Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shopping Drugstores: CVS 101-- Part 1 of 3

Hi all,
I thought I would share with you some tips on how to shop three of my local drug stores, which are CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. So I'll go over each one on separate days. First, you may ask me.....Aren't those drugs stores more expensive then other stores? Well, I used to think the same thing, and never shopped those drug stores until I learned how to shop savvy with coupons. Now I can usually get things like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, deodorant, etc. completely free. Yes, I said free, sometimes I even make money on these items. I'll explain what I mean by this in a little bit. I'm talking brand name items! Brands that I would have never have bought in the past because of the price. Ok, let's get to it!

So today I'll start with CVS. First, you will need to get a CVS Extra Care Card. This is there loyalty card, and it is completely free. You just have to fill out a form when you go into the store. The cashier will scan your card before your purchase to get the sale prices. You can not get the sale prices without this card. You can read more about the card here.

Second, CVS has something called Extra Care Bucks, or ECB's. These are "Extra Care Bucks" that are printed at the end of your receipt after you've paid for your purchases. These bucks are like cash to use at CVS on your next purchases.

Third, in CVS stores, they have a coupon center. This is a tall machine that scans your card, and will print coupons out. You should always stop by that machine before you start your shopping trip. You never know what you could get. Sometimes it prints $/off a specific item, and sometimes they print coupons like $4 off $20, or $10 off 50. You could even get lucky, and get a free item.

Fourth, let's talk about the order you hand your coupons in. You may wonder why you should hand your coupons in a certain order. Well, if you happen to have one of those $? off $? like $4 off $20 for example, and your total before your coupons is $21, you want them to take that off first, because if you hand your manufacture coupons first your total will dip below the $20, and you will no longer be able to use the $4 off $20.

Finally, let's get to how you get those free items. Next weeks sales ad has Schick 3 or Hydro 5 cartridges 4ct or razor $8.97. There is a $5 Schick razor coupon coming out in the Smartsource insert on 8/8/10. This brings the razor to $3.97. After you pay, you will then get $4 ECB to use on your next purchase. So, yes, you do initially have to pay out of pocket to get the ECB, but once you start to build up your ECBs you will then be able to use those instead of cash out of your pocket. Then in turn get more ECB's.

Now here is how you can actually make money. First buy the razor mentioned above, and complete that transaction. Then do a second transaction with the following. CVS also has Ducolax Balance 8.3oz. on sale for $9.99 next week. Use the $4 ECB you received in the first transaction, along with the $4 coupon that came in the Smartsource insert on 5/16/10, which brings it to $1.99. You will receive a $9.99 ECB after you pay.

You always have to pay tax. So, you paid $3.97+ tax in first, then $1.99 + tax in second, but you get back $9.99 to use in your next transaction. Now, you should know that you can only use the ECB's on the pre tax total. So if your pretax total is $3.50, and you have a $4 ECB you need a filler item if you don't want to waste that $.50. Filler items are things that will get you to the total you need, like a $.50 candy bar, or pack of gum.

One last little money saving tidbit.....CVS also has a green bag tag you can purchase for $1. Attach this to your reusable bag, and have the cashier scan this. Every fourth visit you will get back $1 in ECB's. So you get your money back on your fourth visit. Every dollar counts! :)

Now, I just want to give credit to a great website i heart cvs, which is where you can find upcoming sales to make your plans. This is where I regularly check each week for CVS's deals.

Well, hopefully I have cleared up some questions on how you can shop a drug store like CVS for some fantastic deals. Be sure to check back here for posts on future trips to CVS. As always, I love to hear from you, so feel free to post comments or questions.

Happy Shopping!


Jessica said...

Thanks for the 101. I would have never tried shopping there without it. I'm going to share your post with my SIL.

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for stopping by. :)

Three Little Peeps said...

Quick question about how this works. This week they are running a spend $20 get $10 ECB. If I have coupons for the items in the group will they take the total before or after coupons to go towards the $20?

Jennifer @ Just Peachy in Dixie said...

Three Little Peeps,
They should count the total before your coupons.

We Use Coupons