Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To Roll or Not to Roll, that is the Question!

So, I think I'm finally figuring out the value of rolling ECBs/+UPs/RR at the drugstores.  When I first started couponing our grocery budget was higher so it was really easy to just buy everything in one transaction and take the rewards I received and use them the next time I visited the drugstore.  In January, it worked out really well for me at CVS as I did a transaction early in the month that was almost free but gave me $20 in ECBs. I used part of those on another transaction which earned me another set of ECBs and so on. I continued that through January and finally used them all up at the end of the month.

However, I started out February with only a few +UPs at Rite Aid and no rewards anywhere else. If only Rite Aid had been the only store with good deals at the beginning of the month. OR, if only I'd been smart enough to roll my rewards and do multiple transactions.

What I did:  I did two transactions at Rite Aid on my first trip of the month last week.  I knew I'd be spending a bit out of pocket but I hadn't really calculated how much. Mistake #1.  So I did two transactions, the first was to purchase the 15 jugs of Gatorade which would produce another $5+UP to go with the stack I already had.  In the second transaction I put everything else.  That second transaction cost me $40 OOP, and gave me back $30 in +UPs.

What I should have done: I should have broken that second transaction down into several smaller +UP producing transactions.  Had I done so I would have spent less than half of what I spent out of pocket and still walked away with a few +UPs.

So, why didn't I do it? Because it's a lot of work and it takes a lot of time.  As if my transaction didn't already take a good bit of time and create a lot of work since some of the product didn't ring up correctly.  Another point for doing smaller transactions is that it's easier to identify mistakes (on the part of the computer).  We often just assume that if it says it's on sale that the computer will get it right, but that's often not the case.

I'm still learning and I doubt I'll jump into doing 10 different transactions on my next drugstore visit, but I will start trying to break it down a little more to cut my out of pocket spending.  While my husband keeps telling me we can raise our grocery budget back up to the level it was in Dec (basically $100/mo more than it currently is), I know we can do just fine on the current budget - I just have to learn better spending habits.  And, sometimes the only way to learn is to make yourself do something.

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