Tag Archives: CVS

Snag great deals on everyday items while wrapping up your Christmas shopping

In the midst of your Christmas shopping this week, there are very good deals to be had on non-gift items. Twelve-packs of Coca-Cola products have reached the lowest price I’ve seen in a long time. You can get four packs for $11 this week at Kroger ($2.75 each) or three packs for $9 at Target ($3 each). At Kroger, you must use your Kroger Plus card to get the savings. If you buy more than four packs, the price goes up to $3.25 each. At Target, there’s a limit of six 12-packs per customer.

My buy price for Coca-Cola 12-packs used to be $2.50, but I haven’t seen them reach that mark in a long time. To learn more about how tracking buy prices can save you money, check out my previous post on this subject.

Another great deal available this week is on lipstick. CVS has tubes of Revlon ColorBurst or ColorStay Ultimate for $6.49, but you get $4 in Extrabucks on each one, making the final cost just $2.49. This is an excellent price when you consider that other brand-name makeup sold at superstores costs $6 a tube or more. I have used this lipstick and found it to be a good-quality product. There is a limit of six lipsticks per customer.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Extrabucks program, find out how it can help you get items at very low prices or even for free.

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Get free greeting cards at CVS–all you pay is sales tax!

There’s a great deal on birthday, sympathy, thank you, “missing you” and other greeting cards this week at CVS. When you buy three American Greetings cards, you receive $3 in CVS ExtraBucks. CVS has a wide range of cards, including a section priced at 99 cents. If you buy three of those cheap cards, you’ll have 3 cents leftover to apply toward sales tax.

The American Greetings promotion excludes papyrus and boxed cards. Like most ExtraBucks promotions, each customer can only cash in on the deal once. This offer runs through Saturday, November 5.

If you’re unfamiliar with the CVS Extra Bucks program and why it’s such a great thing to participate in, check out my previous post on the topic.

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To get the best deals, track “buy prices” on your favorite items

When you see an item you like on sale, you may snatch it up and assume you’re getting a great deal. But one store’s sale price may be equal to or higher than the regular price at another retailer. To make sure you take advantage of the best deals on products you buy frequently, you need to determine their “buy prices.” This is the price at which you can take action and buy the item, knowing you’re getting it at its lowest cost.

For example, I’ve determined my buy price for Coca-Cola 12-packs is $2.50 each. This price is offered by CVS every so often in sales ads, and I’ve never found another store in my area that beats this price. When I see that sale at CVS, I stock up so I don’t run out of soda before the next sale rolls around. At Kroger, I know 99 cents per pound is the best price on bone-in, split chicken breasts, so I buy extra when this sale runs and store them in my chest freezer. This is a lower price than I could get at my local warehouse club.

Since costs can vary by geographic area, the best way to determine buy prices on your favorite items is to track them over a period of several weeks. This may seem like an overwhelming task, so start small. Pick three to five items you use often, and then note their prices when you see them in the stores where you normally shop and in sales ads. Follow the prices for at 6 to 8 weeks. Then, jot down the lowest price you’ve seen for each item in a small notebook you can carry with you when shopping. This will allow you to buy with confidence when you see store specials, or wait for a better price.

Over time, you can develop a substantial list of buy prices. Having them written down prevents you from guessing incorrectly about which prices are a good deal. I’ve tracked the buy prices for chicken, canned soup, pet supplies, ice cream, toiletries and more. A little homework can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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Walgreens’ Register Rewards program not worth the effort

I recently highlighted how you can use the CVS Extra Bucks program to get cheap and free items without spending a lot of time clipping coupons. Walgreens has a similar program called Register Rewards. Unlike the CVS program, you don’t have to register to participate in Register Rewards. While this is an admirable feature of the program, it fails to deliver a good overall experience.

With Register Rewards, Walgreens offers select items at a sale price each week, then gives you extra savings in the form of a coupon you can use on most merchandise during a future shopping trip. Here’s why I think the program isn’t as good as the CVS Extra Bucks promotions:

Prices: Walgreens generally charges more than CVS for similar products. This week, Walgreens had Softsoap body wash for 2 for $4 with Register Rewards; the CVS price with Extra Bucks was 2 for $2. Even when items are on sale at Walgreens, you can often get them cheaper at a discount retailer like Walmart.

Expiration dates: CVS usually gives you a month to redeem the Extra Bucks coupons you receive. Walgreens only gives you two weeks. Sometimes, Walgreens doesn’t have anything on sale I want within two weeks, and I have to use the coupons on something else.

Bonuses: CVS gives you bonus Extra Bucks on a seasonal basis, based on how much you’ve spent in the store in the preceding months. Walgreens can’t offer this feature since you don’t register to use the Register Rewards program.

Signage: I have lived in two different states this year and shopped at Walgreens stores in both locations. I consistently find the stores do a poor job of putting up signs to help you identify which specific products are included in the Register Rewards program that week. For example, there may be 15 types of Colgate toothpaste on the shelf, but only one specific type and size qualifies for the reward.

In-store coupons: To get sale prices on many of its items, Walgreens requires you to redeem coupons you must clip out of its weekly ads. This is just silly. If it’s on sale, just give me the sales price without the hassle.

The disadvantages of shopping at Walgreens and using its rewards program far outweigh the benefits. I recommend spending your time targeting savings at other stores.

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Get cheap and free items at CVS–no extreme couponing required

You’ve probably seen or read tales of “extreme couponers” lately, folks who stockpile 20 years’ worth of toothpaste and chicken broth in their basement after getting the items free. There’s no doubt these folks get some real values, but you don’t have to be a super-serious coupon clipper to score great deals. I routinely get items free or almost-free by pairing sales, coupons and the CVS Extra Care program, which gives me CVS Extra Bucks for designated purchases.

CVS is a national drugstore chain which probably has a store near you; check the CVS store locator Web page to find the closest location. In addition to its pharmacy, CVS offers a wide variety of cosmetics, toiletries, household products and food. To earn CVS Extra Bucks, you’ll need to fill out a brief enrollment form at your store and use the Extra Care card you receive each time you shop there.

CVS can be quite pricey on many items, so the key to CVS bargain hunting is to know what a good price is for the items you buy. For example, a 12-pack of Coke may sell for $4.49 at your grocery store, so a sale of four 12-packs for $10 at CVS offers a great price. Usually, the actual sale price for items like this at CVS will be something like 4 packs for $13, but then you get $3 in Extra Bucks back at the end of your sales receipt. You can use the bucks coupon on your next visit for money off almost anything in the store.

I frequently use my Extra Bucks the following week to purchase another sales item offering Extra Bucks. Yesterday, I bought a tube of Colgate toothpaste on sale at CVS for $2.99, with Extra Bucks bringing the effective price down to 99 cents. Then, I used a coupon to lower the cost to 49 cents. With my Extra Bucks from previous purchases, I got the item without any cash out of my pocket.

A few times a year, CVS shows that it cares about customers by rewarding them with bonus Extra Bucks, based on how much they’ve spent at the store during certain portions of the year.

To get the most out of the Extra Bucks program:

    • Don’t let your Extra Bucks expire—that’s like throwing cash away. Their expiration date is usually about a month after the purchase that generated them.
    • Plan your shopping trip by checking the CVS weekly sale ad online. Focus only on items which are as cheap or cheaper than what you’d pay at a big-box retailer like Walmart.
    • Shop early in the week to find merchandise with Extra Bucks in stock.
    • Ask for a raincheck on out-of-stock sale items, and be sure the clerk includes the Extra Bucks offer on your raincheck. When you redeem it, point out the Extra Bucks to the cashier before they enter the raincheck into the register.
    • Use coupons to expand your savings. You can often get toiletries at extremely low prices or free by combining coupons and Extra Bucks.

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