Sunday, February 6, 2011

Walgreens and CVS: Payment order matters!

I make a lot of mistakes when I do deals, and I'm not afraid to tell the world about it, in hopes that you won't make the same mistakes. (Hence, the name of this blog, Frugal Follies.) But it's rare that I make the exact same mistake twice on the same shopping trip, within minutes of each other.

At Walgreens and CVS, if you've already used a method of payment, you can't then use Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks to "pay" for the rest. Even though we sometimes think of them as money,  the Register Rewards or Extra Care Bucks are more like coupons, and need to be proffered at the same time as the coupons.

So I went to Walgreens, hoping to make more money for the Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge by doing the Arnicare monthly deal, which is a $2.00 moneymaker. But, of course, my store was out of them. So I had to make some changes to my plan.

Since my pantry is relatively empty due to the Clean Out the Cupboards Challenge, I chose to do some deals that, while not moneymakers, would create Register Rewards and were items I really needed. This is what I had planned on the fly:

Buy 5 Gain dish detergent @ $1.00 each, get $1 RR
- 4 25¢ coupons from the 1/16 P&G insert (limit of 4 like coupons in one purchase)
= $4 out of pocket

Buy $15 in selected Unilever products, get $5 RR
4 Skippy peanut butter @ $1.50 each
2 Ragu pasta sauce @ $1.50 each
3 Lipton tea @ $2.50 each
- 4 60¢ Skippy coupons from the 1/30 RedPlum insert
- 1 60¢/2 Ragu coupons from the 1/30 RedPlum insert
- 3 60¢ Lipton coupons from the 1/30 RedPlum insert
= $11.70 out of pocket

Buy 1 Veripur hand sanitizer @ $3.99, get $4 ECB
= $3.99 out of pocket

Total out of pocket = $19.69 + tax
Pay $3.99 for Veripur using my Flexible Savings Account debit card
Use $14 in RRs from last week's amazing shopping trip
Total in cash: $1.70 + tax

When I went to the cash register to pay, the clerk asked if I was using any Walgreens store couopns. I said no, and he said that the coupons weren't in the cash register system yet. He went ahead and rang up all of the above, and told me I owed something like $34.00. I said no, that's way too high.

Turns out that the sale prices for all the items weren't in the computer, either. So he had to void the sale and key in everything by hand. By this time a line was forming behind me. I hate that.

So finally, we got to the total. I used my FSA card to pay for the Veripur, and that went correctly. I gave my RRs... and they beeped.

"You can't use Register Rewards after you've used a method of payment," my clerk reminded me. Oops.

So, I ended up paying the $16.24 ($15.70 in product and 54¢ in tax) in cash. Ouch. I am failing my own Drugstore Bootstrap Challenge. The good news is that I got another $10 in RRs, for a total of $27 now.

You'd think I would've learned from this experience when I went to CVS next, wouldn't you? Apparently not. CVS hasn't had any good moneymaker deals that I have the coupons for, so I again went to do deals for things I need that create ECBs. Here's what I got:

Buy 3 General Mills cereal @ 3/$10, get $4 ECB
3 Chex cereal
- 3 75¢ Chex coupons from
= $7.75 out of pocket

Buy 2 Quaker instant oatmeal @ 2/$5, get $2 ECB
- 2 $1.00 Quaker instant oatmeal coupons from the February All You magazine
= $3 out of pocket

Buy 2 Speed Stick @ 2/$5, get $1 ECB
- 2 50¢ Speed Stick coupons from the 1/30 SmartSource insert
= $4 out of pocket

Buy 1 Tums @ $3.99, get $1 ECB
- $1 Tums printable coupon
= $2.99 out of pocket

Total out of pocket = $17.74 + tax
Use $10 gifr certificate (bought for $4 two weeks ago from WeShop)
Use $3.99 ECB from last week's shopping trip
Total cash: $3.75 + tax

The ringing up went well, and then I made my mistake again: I paid first with the $10 gift certificate, and then tried to use the ECB... and of course, it didn't work for the same reason as my Walgreens trip.

So I ended up paying $8.04 ($7.74 for product and 30¢ tax) in cash.  But at least I got another $8 in ECBs.

I hope I've learned my lesson after this... but probably not.  Stay tuned for more follies!

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Anonymous,  February 6, 2011 at 8:33 PM  

Oh bummer! I HATE THAT! You plan well and then get all flabbergasted when it didn't come out right! :P

I did the GAIN deal too but I used 5 $1/1 GAIN Dish SOAP coupon from the P&G Mailer (buy $50 worth of stuff and get a coupon in the mail) I sent one to my mom, one to my MIL and one to myself. ANYWAY so those were free. But they didnt have the hand sanitizer. :P and my amount kept being lower than I added up so I added the nearest thing (candy for $1 :P) to make it so I could pay for it. LOL

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes February 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM  

My store doesn't carry many of the cereals--we don't have Rice Chex. Love them. Nice shopping. Thanks for linking up your CVS shopping trip at Simply CVS.

Unknown February 7, 2011 at 3:46 PM  

I can't even remember all the mistakes I made while doing deals (using coupons and rewards). It's easier now that I am detailing my shopping trips on my blog...

I'm glad I'm not the only one!

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