Anna Gamel | 

CVS vs. Walgreens — Which Drugstore Is Cheaper?

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When it comes to shopping at CVS vs. Walgreens, you may be tempted to just hit whichever store is more convenient. But if both CVS and Walgreens are nearby, which one is the cheaper option?

Sure, there are certain items that are best to buy at CVS and items you should always buy at Walgreens. But in a side-by-side price comparison, we actually found that Walgreens was cheaper for every household item we checked.

Also, CVS doesn’t allow coupons to be used on any CVS curbside pickup orders, so that alone might make a trip to Walgreens worth it. Your choice might also depend on what’s on sale that week, but we’ve got all the insider tips on how to shop CVS vs. Walgreens to get the best prices on everything.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

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There are many ways to save money when shopping at either CVS or Walgreens. But when finding out which store has better money-saving benefits, it may be a toss-up that depends on your personal preferences.

For example, I like the option of earning unlimited Walgreens rewards on deals. I also love having a store coupon book when I shop at Walgreens. For these reasons alone, I may be biased when choosing a winner. But this article may help you decide which store is best at saving you money…

Everyday Prices

Winner: Walgreens

When it comes to everyday prices, we compared CVS and Walgreens without any extra savings. We wanted to find out which store has lower prices in categories like personal care, household items, and first aid/medicine.

Prices for 16 identical items were compared during the same month (April 2024) in Boise, Idaho. We found that Walgreens had the lowest price on 9 out of 16 items.

Walgreens generally has cheaper everyday prices when compared to CVS, especially when it comes to household items. But for other items, the results are so close that it was almost a tie.

Here's the price comparison breakdown:

You can use coupons and rewards programs to score comparable savings at Walgreens and CVS. 

cvs phone app coupon

Because we all know you’re not going to CVS or Walgreens to shop for full-price items, we took a deeper look at their prices when it comes to stacking weekly deals with coupons and rewards.

CVS vs Walgreens: Deals and Coupons

Winner: CVS

To analyze both stores fairly, I considered three factors: deal repeatability, threshold restrictions, and coupon personalization.

CVS didn’t shine on repeatability, since many ExtraBucks deals have limits to how many times you can cash in on that offer within a sale period, but Walgreens allows you to rinse and repeat their deals as many times as you want.

But CVS did come out on top with threshold restrictions and coupon personalization. CVS allows you to reach dollar thresholds across multiple transactions, while Walgreens requires it in one go. This means you can buy one Tide on Monday and one Tide on Friday until you hit the $20 at CVS. This is especially nice for those pesky Tide coupon limits they tend to have.

If you’re shopping at Walgreens, you have to hit your threshold in one transaction, making it much harder if you’re following coupon limits.

The final factor that gives the win to CVS is their personalized coupons you get via in-store kiosks (aka the magical coupon machine). While Walgreens offers a general coupon book, the CVS machine tailors the coupons based on your purchase history.

KCL TIP: Another perk for CVS is that they allow you to roll your ExtraCare Bucks from one transaction to the next, which can keep your out-of-pocket cost low and allow you to continue earning additional rewards — even if you’re paying with ExtraCare Bucks.

CVS vs Walgreens: Rewards Programs

Winner: CVS

The more you spend, the more you’ll get back from the rewards programs at both Walgreens and CVS. But, there are some key differences in how quickly you can earn and use that highly coveted cash back.

When it comes to cash back, Walgreens can be pretty generous, offering up to 5% back on their own brand stuff. Everything else? Just 1%. CVS, on the other hand, keeps it simple with a steady 2% back on most purchases. If you’re fine with buying generic brands, Walgreens will be your go-to.

Now, if you’re a coupon enthusiast, CVS has your back. The amount of CVS rewards you earn are based on pre-coupon prices, while Walgreens deducts coupon values first. That makes CVS the slightly better option for couponers.

When it comes to rolling over rewards, CVS shines. You can use your ExtraBucks right away in the next transaction to earn even more rewards. But, Walgreens Register Rewards are a one-and-done thing.

Plus, Walgreens gives you a whole year to use your points, which is way better than CVS’s 30-day expiration policy on ExtraBucks. But here's a cool thing about CVS — you only need to hit 98% of the deal threshold to get the full reward, while Walgreens requires you to spend the full amount.

CVS vs Walgreens: Store-Specific Advantages

Winner: Walgreens

CVS and Walgreens both have competing perks and prices. But when it comes to everyday ease and the shopping experience, there are some key differences.

First up, Walgreens offers curbside pickup with digital coupon options, while CVS currently does not. However, digital coupons are accepted on CVS same-day delivery orders. CVS does shine with a 60-day return window, which is double the 30 days that Walgreens offers.

Another cool perk is Walgreens Senior Day. On the first Tuesday of every month, seniors can get a 20% discount in-store, and the discount is good for the entire first week of the month online. CVS doesn’t have a similar program, so this is a clear win for Walgreens.

Based on CVS's 2024 store closure list, CVS might be less convenient for many shoppers. Walgreens, on the other hand, often has more locations.

CVS and Walgreens both ofter photo deals — but Walgreens gives more freebies.


Winner: Walgreens

Unless you’re in a time crunch, never buy full price photos at either store. Both CVS and Walgreens offer same day pickup for photo prints and typically offer up to 60% off photos as well as same-day photo gift options.

In terms of photo quality, in a review of Walgreens Photo done by, they say, "Despite the high prices, the final results from CVS are acceptable, though inconsistent, and they fall short of what you get from the one-hour competition from Walgreens and Walmart."  

TIP: If you like using discounted gift cards, you can buy Walgreens gift cards from Raise and use them to pay on the Walgreens app for an average of 5% off. Or, get an average $2.50 cash back when you purchase CVS gift cards from Gift Card Granny.

The Winner: Walgreens

CVS and Walgreens offer similar prices. So, check the weekly flyers to help you decide where to shop. Your choice should depend on what you need and what’s on sale. Especially if you’re pairing those store deals with coupons.

With CVS, you can roll rewards forward. But, you'll only have 30 days to use your ExtraBucks. With Walgreens, you have up to one year. So, if you shop at the drugstore just once a month, you’ll tend to get more from the Walgreens rewards program because you’ll have all year to use your rewards.

And if you’re a curbside pickup lover, you can actually use your digital coupons with Walgreens curbside pickup.

But deciding whether to shop at CVS vs Walgreens is also a personal choice. It comes down to personal convenience and habits. Personally, I love to shop them both to get the most deals I can each week!

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