Five cheap holiday gift ideas for a favorite dog include stocking stuffers, a new home and new mattress, a leash, and calming toys.
Kmart, Target, and Walmart Pharmacy and Health Services
Target, Kmart and Walmart all boast full-service pharmacies. At the Target pharmacy, customers can get select generic medications for $4 and participate in a rewards program.
The Kmart pharmacy tries to stay competitive with its own low-cost program. It charges $5 for the generic version of 500 medications, up to 35 percent off other generic medications, and up to 20 percent off brand-name medications. The catch: You must join the Kmart Pharmacy Prescription Savings Club by paying a $10 annual fee. Customers in 33 states and Washington DC can opt for home delivery of maintenance medications, 90-day prescriptions, and diabetic supplies.
Walmart also offers a list of $4 generic prescription drugs and free home delivery. The Walmart pharmacy garners far more complaints at Consumer Affairs than does the service at Target. The gripes range from lost paperwork and incorrect medications to mislabeled containers; one person with diabetes reports going for three days without insulin because the Walmart pharmacy insisted it was too early to refill the prescription.
Select Target locations in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Virginia operate Target Clinics that handle minor illnesses and injuries, skin treatments, vaccines (including flu shots), sports camp physicals and other wellness services for all but the youngest children (the minimum age is 18 months). Most major insurance plans are accepted. A similar clinic at Walmart, with locations in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, is privately owned and operated.
Kmart takes a different approach. Select pharmacies offer flu shots and/or host periodic health events. For example, all Kmart pharmacies are sponsoring a Senior Health Event in November that offers blood pressure checks, memory screening, and information on diseases. The staff can also help senior citizens sign up for Medicare.
The Walmart services at the store we visited include a vision center where customers can get a basic eye exam for $58 and a contact lens fitting for $98. Frames and single-vision lenses with scratch resistance start at $38 a pair. Select Target stores also have optical centers where customers can get a basic eye exam or contact lens fitting and buy eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contacts.
Additional Kmart, Target, and Walmart Services.Each of these retail chains also offers a variety of additional services, from photo development to layaway plans and financial services. Kmart does not handle picture developing, but it operates portrait studios at select locations, as does Target.
Customers can have pictures developed at Walmart or Target. Target specializes in digital pictures, with prices starting at 29 cents for a 4x6. The process is self-service and the results are immediate. "Not the highest quality prints around, but quick and easy and, for certain projects, good enough," said one customer at the photo-developing center. Walmart's services are more extensive. For digital prints, instant processing costs 28 cents and one-hour service costs 25 cents for each 4x6. Customers can put the prints onto a CD or DVD and create greeting cards, invitations, photo books, calendars, posters, mugs, blankets, mouse pads, and more.
Kmart is well-known for its layaway program, which is available for select in-store and online items. Customers can choose an eight- or 12-week layaway and then make bi-weekly payments. Layaway requires a $15 or 10 percent deposit (whichever is greater), plus $5 or $10 to open the account. Pickup is available when the last payment is made. Walmart's layaway service applies to in-store items only during the holiday shopping season, starting mid-September. Eligible items include toys, electronics, small appliances, and select sporting goods; jewelry qualifies for layaway all year. Starting the process requires a deposit of $10 or 10 percent of the purchase price (whichever is greater) plus a refundable $5 toward a Walmart gift card. Minimum payments vary by item but start at $15. Target does not have a layaway option.
All three stores provide some type of financial services. Target offers a store credit or debit card called the REDcard, which promises shoppers 5 percent off Target purchases and free shipping for online orders. Walmart services include the Walmart money card and credit card, money transfers, bill paying, and money orders. Kmart issues Sears credit cards and prepaid credit and debit cards and sells pet, health, and dental insurance.
Several online sites let you "name your price" for lodging, rental cars, consumer goods, events, and more. It helps to have a strategy.
Some states impose sales taxes for online purchases, but strategic shopping can minimize that extra expense.