The Magic of the Drugstore Game

Did you know that you can purchase tons of products from the drugstore for pocket change? I can attest to this because for the last five years I have successfully maintained a six-month stockpile for our household playing the drugstore game. In my first year I spent just $150 at CVS and scored a total of $760 worth of free products. I have since fine-tuned playing the drugstore game so that I spend less than $100 per year and fulfill all of our needs with about $400-$500 worth of free products. I score so much free loot that on top of fulfilling our needs I also donate to a local Domestic Abuse shelter and fill a few shelves of my grandparents’ cupboards with their favorite brands.

Intrigued? Read below for an introduction to the drugstore game as well as an example scenario to show how it can work for you.

What is the Drugstore Game?

In a nutshell, the drugstore game is pairing coupons with sale items at drugstores to earn some sort of in-store credit from your purchase. Once you receive the in-store credit, you then use it to purchase products that will reap you more in-store credits for future products. As a player, your goal is to spend as little of your money as possible; the in-store credit becomes your currency.

You can play the drugstore game at Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, and CVS. It should be noted that while you can get valuable information from reading further for any of these drugstores, I only use CVS and their ExtraCare® Bucks (in-store credit) reward program.

Sample Transaction Scenario

The scenarios below are for CVS sales ads that have since expired, so you cannot replicate them. However, I would like to illustrate for you how effective playing the drugstore game can be. Read through and see how the magic happens.

Week 1:

Transaction No. 1:

Buy 1 Oral-B Advantage or Cross Action Toothbrush at $3, Get $1 ExtraCare® Bucks (Limit 2)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 7/3 P&G insert
Cost Out of Pocket (OOP): $1.00
ECBs Earned to Use for Next Purchase: $1.00

Transaction No. 2:

Buy 1 Oral-B Pulsar Toothbrush (1 pack) at $5.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $3/1 coupon from the 6/5 P&G insert
Use $1 ECB from above purchase
Cost OOP: $1.99
ECBs Earned to Use for Next Purchase: $3.00

Week One Seed Money: $2.99

ECBs to Use for Next Week: $3.00

Week 2:

Transaction No. 1:

Buy 1 Bic Soleil Shimmer Razor (or cartridge) at $6.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $3 ECBs from last week’s purchase
Use $3 coupon from 7/10 SmartSource (SS)
Cost OOP: $0.99
ECBs Earned to Use for Next Purchase: $3.00

Buy 1 Dove Visible Care Body Wash 18 oz. at $5.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $3 ECBs from Transaction above
Use $1/1 Coupon from Red Plum (RP) 6/26/2011
Cost OOP: $1.99
ECBs Earned to Use for Next Purchase: $2.00

Buy 1 Balance Bar, 1.76 oz at $1.69, Get $1.69 ECB (Limit 1)
Purchase a ‘filler’ item that is the closest to $0.31 as possible
Use $2 ECB from Transaction Above
Cost Out of Pocket: $0
ECBs Earned to Use for Next Purchase: $1.69

Week Two Seed Money: $2.98

ECBs to Use for Next Week: $1.69

Recap: After two weeks you have purchased 1 Oral-B Pulsar Toothbrush,  1 Oral-B Toothbrush, 1 Bic Soleil Shimmer Razor, 1 Dove Visible Care Body Wash, and 1 Balance Bar to snack on for just $5.97. Plus, you have $1.69 in ECBs to spend on next week’s transactions.

Now that you’ve gotten a taste for the frugstore game, be sure to check out my new eBook for a comprehensive look at how to play starting from the beginner level all the way to advanced strategies. Bonus chapters include how to earn seed money to supplement the game, as well as troubleshooting along the way.

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