All right. Let's get to the good stuff. Now that we've covered the coupon basics, let's move on to the drug store basics! And we shall begin with one of my favorite stores...CVS! I have scored so many good bargains at CVS and spent so little money there!
CVS has their own rewards system. It is one of those stores that you need a little key tab for. If you don't already have an Extra Care Card, sign up for one, then guard that little key tab with your life! (Alright, if you lose it, just give the cashier your phone number and they can look it up in the register.) You can also apply at any CVS store. It's free and simple.
What does your ExtraCare card do for you?
- You earn 2% back on all in-store and online purchases (more on that in a minute)
- You earn 1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions you fill at CVS
- You are able to take advantage of sale prices
- Occasionally receive a coupon for a free item
- You can scan your tag at various scanners in the store to receive extra coupons
An ExtraBuck (ECB) is a coupon that prints at the end of your receipt for money off your next purchase. For instance, this week the Paas Egg Decorating kit is on sale for $1.99 (Sunday and Monday only). The ad says buy 1 and get $1.99 in ECBs. When you buy the item, you pay $1.99 for it out of pocket, then a coupon to be used on your next purchase will print out at the end of your receipt for $1.99 making the item essentially free. This ECB can be used for anything at any CVS, with the exception of alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, prescriptions, and special order Home Health Care items, including footwear.
How do Extra Bucks save you money?
This week Softsoap Ensemble hand soap dispenser refills are on sale for $3.99. The ad says buy 2 and receive $4 ECB. There were coupons in the paper last week for $2 off 1 and $1 off 1 of these. Now, if you buy 2, you will spend $7.98-$3 in coupons=$4.98 out of pocket and receive $4 ECB, making it $0.98 for 2 of these fancy hand soaps. If you have 2 of the $2 coupons, you will break even.
Now, occasionally, an item is on sale free after ECB and there will be a matching coupon in the paper. For instance, toothpaste is very often free after rebate and there are often coupons for them. Say the toothpaste is on sale for $2 with $2 ECB. If you have a $1 coupon, you actually will make $1 off the toothpaste. Buy the toothpaste for $2- $1coupon= $1. Receive $2ECB.
Alright, now to take things to the next level, the way to really make your money and your ExtraBucks work for you is to take the ExtraBucks you receive from one purchase and roll them over into another purchase that you can either get for free or make money off of. Do you follow me? If not, here is an example.
Let's say the limit to the number of toothpaste deals you can do is 3. You have 2 coupons. Purchase 2 toothpastes at $2 each. Use 2 $1/1 coupons. $4-$2 coupons= $2 out of pocket. Receive $4 in ECB. Now, do the above scenario for the soaps. (Purchase 2 at $3.99 each= $7.98-$3 in coupons=$4.98. Use your $4ECB from your toothpaste. $4.98-$4ECB= $0.98 Pay $2.98 out of pocket for 2 toothpaste and 2 soaps and still have $4 in ECB to use on something else from the soaps you just bought.
- You can pair a manufacturer's coupon with extra care bucks and coupons that print at the end of your receipt
- If an item is out of stock, you can get a rain check for that item at it's sale price with extra bucks
- You can do more than one transaction at the register in one trip. (Make a purchase, pay, make another purchase without leaving the counter, pay, etc.) This way you can bring all your purchases up to the counter and keep rolling your extra bucks so you can pay a minimum out of pocket. I try to keep it to a minimum of 3 for the sake of people behind me.
- Some CVS take expired Extra Bucks and some take competitor's coupons
- A limit of how many times you can take advantage of an ECB offer is printed in small print next to the item in the ad. This is usually between 1-5 times
- 4 times a year, the 2% of your total spent at CVS will print as an ECB. So, you earn free money by buying things at CVS.
- You will not be given back money on ECB. If your total comes to $3 and you have a $4 ECB, they will not give you back $1. You either need to find something else to add in to make up the $1 or forfeit the $1.
Suggestions for those new to CVS "dealing":
Start off slow! Let me repeat...start off slow. As good as "CVSing" can be, it can be very overwhelming at first. It takes some time to really figure out how to make it work for you. I also suggest figuring out your deals at home, putting your coupons and your deal scenarios in separate envelopes and labeling the envelope according to the order you want to do the deals in. Also, it might be less stressful to do a deal, bring your items to the car, come back in, do your next deal, etc. instead of trying to roll a bunch at once. Bring a calculator with you and tally up your totals to make sure you at least break even in your deals. If not (say you still need $1 before you can use your total amount of ECB) grab an inexpensive item that you could use and make up the difference with.
The weekly CVS deals are advertised in the weekly flier and then there are monthly deals that are advertised in a separate flier located next to the weekly fliers as you walk in the store. Sometimes these monthly deals will be advertised in the weekly flier to bring attention to them, but it does not mean that it is a monthly and weekly deal (meaning the deal does not double).
One last note: before you look at this and say...this is too much work- no thanks....give it at least 3 months before you give up. It takes time to work out the kinks and figure things out. Sure you may not figure out all the best deals or spend the least amount out of pocket as other people right away, but, you will still be spending less then you were initially right?! So stick with it for a bit, and you'll never again pay for shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, body wash, lotion, mouthwash, and other things!
Please feel free to ask questions, esp if you don't understand something! No question is a dumb question! I am more than happy to help!