so it’s best to wait until the end of the month when you’re sure you won’t do any more eligible shopping before requesting your check.

Video Values
The Rite Aid Video Values program is incredibly easy to use. The basic idea is, you watch videos about products sold at Rite Aid and in exchange, Rite Aid gives you printable coupons for those products. Each video is worth "credits" – most are worth one, but some of the longer ones will give more credits. Each month, you’ll be able to print a $4 off $20 purchase coupon after you’ve earned 20 or more credits.

The Video Values coupons are Rite Aid store coupons, so they can be "stacked" with manufacturer’s coupons, and that can make for some fabulous deals. Additionally, the $20 minimum for the $4 off $20 purchase coupon is before coupons, so you can bring your final total down quite a bit with additional coupons.

The best part about Video Values is how easy it is to use. You don’t have to download anything, the video plays smoothly, and your credits are automatically tallied. Most videos are less than a minute long, so it doesn’t take long to earn the 20 credits for the $4 off $20 coupon. The only thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to enter a "captcha" code within 30 seconds of the video ending in order to receive your credits.

Using Coupons at Rite Aid
Rite Aid has an official coupon policy that you should be familiar with, and explains how you can combine store coupons and manufacturer coupons, how you can use coupons with certain sales, etc. You may want to print the pdf of the coupon policy and carry it with you when shopping in case there are some questions about whether you can use your coupons.

Putting It All Together
I find that my out of pocket expenses are higher at Rite Aid, compared to CVS and Walgreens, because the SCR program delays the money I get back from the store. At the same time, I find it easier to "make" money at Rite Aid because there are more "free" items thanks to the SCR program, and coupons turn those deals into moneymakers.

Here’s an example of a typical Rite Aid transaction:

1 Crest toothpaste $2.74 with $2 +UP reward
1 Listerine $4 with $2 SCR
2 Kotex pads 2/$6 with $3 +UP reward
2 Dixie plates $1.99 each
1 Children’s Tylenol $4.99 with $2 SCR

Subtotal: $21.71

- $4 off $20 purchase coupon from Video Values
- 75 cents/1 Crest from Sunday paper
- $1/1 Listerine from Sunday paper
- $1.50/2 Kotex from Sunday paper
- $2/2 Dixie from Video Values
- 2 x 55 cents/1 Dixie from Sunday paper
- $1/1 Children’s Tylenol

Pay: $9.36 out of pocket
Receive: $2 +UP reward for Crest, $2 SCR for Listerine, $3 +UP reward for Kotex, $2 SCR for Tylenol (total received: $9)
Total cost after rewards: 36 cents + tax

Also, some of the products might be part of an SCR promotion to Buy $25 or $50 worth of certain products and get a Rite Aid gift card. The SCR web site will keep track of your eligible purchases, so you’ll be able to see how much more you need to buy to get the gift card and decide if the expense is worth it.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer!

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4 Comments:

  • At 2/24/10, 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi, Thanks for the info. Is the SCR only good at Rite Aid or can it be cashed at the bank?

     
  • At 2/24/10, 7:09 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Anon - The check you receive can be cashed at any bank. I've read that you can use it at Rite Aid as well, but I've never personally tried that.

     
  • At 2/24/10, 7:43 PM, Blogger Kacie said…

    I think Rite Aid is the simplest of the 3 main drug stores. And, there's less cashier hassle because the rebate is on Rite Aid's end!

    And I love that you can submit your rebate info online instead of mailing something in. Way easier to track.

    They are my favorite these days.

     
  • At 2/24/10, 9:20 PM, Blogger Denise said…

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I so appreciate you writing this. It really does help. I'm going to get my rite aid ad, scr rebate book, coupons, and see what I come up with. I have a $25 gift card from transfering a prescription there. I am definitely going to try to give this my best shot and I think you've armed me with the tools I need. I really do appreciate it! Again, Thank you!

     

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