May 26, 2008

The Drugstore Game: Addressing some concerns

I got some very nice responses to my Drugstore Game guest post at Get Rich Slowly, but at the same time, the majority of comments there were negative. I think some of the concerns were valid, and I want to address them.

One observation that came up a few times was that even better than buying paper towels, no matter how inexpensively, is not buying them at all and instead using washable rags. And the commenters are right. This is one of those times when it's possible to be frugal, green, and clutter-free. However, while I'm trying to use fewer paper towels, I'm finding the transition to be a somewhat painful one. With two young kids, convenience seems to win out most of the time. I'm making progress, and in the meantime, I'd at least like to spend as little as possible.

More than a few people were put off by the inclusion of the Spaghetti O's I mentioned buying at Walgreens. I wish I'd thought to mention that I'd bought them specifically to donate them to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. I responded to the first commenter who brought this up, but there were people who obviously didn't read it. I think the point here, however, is that The Drugstore Game can allow you to give more than you would otherwise, and if money is really tight, it can also help you feed your family.

The majority of negative comments seemed to be about time. As in, the commenters feel their time is too valuable to cut coupons and look for deals. Quite a few people responded that their coupon-cutting doesn't take much time at all. Several people noted that this is a very individual issue, and I agree. Whether The Drugstore Game is worth your time depends on who you are. In my case, I (obviously) think the time is well worth it. But that may be because my kids are young and The Drugstore Game is something that I can do even while I'm caring for them. I clip and organize my coupons while they're playing. They are both active kids who need to get out of the house a lot, and so I often make a trip to CVS or Walgreens our "outing" of the morning or afternoon. Or we'll stop by a drugstore to kill some time on the way to a playdate.

I have sometimes wondered if I'll want to stop playing The Drugstore Game or at least make fewer trips to the stores when the kids are older and I don't have to constantly be in the same room where they're playing or take them out of the house as often. It's possible, but I do think I'll keep playing to some extent because . . .

The Drugstore Game is a lot of fun. At least to me. But I'm weird like that (and so are a lot of other people, apparently). It's not for everyone. (Many of my friends think I'm nuts.)

But if you enjoy doing something and it saves you money, why wouldn't you do it?


Dana said...

I'm sorry that some were so negative. I loved your post (and your blog!) and have learned alot about saving even more money by reading your posts. Thanks for doing what you do. Ignore the idiots that are taking this too seriously.

Trish said...

a lot of people are just skeptics... i was until my friend took me shopping with her and showed me the ropes. it was fun! and incredible how much we actually saved! when she said she got stuff for free i just didn't believe her, but now i do. those negative comments show that these people DO have the time (why else would they spend it leaving negative comments?) they just don't choose to use it. sad that they're missing out. you just keep doing your thing and we'll be nuts together.

Kacie said...

Bah! Ignore the nay-sayers. You're playing the drugstore game exactly right.

And so what if you buy paper towels? Life is messy sometimes! Some messes are way too disgusting for cloth rags.

Michelle said...

We buy paper towels in BULK, the kind that rip into small pieces. My daughter is immune-suppressed, and we can't risk bacteria infested rags passing something along. So, everyone's story (and needs) are different! I really appreciate you sharing your shopping experiences with us! I'm very, very new to this game (I've never even been to a CVS, but we're getting one close to our soon) and am soooo excited to try it!

I want to buy the good environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent, which is 2 times as much as the regular stuff - and my goal is to try to get it for free each month (along with other fun stuff!)

CC said...

I tried to comment in a positive manner! I love playing the Walgreens game. I just wish there were a CVS near here!

Brooke said...

Thanks for the info! I came across your website and am interested in starting something up similar to yours for my local mommies!

Anonymous said...

My problem isn't time with coupons, but I simply never can remember to bring them with me. They may even make it into my car, but then there I am in line and my coupons are still in the car. Sounds lame, but I think I'm coupon challenged!

Chief Family Officer said...

Thanks, everyone! I love your support :)

@Dana - Thank you so much for your kind words and for the comment you went back to post at GRS!

@Trish - You got a deal! I'm glad to have someone to be nuts with :)

@Kacie - You're right about "some messes"! That's partly why it's been so hard for me to make the switch to rags!

@Michelle - Sounds like a tough situation. Your daughter is lucky to have you. Have fun with CVS - I'm sure you'll be able to the detergent free every month!

@CC - I hope you get a CVS soon!

@Brooke - Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

Misti said...

I'm sorry that you received so many negative posts. I appreciate your posts. My dh is even getting excited about the drugstore game. I've had him stop at the store on his way home. He's had a chance to see it for himself. Keep on doing what works for your family!!

marci lambert said...

i thought your post was great and i was surprised by the negative people. everyone's needs are different and no one else needs to judge you on what you buy.

i just did a five-part series on my blog about how to use the Grocery Game and i tried to cover the reasons people DON'T want to use coupons: too much time, too many name brands ($$), etc. i had some of the same misconceptions until i did more research. now i spend somewhat less (still stockpiling) but i have so much more: more food, more variety, more ideas for dinner each night, more leftovers.

i'm willing to spend the time to be organized and flexible in my shopping and i'm clearly getting the benefits of it.

please keep posting your drugstore stuff -- i read your blog every day!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Misti - Thanks! That's so cute that your dh is into it too. It's so nice when they're supportive :)

@Marci - No worries, I truly didn't take the comments personally. I just felt some of them were worth addressing. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm heading over to check out your Grocery Game series now!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the negative comments. I think part of it is that this (like many things) really sounds harder than it is. Once you get the hang of it, it's not very time consuming.

I figure my shopping habits may change in the future too. I just try to do the best I can at the time and adapt as life changes. If you decide to make a change later, it will be for the best.

Have a great day!


Mercedes said...

I am sorry I am just getting around commenting on this now. I haven't read the comments or the post yet, but I know the post is great because the quality of what you write is always good. What I wanted to say is that you should take what these people said with a grain of salt. Ok, here are people reading a personal finance blog, so obviously they are interested in improving their personal finance. they have the time to read blog but they don't want to invest the time to do something that will directly impact their bottom line?? That is just plain stupid! I have a blog now and the blog will be the first thing to go if I ever have to make the choice of how to spend my time wisely. I don't get anything but some personal satisfaction from my blog, playing the drugstore game directly impacts my budget, so I would stick to the latest. To each their own choices!

Sarah said...

Great job handling the negative comments. Hey, it's their loss if they don't want to play!

Thanks for the post and for working hard.

I'm pretty new to all this but my family already appreciates how this is helping us and others out!

rural momma said...

I thought your post was really great!! :0) I thought many of the negative comments were a little out there, but I like the way you handled it. :0)

Chief Family Officer said...

@Jennifer - I agree, once you get the hang of it, it's much pretty fast and easy!

@Mercedes - I admit that I would have expected GRS readers to be more interested in saving money. But the fewer people that play the game, the more generous the drugstores can be to those of us who do!

@Alexandra - Thank you for your kind words. Isn't it wonderful when your family appreciates you? :)

@Rural Momma - Thank for your sweet words. I really appreciate them!