Do’s and Don’ts of Discount Drugstore Shopping

by K. Shelby Skrhak


Pick one drugstore/grocery store and follow its weekly ad circulars. For example, I prefer to shop CVS. By picking just one store—instead of trying to track all the store’s sales and prices—I keep it simple and become familiar with that particular store’s frequent sales.

For example, CVS tends to put the following items on sale frequently. I use this information to collect coupons for the following items:


  • Crest and Colgate toothpaste
  • Soyjoy snack bars
  • Garnier shampoo/conditioner and styling products
  • Pantene shampoo/condition and styling products
  • Covergirl cosmetics
  • Maybelline cosmetics
  • Sally Hanson nail products
  • Dawn dish soap

Here’s an example of how to get Dawn dish soap free or almost free:

In the Proctor & Gamble coupon circular, which comes the first week of every month, look for the Dawn coupons. The amounts range from $.50 to $2.00, depending on the particular variety of Dawn. When CVS runs a sale of Dawn dish soap, they typically run one of two specials:

1. Dawn $.99

2. Dawn Buy One Get One

The first scenario is a great opportunity to use a $1off coupon. $1 off 99 cent equals free! But here’s a little known fact to employ for the second scenario. Many drugstores and grocery stores accept coupons for both items on a buy one  get one (BOGO) sale. So, in this case, use two $1 off coupons. $1+$1 off $1.99 equals free!


Don’t “do” every deal just because it’s on sale. When I first started out, I clipped dozens and dozens of coupons every week for just about any product because I never knew if there’d be a sale on it. But soon, all these coupons accumulated and became burdensome to organize and carry. I’d waste time simply flipping through all these coupons in the store, and soon drugstore shopping became a lengthier process than I wanted or intended. Soon I learned to pick and choose.

For example, I could buy 2 Sure Deodorant for $2.79 each, use a buy one get one coupon on it, and get back $3 in CVS Extra Bucks—a deal in which I’ve kinda “made money,” but I don’t use that brand and therefore it’s not a good deal for me. Instead, just select the products you use, or would like to use. That’s the bonus of discount drugstore shopping: you get to try brand new products or name brands you always thought were too expensive otherwise.

Shelby Skrhak: Journalist, blogger and southpaw