Centsible Saver

Price of flu shots can vary

adunn@newsobserver.comOctober 6, 2012 

Editor’s note: For daily tips on saving money, check out the Centsible Saver blog on newsobserver.com. Amy Dunn writes every day about coupons, saving money and frugal living. Below are recent excerpts from her blog.

Before rolling up her sleeve for a flu shot this season, a reader, Cat Stewart of Raleigh, asked for my help in shopping around for the best price.

“I don’t have health insurance coverage, so must pay out of pocket,” she wrote in a recent email. “I’m sure there are many others in the same boat.”

After doing a little checking, I was surprised at the range in prices – from a high of $31.99 to a low of $15.

Even for those who get their shots free with insurance coverage, it still pays to shop around for the best flu shot promotions because some of them are far more generous than others.

Here’s a sampling of flu shot prices and promotions:

FastMed Urgent Care: $15. FastMed has several locations in the Triangle, including Apex, Cary, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Wake Forest. Go to FastMed.com for more information.

Harris Teeter: $24.95. Through Dec. 31, customers getting flu shots receive coupons for $5 in free groceries. The coupon is good through Jan. 7. And, if you’re a new Harris Teeter pharmacy customer, you’ll receive a $20 grocery credit loaded to your loyalty card.

Kroger: $25. A recently expired coupon on Kroger.com shaved $15 off the price but these digital coupon offers are frequently reissued so it’s well worth checking.

Rite Aid: $29.99. Customers receive coupon booklets with savings valued at $100 and 25 Wellness+ points that can be applied toward future shopping perks.

Wake County Human Services: $30. However, the shots are free to many groups of people, including uninsured pregnant women, family members and caregivers of infants under six months of age, students attending any college or university in North Carolina, and children who qualify for the federal government’s Vaccines for Children Program. Weekly clinics are held at the Public Health Center at 10 Sunnybrook Road in Raleigh. Additional clinics are scheduled throughout the county. Go to wakegov.com/humanservices for more information.

CVS: $31.99. Customers getting flu shots receive 20 percent savings passes valid on regular-price merchandise.

Walgreens: $31.99. Through Oct. 31, customers getting flu shots receive 1,500 Balance Points, which is equal to a $1.50 credit in Walgreens’ new loyalty card program.

Free haircuts

J.C. Penney hair salons nationwide are giving free haircuts to breast cancer survivors and to kids through October. The retailer is also donating $1 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each of the first 50,000 free haircuts.

Then, starting Nov. 4, kids in kindergarten through sixth grade can get free haircuts on Sundays.

Go to jcp.com/salon to make an appointment.

Smartphone earnings

If you shop at Walmart and have a smartphone, you might want to give Jingit a try.

Minneapolis-based Jingit has teamed up with Walmart to offer the smartphone check-in program. Here’s how it works: Walmart customers scan barcodes in the store using their smartphones, and then take mini surveys using the Jingit app.

The first $3 you make goes to pay for the cost of a Jingit Visa Debit Card, which is how you access your earnings. After that, you can spend your money anywhere using the debit card.

If you don’t want to fool with the debit card – you must provide your Social Security card to get one – you can purchase music with your earnings through music.me.

Current Jingit promotions advertise Elmer’s and Kraft S’mores products. A General Mills promotion just ended.

You definitely won’t get rich using Jingit, but it will give you a little cash for extras that don’t normally fit in your budget.

Or, as Chris Ohlsen, a vice president at Jingit, told me, “You’re not going to be paying your mortgage, … but a lot of people look at it as fun money.”

Most Jingit users report earning about $5 per week.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can also earn money watching online videos on Jingit.com, though your earnings potential is more limited.

Sign up for Jingit at Jingit.com, but be sure to read the Frequently Asked Questions section for all the fine print.

Lunch-time freebie

Here’s an offer that will save you money and help teach your kids a lesson in environmental awareness at the same time.

Skip the brown paper bags and the plastic sacks, and send your kids to school with an eco-friendly lunch tote that can be used over and over again. It’s free – courtesy of Annie’s Homegrown.

The lunch bag, made of 100 percent recycled cotton, is free with the purchase of two products from Annie’s Homegrown, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield or Honest Kids.

Eligible products include any Annie’s Homegrown product, Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt 6-Packs, 4-Packs, or Squeezers, Honest Kids drinks 8-pack carton or 64 ounce bottle, or Seventh Generation disinfectant sprays or wipes.

The companies are making the offer to raise awareness of the huge amount of lunch-time trash produced at schools.

Get more details on the offer and download the mail-in form at annies.com/backtoschool.

Dunn: 919-829-4522

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