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How To Save Time and Money at Staples

How To Save Time and Money at Staples

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Although my wife is the real window-shopper in the family, there is one store we both like to window shop in: Staples. Their stock is so diverse, and set up so well, that it's a pleasure to walk into the store.

But aesthetics are not the only thing that make Staples a pleasure. Shopping in office supply stores can be an expensive experience. But because you have no choice, since you're buying necessity items for your office or home, you pay whatever price the stores asks and live with it.

At Staples, however, that ain't necessarily so.

There are a number of ways to save time and money, both in Staples stores and at staples.com. Some of them may be familiar, others less so - but we'll list them all for the benefit of all our readers.

Before we start though, I would like to make one disclaimer: Many stores, including Staples, are constantly updating and revising the money-saving options that they offer to their customers. Therefore, please do not regard this list as the be-all and end-all of how to save time and money at Staples, and make sure to check out their website for new programs and benefits they may have added in the interim.

Now that the introduction is over, here are a number of ways to save time and money at Staples.

1) Staples Credit Cards.
This is a very convenient way to save time and money, both in Staples stores and online. There are no annual fees, and the payment options are flexible - either pay the minimum, or pay in full, and you can take each month as it comes. For larger purchases, there are extended payment terms available to stretch your cash that much further. You don't have to worry about getting confused about which card you used in which store, because the Staples credit card is only accepted at Staples stores, through catalog orders and at Staples.com. The card is automatically linked to the reward program, so every time you use your credit card you'll immediately receive the reward points, too (more about rewards later).

For the business consumer, Staples has two credit accounts available, one tailored for smaller businesses, the other for those that make frequent monthly purchases at Staples.

2) Rewards.
Staples' reward program offers another great way to save time and money, especially because it's free! The people it will benefit most are those with home offices, or people who just love office supplies and make frequent purchases. To begin with, you can earn 2% back in rewards (up to $15 per quarter) when you spend $200 or more. All your phone and online orders will be delivered absolutely free, regardless of the amount spent. If you spend $50 or more a quarter at Staples Copy and Print Center, you can earn 20% back in rewards (this is great for college students!). And, once you've spent $1000 in a calendar year, you'll get upgraded to Staples Rewards Gold, which offers you 5% back in rewards up to $30 per quarter.

In addition, there are rewards bonuses on featured items, which means that every dollar you spend on those items will count as two dollars toward earning rewards. Worried about losing your membership card? No problem. Just add all your credit/debit cards to your Staples reward membership, and you'll be able to pay and automatically receive reward points no matter which card you use, without showing your membership card.

There is one segment of the population that makes very frequent office supply purchases, yet they do not have their own offices: Teachers! In order to help them out, Staples has special Teachers' Rewards! In addition to all the above benefits, teachers receive the following as well:

* 20% back in reward checks up to $200 per quarter when they spend $25 or more per quarter at Staples Copy and Print Center.

* Teacher Bonus Seasons from July 15-September 15 and December 15-January 15, during which ever dollar spend is counted as two dollards toward earning rewards.

* After spending $500 or more in a calendar year, teachers can upgrade to Teachers' Rewards Gold and get 5% back in rewards up to $30 a week.

3) 365 Savings.
That means the following: Staples tries to ensure that their prices are the lowest around. But if you find the same item at another store for less, just show Staples the lower price at the time of purchase or within 14 days, and Staples will give you 110% of the difference in price. In addition, there are special savings offered through the following programs: New Low Price, Buy More-Save More (for bulk purchases), Special Buy and Compare and Save. Look for the signs online, or in Staples' stores, catalogs and circulars.

4) Catalogs.
No time to browse online or in-store? Order or view online Staples' catalogs. They're categorized by product - furniture, office products, etc. - so all you have to do is choose the catalog that fits your need, without browsing through everything else they have in the store, too.

5) Ways to Save.
Whenever you go to Staples.com, check out their "ways to save" category. Here are all the seasonal deals (for example, in June they have their Dads and Grads event), as well as weekly and monthly specials. You can save a lot of money here; you'll find rebates (both mail-in and online submission), coupons and savings on everything from office paper to chairs to projectors. The savings can be significant - I've seen items at $60 off. Check out their clearance deals, as well, for major savings on various items.

6) Weekly Circular.
Here's another time saver. You can view the weekly circular for the Staples store nearest you, when you'll find out which special sales and deals are being offered locally - without every leaving your computer screen.

7) Email newsletter.
Last, but not least, don't forget to sign up for Staples' weekly email newsletter! It will keep you updated on all special events and sales, and sometimes there are special offers for email subscribers only.

So the next time your office runs out of paper, or when back-to-school time comes around, use these tips and ideas to get much more out of your dollar when you shop at Staples!

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