Monday, April 11, 2011

My Walgreens Challenge

Alyssa over at Keeping The Kingdom First writes about The Walgreens  $5 Challenge.  Basically it involves seeing how much you can buy with just $5.

There are several blogs and websites that share tips and strategies for "extreme Walgreens shopping" but I only purchase items for which I have a specific use.  

Many thanks to Melissa at The Consumer Queen for providing the scenario to help me get started.  I worked the ad, and realized that by spending a couple of dollars more and rolling my Register Rewards, I could purchase a decent haul of merchandise.

I walked in to Walgreens with $7 in my hand and my hope was to walk out of the store with money left over. OK here we go:

My shopping trip involved three transactions. The first transaction I purchased
Luster White 7 Toothpaste, 2.6 oz  for $4.99 and  Carefree Pantiliners 22-ct for $.99.  I used a coupon for $1.50 from Smart Source insert 4-3-11on the toothpaste and a coupon for $.50/1 any Carefree product from Red Plum insert 3-27-1. Then I paid out (this is the secret to getting so much for so little).  Total with tax was $4.51.  I received two register rewards, one for $4 (toothpaste) and $1(pantiliners), which gave me $5 to pay toward my next transaction.  Total savings on this transaction, with coupons and sale prices, was $4.50.

Next, I purchased Biore Pore Strips 14 pack, on sale for $5.99 and Biore Cleanser 5 oz. also on sale for $5.99.  I used a coupon from Smart Source 3-6-11 (Buy strips, get cleanser free).  I added one of the pencils on sale at 8/$1 (costing me $.13, because I needed a filler item.  A "filler" is needed when you have more coupons than items.)  At this point, I owed $6.12, and then I handed the clerk the two Register Rewards I had just earned from the toothpaste and pantiliners. My total for the three items was $2.19.

OH NO!  How could this be?  In my head, I was calculating that I owed $.99 for the Biore products and $.13 for the pencil, and those numbers did not add up to $2.19.  Then I realized what the problem was:  the store was charging TAX on the price of the items BEFORE coupons costing me an additional $1.07.  This would have been good information to know BEFORE I started working this project!

Anyway, there was nothing I could do other than abandon the whole project, so I paid.  As soon as I paid out, I received another Register Reward for $5 (from the Biore sale in the Walgreens ad).  Total savings on the transaction, with coupons and sale prices was $16.99.

Finally, I made my last transaction.  I had a quarter and a nickel left out of my $7.  I purchased two bags of Mars Easter Candy on sale 2/$5.00, using a coupon for $2.00/2 any Mars Easter Products from "All You" magazine April 2011 and a $1.00/2 coupon found in the Walgreens April Booklet.  This made cost of the candy $1 per bag!  What a deal!

Also 2 cans of Carnation Evaporated Milk on sale for $.99 per can, and used a coupon for $.50 off found in 03-27-11 Red Plum.  Cost of the milk was $1.49.

And, 2 packs of Trident Layers gum, on sale for $2 for 2.

Having more items than I did coupons, I didn't need to add a filler this time.  I handed the clerk my $5 Register Reward from the Biore, and my total rang up at $1.27.  Only having $.30 in my hand left to pay with, I did what I had walked into the store hoping not to do - I opened my purse and got out another dollar. Savings on this transaction from sale prices and coupons was $13.00.

Total retail before sales & coupon: $42.46
Total out of pocket: $7.97 including tax for roughly 80% savings

There are others who can play the game and save 90%.  I'm just learning and by no means am I a Couponing Pro; I'm just very thrifty.  I only buy what I can use, and I'll pass up a deal if its not something that we "need."  Will I play the game again?  Probably so.  What about you?  Have you taken the Walgreens Challenge?