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Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Drugstore Game: My Walgreens plans for the week + An illustration of why I buy things I don't need

Unless some great deals pop up, I plan to only go to Walgreens this week. I have $7, $6 and $2 Register Rewards to roll, and I'm pretty pleased with the transactions I figured out:

Transaction #1:
1 Dove Men+Care body wash $5.99
2 Children's Tylenol $4.49 each
2 Disney Activity Pads 33 cents each with in-ad coupon

- $1.25 Dove Men+Care from 1/31 RP
- $3/2 Children's Tylenol from 1/3 RP
- $1/1 Children's Tylenol from Walgreens Children's Activity Book (will deduct $2)
- $6 7 + $2 RR

Pay: 50 38 cents + tax
Receive: $6 RR for Dove and $3 RR for Children's Tylenol

It's important to remember that you must have at least as many items as manufacturer coupons, and that Register Rewards are considered manu coupons. Note that the Walgreens store coupons (here, from the activity book and the ad) do not count as manu coupons. The Disney activity pads serve as "fillers" to get my total up to $8 9 before tax, and to give me enough items to use two RRs. As a bonus, they'll make nice little filler gifts in birthday presents, or maybe I'll just send them on via AnySoldier.

Transaction #2:
1 Dove Men+Care body wash $5.99
1 Super Poligrip $2
1 Kleenex 89 cents

- $1.50 Dove Men+Care printable coupon
- $1/1 Poligrip from 1/3 RP
- $6 RR (for Salpicin last week)

Pay: 38 cents + tax
Receive: $6 RR for Dove + $2 RR for Poligrip

In this transaction, the Kleenex serves as a filler to get my total above $6 and allow me to use an RR. Note that you cannot "roll" an RR into the same transaction - so I'll have to be careful to use the $6 RR from the Salpicin deal last week and not the $6 RR I get from the first transaction, or the new $6 RR won't print. The Super Poligrip is also a filler of sorts - I have no use for it, but it's a moneymaker, so I walk away from the deal having spent a total of 88 76 cents plus tax out of pocket and $17 in RR instead of $15 RR. But, here's an alternative transaction I'm considering:

Alternate Transaction #2:
1 Dove Men+Care body wash $5.99
3 Kleenex 89 cents each
1 Disney Activity Pad 33 cents with in-ad coupon

- $1.50 Dove Men+Care printable coupon
- 50 cents/3 Kleenex from 1/3 SS
- $6 RR (for Salpicin last week)

Pay: 99 cents + tax
Receive: $6 RR for Dove

I get more things I need in this transaction, but spend 49 cents more out of pocket and receive $2 less in RRs. If I greatly needed tissue, I'd be more inclined to do this deal. It's a good illustration of the balancing act in buying what you really need versus playing the game to stretch your dollars as far as they will go. An example of that is to do the original Transaction #2, and then do a third transaction:

3 Kleenex 89 cents each with in-ad coupon
1 Disney Activity Pad 33 cents with in-ad coupon

- 50 cents/3 Kleenex from 1/3 SS
- $2 RR (Poligrip)

Pay: 50 cents + tax

If I did the three transactions (but not alternate transaction #2), then I would pay $1.38 1.26 + tax out of pocket, have $15 in RR for the next week, and come home with 2 bottles of body wash, 2 Tylenol, 3 activity pads, 4 boxes of Kleenex, and one Poligrip.

If I did just transaction #1 and alternate transaction #2, I would pay $1.49 1.37 + tax, have $15 in RR for the next week, and come home with 2 bottles of body wash, 2 Tylenol, 3 activity pads, and three boxes of Kleenex. In other words, I'd spent 11 cents more and have one fewer box of Kleenex (I'm not counting the Poligrip since I have no use for it).

I realize that all of this math and maneuvering can make your head spin, but it's the perfect illustration of how buying things you don't need saves you money in The Drugstore Game. It doesn't always seem like common sense, but the math works out. (I think. I've proven my fallibility with math time and time again so let me know if something doesn't add up.)

You can find a full round up of the week's deals at Moms by Heart, and a preview of the ad at I Heart Wags.

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  • At 2/6/10, 7:01 PM, Anonymous ras said…

    I've been following your drugstore game posts for a few weeks now, and am probably going to try my first "game" tomorrow. But I do have one question -- often, you talk about multiple transactions when you play the game. Do you just bring everything up to the counter at the same time and ask the clerk to ring things up separately? Do you ever get pushback from the clerks for doing so?

  • At 2/6/10, 7:13 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Ras - It depends. If there isn't a line and both transactions will be quick, I might go up to the cashier and ask if s/he minds if I do two transactions. I try not to do more than two in one trip. I often do my first transaction and then gather the items for my second transaction and get back in line. That just seems the most considerate thing to do for everyone involved.

  • At 2/7/10, 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What do you do with the stuff you get because of register rewards but don't actually use yourself? I got a couple of diabetic monitors that we won't actually use and I have heard there are companies out there that will take donations but I haven't been able to find any. Any suggestions?

  • At 2/8/10, 11:01 AM, Blogger Ginny said…

    Stuff I don't need, I always check ebay to see if it sells (if it is something myself or anyone in my family/friends can't use).

    For the diabetic monitors, they do not sell. You can offer them up for free or cheap on Craigslist or just donate to any thrift store. If you garage sale, you might be able to sell them there as well. A lot of garage sales I've seen are drugstore items. I've heard of a few shoppers that make quite a bit of money by selling their freebies cheap at garage sales.


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