By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Plan on doing some shopping this weekend?  Well when it comes to getting great deals, the last place you probably think of heading to is the drug store.   But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan shows us, if you play your cards right, you could end up saving more money than you can at your supermarket.

From beverages to beauty products, toothpaste to tissues, the deals found at drug stores these days are nothing to sneeze at.  Stephanie Nelson is always looking to save.  Known as the Coupon Mom, she believes that pharmacy chains like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens are some of the best places to shop.  She says, “Drug stores have all these great promotional programs that grocery stores don’t have.”

Like shopping rewards and automatic rebates.

Tip #1: Know Your Store’s Programs.  Nelson says, “You don’t need to go to ten stores, you really only have to go to your one store, as long as you know it really well.”   CVS shoppers for instance save money with the ExtraCare program, getting discounts and coupons at kiosks, through their shopper card, or downloaded to a phone app.   Earning rewards on the app or those long receipts they get at the register that can be used like free money.

But did you know CVS has a beauty club too?  It’s free.  Sign up and get additional five dollars back for every $50 spent on beauty items.

Tip #2:  Stack Your Savings, combining as many discounts as you can.  On the day 3 On You Side shopped with Nelson she eyed a deal on shampoo.   Normally priced at $4.49 it was on sale for $2.99.  Nelson also had a $2 coupon for each bottle.  The ExtraCare program offered $5 in rewards when buying $15 worth of products.  Plus she got another $5 in beauty club rewards.  She said, “So each bottle will be free, and this is my favorite, with a 31 cent profit!”

Tip #3 Stock Up, but don’t go overboard.  Nelson says, “We’re really talking about getting enough of an item to last until the next time it goes on sale, which in many cases is about 4 to 6 weeks.”

Finally, Tip #4 sounds simple, but always Check The Clearance Aisle.  She spotted holiday candy priced at 75 percent off.  She also had coupons for the candy too.  She says, “I’ll pay 49 cents a bag, which is a savings of almost 90 percent.”

At the register, her planning pays off.  Her cart is filled with $300.59 worth of products.  Sales and coupons bring her out of pocket cost with tax down to $88.79

But when you factor in all the rewards programs and rebates she ends up with $81.50 cents she can use on her next trip to CVS.  No matter how you look at it, she says, “I call that a good shopping day.”

Each week Stephanie Nelson and her team post drugstore deals for all the big chains on www.couponmom.com, laying everything out for you.  So if you think you can’t do this, think again!

For more information visit:

www.couponmom.com

http://www.cvs.com/extracare-cvs/beauty-club/how-it-works