How To Save Money At Your Favorite Drugstore

Shopping at Walgreens certainly isn't the most glamorous, but there's something about browsing the aisles of shampoos and face masks that is endlessly satisfying. Unfortunately, it can also be expensive, especially when you make more than a few unnecessary purchases. (Did you really need another tube of lip balm?) But it’s hard to pop into a Walgreens and just get the two-for-one toothpaste you need when there’s a shiny new nail polish to try. Do you need the nail polish? Yes. No. But you buy it anyway, because sometimes, you just need to treat yourself.

Thankfully, getting discounts at Walgreens is pretty simple. Still, it does require a little planning and coupon-clipping (real or virtual — your choice). Here are a few ways to save, for the next time you find yourself throwing Shea butter and mango-scented candles into your basket when you really only need some Windex.

Buy Generic
Name brands always seem so much fancier, but you don’t need to spend the extra cash on medications that have the same exact ingredients as generics. Need to restock your Advil supply? Swapping the name brand for Walgreens-brand ibuprofen can save you big-time: 200 tablets of Advil is $16.99, versus $12.99 for 500 tablets of the generic.

Balance Rewards Program
This one’s pretty simple. Earn 5,000 points and get a $5 reward you can use the next time you want to buy some gum or Swiffer pads. The more points you earn, the bigger your reward ($10 for 10,000, $20 for 18,000, and $50 for 40,000 points). You get 10 points for every dollar spent on over-the-counter items in the store, plus bonus points for featured products.

Deal Of The Week
Check the Walgreens app for the weekly deals and coupons, like a backpack for $42.99 or two-for-one vitamins. (If you don’t need a hot-pink backpack, maybe next week it’ll be something you can actually use. Like that nail polish.) You can “clip” coupons straight from the app, so the next time you’re waiting for the subway or trying to entertain yourself while in line at the DMV, just scroll through the app and add coupons — like 40% off Revlon products, or buy-one-get-one-free dryer sheets. Just don’t start buying a bunch of things you don’t need because they’re on sale. Try to stay rational, even if all those coupons are begging to be clipped.

Health Rewards
Walgreens has fitness-oriented savings programs, if you’re into that sort of thing. The Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices gives points for healthy lifestyle decisions, such as exercise. You earn 250 points for connecting a device (like a Fitbit) and 250 points for setting your first goal, which could be something like, “Speed-walk through Walgreens.”

Set Up A Flexible Spending Account
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are pre-tax dollars that are taken out of your paycheck that can be used for out-of-pocket medical costs like prescriptions, co-pays, and eyeglasses. You can cash in your FSA dollars at Walgreens for contact lenses, allergy meds, or vitamins and save yourself a little cash, which will add up in the long run.
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