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Monday, January 18, 2010

Drugstore Game Padawan Update: First Full Week

The Drugstore Game Padawan series ended a while back, but if you're interested in learning how to play The Drugstore Game, everything you need is here.

If you're just tuning in, I'm mentoring Nicole in The Drugstore Game. If you've always wanted to play but weren't sure how to get started, follow along with Nicole as she becomes a Drugstore Game Master. You can read all of the posts in this series here, in reverse chronological order. Please read my Drugstore Game Primer and Common Sense with Money's FAQ to get an overview of the Drugstore Game and definitions.

I asked Nicole to go through this week's ads and let me know what she was interested in. For Walgreens, she reported that she wanted to do the Wet Ones, Revlon and Curel deals, and that she had the coupons to turn the Neosporin Lip Health deal into a moneymaker. She's starting with a $2 RR and $2.50 RR from last week. Here's how she planned her first transaction:

2 Neosporin Lip Health $8
1 Wrigley's Extra gum 79 cents w/ in ad coupon
- 2 x $3/1 printable coupon
- $2.50 RR
Pay 29 cents + tax; get $3 RR

And here's what I said about the rest of her deals:
The Revlon is a little tricky. The $5 mascara RR is for your next REVLON purchase. So you'll just have to buy more Revlon with that - you can certainly use RRs to pay for the mascara, however. There's a $1 off Revlon Eye Color Cosmetics at - scroll down to "Grocery Coupons" at the bottom of the page, click, and then sort the coupons by the Beauty category to the left. It will print with a Target logo on it, but according to A Full Cup is a manufacturer coupon, meaning any store would get reimbursed by Revlon for it. So whether you want to use it on the mascara depends on whether you are willing to have that discussion with your Walgreens cashier if s/he questions the coupon because of the Target logo.

Because there aren't any huge moneymakers at Walgreens this week, unless you have the Bayer blood glucose monitor coupons from the 10/25 RP, I think the mascara deal will eat up all of your RR's and you'll just have to start over next week.
I then suggested the following deals to minimize her out of pocket expenses:

2 Wet Ones x $2 = $4
2 Curel x $6 = $12
2 Wrigley's (filler) x .79 w/ ad coupon = $1.58
- 2 x $1.50/1 Wet Ones printable coupon
- 2 x $2 Curel from 12/6 SS
- $2 + $3 RR
Pay $5.58 + tax; get $5 RR for Curel and $1 RR for Wet Ones

Then do:
1 Revlon $6.99
1 Wrigley's (filler) .79 w/ ad coupon
- $5 + $1 RR
Pay $1.78 + tax; get $5 RR for Revlon

If you use the Target manu coupon, your transaction would look like this:
1 Revlon $6.99
2 Wrigley's .79 w/ ad coupon = $1.58
- $1 coupon
- $5 + $1 RR
Pay $1.57 + tax; get $5 RR for Revlon

Obviously, your out of pocket will be less in these scenarios if you pick a cheaper filler but I always think it makes the most sense to pick a filler you're going to use, even if it costs a little more.

As for CVS, Nicole said she was interested in the SoyJoy deal. Since she's starting with zero ECBs, I recommended the following scenarios:

Transaction #1:
2 Oust $3.99 x 2 = $7.98
- 1 B1G1 coupon from 1/3 SS
Pay $3.99; $6 ECB ($3 for each can)

Transaction #2:
1 SoyJoy bonus pack $6
- $6 ECB
Pay $0; get $6 ECB

I also noted the following:
It looks like the limit on the Soy Joy is 3, so you could repeat Transaction #2 a couple more times. The bottom of your receipt will reflect when you reach the limit. Unlike with Walgreens RRs, you can "roll" ECBs into the same deal, so you can basically get 3 boxes for free once you've bought the Oust.

It's entirely up to you how many transactions you want to do in one visit. I try not to do more than 2 at once, because I don't like to call attention to myself - not that I'm doing anything wrong, but I've read too many horror stories on the coupon forums about cashiers and managers getting upset that someone is getting too much for "free" and they try to find a way - any way - to shut the customer down. The flip side, though, is that some lucky shoppers have found fabulous cashiers and managers who love to help them do multiple transactions and get the best deals. My best advice is to try to get a feel for your store and the cashiers/managers and follow your instincts on the best strategy.
Good luck to all of you with your shopping this week!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

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  • At 1/18/10, 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The oust, soyjoy, and glade all have limits of 6! You can verify this on your receipt. When you get to 3 it won't say limit reached.

  • At 1/19/10, 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Question: Walgreens requires you to have one item for every coupon. In your first transaction (and other ones you posted are like this), you have 2 manufacturers coupons, 1 RR and 1 in-ad oupon for 3 items. Seems the filler (with a coupon) makes it uneven. How does this work?

    - Beth...

  • At 1/20/10, 5:45 AM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Thanks, Anon!

    @Beth - Wags store coupons are not manufacturer coupons.

  • At 1/20/10, 9:21 AM, Blogger Andrew said…

    As a newbie, there are still some things I can't follow in this post. What is an RR, SS, or ECB? If you're doing this for people unfamiliar with the Drugstore Game, it might be best to avoid the acronyms.

  • At 1/20/10, 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Does anyone know if you can use ECBs at the self-checkout machines?

  • At 1/20/10, 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to have to agree with Andrew - I'm interested but I can't figure out the acronyms. I scanned your "About" page and couldn't find any links to acronyms for newbies or something like that. Can you provide a link or something (sorry if I missed this somewhere)

  • At 1/20/10, 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ECB= Extra Care Buck (CVS)..... Printed out on the bottom of the receipt.

    RR=Register Reward (Walgreens)=Printed out on the Catalina Machine (the coupon tape).

    SS- Smart Source Coupon Flyer from the newspaper.
    RP- Red Plum from the Newspaper.. Also P&G (Procter and Gamble).
    WCC (Walgreens)= Walgreens Store coupon can be found in Walgreens flyer.

  • At 1/20/10, 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I posted the meaning of the acronyms. I also wanted to add that you can tell if a coupon is a manufacturer coupon by the first number in the UPC. If it's a five or a nine, then it is a manufacturer coupon. Also a note for others..... Doubling in grocery stores are a STORE decision NOT a manufacturer coupons so it is up to the store whether or not a cupon will be doubled or matter what is on the coupon! Happy Bargain Hunting everyone!

  • At 1/20/10, 4:18 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    Thanks for answering questions, Anon!

    @Andrew - In the intro post, I had links to posts with answers to your questions, and I've added those links to the intro to this post as well. Feel free to ask additional questions if you're still confused after reading those!

  • At 1/20/10, 4:23 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Anon 10:10 - Yes, you can use ECBs at self-checkout. However, I've found that they don't scan that great, especially if the ink is on the lighter side.


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