Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Pharmacies

Walgreens offers free flu shots to the uninsured

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: December 9, 2011 - 8:39 AM

 Walgreens is offering vouchers for free flu shots starting Friday, Dec. 9. The vouchers are available only to those without medical insurance. Walgreens spokesman Robert Elfinger said that 15,000 vouchers will be available to residents in the Twin Cities, Omaha, Des Moines and Sioux Falls, but could not confirm the number of vouchers in

the Twin Cities.  

 

Only the following 24 hour locations will be offering the free shots. The voucher entitles a recipient to get a shot immediately if desired or a person can return at a later time.

Participating pharmacies:

15250 Cedar Ave., Apple Valley, MN

9800 Lyndale Ave., S., Bloomington, MN 

7700 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park, MN

3470 River Rapids Dr., N.W., Coon Rapids, MN

10686 University Ave., N.W., Coon Rapids, MN

7135 E. Point Douglas Rd., S., Cottage Grove, MN 

16395 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie, MN

6975 York Ave., S., Edina, MN

540 Blake Rd., N., Hopkins, MN

2920 White Bear Ave., N., Maplewood, MN

2426 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

4547 Hiawatha Ave., Minneapolis, MN

1585 Randolph Ave., St. Paul, MN

 8100 W. County Road 42, Savage, MN

1133 Robert St., S., West St. Paul, MN  

1075 Highway 96 E., White Bear Lake, MN 

 1965 Donegal Dr., Woodbury, MN 

 

Your pet needs meds? Fill it at a regular pharmacy to save cash.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: July 6, 2011 - 2:44 PM

 

If your pet is on a maintenance dose of a prescription, you can ask for the prescription from your vet and get it filled at most pharmacies including Target, Walgreens, Costco and Sam's Club. (Even non-members can use the Costo or Sam's pharmacies although payment options may be limited to cash and cetain credit cards.) This includes some pet-only meds as well as those for humans too. Like anything, you should shop around. My experience is that Costco's prices are among the lowest and typically significantly lower than Walgreens. Still, even Walgreens might be cheaper than some vets. Consumer Reports said in its August 2011 issue that vets' markup for some scripts is 100 to 160 percent.

 

 

I also found Costco's prices much cheaper on Greenies Pill Pockets than any local retailer ($4.30 for 45 each or 1.6 oz.). Find them behind the pharmacy counter at Costco. PetSmart was asking $7 for the same item. Amazon.com charges $6 including shipping. If you can get your cat or dog to swallow the pill by simply coating it in butter or sticking it in a piece of bread, good for you.

Here's another pet product that can get expensive--Feliway. If anyone's vet  recommended Feliway diffusers and spray to reduce anxiety in cats/dogs, save a lot of money ordering them online. I have found the cheapest prices at Entirely Pets. If you order $85 or more, shipping is free.

Consumer Reports also found that the cheapest prices on pet foods were at Wal-Mart, followed in order of cheapest to more expensive: Target, Petsmart and Petco.

 

 

Where's a good, inexpensive place for eyeglasses?

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: April 4, 2011 - 8:59 AM

Steve from Monticllo, Minn. sent in an e-mail wondering about a good place to buy eyeglasses. My first answer is Costco Optical. The warehouse club gets excellent marks from Consumer Reports for its prices and service.

 

 

I can vouch for Costco myself. I've purchased lenses from the warehouse club twice with excellent results. (I have a strong prescription--minus 7 and minus 9 diopters plus astigmatism and progressives). The price at Costco for my leneses was half of what an independent optical shop was charging. One caveat: Costco might not fill your lens prescription if you purchase the frames elsewhere. But that's generally only if they deem the frame to be flimsy or difficult to work with. Both of my frames were purchased elsewhere and Costco still did the lenses.

But the best deal is the one that Eagan blogger Ira Mitchell found. On his site GlassyEyes, Mitchell explains how he decided to quit paying $400 for ordinary glasses (average correction, no bifocal) and buy online instead. Instead of a single expensive pair, Mitchell now buys multiple pairs and usually pays less than $90 each. He lists some of his favorite sites such as 39DollarGlasses.com, EyeBuyDirect.com and Goggles4U.com.

But buying glasses online isn't as easy as buying a book. In the link in the upper right hand corner of his homepage, he explains the process in  "New to online eyeglasses? Click here to start."
 

Buying lenses online isn't recommended if you have progressive or bifocal lenses, a correction of plus or minus 4 diopters or stronger, a high degree of astigmatism or prism correction or if you typically need a lot of frame adjustments, said Dr. Stephen Kaufman, director of cornea and refractive surgery at the University of Minnesota.


You also may not want the hassle of ordering online if you have insurance. But for the uninsured with simple corrections, it's a significant savings.

If you're not a member of Costco and don't want to order online, Twin Cities Consumers' Checkbook recommends several opticians for high quality at reasonable prices. Here are a few: Fridley Optical (319 Osborne Rd. NE., Fridley, 763-784-3997), Northwest Opticians (367 Wabasha St. N., St. Paul, 651-224-5621) and Southdale Optical (6533 Drew Av. S., Edina, 952-925-9550).  

For the complete article, you can download it for a fee at Checkbook or call 651-646-2057. Most public libraries subscribe to the magazine where it can be viewed free.

Walgreens offers safe disposal of old pills

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: October 1, 2010 - 4:13 PM

Ever taste, really taste, a drink of water and try to pick out  trace elements of Oxycontin and Paxil?

OK, I haven't either, but scientists say that traces of all the prescription drugs we flush down the toilet are beginning to show up in trace amounts in our water supplies. It isn't enough to eliminate road rage or lower our cholesterol, but it's a concern since water filters don't screen them out.

Walgreens leads the way on an alternative to flushing unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs down the toilet. You can now buy a specially designed envelope ($3) that allows the person to place, seal and mail the meds for "safe, eco-friendly disposal," according to Walgreens.

The mailed-in meds will be handled by Sharps Compliance Corp , a full-service provider of solutions for medical waste and unused dispensed medications. The meds are incinerated and the ashes used in, I'm not making this up, green building materials.

The $3 bags are now available in Walgreens stores. The price includes postage to mail the envelope. 

 

 

How a pro uses Walgreens' Register Rewards program

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: April 2, 2010 - 2:44 PM

Many readers have told me about the amazing deals if you use the reward programs at Walgreens and CVS. I find them too time consuming, but I don't discourage others from taking advantage of the significant savings.

Now let me step out of the way while Paula from Woodbury explains one how she shopped Walgreens program this week..

 

"Started with a $10 Walgreen’s gift card.

First transaction, I bought a Dulcolax for $10, used a $4 coupon. Paid $6 on my gift card, earned a $10 Register Reward.

Second transaction, I bought a Simply Saline for $7, used a $1 coupon; bought a Dove shampoo for $4, used a $1.50 coupon; bought Dentek floss, used a $1 coupon; bought 4 Easter tumbler glasses on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon. Paid with my $10 Register Reward from first transaction and $0.48 on my gift card and earned a $7, $4 and $2 Register Reward.

Third transaction, I bought a Dulcolax for $10, used a $4 coupon; bought 8 Easter gift bags on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon. Paid with my $7 Register Reward from Simply Saline in the second transaction and $0.07 on my gift card and earned a $10 Register Reward.

Fourth transaction, I bought a Simply Saline for $7, used a $1 coupon; bought a Dove conditioner for $4, used a $1.50 coupon; bought Dentek floss, used a $1 coupon; bought 4 Easter tumbler glasses on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon. Paid with my $10 Register Reward from third transaction and $0.48 on my gift card and earned a $7, $4 and $2 Register Reward.

Fifth transaction, I bought a Dulcolax for $10, used a $4 coupon; bought 4 Easter tumbler glasses on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon; bought Dove Intensive Repair for $4, used a $1.50 coupon. Paid with my $7 and $2 Register Rewards from my fourth and second transactions and $0.34 on my gift card and earned a $10 and $4 Register Reward.

Sixth transaction, I bought a Simply Saline for $7, used a $1 coupon; bought a Dove Intensive Repair for $4, used a $1.50 coupon; bought Biotene toothpaste for $4.99, used a $2 coupon (I wanted this) ; bought 6 Easter gift bags on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon. Paid with my $10 and $2 Register Rewards from fifth and fourth transactions and $0.94 on my gift card and earned a $7 and $4 Register Reward.

At this point, I have $1.46 left on my gift card and $23 in Register Rewards. I am out of Dove and Dentek coupons.

I can continue to roll Simply Saline and Dulcolax and to burn up what’s left on my gift card by buying Dulcolax for $10 and using a $4 coupon; and 8 Easter gift bags or tumblers on sale 8/$1 with ad coupon and paying with my $7 Register Reward from Simply Saline and $0.07; and then buying Simply Saline and using a $1 coupon and Dove without a coupon and paying with my $10 Register Reward from Dulcolax and pay $0.78 and still end up with an extra $4 Register Reward on the Dove each time. For 24 cents of real money in addition to the spent $10 gift card, I’ll quit with $34 in Register Rewards and $170 in products. Then I can use that $34 to buy anything in the store I want and I’ll donate the stuff I don’t use."

Back to John: Frankly, I'm exhausted reading this. I respect Paula's process and the savings, but I don't see any products I would buy, at least in this example. In another week, maybe I would.

If this isn't your cup of tea, I understand, but for some shoppers it's a significant way to save money and donate unneeded items to charity. Don't shoot the Easter bunny just because you aren't willing to do so. Have a nice weekend everybody. Any CVS strategists out there willing to share their experience with Reward Bucks?


 

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