Sep 10, 2013

Super September Day 4: How to Get the MOST Out of Your Money! (While Shopping)

Can I get an award for the most obnoxiously long title? I couldn't think of a concise way of putting it, but it's okay, hopefully I made my point effectively. Also, I wanted to apologize for being a few days late on this one. For some reason this post and day 5 did not make the to-do list. Oops. Well, either way, the post is here!

I personally do not see a reason to pay full price for drugstore beauty products. They always go on sale, coupons are everywhere, and with different loyalty programs, it's just easier to plan my purchases. Does it always happen? No. But if you are more dedicated to saving your hard-earned money than I used to be, then I hope this post can help you.

Tip #1: Join Loyalty Programs!
A lot of people assume that they will be spammed instantly if they join a loyalty program. Some companies might get a little crazy with the emails, but you can later unsubscribe without losing the benefits of having a loyalty card. The loyalty cards I personally have are for Ulta, CVS, and (gasp) Walgreens.

To my knowledge, all of these cards are free. In the past, you could get the sale price on products without having a loyalty card, but at CVS and Walgreens, you have to have a card to get the sale price. CVS has a card they can scan to give you the sale price without the commitment of the card (I do not know if Walgreens does or not), but if you want to get the most of your money then you will want the card. Also, if you want a product that is offering ExtraBucks from CVS, you need to have your own card for the ExtraBucks to print out.

CVS also prints out quarterly ExtraBucks. To calculate how much you will get in ExtraBucks, CVS will take the amount you spend in a quarter and give you 2% back.

At Walgreens and Ulta, the money you spend is tracked on a point system rather than by how much money you have actually spent. I am not so familiar with this system for Walgreens, so I will discuss Ulta's point system. If you have the loyalty card for Ulta, you will get 1 point for every $1 you spend unless it is indicated otherwise in the monthly ad. Once you reach a certain number of points, you will be able to apply those points to a purchase. Click here for a chart showing how each point value works out.

Tip #2: Find Coupons!
Coupons are everywhere. The main place I find them is the Sunday newspaper. Some weeks there are coupons with everything I need, and other weeks I end up giving the coupons away because I don't find anything I am interested in.

Another place to find coupons is online. The Target website has an entire section dedicated to coupons. If you have your CVS card registered, you can go the website and print coupons. You can also go to Coupons.com to print coupons you want to use.

Tip #3: Know the Store!
By this I mean know the policies. Some stores take expired coupons, so I recommend looking into it before assuming that you can't use an older coupon.

Tip #4: Find Discount Stores!
Although I appreciate the value of seeing a product in person before I buy it (and also because with age I am becoming increasingly wary of technology), it is sometimes more convenient and also a better deal to buy products online. The top two websites I recommend are Vitacost.com and Soap.com. At Vitacost you get free shipping with purchases of $49 or more, so you can really stock up on products. At Soap.com you only have to spend $35 to get free shipping. And the best part is that at both websites you don't pay the retail price for most products!

I hope these tips have been helpful and I do apologize for the delay in this post. Look out for days 5 and 6!