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Monday, May 12, 2008

More proof that playing the Drugstore Game pays off

Last Monday, I calculated that I've saved $50 in two months by playing The Drugstore Game, but Gina from Mommy Making Money commented that the $80 I spent was still a lot of money compared to what Drugstore Game experts spend (like herself, although she's too modest to say that!).

She's right, of course. The experts spend maybe $2 per week to keep their families stocked on toiletries, paper goods and even food. They do this by rolling store coupons, even if it means they don't need what they buy.

I finally got a taste of how to do it right on Friday, when a trip to CVS resulted in $1.81 out of pocket to go home with an eight-pack of Bounty Basic paper towels, a Venus Embrace razor, and a tube of Aquafresh toothpaste. But the important thing was that I spent $7.98 in ECBs and received $7.99 in ECBs back. It was the first time I felt like I'd really played the game well, although I'm not convinced I'll be able to replicate the experience.

On Saturday, I headed to Walgreens with three transactions planned out. You can read about all the details here. I had a $10 Register Rewards coupon from a previous purchase (which had cost me about $7 out of pocket for five tubes of toothpaste, two small boxes of aluminum foil, and a small bottle of Dawn). After four transactions, I had spent $9.78 and left with:
  • five tubes of toothpaste
  • three bottles of Cascade dishwashing detergent
  • a box of two Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
  • two boxes of 3-oz. paper cups
  • a Venus Embrace razor
  • a tube of Blistex
  • an Oral B Cross Action toothbrush
  • four cans of Spaghetti O's
  • three cans of Campbells condensed soup
  • one can of tomato paste
  • and one box of cereal
I bought all of the food with a $10 Register Rewards coupon that printed out after the third transaction and donated the food to Saturday's Stamp Out Hunger food drive. I will also get $4.99 back for the toothbrush purchase, since it is free after rebate this month. (Actually, I'll get $5.49 back because Walgreens adds 10% when you get your rebate on a Walgreens giftcard.)

This week was the first time I used the Register Rewards at Walgreens, and it was particularly successful because I picked up a lot of things that I will use for a super low price. By combining coupons and store rewards, I stocked up on many things that my family will use. And I picked up some things that I can donate.

I'm not sure that I can recreate this success every week, but I'm loving all the savings right now!

If you'd like to learn more about how to play The Drugstore Game, read my introductory post. Then head over to CFO Reviews, where I've been posting about my Drugstore Game experiences and today am sharing my sources for finding the best deals.

P.S. This was the best week for Register Rewards at Walgreens since I started playing the Drugstore Game a couple of months ago. But while my Walgreens purchases were a bit out of the norm, the fact remains that it is completely possible to pay less than $5 each week (and often more like $2) out of pocket to keep your family stocked up on necessities.

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  • At 5/12/08, 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I have found that I just keep getting better at the drugstore game and doing well at the grocery store. Practice improves anything.

    Thanks for your comment over at my blog. Hearing stories like yours help me stay positive and believe that it will happen. :)


  • At 5/12/08, 11:20 AM, Blogger Gina said…

    I agree with Jennifer--practice helps! I think it took me a good 2-3 months to get the hang of it, and I still get flustered when I get to CVS and they're out of what I had planned. Trying to calculate in my head while wrangling three kids usually results in a mistake, but I now carry a calculator and put my son in charge of keeping track of our amount.

  • At 5/12/08, 6:13 PM, Blogger Amphritrite said…

    I live in the LOND (land of no doubles), so now that I've mastered the art of the grocery store*, I'm working on mastering the drug store. I just posted my Walgreen's plan for this week on my blog - we have no CVSes anywhere within three states of where I live (boo).

    *People in a set of forums I belong to are continually amazed that I get the deals that I get. When you have no help, you make the best out of what you can do :) Chin up! Practice makes perfect.

  • At 5/17/08, 9:40 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Jennifer - You're absolutely right about practice!

    @Gina - I love the kid + calculator idea. I am definitely doing that when Alex is a little older!

    @Amphritrite - Wow, you sound amazing! I can't imagine grocery shopping at a major chain market without double coupons! Of course, I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's now :) I'm heading over to check your blog out right now!


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