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  • My Drugstore Game Philosophy

    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?

    Comments

    1. Anonymous says:

      I decided, after consolidating my shampoos and lotions and toothpastes, that even if I do have space, I’m using what I have. I am only restocking when it gets low (as in, maybe one more to go). Things are on sale so much, this makes sense. Plus, it forces me to use what I have. I’ve had food expire on the shelves when I stockpile too much.
      Lisa

    2. stalkermom says:

      I liked all of your points. I am not buying anymore toothpaste until I only have 1 left!

    3. marci lambert says:

      great article. yesterday, after buying eight bottles of body wash i realized i need to stop buying so much! so i think i will try to resist things i’m stocked on unless they are free or less than $.50 each.

      btw, six of my body washes were $.33 each. sigh.

    4. Dedicated says:

      Wow – thanks I needed that! Being a newbie, I’d rather stay in toe now, then have to back track.

    5. Great points, Cathy! I’ve found that after doing the Drugstore Game for 6 months now, it’s like having a price book in my head. I know how often toothpaste, diapers, my preferred brand of shampoo/makeup, etc. goes on sale at CVS, so I know how much to buy to last till the next sale. That way–I don’t have to play the game every week. It’s really helped me let go of feeling like I’m “missing deals.”

    6. Great post. Personally, I don’t “stock up.” I only get what I need to make the deal work – once. We all have plenty – why not leave enough so everyone can participate?

      I’m not saying people who do this are doing anything wrong, it’s just how I do things.

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    8. What you said about not chasing every deal makes me feel a little bit better. . .I was really busy last week, and I let the L’oreal Vive bogo at CVS get by me, even though I had the bogo coupons. Aargh! I’m kind of kicking myself, but really, I have plenty of shampoo, and it will be free again sometime.

    9. Chief Family Officer says:

      I’m glad there’s so much agreement :) I’ve got a couple of things I want to add now that I’ve gotten some feedback, so keep an eye out for a follow up post soon!

    10. a conscious life says:

      I’ve never been real great with coupons. I don’t have a ready source of them, as I don’t know anyone close who gets the Sunday paper. I do use online printable coupons. I’ll search for specific items, if I know I’m going to need to be buying it. I only use coupons on items that I regularly buy or on new items, that with a coupon, would be nearly free.

      I’m not much of a shopper, so I’m not big on spending. But I do get a great thrill out of extra savings. Just a few weeks ago I saved and extra $2 on Platex Sport. I used a $1 coupon that I printed online and a $1 coupon that was in Walgreens Super Saver Catalog. I wasn’t planning on getting the bigger box, but it was more than twice as much product for just a $1 more, than the smaller quantity box. :)

      I love Walgreens free w/rebate offers, too. I can use the rebate money from one month to buy the freebies the next month, so that the money keeps getting recycled and I keep getting my extra 10% added to my rebates.

      I love your blog! Glad I stumbled onto it. Thank The Frugal Duchess for linking to your blog! http://sharonhr.blogspot.com/2008/07/save-5-bills-other-favorite-links.html

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