If you're new to the world of coupons and are looking for an easy introduction, I highly recommend starting by shopping for deals at your local drugstore. The selection is normally much smaller than what you will find at a grocery store, which makes it far less overwhelming. But the deals are just as good, if not better.
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. Here are five easy ways to save at the drugstore:
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+. 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.
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.
Tip: These coupon books are frequently filled with high-value store coupons that can be combined with sales and manufacturers coupons for additional savings.
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.
Tip: Perusing these sites 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.
Tip: The prices are generally the same as what you'd find in-stores and online stores have frequent sales, but one bonus to shopping online is that the coupon discounts are often steeper. For instance, I am occasionally emailed coupons for CVS that will save me 20 percent off in stores or 30 percent off online. The only downside to shopping online is that manufacturers coupons generally cannot be used online.
With these tips, you should be able to shave off 20 percent or more from your next trip to the drugstore.
Lisa Koivu is the founder of ShopGirlDaily.com, a shopping blog for women who want to have the best for less.
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