Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Drugstore Game

If you want to learn about making the most of your drugstore shopping trips, I would start by going here to learn about Walgreens, and here to learn about Rite Aid. Also, check out this video posted on Money Saving Mom today about how to get going with your drugstore shopping. Those sites should explain how to get started with with drugstore shopping. I'll add my own two cents below.

Walgreens and Rite Aid have similar programs. At Walgreens they're called Register Rewards (RRs) and at Rite Aid they're referred to as UP Rewards (UPRs). The concept is the same at both stores. A RR or UPR is a coupon that prints after your purchase for a certain dollar amount off your next purchase. Occasionally the coupon will be good only on the purchase of a specific item, but in most cases it can be used on any transaction. For simplicity, in the following scenario I'll use the term RRs, but I'll actually be referring to both RRs and UPRs. 

Let's say Gillette Deodorant is on sale this week at Walgreens for $2.99. You have a coupon for $1 off. Walgreens is offering a $1 RR if you purchase that deodorant. Let's say you also need to buy laundry detergent this week. Walgreens isn't offering any RRs for it, but they do have a coupon in their weekly ad that will allow you to purchase it for $2.99. You can handle this trip one of two ways:

1. You get the deodorant and the detergent and take them both to the checkout. You use your $1 off coupon for the deodorant, plus your coupon for the detergent, making your total $4.98. You pay for the items and a $1 RR prints with your receipt. This is a coupon for $1 your next purchase at Walgreens. While this coupon is great, and very useful, there are a few catches. First, it will expire in a few weeks, so you'll have to remember to come back before them. Second, you'll have to keep track of the coupon until you have a chance to get back to the store.

Or, you could do it this way:

2. You get the deodorant and the detergent and take them both to the checkout. You use your $1 off coupon and purchase just the deodorant, still paying $1.99. Like before, the $1 RR prints along with your receipt. Now you do a second transaction, and you purchase the detergent using the in-ad coupon and the $1 RR. This time, the detergent costs $1.99. You've purchased the same items, but this time you've only paid $3.98.

Remember that, while the scenario I just suggested was referring to Walgreens, it is applicable to Rite Aid, too. Here's the thing about RRs and UPRs- yes, they are savings, but they're only good if you actually use them to save. A $1 coupon won't do you any good if it sits at the bottom of your purse until it expires. So when people refer to "the drugstore game," they're referring to the strategy involved with structuring your transactions to insure that you maximize your savings.

Ideally, you would separate your purchases into enough transactions that you don't leave the store with any RRs or UPRs. If you read my previous post about my Rite Aid trip, you know that I haven't quite mastered this yet. Sometimes I look at my shopping cart before heading to the checkout and think it looks like a high school math problem: these are the products Abby is purchasing today. How many transactions should Abby do, and what items should she include in each in order to spend the least amount of money?

I hope this helps clear up any questions about my last post. If not, let me know! I'd love to answer any questions!

No comments:

Post a Comment