Drugstore Shopping – Yes, There Are Great Deals!

by Elizabeth Scholes

Shopping at Walgreens or CVS (or other national chain drugstores) is perhaps one of the best kept secrets out there.  I admit, I was skeptical of shopping at drugstores at first because everyone knows they are so much more expensive than Walmart or Target, right?  The key to saving at these stores is all in the timing.  Yes, it’s true if you went in and bought something regular priced there you would pay a good 20% more than you would at another store, but if you shop sales, sometimes you can get things nearly free!

Since I began shopping at drugstores about 2 years ago, I have not paid more than a couple of dollars for name brand contact solution or name brand razor cartridge refills.  And remember the week on stockpiling?  Yep, you guessed it.  My family has a linen closet with our own mini drugstore where we can get extra toiletries as needed that we paid for a fraction of the regular price.

The same couponing tips apply that I’ve shared with you in the past weeks. Check your ads, match-up coupons with already low prices, and stockpile when it’s a great deal. Remember you can stack manufacturer coupons with store coupons and Walgreens and CVS produce TONS of store coupons each month. Just like the grocery stores, most coupon blogs will do drugstore matchups as well.  Use them to your advantage!  Maybe the best thing about drugstores is how often they have B1G1 free or B1G1 50% sales.  This allows you to get the most savings.  Here are some scenarios to show you how.

Robitussin Cough Syrup – on sale for 2/$6
Use two $3/1 coupons = $6
Total price for 2 cough syrups = FREE!

B1G1 Blue Diamond Almonds, 2/$3.59
$1/2 Blue Diamond Almonds, exp. 1/31/12 (SS 10/16/11 R)
$0.60/2 Blue Diamond Almonds, exp. 2/29/12 (SS 11/20/11 R)
$0.50/1 Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Almonds,
exp. 12/31/11 (Curves Value Book)
$0.75/2 Blue Diamond Oven Roasted
Almonds, exp. 2/29/12 (SS 11/20/11 R)
As low as $1.30 ea. after coupon wyb 2!

The thing to remember is that you can use a coupon for each item you are going to leave the store with, no matter how much it will actually cost you in the long run.  This is when
it comes in handy to have multiple copies of the same coupon.

These drugstores also offer money back rewards in the form of either Register Rewards (Walgreens) or Extra Care Bucks (CVS).  This means that when you buy
something that has these rewards, you will get a certain amount of money back for your next store trip.  The best way to use these is to “keep them rolling” and continue on each trip to buy things that get you money back.  Just don’t forget to use it!!  Here are a
couple scenarios for that:

Complete Multi-Purpose Contact solution – on sale for $8.99
Get $8.99 ECB
FREE after ECBS!

Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, psa $4.69
Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2)
$1/1 Colgate Optic White Toothpaste, exp. 12/3/11 (SS 11/13/11)
As low as $1.69 ea. after coupon and ECBs!

Both Walgreens and CVS have rewards programs that are free and yield great savings and benefits.  Each are unique in their own way.

Walgreens has a free in-store or online sign up.  As of January 1, 2012 you will not need to scan a rewards card to receive the benefits but you will need to enrolled in the program. The current rewards plan of earning 10 points for every dollar spent is also being eliminated beginning 2012 but they are releasing a new benefits program that has yet to be announced.  We can all stay tuned for that! (If you are already enrolled in the program, make sure you go online and check your point balance and cash in those points before January 31, 2012!  You can redeem them to get gift cards to various places and free gifts.)  Register Rewards (RR) will stay the same.  RR expire 2 weeks from the date issued.  They will print out as a separate coupon after your receipt so make sure not to throw it away. Walgreens also offers their monthly in-store coupon book at the front of each store.  These are great to stack with manufacturer coupons.

For more information on Walgreens Rewards, go to .

CVS also has free online or in-store sign up.  Again, you will get an Extra Care card you
will want to keep with you to scan each visit.  CVS does not offer points but does keep track
of quarterly spending and you will get back 2% of your purchases in the form of ECB.  ECB expire 1 month from the date issued.  There is also this wonderful machine at the front each CVS store that you can scan your card at each visit and get additional store coupons. Again, great for stacking with manufacturer coupons.  Be aware that ECBs print out at the bottom of your receipt so unless you’re diligent about checking your receipt, it would be  easy to throw them away.  CVS will alsooften send you emails for 25% off total purchase or $5 off a $25 purchase.  Hand those coupons to the cashier FIRST because you want to make sure to get the most money off the top of your bill.  Then scan coupons and then any ECBs you have.

For more information on Extra Care Rewards, go to https://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/user/extracare/extracare.jsp.

Shopping at CVS and Walgreens can be very rewarding and can help you stockpile toiletries quickly.  It’s super fun to see your total drop drastically as the cashier rings up your purchases.  It can be hard to make a second trip to a store but some weeks it may be well worth it.  Just keep in mind the temptation to grab those “extras” while you’re there that may be marked up significantly.  Stick to your list and you’ll be safe.

This week’s challenge:  Sign up for CVS and/or Walgreens rewards program. Look through their ads in this week’s paper (their sales run Sunday-Saturday). See if you can identify any
great deals with the help of any blogs or the coupon look-up site, CouponTom.com.

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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