This is a guest post from Mercedes of Common Sense with Money, which is one of my daily reads. Check out her post on how to make money on air fresheners at Walgreens this week. If you like what you see, why not subscribe to her RSS feed?
When I first started watching the household spending, I turned to warehouse clubs to cut back on the cost of every day items. During the last 10 years I have been a member of BJ's, Costco and Sam's. At first I was very excited about the savings, but eventually I started noticing that every time we went shopping to those stores we never left with a bill lower than $125.
Then at the beginning of this year I decided to give using coupons an honest try. When I first started doing this, I kept finding stories of people saving a lot of money by shopping at Walgreens and CVS. At first, I didn't want to believe it since I always thought that buying in bulk was the cheapest way to get certain household items.
But I am a convert and today I want to show you the hard numbers. First, I want to show you some of the things I would have bought at Costco at the end of July and how much I would have spent. Then I want to show you how much I paid for those same things at either Walgreens or CVS.
Charmin toilet paper $19.17 big pack less $2 in store coupon = 17.17 or 23 cents per regular roll
Cascade Advanced Gel $7.99 less $1.50 in store coupons = 6.49 or 5 cents an ounce
Colgate 360 Toothbrushes $11.99 8pk less $5 in store coupon = 6.99 or 87 cents a brush
Colgate Toothpaste $9.88 less $2 in store coupon = 7.88 or 1.97 a tube
Pantene Shampoo $7.99 less $2 in store coupon = 5.99 or 15 cents an ounce
Total Spent: $44.52
But instead I bought these products at either Walgreens or CVS and paid:
Charmin toilet paper (on sale at the end of June): 10 cents per regular roll after ECBs and coupons
Cascade Gel: less than one cent per ounce after Register Rewards
Colgate Toothbrushes: free after ECBs during May
Toothpaste: free every month after coupons, RR and/or ECBs
Two bottles of Pantene shampoo: were free after rebate and coupons at Walgreens
Total spent: $7.30
Sure, playing The Drugstore Game may not offer the convenience of doing your shopping all at once the same way the warehouse clubs do. But at the same time, your wallet doesn't take one big hit every time you shop there. I have also never heard anyone talked about getting paid for shopping at Costco, or making money while shopping there. You also don't have to pay a yearly fee to shop at CVS or Walgreens.
Playing The Drugstore Game also gives you the opportunity to stockpile items for less money spent out of pocket than buying at the warehouse clubs. The best thing about this is that you don't have to play the game forever or with the same intensity. Once you build up a stockpile of the items you need, you can sit back and take a break. During these past eight months, I have been able to save thousands of dollars by shopping at these stores. That has allowed us to maintain not only our standard of living but also increase the amount of money we save for our and our children's future. To me, that is a great achievement considering the current state of our economy.