Sunday, June 1, 2008

The "drugstore game"--rookie edition

I'm relatively new to the "drugstore game"--though I've been playing at Walgreens for a while. The "game" is by combining in store deals, like extra care bucks (ECB's; at CVS) or rebates and register rewards (RR's; at Walgreens), you can get household supplies, personal care items, and sometimes groceries for pennies. (For a great tutorial, check out this site.) The deals aren't quite as sweet at Walgreens, but I like that you get the money back on a gift card instead of as pieces of register paper, that you then need to keep track of and use before they expire (usually within a month--the gift cards are good for a year, I think).

But I started dabbling in CVS this week. I'm not a die-hard, "get out of the store for pennies" person--I'm mostly happy with getting a good deal on something I'd buy anyway.

So here are my two transactions tonight:
#1: Baby stuff (stocking up, both for us and for shower gifts):
2 size 1 Pampers, 56 ct, on sale for 7.99 each = 15.98
2 unscented Pampers wipes, on sale for 2.99 = 5.98
1 Huggies baby wash = 3.49
Total before anything: = 25.45
Plus tax 1.22
Grand total: 27.67
$5 of $25 CVS coupon - 5.00
2 $2/2 pampers products coupons (today's paper) - 4.00
$1 Huggies baby wash coupon - 1.00
$3 ECB bucks from earlier - 3.00

Out of pocket (oop) total 13.67

$5 ECB on $20 Pampers products - 5.00
$2 ECB on Huggies baby wash - 2.00

So including coupons and ECBs earned (prorated), I spent 10.25 for 112 diapers. That's a little cheaper than the generics I used for Henry, and are more attractive in a gift bag :) And the Baby wash ended up being only $0.50--some people would hold out for free, but I'm ok with a "good deal".

I then went back and used the ECBs I had just earned for a second transaction--Patrick desperately needs a new toothbrush, we're out of AA batteries and almost out of Charmin. I know we could get better prices with generic, but we do have some brand loyalty, especially to Charmin :)

3 Oral B toothbrushes (regularly 2.99) 1.77x3= 5.31
2 Charmin 9 packs (normally $6.99) 4.99*2= 9.98
1 16 pk AA batteries (same $/battery as the sale)11.99

Total before taxes 27.28
Tax 1.07
Grand total 28.35

$5 off of $25 CVS coupon -5.00
Duracell peel off coupon -2.50
2 Charmin coupons -0.50
Buy 2 get one free Oral B coupon -1.77
ECBs from last transaction -7.00

OOP 11.58
Earned $10 ECBs

So although I spent $25.25 and $3 ECBs, I earned $10 in ECBs (net), and all the stuff I bought is stuff we can use. And $18 for all of that isn't bad at all, in my long as I spend the $10 ECBs on stuff we need!

It's definitely a game--if you don't enjoy figuring out scenarios and being prepared to either show up at the crack of dawn (I actually went to Walgreens the other morning at 4 am...but it was because I couldn't sleep!) or have the really great deals be out, it's not for you. But it is a good way to save $$ on basic household supplies! If you'd like to see how the pros play, check out the Money Saving Mom's blog--she often has people report on their latest game strategies.

1 comment:

Windy said...

Great job! You might want to try doing the Oral B Cross Action free after ECB's deal to roll your ECB's into more ECB's and get some free toothbrushes also!