Now that I’ve been playing The Drugstore Game for almost six months, I’ve developed an informal philosophy that I thought would be worth sharing:
- Don’t chase every deal. It’s hard to resist a great deal, especially at the beginning, but as we’ve discussed before, chasing every deal can lead to burnout. It’s okay to spend a little more money if it means not driving yourself crazy.
- Don’t use intentionally misuse coupons. I’m not referring only to obvious misuses like altering a coupon. I mean, don’t try to use a coupon on an item it’s not intended for. One example is the Dawn 2 for $2 after ECB deal at CVS. Some shoppers were planning to use a $1 off Dawn Simple Pleasures coupon, even though Simple Pleasures was not part of the deal.
- Be kind to the employees. Even if they have a bad attitude. I’m quite lucky, in that I have enough drugstore options that I can avoid the stores that seem to be unfriendly to coupon users. But even so, every once in a while, I’ll run into an unpleasant cashier who huffs and puffs about my coupons. I try to be cheerful, even if the cashier isn’t. I know I’m not doing anything wrong, so I don’t have a problem standing my ground. If a deal didn’t quite work, I politely inquire about it (for example, when my ECBs didn’t print).
- If I’m not satisfied by the store’s employees, I can escalate my issue to the corporate level. Find executive information at the Consumerist and A Full Cup.
- Experiment with your coupon organization. I started out with one multi-pocket folder and now I have two. But for the same reasons as Money Saving Mom, I am considering not clipping coupons I’m not sure I’ll use and switching to the binder system. (FYI, A Full Cup also has a coupon database where you can look up coupon sources.)
- I only keep as much as I have storage space for. Even if something is a fantastic deal, I don’t buy it unless I have space for it. Unless . . .
- I am donating it. I do buy many things I don’t need or don’t have space for if they are free or almost free and I have someone to give it to.
- I will only play the Drugstore Game if I am having fun. I keep track of my savings in a simple spreadsheet, and I get a real kick out of seeing how much I’ve saved each month. But if it ever stops being fun, I’ll dramatically reduce the amount of time I spend planning my trips and visiting the stores.
So that’s my Drugstore Game philosophy. What’s yours?