I've mentioned before what an adjustment it was for me to start buying things I don't need so that I can maximize my ECBs at CVS. That was really hard for me, since it seems so illogical. But I've got a good grasp on how the math works out now, and I don't have a problem with it at all.
What I am struggling with now is the notion of not stocking up. You see, we're really low on toilet paper and paper towels right now. Our favorite TP is Charmin and our favorite paper towel is Bounty. And Target is having a pretty good sale this week: 24 big rolls (equivalent to 48 regular rolls) of Charmin and 12 big rolls (equivalent to 16 regular rolls) of Bounty for $13 each. Buy 2 qualifying products and get a $5 giftcard. I have store coupons for $1 off Bounty and 75 cents off Charmin, as well as 25 cents off manufacturer coupons for each product. That brings the total down to $23.75. Subtract out the $5 giftcard and I could get a good stash of both toilet paper and paper towels for under $20. The breakdown of the cost per unit comes to 19.5 cents per regular roll of toilet paper and 58.6 cents per regular roll of paper towels, the best price since I started keeping a price book again.
These items cost considerably more at CVS. I haven't looked at the shelf prices, but online, one roll of Bounty is $1.99 and a roll of CVS brand paper towels is 99 cents per roll. Similarly, a 12-pack of Cottonelle is $9.99, or 83 cents per roll (the only Charmin they sell online is a 36-pack for $28).
Here's where I start to drive myself a little batty. Should I just spend $20 at Target in one fell swoop, stock us up for the next couple of months, and keep an eye out for deals at the drugstores in the meantime?
Or should I buy one or two packs per CVS visit? If I do this, I will only pay $1-$2 per transaction (yes, Gina, I've gotten much better at this!), but I will burn ECBs in the process, leaving me with fewer ECBs than I started with for future purposes.
Part of me - a big part of me - wants to hit Target, and kill the anxiety of possibly running out of toilet paper especially. (Although we wouldn't run out, at least not completely, since we always keep a spare roll on top of each toilet.) The rest of me says that I should play The Drugstore Game the way it was meant to be played and things will work out. Especially because I'm working on ways to get more CVS money (ECBs and giftcards - more on this tomorrow), and hopefully June will mean new money-makers.
What would you do?