5 things you should buy at CVS
I live in Dallas. And while everything here is not necessarily bigger than it is elsewhere (ok, maybe it is) one thing we have more of than you do is restaurants. There are more restaurants per person in Dallas than in any other city in the world. No kidding.
The other thing Dallas is known for? Shopping. We have a breadth and depth of shopping choices second to none. If you need something from the drug store for instance…there are most likely 23 CVS locations within a 5-mile radius of where you’re standing right now.
I don’t shop at drug stores for everything, because they’re generally set up for convenience, not necessarily cost-savings. But, after years of comparing stores, products and prices, I’ve got a “Favorite Buys” list for almost every store in Dallas. Including the drug stores I frequent. Although it seems counter-intuitive, there are some things you just can’t get a better deal on anywhere else.
Today I’ll share the five things I always buy at CVS, and why. And by the way, to make the most of your money at CVS, you’ll want to join their loyalty program by signing up for an ExtraCare Card. With this card, you’ll get discounts, coupons, and even offers sent to your email. Combine these with either coupons from the Sunday paper or printable coupons, and CVS is practically paying you to take stuff home.
Children’s Allergy Medicine
My children are allergic to Texas. Short of packing them up and moving to Tucson, I get the CVS brand grape-flavored Zyrtec-knock-off syrup to keep them from drowning in their own heads. My 7-yr-old is an allergy medicine flavor connoisseur, and tells me that the CVS version tastes the best of all the store-brand knock-offs.
Same goes for the CVS knock-off of cherry-flavored Benadryl liquid. And you can get the 8oz bottle of that for about the same price as a 4oz bottle of real Benadryl.
Purex Laundry Detergent
I know. That’s really specific. But, every few months, CVS will sell big bottles of Purex Laundry Detergent for $1.99 or $2.50 a bottle. And usually, this will coincide with a Sunday paper coupon for either $1 off one or $1 off two. Laundry detergent just doesn’t get any cheaper, so when this happens, I stock up. Even if I don’t have a coupon, it’s a deal.
Believe it or not, sometimes the best price on eggs in any given week is at CVS. This deal is one of the “loss leaders” they advertise to get you in the store…theoretically to buy more than just the eggs. But what should you do? Just buy the eggs. Often, the same kind of deal can be found on a gallon of milk, which is one of the very few refrigerated items you’ll find at a CVS. On the week when a gallon of milk is $1.99 and eggs are .99¢ a dozen at CVS, I’m buying.
Puzzle and Coloring Books
As seasonal items are rotated in and out of shelves at CVS quickly, I find the left-overs they’re trying to clearance out of the store on a big 90% off table at the front — on a fairly regular basis. For every holiday known to man, there are puzzle books, coloring books, even board books with cute Easter-Thanksgiving-Halloween-Christmas-Independence Day thematics.
Grab a handful of these for less than a dollar each to keep your young’uns busy. They don’t care if they’re coloring a picture of the Easter Bunny in October. If you’re really clever you can save your books for the next appropriate holiday to fill those baskets-bags-stockings-presents-goodie bags.
A bit of an off-label use for CVS, I know…but I buy drawing paper pads, CVS brand, all the time. I do alot of colored pencil drawings and those fancy expensive Graphics 360 drawing pads can wear out an artist’s budget. So I pick up a CVS brand drawing pad for a fraction of the cost and without the drive across town to the art supply store.
Many CVS shoppers will tell you a few other goodies to buy on rotation at CVS: cereal, toothbrushes, hair color — because when you put all their Extra Bucks program components to work for you, you can get all of those items for cheap or free.
What are your favorite five things to buy at CVS?
Lea Ann Stundins is a creative consultant, shopping strategist, and blogger at Mommy’s Wish List. You’ll find her not only telling people how not to pay for things, but cursing at Photoshop in her glamorous dining room office. Lea Ann is on twitter @mommyswishlist.