NEW YORK (MainStreet) – You probably don’t visit the drugstore as often as you go grocery shopping, but you can still save a bundle on items like toilet paper and beauty products by employing deal-hunting and couponing strategies. To find out the best way to save on such products, we spoke to Toni House of couponing site Save Your Money, Save Your Family to get her tips.
Use club cards and coupons.
House suggests signing up for your local drugstore’s club card, if it has one, because the discounts can be pretty sweet. For instance, she says that she uses the CVS rewards card to get up to 40% off certain items.
Of course, the issue here is that people tend to visit the drugstore when they really need something like toothpaste or soap, and these items might not be on sale or you might not have a coupon for them when you go to the store. But House says she has found that CVS tends to repeat sale items on a 12-week cycle, so it’s possible to know with a decent degree of certainty when an item will be on sale again.
“Probably 85% of them will rotate every 12 weeks,” she says.
With that knowledge in mind, you can stockpile manufacturers’ coupons that you clip from the newspaper (House says most of them can be found in the Sunday and Wednesday papers) and combine them with your club card discounts to get fantastic deals. Even if your store doesn’t have a club card (as is the case with Walgreens), you can still track the sales offered by the retailer in its circular or on its Facebook page and double up your coupons accordingly.
“If you walk into Walgreens, in the makeup aisle there’s always little stickers – 50% off, buy one, get one free from Maybelline, and so on,” she says referring to both manufacturers’ coupons and store sales. “Something’s always on sale every day of the week, so look in the fliers.”
Don’t avoid store brands.
Brand loyalty only goes so far when the store brand of an over-the-counter drug is $2 cheaper than the brand name. Picking the cheap stuff lets you save money without having to engage in any sort of deal-hunting or coupon-clipping – though you might have certain store brands that you tend to avoid.
“Walgreens store brand products are as good as the name brands with the exception of Ibuprofen 200 mg pain reliever,” she says. In her experience, House says that despite the savings, the store-brand pain reliever is not as effective as the name-brand stuff.