Drugstores and good deals aren't two things you usually think go together, but one local mom says this is a misconception.
Amanda Autrey of Jewett is actually spending less on everyday items at your local pharmacy. She shops the sales at CVS and hasn't had to pay for toothpaste in a year.
So, I followed along on one of her recent shopping trips to find out how she's saving big bucks for her family.
"I expect to get several things for free and cereal for very, very, very cheap," Autrey said.
You wouldn't expect to find inexpensive cereal at your local pharmacy, but Amanda knows how to find great deals at CVS.
In fact she's one of 55 million Americans that are getting everyday items at the pharmacy for free.
"I used to be very excited about it, but now it's like if I can't get it for free then I'm really disappointed," Autrey said.
Amanda is able to save more money at the store because CVS offers a free ExtraCare Rewards program that gives you money back on prescription purchases and other items in the store.
"I just get to use dollars for things I wouldn't normally buy, and I just keep the extra money until there's something I want that's not on sale or I have to have that week that I don't have a coupon for and I can buy it that way," Autrey said.
So, armed with dozens of coupons and the CVS advertisement Amanda agreed to show us her shopping strategy.
We gave her $10 and told her to have fun.
First stop toothpaste.
"Hardly anyone I know has bought toothpaste in a year," Autrey said.
And this is why. Colgate toothpaste was on sale for $2.99 and with an Extra Bucks card Amanda gets $2 back. That makes the tube of toothpaste 99 cents. But Amanda used a $1 manufacturers coupon making the toothpaste absolutely free.
And that's not the only deal this super saver found.
She got dog treats for free. They were on sale for $2.99 and Amanda had $3 off coupon.
Then to the cereal aisle.
"The Trail Mix Crunch (cereal) is buy one get one free and I have $2 off. Two $2 off coupons so I can use one coupon on each box so I'll get 2 boxes of cereal for 80 cents," Autrey said.
Amanda snagged eight SoBe Life Waters for free, two soft scrub cleaners for less than the price of one and two cans of Coppertone Kids Sunscreen.
Everything Amanda purchased was on sale, so she was already saving money, but add coupons and extra bucks rewards from previous purchases and she dished out $13.03. That's $3 more than we gave her, but she saved $47.79 on her entire purchase.
"It's great. I got everything I needed for $13 so it was really no big deal," Autrey said.
Amanda told us she only spent 20 minutes clipping coupons and getting ready for her shopping trip and still saved more than $40.
The mother of two, who also works part time, says if it wasn't for coupons her family wouldn't get to do the fun stuff, like play golf and take vacations.
To read more about my shopping trip to CVS and to learn about some great money saving websites read by blog http://www.kbtx.com/blogs/meredithstancik/46987212.html. That's also where you can leave your money saving ideas.
Here's more information on CVS ExtraCare Rewards program:
CVS/pharmacy's ExtraCare Rewards program is the largest retail rewards program in the nation, with more than 55 million active cardholders, and it's also among the most popular. Shoppers love ExtraCare because unlike other "loyalty programs," CVS/pharmacy's is really designed with consumers in mind, offering savings just about every time a cardholder shops, even if nothing is on sale.
Here's how it works:
Signing up for a card takes less than a minute - you can grab one at any CVS/pharmacy store, or online at CVS.com. Cardholders earn back 2% of non-prescription purchases and $1 Extra Buck for every two prescriptions purchased. These earnings are then rewarded quarterly, delivered in the form of free "CVS/pharmacy dollars" called Extra Bucks. Quarterly rewards are paid out four times a year - on January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1.
Members can receive their quarterly Extra Bucks in-store or online; CVS/pharmacy sends quarterly Extra Bucks rewards to customers by email when they are issued, if those shoppers have provided a valid email address as part of their membership registration. This allows customers to receive their rewards at home - instead of on their receipts - so customers can come to the store ready to save. Members can check the status of their rewards and coupons at CVS.com by setting up an online account (it's free) and connecting their ExtraCare card to it.
Additionally, ExtraCare cardholders receive benefits such as money-saving offers based on products they have purchased on register receipts. ExtraCare cardholders earn instant Extra Bucks at the time they purchase specially advertised products. These items are marked with special signs on the shelf, and are also summarized monthly in mini-catalogs called Extra Value Books that are available in-store. By collecting these instant Extra Bucks, shoppers can get items for free throughout the year.
(If an ExtraCare cardholder provides an email address at sign-up, or links an email address to their ExtraCare card online at CVS.com - they will also receive extra money-saving offers by email that are personalized just for them.)
In certain locations throughout the U.S. (more than half of all stores), 'scan and save' kiosks called ExtraCare Coupon Centers have been introduced. These ExtraCare Coupon Centers allow shoppers to scan their ExtraCare card at the beginning of their visit and receive coupons and special offers before they shop.
Enrolling in ExtraCare is free, easy and takes less than two minutes in-store or online at CVS.com. ExtraCare cardholders can also opt-in to register an email address with their secure account online, to receive additional coupons and health and beauty information directly in their email inboxes each week.
CVS/pharmacy values its customers' privacy and never gives or sells any specific information about ExtraCare cardholders to any manufacturers or direct marketers. To learn more about the program or to print out their Extra Bucks, visit http://www.CVS.com/ExtraCare.