A Beginner’s CVS Shopping Trip

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Shopping Trip Submitted by Jennifer

I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and I really appreciate how much I’ve learned about how to save money! My husband and I are currently on a journey to pay off our credit card debt, and I’ve been inspired by your creative ways to live below our means.

Before reading your blog I had never heard of the “drugstore game” and just assumed things would always be cheaper at my grocery store. But I decided to give some of the deals you post about a try… and this week I had great success at CVS!

I got $77.76 worth of products for $23.77. I thought some of your other readers might be inspired that even a “beginner” can score some great deals!

Here were my two transactions:

Transaction #1:

Right Guard body soap and deodorant – $3 each (buy 2, get $2.00 ECB)
- used $2/2 coupon

1 Colgate Total Optic White mouthwash 1 liter – $5.99 ($3.00 ECB)

1 Colgate 360 toothbrush – $2.99 ($2.00 ECB)
- used $0.50/1 coupon

Total before sales, ECBs, and coupons = $23.76

Total after sales and coupons = $13.53  (including $1.05 tax)

PLUS, I received $7 in ECBs to use on my next order.

Transaction #2:

1 Garnier Fructis shampoo – $2.99
- used $1/1 coupon

1 Garnier Fructis conditioner – $2.99
- used $1/1 coupon

1 Dean skim milk – $2.99 (received $1.00 ECB)

1 Softsoap handsoap – $1.88
- used $1/1 CVS coupon

Purex laundry soap – $12.00 (Buy 1 get 2 free – I did this deal twice so I got 6 bottles of soap)
- used 2 $1.50/2 and 2 $0.50/1 coupons

Total before sales, ECBs, and coupons: $54.00

Total after sales, coupons and $7 ECB from transaction #1: $10.24 (including $1.39 tax)

I still have a $1 ECB from the milk purchase for my next trip. All in all, I saved about $54 and spent less than $24!

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    • Jennifer says

      I’m sorry I don’t have an exact coupon source for all of these transactions but I can say that 90% of the coupons I use come from coupons.com. Although the ones for the hair products came with some free samples I sent away for. It was a deal I found out about from MSM!

  1. Allison says

    I don’t understand this drugstore thing at all.

    What if brands you have coupons for aren’t the brands you use? Do you buy the other brands anyway? Isn’t that wasteful? Isn’t it less expensive just not to buy the stuff in the first place?

    Also, I don’t understand your math. Transaction #2: 3 items at $3 each = $9; 1 item at $2 = $2; 6 items at 3 for $12 = $24. If you add that together 9+2+24 = $35 not $54

    I just don’t understand

    • Jessica says

      I’m personally not brand loyal on everything I use, so for me the drugstore game works out fine. I’ve actually found new products to love. Some aren’t great, so I use them up somehow. I once had a great CVS in store coupon for a laundry detergent I knew I would not use for our clothing. The cashier made a great point… Use it for rugs, cleaning rags, etc…and she was right.

    • Jennifer says

      For us, because we’re not brand loyal, it’s not a waste to match up any coupons I have with deals and sales at different stores. And it saves us a bunch of money. As for the math, what’s not shown in the post are the regular store prices. Most, if not all, of what i bought was on sale. So the total savings amount reflects what the retail (non-sale) price of the items would have been had they been purchased without sales or coupons. Hope that makes sense! I think Crystal suggests starting small, like trying 1 or 2 deals, when trying to get the hang of the drugstore game. I’ve been doing that and it’s helped me start to build up an inexpensive small stockpile of the products we use on a regular basis.

      • Allison says

        Thank you for your reply.
        I do tend to be brand loyal….
        I’ve been reading about this drugstore thing on MSM for a while and I’m skeptical – but i am skeptical by nature lol. You’re right I should just try it with a small purchase. I will look at the CVS circular this week instead of just recycling it.

    • Shelly says

      Great job on the smart shopping! Just something I’ve wondered though what would the original cost of the products of been if you were shopping at a place like Walmart and used the coupons? I doubt the total would be $77. Just curious? :)

      • Jennifer says

        The total probably wouldn’t be $77 at Walmart, but with the sales and ECBs I don’t think I could have gotten all of that for $24. Plus I was able to avoid going to Walmart during the crazy shopping season. That’s a win! ; )

  2. Pam says

    Awesome Job Jennifer – as far as finding cheaper prices at Walmart, Im sure their retail would be lower, however you are so correct that dealing with the Wallyshoppers this time of year is nuts ! If you take your total and then estimate what you are willing to pay for each item, you came out ahead, and have have a nice stockpile growing. Keep up the great work !