The Great 'Boots Bargains' Hunt

MSE_Martin Posts: 8,273
First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
Money Saving Expert
Boots is a treasure trove for active MoneySavers, there's rarely a need to pay full price. Having used a selection of techniques myself the other day, I thought I'd knock up this quick note about what to do.

Please help out by posting your own Boots bargain spots in reply too.

The Boots Bonus Machine. (My name for it, not theirs)

In most Boots you'll find a machine that looks like a cash machine, to put your Boots Advantage card in. Most people just ignore it.

This is a mistake. It isn't just to check-up of how many Boots’ points you've got. It actually gives you a selection of discount vouchers, which you can choose to print out in store. Do this tactically and you'll save a fortune.

E.g. The other day I wanted to buy an ultrasound pain reliever (to help my RSI - I'm currently speech dictating this, so please ignore bizarre errors) that costs around £80. I checked through the vouchers that were available to me at the machine and one was a 10% off when you spend over £50 voucher.

I used this (in conjunction with another voucher mentioned later) and it meant £8 off my purchase, simply by checking the Boots Bonus Machine first.

So the next time you are in Boots, check out what vouchers are available to you. There's no need to use them there and then, but its good to know what's on offer to plan future spending.

Boots Advantage Card.

This is a no-brainer option. The Boots Advantage Card returns four points per pound spent. This means it is effectively a discount of 4% if the user card when in Boots. (See the Loyalty Checker for a full list of all schemes).

E.g. On my spend the other day, I earned £3.20 worth of Boots advantage points to spend another day.

This doesn't however mean you should always shop at boots as Boots is often more than 4% more expensive than its competitors. So if a bottle of shampoo cost £2 in Boots, and you use the card, it's really only costing you £1.92. However, if the same shampoo is available for £1.80 at the Savers centre down the road, then even with the advantage points it isn't good a good buy.

(If you've never checked out a Savers centre, it's worth doing, very good prices. The idea is it buys in 'known brands' that are currently cheap and flogs them on, this means its product range isn't consistent but its prices are always low).

Boots Personal Targeted Voucher Offers.

Recently, Boots have started sending a series of targeted vouchers through the post to get us to spend more. These can be used in conjunction with the Boots Bonus Machine vouchers. So they can get you further discounts (for my spending last night, my vouchers took roughly a further £10 off).

Again it is important to make sure you use the right vouchers at the right time. E.g if you get a 20% off all spending voucher, don't use it to buy a pack of Ibuprofen (ps see my cheapest prescriptions and medications article), wait until you've a big shop to do before you spend it.

Double Points Weekends

Always watch out the TV adverts, telling you when a Boots ‘double points weekend’ is happening. If you need to buy something from Boots anyway then this is the time to do it (in conjunction with the offers above).

Double points = extra 4% discount off all shopping
Treble points = extra 8% discount off all shopping

These weekends are always noted by Chat Forum users, so checking this forum is a good way to find them.

Boots Points Pricing Errors Equals Freebies

The massive administration of distributing Boots’ points can often lead to pricing errors which MoneySavers can take real advantage of.

What often happens is that they say “100 extra points if you buy anything from the XXXXXXXXXXXX collection”.

Yet keen eyed consumers can often find things in that collection which cost less than a pound. This means that in effect Boots is paying you to take the product; if it costs 80p but they give you one pound worth of points, then you've made a profit.

The best example was the Great Toe Separator Hunt, which worked exactly this way. Many MoneySavers were snatching up any toe separator they could find a making a huge profit out of it. It was roughly 50p profit per seperator (or 10p per toe :) ) from memory, so buy 100 and you were £50 up.

Always keep your eyes open during the special points Bonanza offers as you may just find Boots paying you to buy a toothbrush.

And always remember to haggle

For bigger puchases, why not seek out a section manager and try and haggle the price down - it can work.

I hope you save some money



What other current ways to save at Boots, or Boots Bargains can you spot. Click reply to tell us all (there is already a long specific discussion about 'points bonanza' here)
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • I was only just thinking that there should be a Boots thread, and there it is! Thanks Martin.
    "Excuse me, this expires today, will you be reducing it?"
  • rushnowt
    rushnowt Posts: 24,749 Forumite
    Excellent thread Martin, I love boots, since finding this site :D
    Nobody can make you feel inferior, without your permission ;)

    Love doesn't make the world go round, it's what makes the ride worthwhile

    ya still freezing :p

  • Thanks Martin. Will certainly enjoy this thread.
    If I had known then what I know now . . .
    :A Official Boots Tart (I seem to be retired just now though) :A
  • I Have A 4 Month Old Grandson - I Have Encouraged My Daughter To Get A Boots Card Because When You Spend Over £25.00 On Baby Goods You Get 500 Points Which Is A 20% Saving.

    This Week She Spent Her £25.00 Got 500 Points, Huggies Were On Offer 2 Packs For £16.00 Plus 200 She Had 700 Points.

    Yes A Good Saving - But As Many Will Point Out - Would Have Saved More By Using Good Old Fashioned Nappies - Use To Love Seeing Nappies Blowing On The Line
  • It's worth noting that Boots operate (or used to operate) a price matching policy - it's some time since I had to use it, but worth asking about next time you want to take advantage of the points but don't want to pay over the odds for the item. If you get fobbed off by the store staff - check with head office - which is what I did and got written confirmation that a price match policy was in operation.
  • Only problem is when the AP Machines are out of order.

    I live in Dudley (West Mids) and the two stores in Dudley Town Centre do not have a machine (neither does the one in Brierley Hill), so have to go to the Boots store in the Merry Hill Shopping Centre.

    Don't know what the problem is here, but the number of times that you go and (at least two of the four) machines aren't working! Last night they were ALL out of action (again!).

    The shop assistants to whom I have complained are equally fed up (they take the brunt of customers' dissatisfaction), so perhaps it is time we started asking to speak to a Head of Department, or even the Manager, every time we encounter this situation. After all, it means that we are being denied fair access to bargains that other cardholders are enjoying.

    Come to think of it, I wonder if there is some sort of 'equality' law that is being breached .... perhaps we could take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights!!!

    Seriously, though, if each of us complained whenever we were unable to use the machines because they were out of action, it might just make a difference - worth a try?
    If it's cheap, I'm cheerful!
  • Lillibet_2
    Lillibet_2 Posts: 3,364
    Combo Breaker First Post
    The 2 advantage machines in the Walton-on-Thames branch are out of order more often than they are working! I hardly bother to check them any more. Didn't know about the price match policy though...........thats good news!
    Post Natal Depression is the worst part of giving birth:p

    In England we have Mothering Sunday & Father Christmas, Mothers day & Santa Clause are American merchandising tricks:mad: Demonstrate pride in your heirtage by getting it right please people!
  • VickyA_2
    VickyA_2 Posts: 4,533
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    The advantage machine in the Ely branch is so annoying - it's basically tucked behind the till at the front of the shop, so you've got to squeeze through a small gap to get to it. When I did this last, I got stares from the shop assistants.

    I also complained to Boots HQ about this and they said that they would look into it. They did(!) and said that their shop designers could see no problem with the positioning of the machine. Grrr.

    That said, I do have a good few points........................
    Sealed Pot Challenge #021 #8 975.71 #9 £881.44 #10 £961.13 #11 £782.13 #12 £741.83 #13 £2135.22 #14 £895.53 #15 £1240.40 #16 £1805.87 declared
  • Sarahsaver
    Sarahsaver Posts: 8,390 Forumite
    Always seek out the discounted items shelves in Boots, after you have been to the advantage point machine of course! They are usually hidden out if the way in an obscure corner of the shop. Then if a range is on BOGOF or extra points you still get the points on the discounted stuff, or get them BOGOF. Got loads of sun lotion like this, and also glitter babes' stuff for daughter's xmas stocking:)
    I don't go into boots often but they remember me whan I do! A friend and I got a load of Tisserand aromatherapy stuff which was on BOGOF but it was also on clearance - priced 25p for vapour rub and 35p for bath oil!!!
    Member no.1 of the 'I'm not in a clique' group :rotfl:
    I have done reading too!
    To avoid all evil, to do good,
    to purify the mind- that is the
    teaching of the Buddhas.
  • For those of you with moans about Boots, it is well worth writing direct to the Chief Executive, Richard Baker, at Head Office in Nottingham.

    I have met Richard professionally, and he is very customer and action focused, apart from being a nice chap! He's the sort of guy who gets things done - he used to be Chief Exec at Asda.

    I'd love to hear how anyone who does this gets on!

    We are QPR, say we are QPR!
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