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Playing the Drug Store Game

Updated on April 21, 2010

By this point people have probably heard about playing the Grocery Game. But have you heard about the Drug Store Game? I play almost every week and my budget reaps the benefits. You can play the Drug Store Game at your local drug store, but for most people in the United States this is CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens. You might be thinking that their prices are too high for regular shopping and you are right. But each week these drug stores offer deals that are way too good to pass up and you, the consumer, will benefit.

Each of these drug stores puts out a sales flier weekly and sometimes mid-week as well. These sales fliers are the ticket to getting numerous household and toiletry type items for free each week. I haven't paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, deodorant and many more items in years. By matching up coupons with the weekly sales listed in the fliers I am able to get many items for rock bottom prices. But there are some tricks.

First, try not to be brand specific. If you are open to using any brand of Kleenex or shampoo then it is much more likely you will be able to take advantage of a great deal. If you are brand specific it is that much more important that you stock up when a great sale rolls around.

Second, as I just mentioned stock up on items when you can get them for free or very cheap. If you wait until you are out of deodorant before you buy more then you will probably pay full price. Watch the ads and when you can get it for free do it. Then when you need it, you will have it at no cost to you.

Third, roll your drug store money. CVS has Extra Care Bucks (ECBs), Walgreens has Register Rewards and Rite Aid has Single Check Rebates. This is how you can get so much stuff for free. In the beginning you will probably have to spend a little bit of money out of pocket. But then you will get that money back in the form of drug store money. Then you will use this drug store money to pay for the next deal you want to do.

Let's take a look at an example. Say that toothpaste is on sale at CVS for $2.99 a tube with an ECB of $2 printing out when you buy it. There are frequently $1 off toothpaste coupons in the Sunday paper. So you go up to buy your toothpaste with the coupon and you pay $1.99 out of pocket for one tube of toothpaste. Yes this might be a little more than you would spend at Wal-Mart, but just do it. At the end of your transaction you will get a $2 ECB to use the next time you shop. The following week deodorant might be on sale for $2.99 with a $2 ECB printing and there are always coupons out for this as well. You go up to pay and after your coupon you owe $2 or so. You pay with your ECB from last week making the deodorant free and you earned another $2 ECB to use later. Just keep rolling the drug store money and the game continues on.

With six people in my family I used to spend $100 or more a month on toiletries and household items such as toilet paper, allergy medicines, etc. Now? I spend about $25 a month at most and I am able to buy more than I ever way before. I have a stockpile of most items that would last several months and I don't have to worry about how I am going to squeeze lotion or razors into our regular budget. I know I can get them for next to nothing or free by playing the Drug Store Game. If you aren't doing it already start now so you can get these items for free.


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    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great tips. Thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 7 years ago

      I've finally learned to NOT be brand specific. It's hard to let go of old habits. Great information.

    • Video Express profile image

      Video Express 7 years ago from Boston, MA

      What great suggestions. I should give this a try.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Excellent hub, and very true. 99% of all drug store prices are WAY over the top, BUT they really do have these amazing deals each and every week. For me I have sort of an unfair advantage in this little wife is an employee at Walgreens (she's been there 25 years now) and she gets a 15% employee discount on all items in the store, and a 20% discount on Walgreen branded items. We sometimes laugh at the deals we get if we get an item on sale, plus use a coupon, plus take an additional 15%. We keep waiting for the cops to show up. :)

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Very good tips. I will put them to work.Thanks for sharing.

    • JenDobson27 profile image

      JenDobson27 7 years ago

      Interesting I'll have to watch out for the coupons and fliers! Thanks for the great tips.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Sounds good. I'll look into this.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      These a wonderful tips and especially at the moment. Thank you, Jennifer.

    • PaulaK profile image

      Paula Kirchner 7 years ago from Austin. Texas

      Thanks for the explanation. I am going to try the game and see how it works!

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 7 years ago

      I have found the CVS extra care card a wonderful tool, so I am glad you mentioned it, Jennifer.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      Wow! I didn't realize this was possible, but I'll be checking what my drug store offers.

    • profile image

      Proudgrandpa 7 years ago

      This article is above my pay grade. I am just a Jet Aircraft mechanic and I realize I am not smart enough to keep up with all of this stuff. It is a good thing I out-married myself because she is that smart and she does play the grocery store game. I will be sharing this article with her. Good hub, as usual. Thanks Jennifer

    • U Neek profile image

      U Neek 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I love to play these kinds of games! Thanks for sharing.