Because we'll never get sick of backyard cookouts and pools and everything else that goes with summer, we'll also never get sick of stocking up on summer supplies. And though CVS sometimes gets a bad rap as an expensive place to shop, it can actually be good for summer bargains.
To take advantage of the deals, you must first have a free CVS ExtraCare card. "When it comes to shopping at CVS, loyalty does pay off," says Christie Bisbee, founder of Wild for CVS. That's because an ExtraCare membership allows you to collect ExtraBucks Rewards, which work like store credit for future purchases. You could, for example, earn $5 in ExtraBucks when you spend $20 on certain products.
After earning ExtraBucks, you have about 30 days to use them. To ensure you spend your rewards before they expire, Bisbee suggests performing two separate transactions on the same day: one to earn the rewards, and a second to spend the rewards on other stuff you need.
If that other stuff includes summer supplies, here are seven things she says are usually cheapest at CVS.
1-2. Sunscreen and insect repellent
"Not only do they have a pretty wide selection of sunscreen, but they often will have ExtraBucks deals on it," explains Bisbee. "So you buy two, and you'll get a certain amount back in CVS money." Pair that promotion with a manufacturer's coupon for a particular sunscreen brand, and you could see big savings. She says the same strategy applies for bug spray, too.
3. Seasonal items
Bisbee says she's gotten surprising summer items like folding chairs, outdoor gear, and pool toys by wandering through this aisle. The prices on seasonal items start to drop in July — and by the end of the month, she says you should see some spectacular deals.
4. Bottled water
Make sure you stay hydrated in the summer heat! While we strongly encourage the use of reusable bottles, if you must buy bottled water, Bisbee says you can find it cheap at CVS. "If you're not particular about your brand of bottled water, you'll see lots of really good prices, including the CVS brand," she explains. "It's significantly cheaper than a grocery store."
5-6. Snacks and soda
In need of some snacks for your boat or backpack? Bisbee recommends checking out the CVS line of snack products, including its granola bars and nuts. "They're actually quite good," says Bisbee. "I eat them all the time." As for soda, she says CVS often offers discounts when you purchase multiple 12-packs, making the overall price cheaper than the grocery store.
7. Paper towels
When you combine ExtraBucks offerings with coupons, Bisbee says you can get some "really great deals" on paper towels at CVS. (To help clean up melty ice pop messes!) Most of the available paper towel coupons are manufacturer's — the kind you find in circulars — but she says you can check the CVS website for store-specific coupons, too. (Although if you'd like to kick your paper towel habit, the environment wouldn't hate it … )
If monitoring the CVS website and weekly ad seems like too much work, go ahead and follow Bisbee's blog — she posts four or five of the best deals each day, which you can track via email or Facebook.
More on CVS
What are you buying at CVS this summer?