Local drugstores might sell many of our basic supplies, from toothpaste to shampoo to notebooks, but the deals available at them often get overlooked. In addition to traditional coupons, drugstores often offer loyalty programs that come with extra markdowns as well as other types of rewards programs. To make sure you’re not leaving money on the table, check out these five strategies and consider applying them to your life. Learning how to work the coupons and sales at the drugstore to save on necessities that you regularly purchase can go a long way toward putting extra money in your bank account.
1. Register for your store’s rewards program.
Nearly every drugstore has a rewards program these days. Walgreens has Balance Rewards, CVS has ExtraCare and RiteAid has Wellness+ with Plenti. If you register for these programs and agree to receive emails from them, then you will receive frequent emails, but there will be gems among them. About once a week I receive a coupon for 20 percent off my entire CVS order, for example. You just have to stay organized enough to remember to use those discounts toward your next purchase.
Tip: If you don’t like carrying around keycards, download a smartphone app that keeps track of all of your rewards programs and account numbers. I have been using the Key Ring app for a few years now and it works great.
2. Use manufacturers coupons.
I used to pick up a Sunday newspaper each week specifically for the coupons, but now I print them at home. Sites like coupons.com make it really easy to access manufacturers coupons for free. Since most manufacturers coupons usually have an expiration date that is at least one month into the future, hold on to the coupons until you find a great deal.
Tip: If you are printing coupons at home, be sure to hit “back” on your browser and you should be able to print most coupons twice. (You will want to check on each company’s rules and regulations to make sure you’re following them.)
3. Look for store coupon books.
Walgreens has a store coupon book that is usually located near the stack of circulars toward the front of the store. Occasionally other stores have kept random store coupon books at the pharmacy desk or right on store shelves. Taking a few minutes to comb through them can end up saving you big time.
Tip: These coupon books are frequently filled with high-value store coupons that can be combined with sales and manufacturers coupons for additional savings. Don’t be afraid to double up!
4. Combine sales with coupons.
Each store posts their weekly circular online, so you can always check to see what is on sale and compare the sales with any coupons that are available. Alternatively, there are many blogs that match the sales in the circulars with any available coupons. Bookmark your favorite sites that frequently deliver the best deals. That way, you can take advantage of the work bloggers have already done to help you locate the best deals for you.
Tip: Perusing these sites regularly is an easy way to save both time and money. Two of my favorite sites that do store match-ups are bargainbriana.com and moneysavingmom.com.
5. Shop online
Everything is online these days, including online drugstores like drugstore.com, or the online branches of national chains. While you can’t buy prescription drugs at these stores, you can find drugstore beauty products and other drugstore staples such as vitamins, cleaning supplies, personal care items and pain relievers.
With these tips, you should be able to shave off 20 percent or more from your next trip to the drugstore. Since the cost of personal hygiene products as well as extras like cards or lip gloss (or even cold medicine) can really add up, those discounts can go a long way toward helping your overall budget.