Saturday, August 6, 2011

How To Shop At CVS

I am working on some posts about the basics of couponing that I hope to have finished very soon. I'm starting with CVS because, quite frankly, they've had some pretty good deals lately. I want to get you shopping now!

First things first, sign up for the Extra Care Bucks card.
They of course give you a small one for your keychain... is there any place that doesn't give those? I have more of those little cards than I have keys. Geez. CVS has a (new) policy that only one card is allowed per household. You can sign up online or in the store. If you sign up online, it takes a couple of weeks for the card to come, so if you're ready for deals now, you should go in to the store to get one. It only takes a minute, really!

Once you have your card in hand, you're ready to start earning Extra Care Bucks (ECBs).  These are printed out at the register when you purchased the participating product.  For example, this week at CVS, they have Bic Soleil Shimmer Razors on sale for $5.99, with a $3.00 ECB upon purchase.  You'll ring up and at the end of your receipt, this will print.
If you look closely, you'll see that it says "Mr." Priscilla... I've tried to correct it.  It still says "Mr." Sigh.

Hang on to those ECBs, they're as good as cash at CVS! Some things to know:  The amount you are required to buy to get the promotion (because sometimes they have a 'buy $30 worth of P&G products and get a $5 ECB) is calculated before coupons.  So if you buy $30 worth of P&G products and you have $5 in coupons, you'll still get the $5 ECB even though you've only paid $25.  You also don't have to buy the entire amount in the same purchase.  Using the previous example, I can buy $20 worth of P&G products on Monday and come back Tuesday for the other $10 worth and still get the ECB.  This is great if you have to split up your transactions.  Your receipts will detail where you are in ECB deals for the week:
The red arrow shows how much I've saved for the year and spent for the season.  I've used over $700 in coupons at CVS alone this year.  Love it.  The green arrow shows my 'Green Bag Tag' uses: At CVS they have Green Bag Tags for $0.99.  If you attach one to your reusable bags, they'll scan that during your purchase.  After every four uses of your Green Bag Tag, you get a $1 ECB.  It pays for itself after four trips!  The orange arrow shows that I purchased one of the Bic razors.  Since the limit is one, it shows that my offer limit is reached.  The orange arrow shows a deal that was based on amount purchased, not quantity.  The deal was 'spend $20', and I did (before coupons, anyway).  The purple arrow shows a deal that is 'in progress'.  I've spent $3.25 towards this deal, so I need to spend $26.70 on participating products to get that reward.

Are you confused yet?

When you go back to use the ECBs you've earned, you can use them on almost anything!  You cannot use them on prescriptions, alcohol, gift cards, and other items listed on the ECB.  But that's OK because those items never have ECB deals anyway and we want to use our ECBs to get more ECBs!  ECBs have an expiration date of four weeks from the date earned, but check with your local store: mine takes them up to a month after their date!

CVS takes manufacturer coupons (both regular and printable) and also gives coupons of their own.  When you walk into CVS, look for the 'Coupon Center'.  Here you can scan your card daily for coupons.  This is a great place to go every trip... I have gotten coupons for free items from the coupon center on many occasions! I got my Green Bag Tag free with a coupon from the center too!  You can also get coupons for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more, which is great for a big shopping trip!  You can use a CVS coupon AND a manufacturer coupon on the same item (it's called stacking coupons!) for extra savings!  Register your ECB Card online to get emails with coupons too!

You can use as many ECBs on your shopping trip as you like.  At other drugstores with similar programs, you need an item for each coupon, but at CVS, you can use as many ECBs as you need to.  You've gotta love that!

A good scenario this week is:

1 - Bic Soleil Shimmer Razor @ $5.99
Use the $3.00Bic Razor coupon from the July 10th Smart Source coupon insert.
Pay $2.99 out-of-pocket and get a $3.00 ECB back.  Now you're in the game!

A great resource for setting up deals at CVS is the website  She lists all the deals out for you and tells you what coupons to use!  Check it out!  And of course, please comment or send me an email and I will be glad to help you!


I love all the comments I get from you! Because of an insane amount of spam, I had to turn off anonymous commenting but I'd love it if you'd comment anyway!

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