Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge (join me!)

Each month here at Frugal Follies, I plan to do a challenge related to frugality, organization, shopping, cooking, etc. I like doing challenges because it forces me to concentrate on one goal, and it makes me be more creative.

In January, I did the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge. It was easy at first, got more challenging during the middle of the month, and then seemed a bit simpler toward the end. But now, my shelves are quite empty, so I'm ready to fill them back up.

One problem with not doing any deal shopping during the month is that I ended up spending most of my Extra Care Bucks (from CVS) and Register Rewards (from Walgreens) back in December; as a result, I have no RRs at all, and $4.99 in ECBs ($3.99 from this deal and $1 from using my green bag tag a fourth time while doing that deal).

So in February, I'm starting the Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge!

Bootstrapping comes from the phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" - meaning to start a process without external help. When you start up your computer, a small program hard-coded in your computer's memory starts a much longer process to allow your computer to run programs - you are bootstrapping, or "booting up," your computer.

Similarly, my goal for the Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge is to increase the amount of Register Rewards and Extra Care Bucks I have on hand, putting as little of my own money as I can into it. I'll do this by doing as many deals as possible which are money-makers or free to create more Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks.

So here are my rules:
  • I can spend up to $10 of my own money per store on products.
  • Money paid in taxes does not count toward the $10.
  • I can use coupons from inserts, printable coupons, and in-store or emailed CVS coupons.  I can also purchase coupons (though I have never done so in my 1.5 years of serious couponing), but the purchase prices of the coupons will go toward the $10.
  • I can buy things that my family doesn't need, but I will give them to friends or family or donate them to charity.
  • I can use the $4.99 that I already have in ECBs at CVS; this does not count toward the $10 limit.
  • Last week, I did a deal where I purchased a $10 gift card to CVS for $4; the $4 cost will count toward the $10 limit, but the $10 on the card does not.
So, here we go!  Having already looked at the CVS deals and Walgreens deals for this week, I can see that I'll be able to get things rolling along easily at Walgreens - assuming I can find products in stock at my local stores -  but that CVS will be more of a challenge.

Each week on Monday, I'll post about how many ECBs and RRs I have, how much I've spent in cash, and what I got at each store.

Please join me!  Of course, if you'd like to use Rite Aid as your store instead of CVS and/or Walgreens, feel free to do so - I don't have that store in my area.  Leave a comment below if you'd like to join the challenge!

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Michelle January 30, 2011 at 9:10 AM  

I am new to the whole couponing thing, so I am very curious at how you do with this and I hope to learn a lot from you :)

grace January 30, 2011 at 7:52 PM  

I will be giving it a shot and post on my blog and leave a comment after I have finished my buying trip.

grace January 30, 2011 at 8:10 PM  

a question regarding your rules
Is that $10.00 for the whole month or $10.00 week

Unknown January 30, 2011 at 9:56 PM  

@grace - It's $10 for the whole month. If you're participating, feel free to set your own amounts - and your own rules, if need be. The idea is to challenge yourself in a way that meets your and your family's needs, not to stick to my arbitrary rules.

Debi @Bluegrass Savers January 31, 2011 at 8:53 AM  

$10 for a whole month will be a real challenge! I will try this as well! I'll probably only do Rite Aid though. My question is how do we handle rewards that are about to expire?

grace at thrifty cheapskate January 31, 2011 at 2:28 PM  

Thanks for answering the $10.00 question Was curious to what you planned to do. Not sure what my rules will be . Can really vary by the week and what Walgreens offers. Some weeks deals are good for us and other weeks they stink on what we can use. grace

Spendwisemom February 1, 2011 at 6:58 PM  

Are you just counting household/personal care items or are you including pet food, etc.? Are you also doing this to use up what you have on hand or to just see if it is possible for you to succeed? How many stores at $10 each are you going to shop at? I think I would like to try the challenge too, but would like more information. Thanks!

Marsha Cooper February 3, 2011 at 10:11 PM  

I've decided to give this a try and you can find my first week at

jacci,  February 6, 2011 at 7:38 PM  

i just found your website- the bootstrap challenge is a great idea- I am a week behind though, and think i spent more than 10 at wags last week, (but I do have a bunch of rr that i got. So. I think i'll give it a try and see how it goes

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