Mo' money, Mo' problems / Shopping (aka barganing)

Step-by-Step guide to successful drugstore shopping

I’ve had quite a few people ask me “So, how do you do it?” “How do I get savings like you?” I thought the weekly blog entries I wrote discussing breakdowns on my transactions were describing how I received such big savings. Then it dawned on me…my blog only showed people who already know how to coupon each week’s best sales. What it didn’t do is teach beginners how to get started. So, here it is: Diana’s guide to couponing success at the drugstore.

1.) First you must decide which drugstore you would like to use for your weekly shopping trips. Pick something conveniently located near your home or on your route to work. You will be making at least one stop here per week. My store of choice is CVS. As I’ve mentioned before there are over 52 of them here in Boston, I pass multiple locations a day, and I find CVS’ extra care buck system the easiest to follow. For purposes of this entry I will be using CVS as an example.

2.) Start by looking over each store’s weekly add to see which items are on sale, and which will pay the most money back (CVS has extra care bucks, Walgreens register rewards, and RiteAid UPS+). This “money” is basically store credit, monopoly money that can be used only in their store. This monopoly money is the foundation to drugstore coupon shopping! Your goal is to have the drug store PAY YOU to take the items home…spending as much of their money and as little of your own as possible.

                

(Picture from simply cvs)

Usually CVS has at least one item per week that is totally free after extra care bucks. This week it happens to be Hershey’s Bliss chocolate. They are on sale for $5.49 and then you get 5.49 Extra care bucks back. Making the item free!

3.) Once you have a list of the weekly items that are on sale (and that your family will use) it’s time to start matching up coupons to the items you want to buy to find a scenario which costs the least amount of money out of pocket.

                    For example this week at CVS the Colgate 360 Spin brushes are on sale for $2.79 (normally $4.99) AND they pay you 2 extra care bucks AND I had a coupon ($1.00 off). All three of these combined is the key to couponing success.

4.) Next you will have to do a little math to plan your check out attack I know this might sound silly, but you need to calculate what order to purchase your merchandise, creating a scenario which will cost you the least amount of money out of pocket (OOP). Using our examples of Hershey’s Bliss Chocolate and Colgate spin brush let’s figure out how to “check out” at the store. a.

            Possibility #1: Buy Hershey’s Bliss chocolate for $5.49 (get 5.49 ECB back) and Colgate toothbrush $1.79 (get 2 ECB back). This possibility will cost us $7.28 out of pocket, but then you will have 7.49 ECB to use on another transaction or for next week’s shopping.

          Possibility #2: Buy Colgate spin brush first. Cost $1.79 out of pocket and get 2 ECB back. Then do another transaction to buy the Hershey’s chocolate. $5.49-2 ECB from first transaction of the Colgate toothpaste. This possibility takes two transactions, and will cost $5.28 out of pocket and you will have 5.49 ECB left over for another transaction or next week’s shopping.

5.) Finally you are ready to head the store with your list, coupons, and the weekly store adds. (sometimes you might have to show the cashier a sale price if the register rings it up wrong).

Buy only what is on your list!!! Impulse shopping will drastically cut your savings. Learning the CVS system takes a little bit of time, but the savings are well worth it! I hope the step by step guide was a little helpful, and makes navigating your local drugstore a little easier. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

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