I've hesitated in doing a drug store series because I really think drug store shopping can be painfully overwhelming! But, while preparing for our upcoming coupon class, I recognized that some people really do want to figure this out, so I'll be sharing the quickest crash course on drug store deals you've ever seen! 🙂
My biggest suggestion is to start with just one drug store, rather than hunting down every deal in town. And to be honest, while I post some fabulous drug store scenarios, I hardly ever actually go to the drug stores (gasp!) They simply take a lot of work . . . and time . . . and organization (not always my strong suit!) BUT, when I first began couponing and loved finding every deal available, I did get some amazing deals thanks to CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. I've just found that I don't still have enough time to do all those deals these days! (And, while the deals are still pretty good, I don't think they're quite as good as they were when I first began couponing several years ago.) In case you've just been dreaming of figuring out the drug stores though, 🙂 here you go. . .
Basic Drug Store Information
All three drug stores offer similar programs which essentially allow you to earn money towards your next shopping trip when you purchase specific items. However, the coupon policies at Walgreens, Rite Aid & CVS vary significantly, so it's important to know what your store's policy allows before heading out to shop.
How To Use Coupons At CVS
- To get the most out of CVS shopping, you'll need to sign up for their Extra Care card. You can pick up a card in thestore, but take a few minutes to also register your card online so that you'll get access to additional coupons fromCVS. (Typically you get a coupon just for signing up, and then occasionally CVS coupons may also e-mailed to you.)
- CVS accepts one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item.
- The red kiosk found in CVS stores often prints out coupons towards your CVS purchases. Take a minute to scan your CVS card before you start shopping to see if you get any free offers!
- CVS allows you to use as many ECBs as you'd like on each purchase, and ECBs typically expire within one month ofpurchase.
- CVS offers Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) when you purchase specific items at CVS. Typically CVS offers one or two items each week that are free when you have the right coupons, AFTER your coupon and ECBs. These items include things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, razors, etc. So your goal is to purchase these items, get a few ECBs to use on your next purchase, and “roll” them towards a new (free!) deal! Here's an example of how that works at CVS:
Buy 2 Neutrogena Sunscreens at $8.49 each (My store had the sticks on sale for $8.49 each week, however they were out of them so you may need to ask for a rain check!
- Use (2) $2/1 Neutrogena Suncare Product
- Pay $12.98 out of pocket, Get $10 in Extra Care Bucks towards your next purchase
So, in the example above you can either use those $10 in ECBs towards items you need anyways, or save them towards a future ECB offer at CVS. To really do well in the drug stores, you'll want to save those $10 in ECBs to use on a future purchase (unless there's another great deal that you need in the current ad at CVS!)
Typically, CVS limits how many times you can purchase a deal and receive Extra Care Bucks, so be sure to watch the limit numbers (you'll see the limit written right underneath each offer in the ad.) In the example above, let's say there is a limit of two Neutrogena offers per card. If so, you could actually purchase 2 Neutrogena Suncare items, get $10 in ECBs,and “roll” those ECBs to purchase more Neutrogena Suncare! If the offer limit was one per card, you could simplysave those $10 in ECBsto use on another offer at CVS.
So, those are my very quick tips on how to shop CVS. What other suggestions do you have, and which drug store is your store of choice?