When Buying Stuff at CVS is Cheaper Than Amazon

cvs extra bucks

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge Amazon fan and along with being a Prime member I buy Kindle books, music, and practically everything I can from Amazon.com, even when they charge sales tax in my state (Virginia).  However, despite the high prices at drugstore chains like CVS, I sometimes find that buying stuff with their CVS Extra Bucks rewards program can actually be cheaper than Amazon.

Let’s take a look at an example. I need some whey protein. This week CVS is running a buy 1 get 1 50% off on health items. In addition, you can earn $10 in CVS Extra Bucks for any $25 health purchase on select items. One of those items happens to be EAS Whey Protein (2 lb). The regular price is $29.99 (obviously way over priced). I immediately check the same product on Amazon.com and they are selling is for half of what CVS is charging at only $15.00. Obviously, I should order it from Amazon, done deal.

However, just out of curiosity I wondered what the effective price would be if I took advantage of all the deals that CVS was throwing at me. Could they possibly beat Amazon’s price.

Today I received a $5 off $25 purchase in my email from CVS. I also have a $3.00 coupon that I found in the Sunday paper.

Here’s how the math works out.

$44.98 (2 x EAS Whey Protein, the second is half price)

– $10.00 (Extra Bucks)

– $5.00 (CVS email coupon)

– $3.00 (Manufacturer coupon)

Net Price = $26.98

Per Unit = $13.49

CVS managed to beat Amazon by 10%. Now, this assumes that I actually use the $10.00 in CVS Extra Bucks to purchase something that I would anyway (likely, but not entirely) especially since there is an expiration on the coupon. It also assumes that I need 2 x EAS Whey Protein, which I don’t and I am only factoring that in because the second unit is half price. But still, saving 10% is nothing to sneeze at.

In fact, there’s more. CVS also rebates 2% of your total spending each quarter in the form of Extra Bucks, so I would also be saving an additional $0.54 on my purchase.

Now, am I going to go out to CVS and actually buy the protein? Probably not since I don’t need 2, but it was fun to see if CVS could beat out Amazon.

eBates 15th Anniversary 15% Cash Back

Starting today, 5/12/14 eBates.com is offering 15% cashback on a bunch of retailers to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The list of stores is pretty extensive and is definitely worth browsing to see if there are any purchases that you were considering that may make sense to accelerate in order to take advantage of this deal. Some of the stores that look particularly appealing because their normal cash back from eBates is low (usually less than 5%) include the following:

Store Previous Cash Back Difference
Macy’s 3% +12
Drugstore.com 4% +11
Living Social 3% +12
Piperlime 2% +13
Nordstrom 3% +12
Bluefly 3.5% +11.5
JC Penney 3% +12
Joe’s Jeans 3.5% +11.5
Lenovo 3% +12
Levi’s 4% +11

Most of the deals are for today only, but some of them will be available for a few days. This is quite a generous offer, so I would jump on this now!

Free Credit Monitoring From Target

Anyone can now get 1 full year of credit monitoring free from Target! Even people who were not impacted by the data breach can get the service (kudos to people who pay for stuff with cash).

Just follow this link to request an activation code.

You must request your free code by April 23, 2014. It says the code will arrive in your email within 1-5 days, but mine came after just a few minutes. You have until April 30, 2014 to activate the one year of credit monitoring service.

This is a fast and easy way to get credit monitoring that could otherwise cost you $10-25 per month.

Free Shoprunner For Life With Amex

Right now American Express is giving away free ShopRunner for life! All you have to do is enroll through this link.

ShopRunner is a service similar to Amazon Prime where you get free 2-Day shipping on most orders through their partners. This is an $89/year value (the listing price for a ShopRunner membership), so I would jump on this deal immediately!

Just sign up through the link and even if you have an existing ShopRunner account, they will grant you the lifetime membership for as long as you have an open Amex card.

United Offering 500 Bonus Miles for $75 Shopping Mall Purchases

Now through August 18, 2013 United Airlines is offering a 500 mile “Back to School” bonus for $75 in purchases through their United MileagePlus Shopping Mall. The offer says “select retailers,” but my experience has been that this includes all the retailers available on the site.  While this isn’t a particularly huge mileage bonus, I do think it warrants consideration, especially if you plan to make any online purchases in the next week or so. 

Keep in mind that the United MileagePlus Shopping Mall is run by Cartera and it can be quite a hassle getting your miles deposited after a purchase. I have had some trouble in the past, but usually I do end up getting my miles posted. 

To earn the 500 mile “Back to School” bonus, just go to the United Shopping Mall site and click through the retailer before you make your purchase.  You must also have a United MileagePlus account as well. 

Get $5 Statement Credit from Amex for Los Angeles Restaurant Week

Amex just launched a promotion where you can earn $5.00 cash back as a statement credit on your Amex card for spending $21.00 or more during Los Angeles restaurant week. Unfortunately, this is not a very generous offer and pales in comparison to past offers like the Amex Chicago Restaurant Week $20 Offer. You can follow this link to see the list of participating restaurant week restaurants. Keep in mind that this offer is valid from July 15-16, 2013.

According to the terms and conditions, you can only register one Amex card for this restaurant week offer, however last year I registered 4 cards and received the bonus on all of them. The real kicker, and I don’t recommend doing this, but it does work is splitting an single check and paying with multiple Amex cards. I added my wife as an authorized user of my SPG Amex card. Obviously you are going to spend much more than $21.00 eating out at one of these restaurants. If the bill comes out to let’s say $50.00, I just hand the server my card and my wife’s card (which are both registered to my account) and earn the statement credit for both cards! I suppose this would be weird if you had two different Amex cards in your name and tried to split the check, but I’ve seen people do this too.

Anyway, lucky Los Angeles residents can enjoy this offer. Have fun dining out!

Earn 15 American Miles Per Dollar for USO Donations – Help Support Military Families

One of my favorite charities is the USO, an organization dedicated to supporting our military troops and their families. American Airlines just launched a new promotion running from May 27 – July 4th where you can earn 15 miles per dollar for donations to the USO. Props to American for stepping up and running a great marketing campaign to grow support for the USO and military families. I personally have made several donations to the USO and will be doing so again this year, so it makes sense to earn a few AA miles along the way! Keep in mind that you must donate through this webpage to earn the bonus AA miles.

There are also a few restrictions to keep in mind:

1 – Minimum of $25 donation to earn miles

2 – Annual cap of 60,000 AA miles earned through donations

Another cool element of this promotion is that you can buy AA gift cards and help the USO. For every $50 in American Airlines gift cards that you buy, AA will donate $5 to the USO. This is a great way to help the USO on travel that you would buy anyway! Make sure you visit this page before you buy any gift cards to make sure the USO gets credit.

Bottom Line:

This is a fantastic way to give back and support military families. 15 miles/$1 is quite a generous bonus for a donation and it’s great to see a corporation step up and support a worthy organization.