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Have you heard about the drugstore game and the savings it can offer?
No, it isn’t an app or board game.
It’s an actual practice that you can add to your shopping habits to save money on household goods and medical items.
The rising cost of everything has many people searching for a way to save on pharmacy and medical prescription purchases.
By playing the drugstore game, you can reduce your monthly spending by hundreds of dollars.
One game can save pennies on the dollar or hundreds of dollars, depending on how good you are at it.
You can even walk away with free stuff.
In this article, we’ll focus on drug store chains, not necessarily supermarket drugstores or your hospital-managed pharmacy, and we’ll explain why later.
Let’s focus on how to play the drugstore game and get personal care products for free.
Table of Contents
Playing The Drugstore Game To Save Thousands
What Is The Drugstore Game?
The drugstore game is where you combine manufacturer coupons, sales, loyalty cards, and other discounts to buy things for pennies on the dollar.
In a way, it is very similar to playing with grocery store sales fliers to get the most significant discounts possible.
You can play the game at most pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.
While you can also play at a supermarket drugstore, you won’t get as good of deals simply because the store rewards aren’t as valuable.
I have found that CVS offers the best discounts and is easiest for most people to take advantage of.
To fully understand the game, I encourage you to read this article on how to save money at CVS.
That article will help you understand how to make the most of shopping here.
Reasons To Play Drugstore Game
There are several great reasons to learn how to play.
#1. Savings On Medical Items And Other Necessities
It’s a wise health care practice to stay stocked up on items to fill first aid kits.
Personal hygiene products, food items, and over-the-counter medicine formulas are also nice to have on hand.
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These items have a long shelf life and can be expensive.
#2. The Best Deals On Beauty Products And Groceries
You can have a little fun playing the drugstore game and splurge on cosmetics you wouldn’t usually buy because of the price.
You can also stockpile snacks that you know your kids will eat too.
Most people don’t need ten bottles of shampoo at a time.
The reason a lot of people dedicate time to couponing and sale shopping is to have the ability to share with others.
As a bonus, you can write off the money you spend on these items on your taxes, saving you even more.
#4. Drugstore Supermarket Fun
The simple thrill of a great deal is enough to motivate many shoppers to keep playing.
After just one game, you will be hooked too.
But we’d like to pause here to issue a word of caution.
You don’t have to participate in every deal, sale, or promotion.
Taking advantage of every deal can result in burnout and waste of a lot of money.
Being selective about how and when you play drugstore games can help you benefit from it for a lot longer.
Basics Of The Drugstore Game
Your local drug store can do more than dispense patient medication.
It can become your go-to store for great deals on a wide range of products, as long as you are mindful about what you are buying and when you are buying it.
That’s where coupons, sales, and store loyalty programs come in.
Using these things to get your items for next to nothing is the gist of the drugstore game.
For example, let’s say you need medical items like band-aids and a first aid kit.
These items are on sale, you have a coupon from a local paper insert, and you have store loyalty points to redeem.
You combine all three to get these items for less than $1.
It takes planning, but if you have a little extra time each week to line up your coupons with store sales, you could end up with free or deeply discounted products in your cart.
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Drug Store Game In Action
To play the drug store game, you must visit your local store frequently or monitor their sales digitally.
Try to align your shopping trip for times when products you want will be on sale.
When you plan your shopping ahead of time is when you will make the most of store and manufacturer’s coupons.
Also, realize that you may have to complete multiple transactions to get the best deals.
Here is a recent example.
CVS has Pepsi 12 packs on sale. Buy two and get one free.
The purchase price is $8.19 each.
There is also a $3 off coupon in the newspaper, which you have 2 of.
You buy three packs for $16.38, then apply your two coupons, bringing down the total to $10.38 before tax.
Your per pack total comes out to $3.46.
While this is a good deal, you can do better.
There is also a sale on Nexxus shampoo, with the price of $3.99, and you get $2 in Extra Care Bucks too.
You have a coupon for $1 off.
So, you buy the shampoo and pay $2.99 for it and get the $2 in Extra Care Bucks.
If you then buy the Pepsi using the same strategy as before, plus the $2 Extra Care Bucks, you now spend $8.38 for the Pepsi.
These are just a few examples of buying various items and using sales, rebates, coupons, and Extra Care Bucks to drastically lower prices.
Best Drugstore Game Tips
Of course, for every game, there are cheat codes and workarounds.
So let us share some tips for jump-starting your drug store shopping:
#1. Check Your Sunday Paper For Manufacturer Coupons
Those inserts you usually throw away include great coupons for items you already use.
To save money, get a discounted Sunday paper here.
#2. Sign Up For Register Rewards
We discussed how Extra Bucks work in a previous section. These rewards are earned at the cash register and used for future purchases.
To earn the most Extra Bucks, you need to pay attention to the weekly sales fliers.
#3. Stacking Coupons
Your ability to stack coupons is dependent on where you shop.
It is not part of cashier duties to know your drugstore game strategy.
Please read the store’s coupon stacking policy and the fine print on the coupons themselves.
CVS store is just one of many stores that allow you to use more than one coupon at a time.
Usually, some restrictions allow the use of one manufacturer coupon per item, but you may use multiple coupons on different items within the same transaction.
Then you can start thinking about how to stack manufacturers’ coupons with spend threshold and percent off coupons to get the biggest discounts.
Where can you get more coupons?
Pharmacy and Medical Prescription Purchases
A manufacturer’s coupon can’t be used on prescriptions except in specific cases.
So how do you cut prescription costs?
Drugstore game deals on prescriptions are usually found by comparing prices on medical prescriptions from one pharmacy to another.
Many people don’t realize they can compare shop prescriptions, but you absolutely can.
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For future needs, you can learn medicine formulas to determine if there is more than one “right medicine” for you and discuss your findings with your doctor and pharmacist.
Also, you can ask your doctor for free samples of the drug they are prescribing you.
Free samples can allow you to get a few more doses without spending extra money.
Frequently Asked Questions
I get asked many questions about saving money at the pharmacy using this game.
Here are the most common questions and answers.
Where can I play the drugstore game?
Any drugstore venue should offer some way to play a version of the game.
Depending on your proximity to certain stores and the availability of products, you may have good luck on one shopping trip and not as much the next time.
The best places to play are stores that offer loyalty or rebate programs.
CVS is a good example.
CVS is where many people begin playing their drugstore game, with good reason.
Your CVS transaction will result in Extra Bucks if you are enrolled in the store’s loyalty program.
Extra bucks can be used on everything from diapers to hair care.
The only thing excluded from the Extra Bucks rewards is prescriptions.
Rite Aid, Walgreens, and other drugstores have similar programs but are not as robust as CVS.
What can you save money on?
By strategically planning your shopping trip, you can save on everything your family needs, including the following:
- Baby care
- Medical items
- Toiletry items
- Toilet paper
You can use the game to save on everything in the store except for medication from the pharmacy counter, cigarettes, money orders, and gift cards.
Though there are times when gift cards are on sale, and if you pay with a cash back credit card, you can make good money here too.
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Can you play this game at the hospital drug shop?
The hospital drug shop exists because there is often an urgent and important need for medicine.
A hospital-managed pharmacy makes sense.
A hospital patient prescription can be filled and administered within minutes if needed.
In this scenario, the pharmacist’s role is to help doctors choose the right medicine formulas, sometimes even making rounds with them.
Therefore, you can understand why deals and coupons are unavailable for hospital patients, but they can be utilized when the patient goes home.
How can you save money at the drug store?
Use all the following at your favorite drug store to achieve the best deals.
- Manufacturer coupons
- Store coupons
- Buy-one-get-one deals
- Permanently discounted products
- Percent-off coupons
- Spending threshold coupons
- Store rewards
Try different combinations to see what gives you the biggest price reduction.
It may mean leaving one product off, adding another, or using multiple transactions.
By turning your shopping into a game, you can have drugstore supermarket fun rather than letting it become a hassle.
You may have to alter your shopping habits to buy in bulk or buy different brands from time to time, but with moderation, you can financially benefit from these drug store games.
There are the basics for playing the drugstore game and saving a lot of money.
Just be careful when buying in bulk or when the sale includes items you do not need, like baby care.
Otherwise, you could be losing money unless you plan to donate these items.
Finally, don’t be timid.
If you get to the cash register and your total doesn’t look right, it’s within the cashier duties to check coupons, sales, and promotions for you.
Now it’s time for you to play the drugstore game for yourself.
Just one game a month could save you $100 or more!
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.