Playing the Drug Store Game

18 Apr


With the onset of the show Extreme Couponing has the thought of trying coupons crossed your mind?  I’ve been pretty much a coupon skeptic for years thinking that I couldn’t justify the cost of a paper for the minimal savings I would receive.  In an effort to save more money at our house I decided to do an experiment.  Buy the weekly paper and see if the paper would pay for itself in the savings I would receive.  (I also had to make sure that I wasn’t buying things just because I had a coupon.)  Well I have to say 3 months later coupons can definitely be worth it if you play the game correctly! 😉  There are also numerous coupons that can be printed off the internet.  Many weeks I don’t even purchase a paper.   

One of the easiest places to save I believe is in playing what I call the Drug Store Game.  Since we pretty much cook everything from scratch and eat tons of produce coupons don’t save us tons of money at the grocery.  (We even make our own yogurt, bread, and kefir.  We’re crazy like that.)  Coupons do however save us TONS of money by shopping at the Drug Store.  I purchase most of our Walmart type items: cleaning items and hygiene items at the Drug Store.  (This has also drastically decreased our spending and the frequency of trips we make to Walmart.  We save money by simply keeping us out of Walmart.)  I primarily frequent our local CVS once a week every Tuesday after Story Time at the Library.  I”m already out so there is no added gas expense. 

Here is My Plan for Playing Each Week:

  1. Sometimes I buy the Paper-about 2 or 3 times a month.  I ALWAYS buy it when I know the P&G Coupon Pack will be in there.  Check your library.  My library has a coupon exchange where you can leave coupons you don’t need and take ones you can use.  Wonderful idea! 
  2. Check out or  These wonderful ladies have already done all of the hard work of figuring out what the best deals are for the week.  They also tell you exactly which coupons to use to maximize your savings!  They have also done a great job of explaining exactly how shopping at a particular store works so visit there blogs to learn a lot.  🙂  I simply look through their list of deals for the week and then decide which ones really look great for my family. 
  3. Next I get an envelope and write the store name on it.  Usually for me it is CVS.  It really pays to be super organized with your coupons and what you plan on spending.  Otherwise you might not get the best deals and you will leave frazzled.  (I regularly take 2 children shopping with me.  Yes it can be done!) 
  4. I figure out how many Extra Care Bucks I have.  These are rewards that CVS gives you for purchasing a specific product which work just like cash!  Walgreens and Rite Aid also have something similar.  My goal is to spend as little out-of-pocket money as possible.  The last couple of trips my totals have been .33 and .88.  No joke!  Then I write down exactly what I am going to buy and how many coupons go with each product.  I put all the coupons in the envelope in order.  I also usually figure out how much I should receive at the register in ECB.  This is helpful because sometimes things don’t print and you want to catch it before you are at home. 🙂    
  5. I make sure to have last weeks Extra Care Bucks at the back.  This is how you can really maximize your savings and get TONS of free products.  In the past 3 months of playing the drug store game we have gotten the following completely free: 8 tubes of toothpaste, 4 packs of floss, 2 packs of Goody Hair Rubber bands, 2 packs of Gum Flossers, 5 bottles of mouthwash, 7 toothbrushes, a bunch of candy for Easter baskets, Easter Grass, Easter Egg Dying Kit, Bubbles, 4 packs of pads, 3 packs of pantiliners, 2 bags of cough drops, 2 bottles of Advil, and LOTS more! This is only what I can remember off the top of my head.  There are tons of things that we have purchased under .50 or a dollar as well.  

I can’t believe that for so many years I didn’t know about playing the Drug Store game!  Think of all the money I could have saved.  On another note if you happen to have a small household and wonder what in the world would I do with all that free toothpaste remember that many shelters and missions would be thrilled with such donations!  Simply save them up in a box and donate a couple of times a year.  A great way for you to trim your own budget and be a blessing to others.  🙂

3 Responses to “Playing the Drug Store Game”

  1. heckme August 13, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    I love coupons. I have cut our grocery bill in half already and it’s so fun fun. Kind of like a treasure hunt! I also stockpile and love it.

    • emersonfamily August 15, 2011 at 2:39 am #

      Wow! In half I am really impressed! I haven’t been able to cut our grocery budget that much. For us the great savings has been in the area of toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. We play the CVS game almost every week and spend just a few dollars every week and come home with all sorts of things. It is lots of fun! Definitely just like a game.

  2. heckme August 13, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    Freestore Food Bank in Cincinnati recommends these most requested items. I think the list is pretty typical for food banks in most areas:

    Canned chicken and tuna
    Canned corn beef
    Canned fruit
    Canned vegetables
    Dried or canned beans
    Fruit juice
    Macaroni and cheese
    Peanut butter
    Whole grain cereal

    * No glass is accepted
    ** I hear Peanut butter is expensive for shelters to buy. If you see a great deal stock up! Think of all the little hands that could use some PB&J.

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