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How Not to Play the Drugstore Game

Guest post by Jessica from The Abundant Wife

A few weeks ago, my goal was to learn how to play the drugstore game. I’ve heard a lot about it in the past year, and now I live in a town where CVS is located five minutes away. So I decided to give it a whirl.

My first attempt was, as my 16-year-old brother would say, an “EPIC FAIL”

So here are my instructions for how not to play the drugstore game:

1. Don’t bring your children along.

It’s hard enough to think about your coupons and savings without your infant crying and your toddler bolting across the store before you can get her in the cart or knocking toothpaste and toothbrushes to the floor as you push your cart through the narrow aisles.

2. Don’t try to do too much in your first trip.

I bought a mouthwash, dental floss, and detergent. I had two coupons. Just buying these three items was too complicated for my first trip.

3. Don’t go at a busy time of day.

It was late afternoon and it was hot, so not only were my kids tired and cranky, but other people were getting out of work, so a line developed behind me while I tried to figure things out at the register.

4. Don’t spend a lot to get a little.

Set a spending limit for yourself. It’s not worth it to spend $11 just to get $1 ECB back.

5. Don’t go without first looking at the weekly advertisement.

I didn’t look at the CVS weekly advertisement until I arrived at the store. I just trusted the CVS deal websites I’d been reading. The coupons I chose only matched the store deal if I bought the most expensive mouthwash and dental floss available. Rather than saving money, I spent more than I usually would have.

6. Don’t lose sleep over it.

I spent all day and all night thinking about how to work multiple deals. Just pick one item to start.

After I returned home and had a chance to regroup, I decided to go back and try again. I returned my mouthwash and dental floss. Instead, I bought one Revlon nail polish ($4.99) and got $4 ECB back. I used a $1/1 coupon, and ended up paying only the tax ($0.29) for it. Now I have $4 ECB to spend on a future purchase.

EPIC SUCCESS!

What else did I learn through this process?

::Sign up for the CVS card, if you haven’t already.

::Sign up for CVS e-mails.

::Look at your local CVS advertisement on-line.

::Save and date your weekly Smart Source, P&G, and Red Plum Coupon Inserts.

::Do your homework. The Thrifty Mama and Money Saving Mom® have some great tips for getting started.

::Take your time. You’re learning how to do something new that will save money for you and your family. So be patient with yourself. If you fail miserably, you can always return your items and start over again.

Do you have any other great tips for Drugstore Game newbies like me?

Jessica is a former middle school art teacher who also taught English in China for two years. She now lives in her parents’ basement with her husband of five years and her two beautiful babies. She recently began blogging at The Abundant Wife about faith, family, debt, and unemployment.

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102 Comments

  • Leighann says:

    I totally second the “Don’t take your kids” bit. It is really hard for me to go shopping at the drugstores when I have the little ones in tow. The infant isn’t so bad, but the buggies are too small for the infant carrier and the toddler AND the stuff to put in there, so I need two buggies. Also, my toddler is a “bad store kid,” meaning she has tantrums left and right (not even because she wants something and doesn’t get her way…just not sure why she has them) and I hate taking her into any store at all. Leave the kids at home, you’ll be happier for it!!!!

    • Angela says:

      I think kids are prone to tantrums in stores like this because it’s the opposite of fun for them. I remember hating shopping when I was little. And it’s not like it’s a learning or growing experience for them to bring them along, so it’s way better to go without them when possible.

    • Janet says:

      Leighann,

      Some children do not like the florescent lighting in stores or all the many things to look at it can be oversensory load.
      As a young child I was a bad store kid then when I started grade school they discovered the florescent lights were giving me headaches and causing me sensory overload. To this day I hate to shop and all the business of stores bother me.

    • Holly says:

      I make it a point to take my son with me when I go shopping. I correct his behaviors as needed, and he has learned how to properly behave in the store and in public. It was a process, but well worth it. Everyone is always how surprised how well behaved he is. Yes, it can be frustrating, but how else will they learn?

      • sarah says:

        You are right that kids need to learn good store behavior, but sometimes it’s better to teach that when you don’t have a major shopping agenda. I have 2 boys and never attempt to do drug store deals with both of them in tow. I can handle one at a time, but prefer to go alone because it’s too hard to find what I’m looking for, make sure the deal works out as planned, improvise if items are not in stock,etc…I think we all end up frustrated.

      • jessica says:

        I agree with Holly. I have three kids (8 years, 5 years and 2 months)and while I do enjoy going alone once in a while, I really think there are advantages to taking them. Not only do all three behave and help entertain each other, but they’re learning the ropes. I’m proud to pass my knowledge along even though they’re far from couponing on their own.

    • Although I think you can bring along your kids (especially well-behaved kids) for later expeditions, I do feel that newbies to the drugstore game will be able to concentrate better and take their time without the kids it tow. If I’m learning something new, I’ll hold off on training the kids in good store behaviors for another day. 🙂

    • I pretty much have to take my son with me unless I wait to go shopping after 8pm. I know if I get tired with all our errands he has to be even more bored and tired, so I let him earn TV (Wii) time while we shop – if he behaves he gets 10 minutes for each store. He enjoys adding up his minutes after each stop, and since I seldom go to more than 6 places, he isn’t earning an excessive amount of time. It works out great when we get home, since he is having fun playing on the wii while I am busy bringing the groceries in and putting them away.
      (I also let him help me buy stuff – he matches the picture on the ad or coupon with the items on the shelf and helps stick them in the cart.) Not that every trip with him is good, but it made my life so much easier to give him an incentive to be on his best behavior in the stores. 🙂

    • Laineykins says:

      Maybe she gets overwhelmed with all the noises and commotion.

  • sarah says:

    Also be able to change your game plan if theyve sold out of certain items.

  • I agree on the take-it-slow method…I’ve been out of the game for awhile, so tomorrow I’m headed to CVS with a $1 milk coupon to get 1 ECB. Next week, I’ll add on or try to roll it for a bigger one, but for now, cheap milk is a good start!

  • The first time I went, I didn’t consider how many different variations of products there would be for each brand (Crest toothpastes, CoverGirl make-ups, etc). I spent a lot of time comparing products to my coupons and trying to remember what I wanted to buy. Now, I include details like size, cost in ad, description, etc on my list. It adds a few minutes to the prep work but makes shopping go a lot smoother.

  • K* says:

    This is a great post!

    What I do is get a copy of the store ad (which is delivered to my building the previous Thursday) and compare our ad with the deal sites. Then I get out my coupons, and work out a few deal scenarios.

    I always grab another copy of the ad when I’m at the store so I can physically compare. If I didn’t have one this week, I wouldn’t have grabbed the two packages of FREE Excedrin, for example!

  • Sarah says:

    You know what? I’ve given up on the drug store game (I was really only able to do Rite Aid) for now. I was a pro at it for awhile there, but I just don’t have it in me anymore. I discovered that I’m saving more money to drive 30 minutes to go to Walmart and Shaws (grocery store) for their deals every week than to go 10 minutes in the opposite direction to go to Shaw’s and Rite Aid. Adding in pregnancy, homeschooling for the first time, busy season for our chimney business, and 3 little ones… I just can’t get that excited about free toothpaste anymore!

    • Meredith says:

      I second this!!!!! I’m to the point where I just do walmart with occasional trader joes and aldi. If I can get a freebie at Walmart….woohoo. If not, I don’t worry about the drug store anymore. If I’m picking up a prescription, I may go along with a deal but it’s not in the weekly shopping roundup anymore. I just have too much going on!

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      riteaid has never really done much for me. I used to be a die hard CVS shopper and still really am — but honestly Wags is doing a lot for me now! My walmart though, is really unorganized and is usually out of a lot of stuff. Not to mention, I always have to fight with the cashier about their own policy. sometimes I’ll go there but honestly, I’d rather go to my 2 favorite drugstores that are like 5 minutes from my house!

    • peever says:

      I’ve mostly given up as well. We only have Walgreens here and it was just too much work for the savings, not to mention that if I didn’t get there by Sunday morning, all the deals were gone anyway. I’m sticking to Target and our local grocery store now.

    • I think you have to decide what you can handle during different phases of your life. We just moved cross-country into a new place for a new job. A lot of other things have to slide for now, until we get established again. So I can empathize with your lack of enthusiasm over free toothpaste at such a busy time!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Don’t buy items that you don’t need… sure you might be able to get that item for 29 cents! but if it’s something you won’t use, don’t like and don’t have someone in mind to pawn it off on then all you’ve done it spent 29 cents more then you had to. What’s ‘free is free’ but is it really ‘free’ if you have to spend $2 for a $2 coupon back and it’s an item you don’t really need? There’s stocking up and then there is hoarding and cluttering.
    Compare store brand vs name brand. Just because an item has a coupon and money back does not mean that it is worth it. This goes for the grocery store or drug store.
    Always bring a calculator.
    Bring a notepad and keep a record of the regular price of items you use often. Make sure that what you are getting is actually a deal per unit.
    It’s really hard to get ‘free’ in my area because of no overage rules and constant fights with drug stores and grocery stores so not sure how useful any of my suggestions are but they are a must in my area.

    • Stephanie says:

      So true! It’s only a good deal if you need the item!

    • Jaimie says:

      Good point! Not only can it cost you money, but it also costs you time and energy. Sure, it’s great to have a stockpile of things you need, and it’s true that you can donate to others the excess of things you don’t need, but that takes time, effort, and the ability to deal with clutter in the meantime. (And clutter can be a pretty expensive problem, if it causes you to lose even more time shuffling it around the house to get it out of your way.) Besides, it can be an act of good will to leave things on the shelves for others who have a use for them.

      • K* says:

        I find your perspective interesting, but mostly because I have the opposite view; I keep a tiny stockpile (limited to my hall closet), but having my stockpile and regularly shopping has made my life so much more orderly and organized! No more running out to buy toothpaste or toilet paper or cold medicine, we have a stock of it all!

        I’m also very happy because my old neighborhood has been flooded, and I was able to send up several bags of personal hygiene products, which they sorely needed.

        • For me, since I am in the store anyways, it isn’t any trouble to pick up a freebie (if its not a lot out of pocket) that I won’t necessarily use – but I share with four families so I have yet to pick up something that was unwanted. 🙂

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      I always bring a calculator with me. it pays to figure out just how worth it some deals are.

  • Kristen says:

    Great post! I have been doing the drug store thing for almost a year and I still occasionally spend too much when I’m rushing, with kids, etc. Thanks for sharing!

  • Heather says:

    When I worked at Walgreens years ago, even though I participated in the drug store game, the most difficult transactions were the ones with screaming kids and coupons involved. It’s sooo hard for the both of us to keep track of coupons while kids are knocking over stuff and bawling for like ten minutes. I can’t even imagine having kids and going grocery shopping, and keeping up with coupons, one of those thoughts that make me go “maybe in a few more years we can talk about kids.” Haha.

  • Lana says:

    I had failure after failure and always paid too much so I quit and it is OKAY! 🙂

  • Leah says:

    Remember that you can always get a non-expiring raincheck for any item they are out of.

    When I first started out, I was frustrated to find that a lot of the free/cheap after ECB items were gone. But then I learned that I can always ask for a raincheck and they will write the ECB code on it. I actually prefer to get the raincheck because then I can save them up and get a bunch of items at once with a -X/XX purchase coupon that they e-mail me every now and again.

  • Frank Swaim says:

    Excellent post. Another tip to add: if possible findba blogger that uses store ads in your area. I’m in Columbus, Oh and I am lucky to have stretchingabuckblog.com right here “down the street”.

    Again, great post.

  • Besides having a plan before I enter the store, I always make sure I take a moment to re-group before I head to the register. If I’m doing multiple transactions I group the items together in my cart and have my coupons seperated. Then when I get to the register, I inform that cashier that I’m going to do multiple transactions so we’re all in – together. It helps to make things go smoothly and I don’t get frazzle (as much).
    I will say though, that if there’s a line I only do two transactions and then get in the back of the line to let others go ahead of me. Like the post said, if you go when it’s not busy it makes it much easier. 😉

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      I do this too. I always make sure I have the store’s shoppers card and my coupons already set up. it saves on time and makes it so your not frantic! 🙂

    • No one goes shopping early Monday morning, so its my favorite time 🙂

    • Mary says:

      I do the same, if it’s busy I’ll get back in line. I also do not leave with ERB. I’ve forgotten and lost $20.00. So now I save all my items that I want and do not have ERB for my last transaction. Plus then I don’t have to stress out if nothing is on sale the next couple of weeks.

  • Tirzah Smith says:

    Check out at the cosmetic counter if there is a line.

  • LJ says:

    Great post, couponing at the drug stores is a science. After 5 months I am still learning. I’m retired and my husband goes with me much of the time, he is helpful but always in a hurry.

  • diane says:

    I get so much for free by couponing and following sales 🙂

  • Great tips! Thanks for sharing, Jessica. 🙂 The drugstore game can definitely be overwhelming!

  • Tonya says:

    I have no problems at all taking my 3yo with me. I think it’s all about how you manage being able to switch scenarios at a moment’s notice if stuff is out of stock and how well behaved your child is. I’m very lucky that mine is a good kid in public – USUALLY. She can handle the quick trips very well, but when we have to go to the commissary for a longer grocery shopping trip, she’s just about spent by the time we get to the frozen food section.

    And, if they don’t have one of my several scenarios fully in stock, I just walk away. I only do CVS and it’s fairly close to my house, so I don’t spend much in time or gas on the trip. It’s OK to walk away and come back another day or wait until next week, unless your ECB’s are expiring. Then, try to figure out how to make it work with as little OOP as possible.

  • Pay the 99 cents for the green bag tag and bring your own bags. After scanning the card on 4 different store visits you get a $1 ECB!! Make sure you visit the magic coupon machine when you get in the store! http://www.southernsavers.com includes a rolling scenario with 2 or 3 transactions if you need help putting one together. =)

  • Lovin Savin says:

    I like to cut the pictures out and staple them to a piece of paper. That way I have the picture with the correct item to match my coupons and plan.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    Another tip is to only use a drugstore close to you that you shop at frequently, because those rewards do expire.

    I go to CVS often for the drugstore game, but a few months ago I decided to do Rite-Aid as well so that I could get some cheap razors. I’d get the razors and have the register rewards, but then I’d have to use them before they expired… some weeks there would be nothing I needed, so I’d end up going there and buying whatever just to use those rewards before they expired. I just do CVS now and it’s a whole lot easier to keep up with the register rewards at one store! I might miss out on a free razor or two but that’s okay!

    • Kristine says:

      I agree. I went to CVS a few weeks ago, but it’s a little out of my way, so I don’t go there often enough to make it worthwhile. I usually shop at Walgreens because it’s only a few blocks from my house, and I like our local Walgreens store.

  • Regina says:

    I tried the drugstore game after listening to everyone get so much free. I gave up after the second try. It was just to stressful and the deals never worked out liked they were supossed to and I was holding people up in line behind me, then I ended up losing a bunch of register rewards because I could never remember to go back and spend them before they expired. Just way to much hassle for me personally.

    • Kristine says:

      I don’t like the hassle either, and I hate shopping. I just watch the Walgreens weekly ads and shop for what’s on sale that I would normally buy, and I use my rewards gift certificates when I get them. If I have a coupon, too, that’s great, but I don’t go out of my way to print coupons either because most of the time I don’t end up using them before they expire.

    • Erin says:

      It is definitely a hassle! No one ever mentions that part of the equation in all the features on the news about couponing and on websites! I tried all the drugstores, and I liked each for different things. Wags was great when they had Easy Rebates. Fewer worries about rolling RRs. RA was great before and just after the Ups program began. Fewer people shopped there, so the deals were easier to get. CVS is generally the most expensive drugstore with the least interesting deals (unless you require lots of shampoo and toothpaste), but that’s the only drugstore I really shop at this point in my life. The limits usually ensure that products are in stock; the cashiers are knowledgeable and understand coupons; the rewards don’t expire for four weeks. Once I’ve spent the ECBs I’ve been rolling for three years (which, at this rate, may be never!), I’ll probably opt out of the drugstore game altogether. Once you’ve gotten well stocked on the freebie drugstore goods, it’s easy to maintain your stockpile at other stores where shopping is more straightforward.

    • After going 4 or 5 times now, it has definitely gotten a lot easier. But if it doesn’t work out for you don’t worry about it. There are lots of other ways to save money. 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    I LOVE going to Rite Aid! Most weeks they have unadvertised mark downs to take advantage of. This week was the jackpot! There were SO many items that were 75% off. I got 5 Command heavy hooks, 8 single rolls of paper towels, 4 packs of gum, spray starch, 20 16 oz cups, Sharpie liquid pencil all for 75% off, Crest toothpaste for $2.59 w/ $2.59 Rite Aid bucks totaling $11 and change. I don’t do all the drugstores, but have worked out the Rite Aid game.

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      I just wish my riteaid had more to offer! Sometimes I find their clearance racks boring and wish I could take advantage of them more! I usually just find depends, vitamins I won’t take nor do I have a coupon for, or cheap make up.. like ny&color.

  • Megan says:

    I like to plan with the weekly paper flyer and Money Saving Mom’s deal list, but once I have my plan, I go to the CVS website to view the flyer. You can click on the items and print out a list that will give all the fine print on ECBs you selected (the number limits, which items are included, etc.), and you can put in how many of an item you want to buy. I clip my coupons to this list.

    The best part is when I have to get a raincheck (frequently), I staple the raincheck to the printout because the printout has more of the fine print than what the cashier puts on the raincheck ticket. That way, when you redeem the raincheck, if the cashier forgot to write something on there (this happens to me frequently — like they leave the price off, or that there was a two item limit, etc.) you have the print out to back you up.

  • Angela says:

    I wish I had this before I got started….thanks for the post!

  • Heather says:

    I go to the blogs – look quickly through the match up items – only write down things we really need and that are a great deal on an envelope (I resue that envelope for many weeks) I place the coupons I will need in the envelope. It makes life so much easier when I go to the store. I find the product – check the size (which I have written down on that envelope) – and move on to the next item. When I get home, I cut out the rewards and place them in that envelope so they are in there to use the next time I got into the drug store. I have one envelope marked for CVS and one for Rite Aid

    • Moriah Lazik says:

      exactly what I do, except I have a back part of my wallet that only keeps amazing q’s and ECBs and RRs! I do reuse envelopes and also look at the sites and then write down what we need!

  • katrina says:

    I agree with #1. I can’t handle checking out hardly anywhere with a 9-year-old asking a hundred questions. I now have him load the cart as the items are being bagged. It keeps him busy.
    Also, don’t be afraid to ask if they are out of an item. Walgreens is especially famous for being out of items on the shelf but have more in the stock room. They are uusally very nice to help.

  • I truly believe with the drug store game if you can run a higher budget its much easier. I do both wags and cvs and I have probably 20 in ECB and 20 in RR at any given time sometimes more sometimes less, but by doing this I dont have to be so precise in my calculations, and Im still getting a great deal.

    I have never been able to only spend 5 cents, and get have 3 ECBs left. To me it was an easier investment to just spend some money up front

    • eliot says:

      I agree with this statement. I don’t always have the budget to allow this, but it sure saves me stress and frustration when I do. Often, I DON’T do multiple transactions. I figured it out a few times after carefully, painstakingly trying to figure out my “scenarios” and realized that I would pay just a bit more OOP to just do one transaction. And I ended up with more RR, so it pretty much evened out.

    • Erin says:

      I agree, as well. I never do multiple transactions. It doesn’t seem quite right to me on a number of levels, and it’s just much easier not to have to worry about silly “scenarios.” I might have a list of five or six items I want, so I buy whatever I can with the ECBs that I have, even if it means just one or two items. If I need the ECBs earned on those items for other things, I’ll just stop back later that week. If I can’t make it back, then I didn’t really need it that badly! It gives others a chance to get those products, too, so I don’t feel like a greedy hoarding couponer. 😉

    • I have a pretty tight budget, but I allowed myself to spend $5 to get started. Then I just kept rolling over the ECBs from week to week. Since the CVS was so close, I wasn’t spending much in gas. The deals have still been great for me. 🙂

    • I end up spending about $25-30 at Rite Aid and CVS each month, because I try to do one transaction unless I buy something big (over $10) it is easier to deal with. The milk is actually a great price at the drugstores, and TP is a decent deal, so I will buy it there if I end up with UPs or ECBs that are about to expire 🙂

  • Ashlee says:

    I have a monthly drug store budget of $20. Because of this, I only buy the things we use. It also helps me prioritize which stores I go to and when I run out of the $20…that’s it! I miss some deals but that’s ok.

  • Beth says:

    Ha, ha! LOVE THIS! I should have read this *before* I went to CVS with my 4 small boys this afternoon. I had the baby in the cart, was wearing the 2 year old on my back, and the 3 & 5 year olds were walking…it went well for me today (only one item to purchase – HOT! Razor deals this week! :), but could have very easily turned into a disaster….
    This is great encouragement (and humor, as I can totally relate to Jessica) to a newbie couponer/drugstore gamer.

    • I’m glad to hear you could relate! With two children 9 months and 2 years old, I’m finding that MANY things have become comical as I try to accomplish them with the kids along. Its like the saying…”Cleaning the house while the kids are growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing…” 😉

  • Cassi says:

    I have to say that I use some of the sales to get things that I don’t use. I find that spending $.25 on an item that I don’t like (ex. crest toothpaste) is still good because I will donate it to the local contact center where it will go to people who need it-I usually donate things throughout the year…why not get them for cheap!
    I have become much more organized with lists so that it all works out-I list the coupon and the RR along with each item that I purchase so that I can track them. Just tonight one of the RR didn’t print but because I was organized I got it fixed with the manager quickly!

  • Amie says:

    Great post. I’ve been doing the drug stores, coupon shopping, and stockpiling for almost 2 years. I started with CVS and spent $30 on cosmetics and got 10 ECB and saved about 50% and thought I’d hit the jackpot. lol. Of course, I quickly learned to wait for really good sales and spend next to nothing (but tax) on a lot of things. I used to race out for every freebie, but now that I have a big stockpile, I don’t need to shop as much. I have almost completely given up on Rite Aid, which was my favorite when they offered all the X off XX coupons. I got sooo much for free back in those days. I shop Walgreens a few times a month when they have something I want and shop CVS at least weekly. I love CVS because I get emailed X off XX coupons and I can use Swag Bucks to get free CVS gift cards. I now spend almost nothing again for diapers, cosmetics, and HAB items and I feel free to spend ECBs on things I’d spend real money on (diapers, milk, soda, etc.) so I don’t feel pressured to always roll my rewards.

  • Allison says:

    Limit the size of your stockpile to what you can reasonably use before it expires. It’s easy to get excited about the deals and want to take advantage of all of them, but you can only use so many tubes of toothpaste in a year. (Also, check expiration dates and buy the furthest out dates that you can.)

  • Susan E. says:

    Ha ha!! I love your post! Every time I think about trying to do the drug store thing, my inner self tells me that it’s way too much math for this English degree holder!

    • I KNOW. My husband taught math for years, but trying to save money at the grocery store has really been an exercise in mathematics for me. I’ve gotten a lot better at doing the math in my head, but it doesn’t come naturally to me like it does for him!

  • Kaylea says:

    I think you have to customize your approach and not stress. I only do cvs, I use self-checkout and the price scanner so I know what’s going on, and I don’t get free items unless we will use them (I never manage to donate in a timely way). It can surely be a lot of fun, but give yourself permission to only do what works for you.

  • Taylor says:

    I can certainly relate to this post and many of the comments! I try to be as organized as possible, try not to bring my 4 kids w/ me, and always double check the blogs on my iphone. Doing this in the store ensures that I get the right deal. Like many, I have a lot going on at any given moment and I have to be efficient – definitely can’t waste time and/or money on things I really don’t need. The drugstore game has been an excellent way to stock-up (and give) a ton of free/almost free items.

  • Rae says:

    Being a military wife, I have to shop with my kids. But they have gotten used to it. My oldest is great and always has been. My 3 year old goes in the cart whether he wants to or not because he’s naughty. He is just now getting to the point where he can start out walking but if he misbehaves, he has to move to the cart.

    Another tip for CVS…. sign up for the Beauty Club. Not only do you get $5 ecb’s when you reach $50 in spending (pre coupoon but not including ecb deals I think??) which I have reached once so far even though my CVS total for the year oop has been less than $50 🙂 They also send you birthday ecb. It used to be $3 apparently but my birthday was this month (the first time that it has come up since the program started) and I got $2.

  • Lindsey says:

    I’m new to the drug store game and I’m pretty sure that I’ve done every single thing on your list… sometimes I just want to throw my hands up and say ‘forget it!’ I suppose patience is key here… 🙂 Hope I have better luck in the future!

    ************************************************************************

  • Martina says:

    i do take my kids to CVS with me all the time.. but i let them ” work” one gets to hold the ad, and coupons hes only 2 but he says he’s my big helper, and my 4 year old gets the stuff of the bottom shelves… i did make the mistake first to buy stuff just caus i taught it was a great deal, but it in the end i got into debt caus of the deals.. now its more deals in moderation.. one thing at a time

  • Erica Hall says:

    And have you ever noticed that none of the shopping carts have working lap belts to restrain your kids? My last trip to Rite Aid my one year old fell out in the parking lot while I unloaded. I SHOULD have called 911 and sued. Rite Aid has never responded to the letter I sent them about it.

  • Catherine says:

    I do buy things I don’t need if they are a super deal. So far I have three families that have lost jobs, (one has a disabled child–cystic fibrosis, autism, and epilepsy and ssi keeps cutting his benefits (he turned 18–like he is suddenly not disabled), and I make up care packages for these people. Frequently they need items that I don’t. If it sits on my stash shelf for too long, then I give it to the local food pantry because they will distribute it to people in need with the food they give out.

    The only thing that really upsets me about the drugstore game is how they are out of things 5 minutes after they open on Sunday morning. And they never restock. My WAGS never had any of the Keri lotion for the entire month of the month long sale.

  • Cindy says:

    I have three small kids age 4, 3 and almost 2. I have to take them on all my shopping trips and all I can say is the more organized you are the quicker and less pain full the trip is. The night before I’m going “deal” shopping I make a detailed list for each store and then I pull all the coupons out I will need for each store and paper clip them to the store for that list. That way when I go in the store I grab the couple things I need quickly and already have my store card and coupons ready so there is no confusion or frustration. I don’t browse and use the in and out method and then the kids don’t have time to get bored or start acting up. We live kinda in the country so it takes 15 minutes to get to any store so I hit my four main stores (Wags, CVS, WiseWay & Town N Country) all in one trip. I have gone in all four stores with three kids in under an hour before. Also a tip I got from my brother is let the oldest hold the shopping list and have them mark off the items when you get them. My 4 year old can’t read yet but he can find the word that starts with “s” and then it is a learning experience as well.

    • It’s definitely gotten easier to play the drugstore game now that I know where things are and how they work. I fully prepare before I leave, go straight for the things I need, ask for help from salesperson immediately, and then get out as quickly as I can. My 9 month old likes it if I keep moving, and my two year old likes to hold the items I’ve purchased.

      Still, I would leave the kids at home when you first start learning to play the drugstore game! 🙂

      That’s amazing that you got in and out of 4 stores with 3 kids in under an hour! You’re my hero!

  • Andrea Fuller says:

    Don’t loose your bucks once you have them! And don’t forget to use them before they expire!

  • Liz says:

    Match up a sale price with a manufacturer’s coupon, plus a discount from your CVS e-mails. Check that the dates on each are valid.

    Do not buy just to buy. I will buy what I need until the next sales cycle. And if you do stock up, purchase only what you can store easily.

    And echoing, do not go when the store is busy. I most often shop at this store just after it opens on Sunday morning.

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