e.g., baby food, laptop
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Join the office supplies club
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Supply stores regularly send out coupons and announcements of sales via email and regular mail to customers on their mailing lists. It's free to signup and well worth the extra junk mail for the supplies' discounts you can score.
In addition, register for free rewards programs that offer cash back and other bonuses on your purchases. Even if you don't usually spend enough to get these freebies, every little bit helps and the points can add up over time. If you forget to bring your rewards card when you purchase, be sure to let the cashier know. They may be able to look up your account by your phone number, so you don't miss out on the points.
Staples Rewards earn rewards on ink/toner, paper, and copy and print services
Office Depot Worklife Rewards earn rewards on all purchases
OfficeMax MaxPerks are available for all types of business and teachers
Treat your rewards like cash, since you had to spend money to earn them, so don't spend them on items that are overpriced or you don't need. Be mindful of any expiration dates so they don't go to waste.
If you are running out of time to redeem and don't have a good other option, consider stocking up on sale items and/or other basic supplies you can always use (paper, pens, etc.). Also look for "free after rebate" items which let you pay with rewards and then get a check in the mail. It's the closest thing you can get to converting rewards to cash!
One warning: don't use Staples Rewards to pay for other rewards-qualifying items. They treat rewards like a coupon and will deduct that amount from your new reward (so you'll essentially waste it).