August 27, 2013
There are currently two stackable deals that make for terrific savings at Staples…
UPDATE: A reader has pointed out that the ePromo cards listed below display this restriction: “Limit one ePromo card per transaction.” So, technically your ability to achieve 33% off savings is quite limited. However, many people have reported success in using several ePromo codes at once so your mileage may vary.
Staples ePromo Cards
Staples is once again offering a $10 promo gift card with each $50 e-gift card purchase. Details here: “Get a $10 Staples promo gift card with each $50 e-gift card purchase.” You can buy up to $200 worth of Staples e-gift cards and get a $10 promo gift card for every $50. So, for a total of $200 out of pocket, you’ll get $240 worth of Staples credit (valid in-store only). That, in itself is an almost 17% discount if you spend exactly the total gift amount at Staples.
20% off coupon
The second deal is a 20% off coupon from OfficeMax. The key is that, in most cases, Staples will accept competitor’s coupons. Simply bring the OfficeMax coupon to Staples and ask them to apply the competitor’s coupon when checking out. I tried this successfully yesterday at my local Staples store.
If you are an OfficeMax MaxPerks member and have asked to be notified of MaxPerks® offers, then you should have received an email with this 20% off coupon. The email is titled: You’ll ♥ This In-Store Coupon – Starts Today!
The coupon looks like this:
Normally there are many exclusions with coupons like these, but notice that the coupon reads, in part, “Tablets and eReaders now included.“ And, the fine print is shown below (bolding is mine). Notice that they’ve excluded just one tablet (the Google Nexus 7 2nd Gen):
*Valid 8/25/13 thru 8/31/13. Offer valid only in participating stores: see http://www.officemax.com/catalog/2013/34/ParticipatingStores_F6.pdf for details. Call ahead to your selected store location or see store associate for details. Discount applies to regular-, sale-, promotional- and/or clearance-priced items before taxes. Limit 1 per customer. Discount does not apply to purchases of HP ink and toner, U.S. postage stamps, TVs, printers, computers, monitors, the new Google Nexus 7 2nd Gen (item # 24127222), Epson® projectors and screens, Epson scanners, shredders, typewriters, cash registers, hard drives, video games, file cabinets, ready-to-assemble furniture, chairs, furniture accessories, gift cards, general-use prepaid cards, phone cards, no-contract phones, mobile devices and service plans, Design Center Kiosk items, desktop publishing services, custom stamps, awards and plaques, MaxAssurance® Service and Protection plans, furniture assembly, OfficeMax® Essentials kits and FedEx® shipping services. Discount includes the following select OfficeMax ImPress® Print Center services: shredding, printing, copying, oversized printing, binding, laminating and finishing. Discount applies to in-stock items only. Special orders are not eligible for the discount. Coupon is limited to one-time use only and must be surrendered at the time of purchase. Void if copied, sold, purchased, transferred, taxed or where prohibited. Not valid with any other coupon offer, associate discount, OfficeMax Customer Perks and/or Retail Connect(SM) pricing. No price adjustments from prior purchases will be made. Not valid for credit card payments. No rain checks will be given for the 20% discount unless required by law. No cash or credit back. Cash value .001¢. © 2013 OMX, Inc.
Sweet spot prices
Discounts like those shown above are combinable, but not additive. That is, 20% off + 16.7% off does not become 36.7% off. The reason is that the second discount is a percentage of the first discounted price, not of the original price. Instead, you can calculate the savings by multiplying the % paid amounts. In this case, 80% x 83.3% = 66.64%. That’s the percentage of the original price you would pay. Subtract from 100% to get the discount, which equals 33.3% savings in this case.
To get the full savings %, you would have to spend your Staples gift cards exactly without going over. That’s not really likely, but you can try to get close. If sales tax weren’t a factor, we could calculate the sweet spot prices as follows:
Price after 20% off
Out of pocket cost (thanks to gift card deal)
So, look for tablets and e-readers that cost $75, $150, $225, or $300 at Staples in order to get the best percentage discount. When sales tax is involved, the target numbers drop a bit. For example, with a 7% sales tax, you should look for prices in multiples of $70 increments ($70, $140, $210, $280). Of course, you could double or triple these numbers by asking friends or family members to buy additional e-gift cards.
You can also pad your purchases a bit by buying Free after Easy Rebate items. This way, you can use up your gift cards and get cash back (eventually) even if your tablet or e-reader doesn’t cost the full amount of your gift cards.
Keep in mind that the OfficeMax coupon expires August 31st, so you’ll have to get yourself to a Staples store by then. Make sure the tablet or other item you want is in stock! Also note that by buying stuff with gift cards you will not qualify for credit card extended warranty protection.