I received this question as a comment and thought it would make a great post:
I’m new to the CVS & Walgreen’s deals. Can you tell me which store you prefer and which you think offers the best deals–CVS with their ECB’s or Walgreens with their RR’s? Do you find one store has better clearance over the others? How are prices amongst the different stores? Thanks for any advice you can offer!!!
I LOVE your .22 cent shopping trips at CVS though, so I’m wondering if I need to switch over to CVS . Currently I’m shopping Walgreens and trying to keep up there. Oh, one last question … how many ECB’s or RR’s do you try to collect in any one given week? -Christy
Great questions, Christy!
The truth is if you know how to play the drugstore game, you can get the same great deals at any drugstore. (CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are the most popular; although I’m sure there are others that could be added to the mix.)
If I had to order drugstores from my favorite to least favorite, it would be CVS, then Rite Aid, then Walgreens. There are some weeks that Rite Aid or Walgreens comes out on top, but most of the time they remain in that order.
Why is Walgreens my least favorite?
- You cannot use register rewards and coupons on the same items. You will need to add a ‘filler item’ if you want to do that. CVS allows you to use ECBs and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item.
- Walgreens $5/25 coupons and other similar coupons require you to spend $25 after coupons. CVS and Rite Aid allow you to total $25 before coupons. That makes a huge difference.
- In my experience, CVS and Rite Aid have been more coupon friendly than Walgreens. (Although many Rite Aids do not accept internet coupons.)
The biggest perk to Walgreens is that you don’t have a card, so you can do most deals as many times as you’d like. You will need to do multiple transactions in order to get the deal, and typically can’t roll the register rewards from one deal onto the same deal, however.
In answer to your question about how prices compare, I would say that drustore prices typically are very similar across the board. Again, when you learn to play the game by matching coupons with sale prices, you will find yourself scoring $.22 shopping trips and getting paid to buy diapers (or at least getting them really cheap!) pretty regularly.
My general rule of thumb when shopping at CVS and Walgreens is to try to leave the store with a similar amount of Extra Bucks or Register Rewards that I came in with. It’s a banner week if I can leave with more than I brought. It is tempting to use them up during that trip, but then that means starting from scratch the next time you come in. The trick to continually getting items for free or nearly free is to keep rolling over your ECBs and RRs.
I’ve also discovered that what works best for me is to choose one store per week that I will focus on. If the best deals are at Walgreens, then I’ll shop there. But, trying to do them all every week is time consuming. In the end, you’ll discover that if you miss a deal one week, it’s not the end of the world. There will be plenty more where that came from–I promise!
How about the rest of you drugstore divas? Any more advice for Christy? Which store do you prefer?