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Playing “the drugstore game” is taking couponing to a whole new level by matching sales with coupons, store incentive programs and rebates! There are huge savings available by doing this and the possibility of even making money. What’s better than getting paid to shop? The two stores I play “the drugstore game” at and will cover in this post are Rite Aid and Walgreens.

Rite Aid

Rite Aid has a great rebate program called “Single Check Rebates.” Each month they offer rebates on hundreds of items in their store, and many of these items become free after rebate. When the free-after-rebate items are combined with coupons, you can then make money!

The one thing about playing the drugstore game that was hard for me at first is that sometimes you end up buying products you will never use because they make you money or they pay for another product you will use. An example of this is below. I would never in a million years purchase Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Serum. I have no use for it and it’s expensive! However, by purchasing it recently I was able to make money and get a host of other useful products for free.

Here is how the deal worked out and what I purchased:

Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Serum – $21.99
Pantene Shampoo – $3.33
Gilette Fusion Razor – $9.00
Crest Toothpaste – $2.69
Oral B Toothbrush – $2.69

Total before coupons: $39.70

-$1.00 Olay Coupon
-$4.00 Gilette Coupon
-$1.00 Crest Coupon
-$0.75 Oral B Coupon
-$5.00 off $25.00 Rite Aid Purchase Coupon

Total after coupons + tax: $30.53

-$20 Olay & Pantene Mail In Rebate
-$5 Gilette Rite Aid Single Check Rebate
-$2.69 Crest Rite Aid Single Check Rebate
-$2.69 Oral B Rite Aid Single Check Rebate
-$5 Rite Aid Fall Savings Rebate For Spending Over $25

Total rebates: $35.38 for a profit of $4.85

As you can see I did have to spend $30.53 out of pocket. An easy way to offset your out-of-pocket cost is to save your rebate money aside in a separate envelope. You can then use this money to purchase other items that become free after rebate so that you are not spending as much out of pocket. This is often referred to as “rolling” your rebates.

At Rite Aid there is only one rebate form to fill out for all the products included that month, which makes it very easy. What makes it even easier is that you can enter your receipts online and then you don’t have to fill out a form, send in receipts or pay postage, and you can use the receipt to send in for manufacturer rebates!

This was a pretty complex deal, so don’t get scared off! Many of them do not involve as many rebates or coupons. Also, just as I mentioned in the Matching Sales With Coupons article, you don’t have to figure this out all by yourself! The two sites I use to find Rite Aid deals are RefundCents.com and DeelSeekingMom.com. RefundCents.com is a paid subscription site ($12/yr.) but is my favorite for Rite Aid. You can print the deals off in a friendly block format and she gives links to any printable coupons, rebate forms, etc. Another source is DealSeekingMom.com and this is free, which is always good!

Walgreens

There are great savings to be had at Walgreen’s by playing the drugstore game, but it is a little more complex than Rite Aid. Once you get the hang of it and learn the rules, it becomes second-nature. By playing the drugstore game at Walgreen’s, in the last year I have gotten razors, shampoo, soap, band aids, tooth paste, cough medicine, baby wipes, baby wash, chap-stick, dental floss, maxi pads, gift boxes of candy, and toys, all for FREE!

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I am going to give you links to several resources on other blogs and websites about shopping at Walgreen’s.

DeelSeekingMom.com has a post called Walgreens 101 that gives a nice overview, and so does iHeartWags.com, which is a blog solely devoted to Walgreen’s deals.

The best tutorial I have seen is on RefundCents.com. Michelle’s “Comprehensive Guide to Shopping at Walgreen’s” is great  for reference, spells everything out and is very easy to understand. Just as a disclaimer, I do get a small affiliate payment from RefundCents.com, but I want you to know that I would not refer you if I didn’t think it was well worth the money. I really feel this is the best guide to Walgreen’s I’ve seen and is the only one I’ve found that talks about the Prescription Savings Club.

I have used the Walgreen’s Prescription Savings Club for over a year now and have saved a ton of money with it on non-prescription items. It has a little-publicized feature that allows you to get 10% back on all W brand products. The best part, and many people don’t realize this, is that W products include photo processing (if picked up in-store) and gift cards. I try to always use a Walgreen’s gift card so that I get an additional 10% back on all of my purchases.

Once you’ve learned the Walgreen’s basics, my three favorite places to find the matching sales, coupons, and register rewards are Common Sense With Money, RefundCents.com, and iHeartWags.com.

Other Information

Many people also play the drugstore game at CVS, but we do not have one in our local area so I am not familiar with this. You can find information on matching sales, coupons and CVS special savings on Common Sense With Money and RefundCents.com.

If you took advantage of all of the deals available, you would have a lot of extra stuff around your house and some of it may be useless to you. So should you buy it or not? I’m going to discuss this more in upcoming posts regarding giving when you don’t have money to give and the practice of stockpiling.

If you play the drugstore game, share your success stories and best deals with other readers. Or if you have questions on playing the drugstore game please feel free to ask!

5 Responses to “Coupon Series Part 3: Playing the Drugstore Game”

  1. Jane Myers says:

    Oh Kathy…I could use the anti aging serum….seriously. How much do you want for it??

  2. Sarah says:

    Have you tried the OfficeMax rebates yet? They have some good free with rebate offers that I was looking at, curious if you’ve tried it or not.

  3. admin says:

    Jane – I’ll send you an email about the anti-aging serum đŸ™‚

    Sarah – I haven’t tried OfficeMax rebates yet. I just saw something about those for the first time a few days ago but it looks intriguing. I hope to try it soon and post about it. If you try it I’d be interested in hearing what you think.

  4. Jen says:

    Just wondered what type of membership you recommend for Refund Cents? Looks like they have several options. Do you think the web based subscription is enough or do you use the magazine too? Thanks!

  5. admin says:

    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for the comment. For the first year I subscribed to both the magazine and the website. I found that with 2 small kids, work and everything else I did not end up having the time to read the magazine and felt that the most important information could be found on the website as well. I currently only subscribe to the website. I hope you like the site if you decide to subscribe. I have found it to be very beneficial. There’s a lot of information on it so it can be a little overwhelming at first. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or you can asks questions in the “Centsible Chat” portion of the site. I asked many questions there when I was first getting started with all of this!

    Kathy

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