The 10 Best Bargains at Drugstores

Meet a shopper who knows how to get stuff for free at the drugstore. She has great tips for slashing the cost of everything from food and makeup to trash bags and diapers.

Drugstore chains such as Walgreens or CVS frequently can’t compete on price with stores such as Wal-Mart, Target or the local grocery store. But as with many things in life, there are hacks that level the playing field.

For example, WildForWags and WildForCVS owner Christie Hardcastle told me she regularly finds deals at chain drugstores that beat the pants off big-box and grocery stores. In fact, she claimed to routinely get things free, and sometimes even came out money ahead.

Impossible? That’s how it sounded to me. So, I invited her to meet me at a local Walgreens and explain how she does it. This video is what resulted. Check it out, then read on for more.

As you saw in the video, you can sometimes get a good deal at places such as Walgreens and CVS just by keeping an eye out for ad circulars and in-store signs revealing what’s on sale.

But to get the best deals, you’ll have to do more — join loyalty programs and look for coupons, both store and manufacturer — and check out sites such as Christie’s for ways to get the best current deals.

While that may sound like a hassle, the rewards are powerful: very cheap and sometimes free stuff.

I asked Christie to expand on the tips she offered in the video. For those of you new to the drugstore discount game, here in her own lightly edited words are some of her favorite products to purchase at drugstores:

1. Cereal

This is one of the items drugstores price below grocery stores to get you in the door. Each week, you’ll normally see a different cereal brand or selection on sale. If you aren’t brand-loyal, you can pretty much bet on getting a great deal every week.

If you have a brand you prefer, you’ll usually see sales every six weeks or so. Plus, there are often coupons you can print even if you’re new to couponing or don’t have newspaper coupon inserts.

2. & 3. Dairy and eggs

Drugstores will often run sales on milk and eggs with savings up to $1 over grocery store prices. Dairy prices vary regionally, but keep an eye out for sales or special offers.

4. & 5. Toothbrushes & toothpaste

These items will often have pharmacy rewards (like Walgreens Register Rewards or Balance Rewards points) that can really lower the price. Combine points with coupons, and you should be able to grab toothbrushes and toothpaste free or very inexpensively every four to six weeks.

6. Makeup

If you’re using drugstore brands, you’ll usually get a much better deal at drugstores than at grocery or department stores. There are often rewards for these products that you can combine with coupons and sales to get fabulous deals.

We see buy-one-get-one-free or buy-one-get-one-half-off sales on cosmetics regularly. Plus, because of limited space, drugstores often have great clearance deals to make space for new makeup products.

Another tip: If your store has a beauty counter, always ask the beauty adviser there for coupons.

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  • sophia1111

    I like to know which drug store you go to.

  • Alice Jacobs

    Last summer Rite Aid advertised a Craig’s Tablet for $88. Since our local store did not have the tablet, the District Manager found it at one of his stores and brought it to our store for me. I found it has Kindle and Amazon and now I am reading free books.

  • Whitney Perdue

    With the rewards I got from CVS and the manufacture coupons I ended up only paying the sales tax for two large boxes of tampons!!!

  • speaksthetruth

    I can’t remember the last time I paid anything at CVS. I use the 30% coupons they send me weekly, with deals and points… I also add coupons to the mix. I leave there and pay $0.00 for 2 bags of stuff that cost about $30 bucks.

  • She doesn’t mention, maybe because she doesn’t know, that all of those items are loss leaders, which are things sold for what they cost to get people into the store to buy things they hadn’t planned on buying.
    I managed a service station during the OPEC embargo in the early 70’s, when gasoline was a loss leader. The real money was made in what is called TBA (tires, batteries, accessories), which is why the person who pumped your gasoline spent so much time and effort getting under the hood and looking at your tires.

  • Tom

    I find RiteAid is very competitive on beer prices. If you have a loyalty card and your timing is right, there are good “buy one get one free” deals on name brand vitamins.

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