Play the Drug Store Game

So here is the long awaited post #4 in  my mini-series on Couponing: Play the Drug Store Game

At first I was not convinced that it would be worth it for me to go to an additional store (besides the grocery store or Target) each week and I thought that drug stores were notorious for having over-priced merchandise.  But, I was wrong!  I’ve actually saved the most percentage-wise (around 70%) by shopping at drug stores (CVS and Walgreens)!  It is a little tricky, though, and takes awhile to get the hang of things.

CVSCVS has some of the best deals when you enroll in their Extra Care Rewards Program.

  • Extra Care Bucks (or ECBs) are basically coupons that are printed out after you purchase an item that you can use on your next shopping trip (or transaction).
  • Almost every week there are deals advertised as FREE after ECBs (that means that you get the purchase price of the item back in the form of a coupon to use later)!
  • ECBs do expire – I think it’s about a month from the date it is printed – so another thing to keep in mind is that you have to use it before the expiration date or else you lose that money.
  • ECBs can be combined with manufacturers coupons which saves you even more and there is no limit to the number of ECBs you can use in one transaction (though you don’t get any “change” back from ECBs).
  • I usually ask to do multiple transactions, buying the items that will produce ECBs first and then purchasing other items using the printed ECBs.
  • Again, following a blog that will do the coupon matching for you will make shopping at CVS much easier! You can also read much more detailed instructions on shopping at CVS here.

WalgreensWalgreens also has some good deals, but usually not quite as good as CVS.

  • Walgreens’ sale ads usually have several store coupons in them which can be “stacked” or combined WITH a manufacturer coupon, saving you more.  They also have a monthly coupon booklet that you can pick up in the store that have several store coupons that work the same way.
  • They also have printed coupons that work similar to ECBs, but are called Register Rewards (RRs).  These are coupons that are printed after purchasing an item that can be used on another transaction.  There is no limit to the number of RR deals you can get (unlike at CVS), however, it will not print another RR for the same item if you use a printed RR to purchase that item.  OK, so it is a little confusing…  You can read more details on shopping at Walgreens here.

I’ve just moved to an area where there are also Rite Aid drug stores, but I haven’t figured them out yet.  It seems very complicated, but may be worth checking into more.  Here is a website for learning more about shopping at Rite Aid.

What are your tips for shopping at drug stores?

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