A Penny Pincher’s Guide To Successfully Saving At The Drug Stores

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I’m soooooooo excited to share this awesome resource with you that my friend Cheryl of Beyer by Design and I have been working on since last Spring!  Drug store shopping takes a little work and determination, but if you spend some time initially to learn your favorite drug store’s policies, I guarantee you’ll see changes in your family’s shopping budget.  Here are just a few of the things you’ll learn, in one concise kit that you can take with you to the store:

  • How each reward program works at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens
  • What order to use your coupons in to easily checkout while shopping the drug stores
  • Which stores have certain limits on their rewards program and coupon acceptance policy
  • How to “roll” your rewards at the drug stores to keep on saving, every time you shop!

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Watch the video above to learn more, then use the code PENNYPINCHER to download yours for just ¢.99.

 

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The most fun part?

HALF of any proceeds from this go directly to helping support His Cherished Ones, an orphanage in Kenya finding placement for abandoned & orphaned infants & toddlers.

Download Now

So, for just ¢.99, learn how to drug store shop (I’m betting you’ll save that much the very first time you shop), enjoy additional free budgeting printables, and support an awesome cause. Love it!

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 14): Extra Walgreens Tips

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Here are a few extra Walgreens tips to make shopping a little easier for you each week!

 

Walgreens special Buy One Get One Free sale coupon policy

When purchasing a Buy One Get One Free item at Walgreens, you’re allowed to use two coupons, one for each item, as long as it doesn’t make both items free.

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Register Rewards do expire at Walgreens

Register Rewards typically expire within two weeks of your purchase, so watch the date to make sure you don’t lose out on any of your savings.

Walgreens does allow you to “stack” coupons

You can “stack” one manufacturer coupon and one Walgreens coupon on the same item at Walgreens.

Use “Filler Items” at Walgreens when stacking coupons

We talked about this briefly last night, but it’s so important to remember that Walgreens requires you to have AS MANY ITEMS AS YOU HAVE COUPONS, so watch for “filler items”. Basically when you shop Walgreens, your store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and Register Rewards all count as a “coupon” when checking out. So, while you can stack manufacturer and store coupons as well as Register Rewards all on one item, you need to have enough items in your total purchase to account for each coupon you’re using.

Watch for clearanced candy, a stick of gum, or another item that you need to purchase anyways so that you’re allowed to use each of your coupons.

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Stop back tomorrow to learn a few final tips on shopping CVS, Rite Aid & Walgreens, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 13): Make Sense of Walgreens Scenarios

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Walgreens Scenarios

As you’ve probably figured out, you’ve got to be careful at Walgreens to order your transactions correctly to take advantage of all the best deals. Here’s a peek at an example of how to make Walgreens scenarios work for you.

 

(Note, this is not an actual scenario for a current sale ~ you can find those HERE.)

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Transaction #1

Buy 2 Crest Moutnwash $4 (your total for both will be $8), earn $5 in Register Rewards when you buy 2 Crest products

Total before coupons and Register Rewards = $8

  • Use (2) $1/1 Crest Mouthwash coupons
  • Pay $6 out of pocket
  • Get back $5 in Register Rewards to use towards your next purchase
Transaction #2

Buy 1 Colgate Toothbrush $2.99, Earn 2,000 in Balance Rewards Points (like $2)

Buy 1 Softsoap Body Wash $2.99, Earn 1,000 in Balance Rewards Points (like $1)

Buy 1 clearance candy $.25 (*filler item*)

Total before coupons and Register Rewards = $6.23

  • Use $.50/1 Colgate toothbrush coupon
  • Also use $.50/1 Softsoap Body Wash coupon
  • Also use $5 in Register Rewards from Transaction #1
  • Pay $.23 out of pocket
  • Get back 3,000 Balance Rewards Points to use towards your next purchase
*Because Walgreens requires that you purchase as many items as you have coupons for (and Register Rewards count as a coupon), watch for “filler items” when purchasing items using Register Rewards, manufacturer coupons and store coupons.  Look for clearanced candy, a pencil, or eraser so that you always have enough items to use each of your coupons.
Transaction #3

Buy 2 Speedstick Gear Deodorants 2/$8, Earn $2 in Register Rewards when you buy 2 Speedstick products

Total = $5

  • Use (2) $2/1 Speedstick Gear Deodorant coupons
  • Pay $1 out of pocket
  • Get back $2 in Register Rewards to use on a future shopping trip (AND you’ll have 3,000 in Balance Rewards Points from Transaction #2 as well ~ remember you can’t redeem these though until you’ve earned 5,0000 in Balance Rewards points.)

 

In the scenario above, you would spend a total of $7.23 out of pocket for $19.23 in products, plus receive $2 in Register Rewards immediately at checkout AND earn 3,000 in Balance Rewards (like $3.) That makes your total just $2.23 after Balance Rewards and Register Rewards!

 

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Stop back tomorrow to learn a few final Walgreens tips, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 12): What Are Walgreens Register Rewards and Balance Rewards

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What Are Walgreens Register Rewards and Balance Rewards?

There’s so much to shopping at Walgreens because they offer multiple rewards programs, but with a little work I think you can get the hang of it! The basic thing you’ll want to remember is that Register Rewards and Balance Rewards kind of come from different “pots”, so try to separate them in your head. Let’s get started . .  .

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1. What is a Register Reward?

Register Rewards are coupons that print out at the register when you purchase specific items on sale each week, which will allow you to save money on a future purchase. You can only use these coupons at Walgreens, but Register Rewards do say “manufacturer coupon” across the top of the coupon.

 

If you’re familiar with “catalinas” as grocery savings at other stores, a Register Reward is very similar ~ basically a catalina that prints off at checkout towards your next purchase.

2. Register Rewards are like real cash at Walgreens,

Each week Walgreens offers a few items for free or very close to free after Register Rewards.  You can also use coupons on each of these items to have a smaller out of pocket cost, and the Register Rewards will print at checkout to use on your next Walgreens purchase.

3. You can “roll” your Register Rewards.

You can roll your Register Rewards towards other sales at Walgreens, however you cannot use those same Register Rewards to purchase identical items with Register Rewards a second time, and then receive another Register Rewards.  Essentially, Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons that print out at checkout, and if you use them to purchase another identical item, the computer system at Walgreens will not allow it to print another Register Reward.

 

For example: If you purchase deodorant for $2 and it includes $2 in Register Rewards, you can use it to purchase more deodorant for free by paying with the $2 Register Rewards you earned in the first transaction. However, another $2 in Register Rewards will not print.

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4. Walgreens also offers Balance Rewards (this is where it gets a little confusing.)

Balance Rewards are earned when you purchase specific items each week that offer Balance Rewards with purchase.  Balance Rewards range in value from 500 to 30,000 points.

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5.  Once you’ve earned 5,000 Balance Rewards points, you can redeem your Balance Rewards.

 

You’ll see these savings automatically when you check out using your Balance Rewards card, and you can also check your Balance Rewards account statement online.

 

6.  There are limits on how you can use your Balance Rewards Points.

If you’re purchasing an item that offers Register Rewards, you can purchase that item using Balance Rewards and still receive more Register Rewards.  You can also purchase an item that earns Balance Rewards using your Register Rewards. HOWEVER, you can not purchase an item that earns Balance Rewards and receive more Balance Rewards (just like you can’t purchase an item with Register Rewards and receive more Register Rewards.

 

 

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Stop back tomorrow to learn exactly how to use your Walgreens Register Rewards and Balance Rewards together, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 11): How To Save At Walgreens

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How to Save at Walgreens

Goodness, I’m a little anxious about trying to go through the ins and outs of shopping Walgreens (by far the hardest drug store to navigate), but there are so many good deals to be had if you’ll take the time to make sense of it! If you take the time to figure it out now, I promise on Thanksgiving Day (the drug stores “Black Friday”), you’ll score some serious deals at CVS and Walgreens, and you’ll be glad you took the time to figure it out.

 

Since Walgreens can be a little tricky to get started at, I recommend trying to pick up just one or two of their best deals as you get started. Once you get the hang of it you can pick up more items, but be careful as it’s easy to get overwhelmed when using coupons there!

The Basics of Walgreens Shopping

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1. Request a Balance Rewards Card.

Similar to CVS and Rite Aid, to save the most at Walgreens you’ll want to sign up for a Balance Rewards card.   You can get a card in the store, or sign up online.

2. Register your Walgreens Balance Rewards card online.

Take a few minutes to register your Balance Rewards card online, and you’ll be able to check your Balance Rewards Points from home. Balance Rewards Points will also print on the bottom of your receipt at checkout, however by having your account registered you may receive special offers via email.

3. Always use your Balance Rewards (BR) card when shopping.

Balance Rewards are tied to your Walgreens account, and  you must have a Balance Rewards Card to receive these special savings.

 

4. Walgreens offers two different types of special savings each week, in addition to their regular sales ad.

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Register Rewards

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Balance Rewards

 

Typically Register Rewards savings are the easiest deals to get each week at Walgreens, as they immediately print out at checkout to use on your next purchase!  

5. It is very important when shopping at Walgreens to put your coupons in the correct “order” as you checkout.

We’ll talk more about this over the next few days, but here’s just a peek as you get started:

  • First, give your cashier any Register Rewards that you’ve earned from a previous shopping trip.
  • Then use your manufacturer coupons.
  • Then use any Walgreens store coupons
  • Finally, use any of the Balance Rewards that available on your card.

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Important Note:   Because Walgreens requires that you purchase as many items as you have coupons for, watch for “filler items” in store when purchasing items using Register Rewards, manufacturer coupons, and store coupons.  Look for clearanced candy, pencils, or erasers so that you always have enough items to use each of your coupons.

 

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Stop back tomorrow to learn exactly how Register Rewards work at Walgreens, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies At The Drug Stores Day 10: Extra Rite Aid Tips

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Here are a few more questioned answered to help you make sure you’ve learned just about everything about how to shop at Rite Aid with coupons:

Does Rite Aid issue rain checks?

If an item at Rite Aid is sold out, request a rain check (even on +UP offers.) The +UPs can’t be printed manually, so the rain check will be written to include the +UPs savings. Purchase the item when it’s back in stock, and your cashier will manually adjust the price to include the +UPs savings.

Note that rain checks typically expire in 30 days.

Can I split up my +UPs deals between separate shopping trips?

If there’s a +UPs deal that requires you to spend XX dollars to get XX +UPs, you can separate that amount over several transactions and the +UPs will print once you hit your total amount.

For example . . .If you need to spend $30 to earn $5 in +UPs on Huggies products, you could spend $15 of that in one transaction and $15 in a separate transaction to earn the +UPs as long as you purchase them within the given week that they +UPs are offered.

 

Don’t forget to take advantage of Rite Aid’s Wellness Points program.

In addition to their +UPs program and store sales, Rite Aid offers a Wellness Points program that allows you to earn extra savings every time you shop at Rite Aid. Here are a few benefits:

  • Earn 1 point every time you spend $1 on non-prescription purchases at Rite Aid
  • Earn 25 points each time you purchase a prescription at Rite Aid
  • 250 points = 10% off all Rite Aid Brands regular prices, every day for 1 year + a 10% off shopping pass
  • 1000 points = 10% off the entire store’s regular prices, every day for 1 year

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Stop back tomorrow next week to learn how to shop Walgreens, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores Day 9: Make Sense of Rite Aid Scenarios

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Like shopping at CVS, the best way to take advantage of the really great deals each week at Rite Aid is to “roll” you +UP Rewards and split your savings into a few separate transactions. Be sure to remember that those +UP Rewards from your first trip won’t be added to your second trip until the following day at 6AM, so if you live a little further from Rite Aid you may want to bundle your deals all into one trip a week! Here’s what a Rite Aid shopping scenario should look like:

 

(Note, this is not an actual scenario for a current sale ~ you can find the current deals this week at Rite Aid HERE.)

Transaction #1

Buy 1 Dove Bar Soap 6 pack $7

Buy 1 Dove Advanced Care Deodorant $5, Earn $3 in +UPs when you buy 2 Dove Deodorant Products

Buy 1 Bic Soleil Razor $5.99, Earn $2 in +UPs when you buy 1 Bic Razor

Total before coupons and +UP Rewards = $17.99

  • Use $2.25/1 Dove Bar Soap coupon
  • Use $2/1 Dove Deodorant coupon
  • Also use $1 off Dove Rite Aid Video Values coupon
  • And use $3/1 Bic Soleil Razor coupon
  • And use $1/1 Bic Soleil Video Value coupon
  • Pay $8.74 out of pocket,
  • Get back $5 in +UP Rewards to use towards your next purchase

 

Transaction #2

Buy 1 Bausch & Lomb Dry Eye product $9.99, Earn $2 +UPs when you buy 1 Bausch & Lomb product

Total before coupons and +UP Rewards = $9.99

  • Use $4/1 Bausch & Lomb Dry Eye coupon
  • Use $5 in +UP Rewards from Transaction #1
  • Pay $.99 out of pocket
  • Get back $2 in +UPs to use towards your next purchase

 

Transaction #3

Buy 1 Skinny Cow Candy $3.79

Buy 1 Trident Gum $.79

Total before coupons and +UP Rewards = $4.58

  • Use $1/1 Skinny Cow manufacturer coupon
  • And use $1/1 Skinny Cow Rite Aid Video Value coupon
  • And use $.25/1 Trident Gum Rite Aid coupon
  • And use $2 in +UP Rewards from Transaction #2
  • Pay $.33 out of pocket
In this scenario you would spend $10.07 our of pocket for $32.56 in products, a savings of 70%!
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See how Shannon spent just over $4 for everything in the picture above in this week’s ad at Rite Aid – definitely stock up prices!

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Stop back tomorrow night for a few last minute tips on Rite Aid shopping, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores Day 7: Rite Aid Coupon Stacking & Exclusions

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Hopefully you’ve been able to make some sense of shopping Rite Aid so far this week, but I have a few more tips for you before we walk through a Rite Aid scenario.  Rite Aid has a lot of extra savings available each week, but you’ve got to be able to do a little work to get the best of all the deals.
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1. Rite Aid offers Rite Aid Video Value coupons.

If you really want to start saving big at Rite Aid, you’ll want to check out their Rite Aid Video Value coupons.  Watch a short video commercial for the item that’s offering a coupon, and after watching the video you’ll be offered a printable coupon. These videos re-set each month, and don’t expire until the middle of the following month they’re offered in.

To make sure you don’t miss any great deals, watch all the videos for any items you might possibly purchase, and then use them before the 15th of the following month with Rite Aid offers the beset sale on that item. Each coupon can be used one time, and will include the code RC48 in the bar code.

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2. Rite Aid also has in-ad coupons available each week.

Rite Aid offers in-ad coupons to be used in additional to manufacturer coupons each week.  Watch for the code RC49 in the bar code underneath the in-ad coupon to verify that it’s a Rite Aid store coupon.

3.  You can “stack” your Rite Aid store coupons and manufacturer coupons.

You can stack one manufacturer coupon and one Rite Aid coupon (with code RC49) on the same item at Rite Aid. AND to make it even more fun to shop Rite Aid, you can also stack those with a Rite Aid Video Value coupon (ending in RC48), so that you can potentially use three coupons on one item!

 

4. Rite Aid’s weekly ad varies some by area.

This is probably the one thing about shopping at Rite Aid that bothers me more than anything else, as the deals aren’t the same in all areas! Most of us will see a “long ad” each week at Rite Aid, including around 12 pages. However, some cities (I haven’t figured out exactly which ones) are given a “shortened” ad, which includes only 8 pages.

 

To find out which ad is in your area, go HERE and enter your zip code. If you have the shortened ad you won’t be offered al the deals that are included on our Rite Aid weekly lists (which I know is frustrating!), so if you have a certain item that you find on the Rite Aid weekly list that you really want, you may want to verify that it’s also on your local list. (You should be able to tell just by entering your zip code here which list you have – here in Columbus, Ohio my ad has 12 pages, but in Huntsville Alabama it was only 8 pages long.)

 

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Stop back tomorrow night for a few Rite Aid shopping scenarios, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores: What Is A Rite Aid +UP?

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Have you tried using the +UPs Program at Rite Aid yet? Here are a few basics to get you started ~ if you’re an avid Rite Aid shopper, I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions as well!

 

What Is A Rite Aid “+UP”?

1. What is a Rite Aid +UP?

At Rite aid each week in their weekly ad you’ll see items that are “+UP Reward” deals.  Similar to CVS ECBs, the very best savings at Rite Aid come with +UP deals. When you shop and purchase +UP deals you’ll receive a printout at the bottom of your receipt for a certain number of +UPs towards your next purchase.

2. +UPs are like real cash at Rite Aid.

+UPs are just like real cash to be used on a following trip at Rite Aid.  They expire two weeks from the date they’re issued, so be sure to use them before their expiration date.

3.  You can “roll” your +UP Rewards, but there are some exclusions.

To get the most for your money at Rite Aid, you’ll want to “roll” your +UPs from your first trip at Rite Aid towards your next trip, and then continue to use those to pay every time you go to the store. However, Rite Aid does not allow you to “roll” your +UP Rewards on the same day, instead you have to wait until the following day after 6 AM to use your +UP Rewards on another +UP offers or weekly sale item that week.

4. There are limits on how many +UPs Rewards you can earn per Wellness account.

There are limits on how many +UPs you will receive per card on a +UPs offer each week.  These limits are listed underneath the products in your Rite Aid weekly ad denoting (Limit per card).

 5. Use your +UP Rewards LAST when shopping at Rite to pay for your purchases.

When checking out at Rite Aid, you’ll want to use your manufacturer coupons and store coupons towards your purchase first, then use your +UP Rewards. Be sure to use +UPs that are less than the amount of your total purchase so that you don’t lose any of the value of your UPs. (Since you can’t split up +UPs into more than one transaction, any amount that you have on your ECB over the amount of your purchase would be adjusted down, and you would lose that extra value.)

Here’s the order you’ll want to give your coupons to your cashier in at Rite Aid:

1. Give your cashier any Rite Aid store coupons including in-ad and Rite Aid Video Value coupons (we’ll talk about those more tomorrow night but you can check them out over HERE.)
3. Then use any manufacturer coupons.
4. Finally, use +UP Rewards that you’ve received from a previous shopping trip to lower your out-of-pocket expense even further.

 

 

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Stop back tomorrow night for more tips on Rite Aid shopping, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 6): How To Save At Rite Aid

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How to Save a Rite Aid

Any Rite Aid Shoppers out there?  I know so many folks just love CVS (and sometimes Walgreens too. . .) but my penny pinching friend Shannon and I always discuss that Rite Aid just might be the unsung hero of the drug store game.

 

For whatever reason, Rite Aid never seems to get quite the publicity that CVS and Walgreens do (possibly because they started their rewards program after CVS and Walgreens I think?) but there are deals to be had there. I’ve found that most of the deals at the drug stores go around to each store (i.e., that P&G sale that’s going on one week at CVS may be pretty similar a few weeks later at Rite Aid, and then on sale the next week at Walgreens), so my recommendation is to pick one store (to make things easy maybe the one nearest your home), and learn to shop just that one store really, really well.

 

So, how do you start shopping at Rite Aid? Let’s get started . . .

 

The Basics of Rite Aid Shopping

1. Request a Wellness+ Card

Sign up for a Wellness+ Card at your local Rite Aid or request one online.

2. Also register your Wellness+ Card online.

Just like using your card at CVS, you’ll want to register your Wellness+ card online at Rite Aid to get additional savings added to your Wellness+ account. 

3.  Rite Aid offers UP Rewards (+UPs) as their rewards program.

Again, similar to CVS, Rite AId offers UP Rewards (+UPs) when you purchase participating items in the sale ad each week. Purchasing items that earn +UPs is the best way to save at Rite Aid, and these rewards are tied to your Wellness account, so be sure to use your Wellness account when you shop Rite Aid.

4.  Rite Aid offers two kinds of sales each week.

When shopping Rite Aid, watch for traditional store sales updated each Sunday, as well as +UPs offers.  Typically your very best buys of the week at Rite Aid will be the +UP offers, but take a few minutes to also scan the weekly ad for any extra deals. Rite Aid does offer Buy One Get One products occasionally as well as clearance sales, which really can help add to your savings.

 5. If you forget your Wellness card when shopping at Rite Aid, you can use the phone number associated with your card to still get those savings.

 

 

You can find all the Rite Aid deals this week HERE to work on before you shop ~ and I’ll update soon with a Rite Aid scenario as well to get you started!

 

 

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Stop back tomorrow night for more tips on Rite Aid shopping, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to drug store shopping, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 5): Extra CVS Tips

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Ready to finish up learning how to shop CVS using coupons? (You can do this!) First you’ll want to read through these posts if you haven’t already:

 

I got a great question last night asking about whether or not it’s really worth using shopping CVS for their ECB deals, and thought it was so worth discussing, so here goes:

“I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll know what to buy. It seems that you have to buy things you don’t necessarily need to get the ECB’s. Is that what you post with your deals at CVS weekly posts? So a newbie like me should just follow those scenarios and buy what you say until I pick it up on my own? Sorry. I really want to do this, but I don’t want to spend money on items I don’t need. I understand donation items too, but is it worth it for what I’m actually going to need and use?”

 

Here was my response:

I (completely!) understand! The thing that I’ve figured out over the years is that there’s a basic cycle to shopping at the drug stores, so if I can get on their sales cycle to purchase things (deodorant, shampoo, paper products, toothpaste, etc), I end up with everything I need for just a few dollars over the course of several months. It is easier in the beginning to follow the scenarios (I think?) and then once you get the hang of out to roll your ECBs you can venture out for different items. BUT the trick to the drug stores is to really snag the deals that are next to nothing with ECBs, so some weeks you get things you may not use (I only get those if they’re free or just way too good a deal not to donate), and then roll those into more deals the following week. 

 

As with all stores, the drug stores have a certain cycle to their sales, and if you can change your shopping so that you the ads based on their sales cycles, you will save a ton of money. Drug store shopping isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got a little energy to put into it, I promise you can save hundreds, of not thousands of dollars!

 

Okie dokie ~ here are a few more tips to help you make sure you’ve learned just about everything about how to shop at CVS with coupons:

 

1. Watch for additional monthly CVS ECB offers.

Just like weekly Extra Care Bucks offers, CVS offers monthly ECB offers that work exactly the same way as weekly ECB sales, however they’re available for an entire month.

 

2.  CVS will give you Quarterly ECBs depending on how often you shop CVS.

CVS Quarterly ECBs are earned each quarter, including approximately 2% cash back on most CVS purchases. To qualify for these savings, you must spend at least $25 at CVS in a given quarter, and your CVS Quarterly ECBs will printout once each quarter while shopping.

 

3.  CVS offers additional ECBs when you fill a prescription.

In addition to Quarterly ECBs based on your purchases in a given quarter, you’ll also earn ECBs every time you fill a prescription at CVS.  For every 2 prescriptions filled at CVS, you’ll get $1 in ECBs.

 

4.  CVS gives Beauty Club Points when you purchase participating products.

In addition to CVS ECBs and Quarterly Rewards, earn CVS beauty Club points when you shop. To get those savings, sign up for the CVS Beauty Club and link your CVS Extra Care Card to your Beauty Club account. For every $50 you spend on beauty products at CVS, you’ll get $5 in ECBs! Items included are things like hair care and accessories, skin care, cosmetics, etc.

 

5. CVS offers Rain Checks.

If you get to CVS and they’re out of a product (including ECB offers), request a rain check. Then purchase the item when it’s back in stock and your cashier will manually print the ECB savings when the item is back in stock. Rain checks do not expire at CVS.

 

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So there you have it ~ just about everything you can learn about CVS’ing, hopefully covered for you! Next week will start working on Rite Aid (they have some incredible deals there too!), which hopefully will help you pinch a few more pennies out of your grocery budget.  Let me know what other tips, suggestions, or questions you have in the comments section – I love hearing from you!

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 4): Make Sense of CVS Scenarios

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Last night we discussed what a CVS “ECB” (Extra Care Buck) is, so tonight it’s time to really put that into practice! I know it feels like a lot to understand if you’re new to drug store shopping, but I promise the deals at the drug stores are worth it (especially on Thanksgiving, which is just around the corner really!) My goal is for you to really grasp drug store shopping prior to the big sales days which are coming up not too far from now.

 

Each Friday night here on PPP, my friend Shannon does a ton of work putting together a scenario that maps out exactly how to get the most for your money the following Sunday at CVSYou can check always check those scenarios out in the CVS archives, but here’s just one example of how these scenarios will work.

 

(Note, this is not an actual scenario for a current sale ~ you can find those HERE.)

 

CVS Scenarios Example

Transaction #1

Buy 2 Colgate Multipack Toothbrushes $4.49 (Total = $8.98), Earn $3 in ECBs when you buy 2 Colgate Toothbrushes

Buy 1 Scope Mouthwash $3.99, (Total = $3.99), Earn $3 in ECBs when you buy 2 Scope Mouthwashes

Total before coupons and ECBs = $12.97

  • Use (2) $2/1 Colgate coupons
  • AND use (1) $1/1 Scope coupon
  • Pay $7.97 out of pocket
  • Get back $6 in ECBs to use towards your next CVS purchase ($3 in ECBs because you bough 2 Colgate and $3 in ECBs because you bought 1 Scope)
Transaction #2

Buy 2 Right Guard Deodorants $3 (Total = $6)

Buy 1 Zantac $8.99 (Total = $8.99) Earn $4 in ECBs when you buy 1 Zantac

Total before coupons and ECBs = $14.99

  • Use (2) $1.50/1 Right Guard coupons
  • AND use $4/1 Zantac coupon
  • AND use $6 ECBs from Transaction #1
  • Pay $1.99 out of pocket
  • Get back $4 in ECBs to use towards your next CVS purchase ($4 in ECBs because you bought 1 Zantac)

 

Transaction #3

Buy 1 CVS Diapers $6.99 (Total = $6.99), Earn $2 in ECBs when you buy 1 CVS diapers

Total before coupons and ECBs = $6.99

  • Use $2/1 CVS diaper coupon
  • AND use $4 in ECBs from Transaction #2
  • Pay $.99 out of pocket
  • Get back $2 in ECBs to use towards other items at CVS OR save them to use on a new ECB deal in the future!

 

 

If there’s an ECB offer that requires you to spend XX dollars to get XX ECBS, you can separate that amount over several transactions.

 

In this scenario you would spend $10.95 out of pocket for $35.95 in products, AND get back $2 in ECBs to use on a future purchase. That makes your total for all 7 items (including a pack of diapers) just $8.95 after coupons and Extra Care Bucks, and a savings of 75%!

 

 

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Stop back tomorrow night for a few final CVS’ing tips, and let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to CVS’ing, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 3): What Is A CVS “ECB”

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So we got through the very beginning basics of How to Save at CVS last night (are you still with me?) so tonight it’s time to start confusing you. 😉 Really though, once you figure out how to “roll” your ECBs at CVS you’ll be well on your way to saving big, so let’s get started!

 

What Is A CVS “ECB”?

1. What is an ECB?

At CVS, each week in their weekly ad you’ll see items that are “Extra Care Buck” (ECB) deals.  As I mentioned last night, the very best savings at CVS come from their ECB deals. When you shop and purchase ECB deals you’ll receive a printout at the bottom of your receipt for a certain number of ECBs towards your next purchase.

2. ECBs are like real cash at CVS.

Extra Care Bucks are just like real cash to be used on a following trip at CVS (in fact, I keep my ECBs in my wallet next to my cash so I don’t forget them!) They typically expire in 30 days, so be sure to use them before their expiration date.

3.  You can “roll” your Extra Care Bucks.

To get the most bang for your CVS buck, you’ll want to “roll” ECBs from your first trip at CVS towards your next trip, and then continue to use those to pay every time you go to the store. You can even “roll” those ECBs on the same day or in the same week to keep your initial out-of-pocket costs low!

 4.  You can separate ECB deals into separate transactions.

If there’s an ECB offer that requires you to spend XX dollars to get XX ECBS, you can separate that amount over several transactions.

 

For example: If you need to spend $30 to earn $5 in Extra Care Bucks on Proctor & Gable products, you can spend $15 of that in one transaction and $15 in a separate transaction to earn the ECBs, as long as you purchase them within the given week that they are offered. 

 

 5. Use your highest value ECB first when checking out.

When checking out at CVS, you’ll want to use your highest value ECB first towards your purchase, so that you can save smaller ECBs for smaller purchases.  Be sure to use ECBs that are less than the amount of your total purchase so that you don’t lose any of the value of your ECBs. (Since you can’t split up ECBs into more than one transaction, any amount that you have on your ECB over the amount of your purchase would be adjusted down, and you would lose that extra value.

 

6. Easily check out at CVS.

If you have your coupons ordered a certain way, you will save the most when shopping at CVS. Here’s the order that I use when shopping CVS:

1. Give your cashier any CVS store coupons for money off your total purchase (for example an email coupon from CVS for $3 off your $10 purchase.)
2. Next, give your chasier any CVS store coupons for a specific item you’re purchasing.
3. Then use any manufacturer coupons.
4. Finally, use ECBs that you’ve received from a previous shopping trip to lower your out-of-pocket expense even further.

 

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Stop back tomorrow night when we’ll go over some very specific transaction examples, and be sure to let me know what questions and suggestions you have as well! If you’re new to CVS’ing, you’ll want to also read through these posts to get started:

 

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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 2): How To Save At CVS

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How to Save at CVS

Since CVS is by far the easiest drug store to shop with coupons (at least in my opinion?) I figured we’d start off this week working on how to shop CVS using coupons. Now, we’re going to start with very basic information here (so you seasoned CVS’ers may find all this old news), but I want to make it as simple to follow as possible for folks who’ve never used a coupon in their lives.

 

(Hopefully we’ll all learn a thing or two, and if you see anything that I  miss please add that information to the comments section so I can get it added!)  Here goes. . .

The Basics of CVS Shopping

1.  Request a CVS Extra Care Card.

You can get a CVS card at your local store or sign up for one on the CVS website.

2.  Also register your CVS card online.

CVS emails out coupons fairly regularly, so you’ll want to register your card HERE to make sure you don’t miss any deals.   Just for signing up for a card you may receive a coupon for a few dollars off your purchase. Definitely take a few minutes to sign up to get some extra savings!

3.  Use your Extra Care Card every time you shop.

Using your Extra Care Card every time you shop will  help make sure that CVS sends you tarted coupons, and you won’t miss out on any extra savings.  If you forget your card at home you may use the phone number tied to your account when checking out so that you don’t lose any savings.

 Note that you should have only one CVS card per household. There is some debate on this one, however I feel like it’s not worth sacrificing my integrity for a deal – and I promise there are plenty of deals even with just one card!

 

4. Scan  your CVS card at the red coupon machine.

As soon as you walk in the door at CVS, you’ll notice a red machine where you can scan your card to receive extra coupons. You’ll also get targeted savings, as well as a coupon for a free item occasionally! CVS uses these coupons to motivate you to shop, and since these they’re store coupons, you can “stack” them with additional manufacturer coupons to save even more. (We’ll talk more about stacking coupons at CVS shortly.)

5. CVS offers two kinds of sales each week.

When shopping CVS, watch for traditional store sales updated each Sunday, as well as “Extra Care Buck” (ECB) offers. Typically your very best buys of the the week at CVS will be the ECB deals, but always scan through the weekly ad to see what items get you the most for your money! CVS sometimes offers Buy One Get One offers (often on toiletries or detergents), and those savings can be as much or more than the regular ECB savings.

 

Also watch for clearance items throughout the store, as clearance items in addition to Extra Care discounts will be the best you’ll find in the store!

 

Always (always!) be nice to your cashier. It’s completely worth it, and will make you feel good too!



 

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Today’s CVS Trip: See how Shannon bought everything above for $3.84 today at CVS

Stop back tomorrow night when I’ll explain more about what Extra Care Bucks are and how to use them, and how to “roll” your Extra Care Bucks. Be sure to prepare for the series by reading through this week’s CVS deals, and if you have friends who could benefit from saving on diapers, toiletries, paper products and more, I’d love for you to invite them to join us too!

 

 

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What questions do you have about shopping the drug stores? Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to tackle your questions throughout the series – I promise you can do this!
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15 Days of Pinching Pennies at the Drug Stores (Day 1)

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Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much your family spends at the grocery store?

 

Would you love to save 70%, 80%, or even 90% on toiletries, cleaning supplies, paper products and more?

 

Could weekly savings on basic household staples give your family additional freedom in your finances?

 

I promise, you can save at the drug stores with these simple tips.

 

Shopping at the drug stores is an incredible way to drastically reduce your shopping budget, but it takes a little time to learn the ins and outs of shopping using coupons at the drug stores. To help make it easier for you to pinch those pennies at the drug stores,  I’ve compiled dozens of tips that I’ll share over the course of the next three weeks, which will help you learn exactly how to save, every time you shop at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

 

I started using coupons at the drug stores back in 2006 when a good friend told me how much she was saving at the drug stores. My kids were younger then, so I stocked up on diapers, baby wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and just about everything else in the store by using coupons matched up with the stores sales ads and any additional offers. The first year that I shopped at CVS alone I saved over $1,500 ~ clearly I was hooked!

 

Over the years the deals have changed a bit and penny pinching with coupons isn’t quite as easy as it once was, however I promise you can save if you’re willing to put in a little effort. Saving at the drug stores does take some work and determination, but if you’re willing to put in some time initially to learn your favorite drug store’s policies, I guarantee you’ll see changes in your family’s shopping budget.

 

To get started, I recommend choosing one store to focus on and learn everything you can about how to shop strategically at that one store. (I typically choose one that’s closest to my home especially if it’s well-stocked, as many of the same items go on sale at each of the drug stores throughout the course of a month or two.)  Once you’ve mastered shopping at that store, you may want to tackle learning to shop a second drug store, but keep it manageable so that you’re not overwhelmed. (This will help you stick with it, and since so many deals rotate you won’t miss out on many savings!)

 

QUICK TIP:  The very best savings of the year at CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens typically happens on Thanksgiving Day (not Black Friday like most other retailers.) To really save big, learn to pinch your pennies at the drug stores throughout the year, so you’ll be ready to easily save when the big day comes around!

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{Today’s CVS trip: Spent $9.64 after coupons, ECBs & rebates for everything above}

Stop back tomorrow night as we’ll delve into the basics of CVS shopping, and in the meantime you can prepare for the CVS portion of the series by reading through this week’s CVS deals. If you have friends who could benefit from saving on diapers, toiletries, paper products and more, I’d love for you to invite them to join us too!

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What questions do you have about shopping the drug stores? Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to tackle your questions throughout the series – I promise you can do this!

 

 

 

 

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