May 12, 2011

Playing the Drugstore Game

I've shared before how I've been able to find deals on groceries and clothes, but saving money on household and personal items is where I struggle. I don't think about buying toothpaste or toilet paper until we're almost out. Even though I had heard how a lot of people manage to get some really good deals at drugstores and even make money, it still just seemed like a waste of time to go to extra stores. However, when I finally saw some deals on products that we actually use, I went for it.

Week One: Earning Rewards

Skintimate shave gel (CVS): $3.18 after coupons, got $2.50 Extra Bucks
Speed Stick deodorant (Walgreen's): $1.30 after coupons, got $1 Register Rewards
Snickers eggs (Walgreen's): $0.54

I thought I could get the eggs for free at Walgreen's, but the coupon was rejected. The cashier already seemed annoyed with my existence since I had given her a special Walgreen's discount coupon after she had rung up my items and "That's supposed to be scanned first!" and had to get a manager. I decided to just buy them.

Total spent: $5.02
Total rewards earned: 3.50

Week Two: Using the Rewards 

For my second trip, I was able to use my Extra Bucks and Register Rewards to get even better deals.

Sinus medicine (CVS): $3.70 after using my $2.50 Extra Bucks. I was more concerned about getting relief from my congestion than getting fantastic deals!
Aussie hair spray and mousse (Walgreen's): $5.49 for both after coupons and Register Rewards and got $3 Register Rewards back. 

Total spent: $9.19
Total rewards earned: $3

I had the same cashier at Walgreen's, and once again my coupon was rejected. "This says Herbal Essences. You bought Aussie" was her explanation. Except that it says OR AUSSIE right after the Herbal Essences and even has a picture of the purple bottles right on the coupon! But once I pointed that out, she actually got the coupon to work for me. After two trips to Walgreen's and two rejected coupons, I'm beginning to see why many people have just given up shopping there.

 Week Three: Making Money

For my third trip to CVS, even without any Extra Bucks to spend, I was able to make money! The Honest Tea was on sale 3/$4, and you earn $1 Extra Bucks by buying 3. With three $1/1 Honest Tea coupons and a CVS coupon for a free beverage that took $2 off, I was able to get four drinks for $0.84 and earned $1 in Extra Bucks. We're basically getting paid $0.04 to drink each of them. 

Total spent: $0.84
Total rewards earned: $1

So, yes, drugstore shopping can be a hassle, but I think if I stick with it long enough I can drastically reduce the amount we spend on household items. And getting paid to drink tea and Dr. Pepper? You can't beat that.


  1. Yes! They are a hassle... but when you can get items that you use for next to nothing, it is worth it. It doesn't mean you have to shop every week (learned that one this year)... just be sure you use the rewards before they expire!

    When I drugstore shop, I always try to earn the same amount (or close to the same amount) of rewards back so that I don't end up spending too much at the drugstores. That may be something to help. :)

  2. Oh I don't go every week. Even though I drive past CVS & Walgreen's after work every day, there's no way I'd stop once a week unless there was a good deal on something I need. Last night I pretty much had to go to CVS since I had an extra buck expiring.

    I'd like to earn the same amount back, but so far that hasn't happened. Yesterday's trip I spent $2 and got $1 in rewards.

  3. I think you did a great job, Amanda! It definitely does take some perseverance to keep at it with the drugstores, since you can run into problems like you described. And it definitely pays to PAY ATTENTION to what the cashier is doing, as they will often make mistakes.
    But the rewards can be worth it! :)

  4. That's great! I have seen people get great deals. I think you just have to get use to their sales cycles.

  5. That's really good for just starting out! I have never gotten into the drugstore game. But, I have a friend who does it all the time and gets some pretty great deals.

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