Monday, September 1, 2008

CVS 101 ( Learn the CVS Game)

Sign up for CVS Extra Care Card- It's Free and it will get you the advertised prices and great deals. Give them your email address and they will send you printable coupons for you to use such as Save $4 of a $20 purchase etc. Remember each time to swipe your card before checking out similar to the Supermarkets.

Get the Sunday Paper- The single best way to collect your stash of coupons is to sign up for the weekend paper even if you are not a reader. The weekend paper is cheap and you can often find great specials for signing up for 26 weeks. ( I pay $0.75 for the weekend edition and just using (1) $1 coupon already makes it worthwhile.)
Save all coupon inserts- even if you think that you don't need a certain product or some brands are too expensive. The reason for that is that sometimes those coupons can make a product free or can be a money maker during your purchase and allow you to buy the items you really need for less or even free.
Spend time going through the weekly CVS flier- Look for sales, look for items that give you ECB ( Extra Cash Back). Especially look for items that will be totally Free after the extra cash back. Open your coupon box ( hopefully you have got one by now) and think of what coupons can you use with the sale items, with the extra cash back or free items in order to give you additional savings. Look for coupons that can be used with Sale and ECB purchases- In order to make the most out of the coupons, use them on already reduced or free items. For example Dawn regular price $1.79 is on sale for $0.99 and then use a $0.50 coupon making the item cost only .49 which is approx 70% savings. Furthermore use the coupons on items that give you ECB or items that will be FREE after the ECB in order to stretch the dollar even more.
Print additional coupons online- There are hundreds of valid coupons available to be printed every day online for FREE. There are many different websites that list the coupons such as Coupons Inc, Coupon bug and allow you to print them very easily. For example Colgate toothpaste is on sale this week for $2.49 and you get $2 ECB ( extra cash back). If you don't have a Colgate coupon then try the web- as of now there is a $1.50 Colgate coupon that you can print. This will bring your total cost to - $1.01 (+ Tax) . Now obviously CVS will not pay you for buying the toothpaste but that credit can be used for additional items you will buy.
Understand the Buy 1 Get 1 Free deals- Most people don't know this but if you present a B1G1 (Buy 1 get 1 Free) Coupon for an item that is on sale that week for B1G1 then you get both for FREE! And even more if you have additional (2) $1 off coupons for the same item you are buying (2) of, you can use them as well. The trick is using the $1 off or $2 off coupons first and then using the B1G1 coupon and the item becomes profitable. For example this week all Cover Girl Outlast products were on sale B1G1 Free and in this weeks P& G insert there was a coupon for B1G1 Cover Girl lip product and there was another $1 off any Cover Girl coupon too ( I also had another $1 off Coupon from a couple of weeks ago) so my total for 2 Cover Girl lip products was $9.99- $9.99 - $1.00 -$1.00 and the balance was -$2.00. ( I had bought other stuff to make up the difference).
Use the ECB ( Extra Cash Back) Coupons you receive- If you purchase an item and say it was $3.00 and you get $3.00 ECB that prints out on the bottom of your receipt, the $3 is not worth one cent if it is never used hence no savings at all was made with the $3.00 purchase. Understand the rules with the ECB. The ECB will usually expire one month after they print out ( it clearly states it on the receipt). Organize them in your coupon box or wallet so that you never miss the expiring ECB's you have. I try buying the following week's deals with the ECB from the previous week. So I constantly get a fresh stash of ECB while using the previous ones.
Visit Money Saving Blogs and Forums to learn more- these blogs and forums have more valuable information than you can imagine. They contain shopping scenarios to buy as many things as possible for very little to none out of pocket. They have links to specific coupons that can be printed for on sale items that week. They will give you so many ideas and a wealth of information. Worth to check out sites such as A Full Cup, Hot Coupon World and Gotta Deal.
Prepare a Shopping List and a Coupon pile at home- In order to make your trip 100% valuable to the max, prepare a list with the approximate cost of the item ( use the CVS flier) and then list all your coupons you will use. This serves multiple purposes. You can see the total spent for all the items purchased and also it gives you a general idea of the total you can expect paying at the store. Remember to use the ECB to pay for the necessary items.
Watch the register when you you are ringing up the items- How many times have we been to a store where the item rings up incorrectly or we purchased the item we thought was on sale but is not. Also pay close attention when the cashier scans your coupons. Many times during scanning it will make a beeping sound but the discount will not be taken off and the cashier needs to either rescan the coupon or enter in manually.
Hand the Coupons over in the proper order- If you have any $4/20 or $2/10 CVS Coupons use them first when your total is at its max, then use the individual $1 or $2 off coupons, then use the B1G1 Coupons and finally use your ECB ( from the previous week or two) to pay for your bill. Hopefully you will receive additional ECB with this purchase too.
Check your receipt and Check for the ECB- This is a good habit for all purchases everywhere. Unfortunately there are too many mistakes going on and they are costing us lots of money. Hopefully the receipt should match the general shopping list with pricing that you prepared at home. Make sure the ECB printed out if you were expecting it. Finally tear the ECB off the receipt and put it into your wallet. Treat it like cash. Good Luck with Shopping at CVS!
Read my Blog often and find great savings, especially CVS!


SephardiLady said...

Fantastic new blog. I just gave you a link on my recent post at Orthonomics. Keep up the good work and keep doing the hard work for us!

Anonymous said...

Question...I shopped at Kroger the other day, and used a $.75 off 3 items coupon. I tried to use 2 other coupons, and they wouldn't let me. Obviously I only got 3 because I thought I could use the other coupons. They told me that the group of 3 items was considered ONE, and I could only use one coupon. Is this true?

Anonymous said...

BTW - ECB stands for Extra Care Bucks not Extra Cash Back


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