Coupon 101: Combine Coupons with Drug Store Rewards Programs and Save BIG!

By Jessica Reinhart      

Although you may not count stores like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens amongst those you make your weekly shopping trip to, you may want to going forward.  Why?  Because that’s where you’ll find some of the best deals week after week.  Many of them offer valuable rewards programs to loyal shoppers that not only save you money, but can also help you score loads of products for FREE when combined with those hot little coupons you're holding.  Sure, you probably won’t be able to get all of your groceries there, but you’ll reap more by going than by skipping them all together. 

The methodology behind each stores rewards program varies slightly, but all have the same end goal – to save you money and keep you coming back for more.   Because shopping at stores that offer rewards programs means employing a different strategy than shopping at stores that don’t we’ve rounded up 5 tips to help you save big:

  1. Check the weekly circulars. 
    Whether you check them out online, or grab them out of your Sunday newspaper, this is where you’ll find products that are offering rewards for the current week.  For example, CVS may have your favorite shampoo on sale for $4.99 and offer $3 ExtraBucks (coupons good for money off at CVS) when you purchase one.  Based on the products offering the best rewards, make a list of items that appeal to you and your family.
  2. Check your coupons. 
    Most retailers will allow you to match manufacturer’s coupons (like those found on Save.com or through our weekly coupon inserts) with a store’s reward items.  Claire Adams is a coupon guru who runs a couponing e-class.  She says you can not only get items for free by using this strategy, but can even make money if you play your cards right.  Here’s how: Let’s say you have $1 off coupon for that shampoo you plan to buy – that means you’ll get it for FREE when you combine your coupon with the ExtraBucks reward ($4.99 - $3 ExtraBucks - $1 coupon = FREE!).
  3. You have to give to get. 
    In order to receive the benefits of rewards programs you first need to shell out some cash in order to purchase your items.  But don’t worry, as long as you follow the rules you’ll get payment back in the form of a coupon or rebate check that can be used toward future purchases.  While some stores, like CVS, print rewards in the form of dollar-off coupons good for future purchases, stores like Rite Aid run rebate programs where you need to submit for refunds online. 
  4. Pay attention to the fine print. 
    Take note of the specific offer details noted in the stores weekly circular, including size, variety and quantity requirements. 
  5. Membership has its privileges. 
    In order to cash in on reward offerings you’ll first need to sign up for the stores’ program.  Here are links to the top three we mentioned above:  CVS; Rite Aid; Walgreens