I always thought that drug stores were the most expensive place to shop but I have been sadly mistaken. Like many others I have been fascinated by these extreme Couponers and have been attempting to get on the couponing bandwagon myself. The last place I would have thought to shop for deals would be a drug store. I always thought their prices were outrageously way too high. And for the most part they are higher than a store like Wal-Mart or Dollar General. However, I have quickly learned that things truly are not as they appear. CVS is probably one of the cheapest places to buy personal care and other household goods that you use everyday. Believe it or not!!!!
There are however a couple of tricks of the trade. You really, really have to study the ads that come out every week and only buy when items are on sale or have a special promotion going on. Lets start with the basics of CVS.
CVS has an awesome reward program which personally I think is one of if not the best award program I have seen plus it’s a lot of fun to use and gets me super excited to go shopping every week. I am now to the point where I can go to CVS a couple of times a week and actually have fun doing it. I’m not really big on shopping but when I’m getting great deals it doesn’t make shopping feel like a chore.
The reward program that CVS has is called the CVS Extra Care Rewards program, which allows you to earn Extra Care Bucks (ECB) that you can use basically as cash towards purchases in the store. If you do not have a CVS Extra Care card then you will need to go into your local store and apply for one. It only takes a few minutes and you can start saving money immediately.
Once you have your reward card, mosey on over to the Coupon Center which is the “magic” coupon machine that many of us CVS shoppers call it. Scan your CVS ExtraCare card and the machine will spit out a couple of coupons for you. Remember to scan your card every week for new coupons. I have heard that some people scan their card every time they go to CVS even if it’s a couple of times a week and I have heard of people scanning their card multiple times in one trip but I have not tried this. I am also told that the coupons that come out of the Coupon Center are random and that not everyone receives the same coupons however, I am not sure if this is truth.
Each quarter you will receive ECB for your prescriptions and on all your purchases. For every two prescriptions filled you will get $1 ECB and 2% of your everyday purchases.
Another awesome program CVS has is the CVS/pharmacy Green Bag Tag. You can find these up by the register. They are only a dollar and you attach it to your reusable bag. Each time you purchase an item bring in your reusable bag and show the cashier your Green tag to be scanned along with your CVS card to be scanned. Then on every 4th visit you will receive a $1 ECB.
And yet another cool program that CVS has is that you can go online and sign up for the ExtraCare Beauty Club. You will then receive $5 ECB every time you spend $50 on beauty products.
When each ad comes out on Sundays, study the ad carefully. The first thing I look for are the items that are on sale and offer ExtraCare Bucks. Then I look in my coupon stash and see if I have any coupons I could match up to the products on sale. This is where you can save even more money by matching up the manufactures coupons with items that are already on sale for an even deeper discount. And what’s even better is that your ECB is calculated prior to the deduction of manufacturers coupons. Whoot, Whoot!
Here is an example of a few great deals I found this week.
CVS advertised Dove hair care 5-12 oz products on sale 2 for $6, which ends up being $3 each. The regular retail price for Dove 12 oz shampoo is $4.99. So on sale you are saving $1.99 each. If you spend $15 on Dove products you will receive $5 ECB. I had coupons for $3.00 off two Dove hair care products and this would leave each bottle of shampoo or conditioner only $1.50 each. I purchased 5 bottles at $3.00 each on sale, which totaled the $15.00 I needed to get the $5 ECB. I used 5 manufacturers coupons and got each bottle for $1.50 each. The total after coupons was $7.50 (that’s about 70% off retail) plus I got a $5 ECB so if you want to take that off its like getting 5 bottles of Dove shampoo for 50 cents a piece (or 90% off retail). Pretty awesome huh!! No dollar store can beat that price!!!
Here’s an awesome deal I got on P&G products this week. If you spend $30 on select P&G products in the ad for week ending 9-11-12 you will get $10 ECB. I always like to take advantage of the high dollar Extrabucks. Aussie shampoo and conditioner was on sale for 2 for $5.97 (reg. $5.49) and I had a manufacturers coupon for $3.00 off 2 and a CVS coupon from the coupon machine (also known as a CRT) for $1.00 of an Aussie product. I got a credit for buying $5.97 of P&G Aussie but only spent $1.97 on 2 bottles. Then I bought 4 bottles of Pantene shampoo on sale for $5.99 each (reg. $6.49) and used 2 coupons of $3.00 off 2 Pantene shampoos, making them $4.49 each. Then a small bottle of Gillette Fusion shave gel for $2.37 and I had a coupon for $1.00 off so it was only $1.37. I would have spent $39.01 retail but on sale it would have been $32.33 however with my coupons deducted I only spent 21.30. Then I used the $5 ECB from my Dove deal above and $1 ECB from my 4th visit using my Green bag tag and I spent a total of $15.30 before tax and got 4 bottles of Pantene shampoo (these were the large bottles) and 2 bottles of Aussie shampoo and one shave gel.
A few tips:
One thing to remember when using your ECB is that you need to use the full amount of you will lose it and to make sure you pay attention to the expiration dates. For example, if you have an ECB for $10.00 and the items you are purchasing only total $7.00 then you either need to add more to your purchase to get it to the $10 mark or above or don’t use the ECB on that purchase. If you use the $10 ECB on the $7 item you will not get a credit for the remaining $3 on the ECB. You will lose it!
Always shop with your coupon stash or book. CVS has some great deals on clearance items and if you have a coupon to add to the clearance item then you will save even more.
CVS does give rains checks so if an item that is on sale is out of stock don’t be afraid to have them right up a rain check for the quantity you want and lock in that great sale price.
Also pay attention to the bottom of your receipts. As long as you use your CVS card every time you purchase something, on the bottom of your receipts you will find running totals of your Beauty Club spending and Extra Buck offers for that week. So say on that P&G offer I showed you above, if you only bought the Aussie items for $5.97, it will show on your receipt that you need $24.03 more of P&G to get the ECB for that week. The CVS receipts are the best receipts I have ever seen, they keep track of everything, I love it! I like to go home and figure out what I would have paid if the items were not on sale and I didn’t use coupons and then compare it to what I actually paid. It’s so fun and rather addicting!