Hey y’all! Today we start our week of saving at specific stores with a look at saving at drug stores/pharmacies. There is a wealth of information out there about each of the stores I’ve chosen to highlight so I’ve provided links for you to dig deeper if you’re so inclined. I’ll be taking time to hit the high points and introduce you to saving at what I consider the Big 3 – CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

I’ve also provided links to each store’s coupon policy. You should print a copy of the store coupon policy for every store you shop at and keep it with you when shopping. Not every store employee knows the proper policy (though they should) and if there’s a problem at check out you can whip out your copy and politely correct them. Key word: politely. Make sure you’ve read and understand it as well. Remember – the best savings tip I can offer you is to educate yourself. A little knowledge goes a long way.

Saving at CVS

Why I Love It

CVS is by far my favorite drug store for deals. If you’re not familiar with CVS, I urge you to run, not walk, to your local store and snoop around. By signing up for their Extra Care Rewards program, you have access to fantastic sales (this is one of those stores where I’ll break my own rules to buy household goods and even groceries), cash back toward future purchases, and personalized coupons. I routinely get 20 – 30% off entire purchase coupons in my e-mail inbox.

As I mentioned before, CVS also allows you to stack coupons – use one manufacturer’s coupon and one CVS coupon per item. I’ve stacked coupons on individual items and also used a percent off total purchase coupon in the same trip.

Each week, CVS also picks items that will earn you cash back called Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) by purchasing a certain dollar amount or quantity of product. You also earn quarterly 2% ECBs based on how much you’ve spent in total for the quarter.

CVS offers ExtraCare Bucks Rewards. This add shows that you can earn $10 in rewards by purchasing $30 worth of items show in this box. 

What You Should Do To Save Big

  1. Get the CVS Extra Care Card – It’s free. This is what scores you sale pricing and all those lovely ECBs. Scan it each time you walk in the store (there’s a coupon machine near the front door) to score coupons just for you! (New trick I learned recently – you can scan it more than once at the magic machine. Shhh. Don’t tell.)
  2. Get the Bag Tag – Near the door or at the register you’ll find a green leaf tag that you can attach to your reusable shopping bag. Have the checker scan the bag tag each time you make a purchase in the store and after 4 scans, you get a dollar in ECBs toward your next purchase.
  3. Join the Beauty Club. For each $50 you spend in cosmetics purchases you earn $5.00 in ECBs.
  4. Grab the CVS app on your phone or mobile device. I know this is available for both iPhone and Android devices. It gives you access to more coupons and savings and you can check the weekly flyer on it. It also scores you major deals on photo processing and you can upload pictures right from your phone!
  5. Once you start raking in all those Extra Care Bucks, save them but don’t forget to use them! The way all those crazy extreme couponers score free stuff and get paid to shop is by saving all of that free money and then spending it solely on products that are also offered with ECB deals. They shop with that free money, pay little to nothing and get money back in ECBs. It takes a little time to start rolling your ECBs but it does work if you’re diligent.
  6. Follow Wild for CVS on Facebook to get information on coupon match ups and sales. (Wild for CVS is a blog, but I generally access it via their Facebook page. Follow them in whatever way is easiest for you.)

Click HERE for CVS’ coupon policy.

Click HERE to find out more about CVS Extra Care Rewards (sign up!), ExtraCare Beauty Club, and Bag Tag.

Saving at Walgreens

Why I Love It

I’ll admit to you that Walgreens has recently changed it’s rewards program so I’m still learning the new system myself. In the past, you earned Register Rewards just by shopping – no card required. Now, they’ve implemented their Balance Rewards Card program that is required to get sale pricing and cash back. You to earn reward points toward cash back by purchasing items that offer reward points – specials run weekly. Once you get to 5000 points you earn $5.00 to spend in store. So far, it seems that points are relatively easy to earn (You can even earn points by walking!).

Here you can earn 500 Balance Rewards points when you buy two Starbucks Frappucino 4 pks.

What I love about Walgreens is that while their regular prices are generally higher than say, Target, they run great sales, even on grocery items. A friend and I were out shopping once and we stopped in to Walgreens because I wanted to check on an item I’d been looking for and she marveled aloud, “Who would buy their groceries from Walgreens?”. I giggled and raised my hand. It’s the truth. I’ve done it. This hearkens back to knowing what is a good sale and what isn’t. If I can get something at or below my target price, I’ll buy it pretty much anywhere. Sometimes they run fantastic deals on eggs and milk.

What You Should Do To Save Big

Make sure you grab a monthly savings book for in store coupons and rebate offers!

  1. Sign up for Balance Rewards. It’s free and you’ll need the card to get sale prices and rewards.
  2. Pick up a monthly savings book in store each month for store coupons. (Free!)
  3. Get the app. Walgreens, like CVS, has a mobile phone app full of goodies, savings, the weekly flyer and the monthly savings book. 
  4. Follow Wild for Wags on Facebook for coupon match ups and sale information. (Wild for Wags is a blog but I generally access it via their Facebook page. Follow whichever way is easiest for you.)

Click HERE for Walgreens’ coupon policy.

Click HERE to find out more about Balance Rewards (sign up!).

Saving at Rite Aid

Why I Love It

I’m going to be super honest with you here and tell you that I don’t really love Rite Aid. Their prices are crazy high and their rewards program isn’t all that great. Similar to CVS, you earn cash back rewards called +UP Rewards. They also offer Single Check Rebates that you can apply for once a month through their monthly savings booklet.

Generally, I don’t find great deals – but it does happen. To their credit, I will say that I love their cosmetics section – they have great selection and occasionally they’ll have nice sales.

What You Should Do To Save Big

  1. Sign up for +UP Rewards. It’s free.
  2. Grab a monthly Single Check Rebate flyer in store to cash in on their rebate deals.
  3. Get the Rite Aid app on your smart phone. 

Click HERE for Rite Aid’s coupon policy.

Click HERE to learn more about +UP Rewards and Single Check Rebates.

A Tip (or Two) For All of the Stores Above

Pay attention to required quantities and limits on sale items. Most of the time when something is on a steep sale, CVS, Wags and Rite Aid limit the number you can purchase. Sometimes you have to purchase a certain quantity to get the cash back rewards. It varies. Just keep an eye out.

Remember to pay attention to the fine print on any deal! This +UP Reward offer limits you to three +UP rewards on this product deal (meaning you can work the deal three times) and in order to get the sale price you have to buy two bottles.

Do the math! I can’t say that enough. You need to know what things cost in your area, and you need to maintain a list of target prices (even if it’s in your head – mine resides there after several years of practice) in order to get the best deals. Percent saved is not the only benchmark of a good saver!

You can use coupons and earn rewards at the same time. Maximize your savings! Combine coupons with sale prices and cash back rewards.

Final Thoughts

Whew. I know that’s a lot of information to process all at once. Frankly, I think you should start small and work on learning CVS’ ExtraCare program and then branch out. That’s how I did it.

I hope this information was helpful and if you have questions – please don’t hesitate to ask. I will do my best to answer them for you.


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