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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Drugstore Game Redux

You may have noticed that I’m changing things up here a little at CFO. There’s been so much interest in The Drugstore Game, and I want to make sure you’re getting the information that you need in order to play the game well.

So, you may have noticed that last week, I published "how to" guides on playing The Drugstore Game at each of the three big drug stores – CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Also, I began working this weekend with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you the best weekly deals at these stores. I also put together some "starter transactions" for each store to help you get started in The Drugstore Game, and added a button to make the page easily printable. (Thanks, Camille!) I'll work on adding the code for paragraph dividers so you can delete the transactions you're not interested in, and on adding the printer-friendly capability to the weekly deals posts (and recipes) as well.

If you’re brand new to The Drugstore Game, you should start by reading the rest of this post, then my Drugstore Game Primer and Common Sense with Money’s FAQ (especially for the abbreviations). Then read the "how to" post for the store(s) you will be shopping at.

You should also start a price book if you don’t have one already. (And everyone should have a price book whether or not they play The Drugstore Game.) As I’ve said before, a price book is the only way to know if you’re getting the best price on something. For example, in The Drugstore Game, you’ll see toilet paper on sale every week, but a price book will help you figure out when the price is lowest for stocking up. Learn more about price books here.

Another thing to keep in mind with The Drugstore Game and any kind of everyday bargain shopping, is that you need to have a "stockpile mentality." That means you only buy things when they’re at their lowest price, and then you stock up enough so that you don’t need to buy these things again until they’re at their lowest price (again). Deals can be addicting, but you’ll only become a true Drugstore Game master if you have the patience to wait for the very best deals.

As for the Drugstore Game Padawan series, I want to thank Hayden and Nicole for their participation. I had a blast working with them, and what I realized last week is that the format doesn’t work too well when there aren’t a lot of deals going on and one doesn’t have a backlog of coupons. But you may still see them pop up from time to time, as I’ve assured both of them that I’m happy to continue answering questions.

And in the same vein, feel free to ask your questions in the comments or by email. I may not always have the answer, but if I don’t, I’ll do my best to at least point you in the right direction. Just be patient with me – I work full time and have two young kids, so it may take me a while to put together a thorough response!

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