CVS Shopping 101
CVS Shopping 101 is all about shopping at CVS and playing the drugstore game. We combine sales, coupons and ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs) to save big!
Almost everything I “buy” at CVS is free or close to it and many times you will make money by purchasing items. CVS’s prices are higher than many stores, but if you stick with the ECB items combined with coupons you can get some fantastic deals there. Perfect example: I recently bought a Oral B Professional Care Series power toothbrush there. It was on sale for $99.99 (orig $139.99) with $30 ECB plus I had a $10/1 coupon. And, on top of that, there was a $50.00 mail-in rebate so I ended up paying $9.99 for a really expensive toothbrush!
Here is how to do it:
1. Get a CVS ExtraCare Card. You’ll need this to get the sale prices and ExtraCare Bucks.
2. Keep and read your weekly CVS ad insert from the Sunday paper or come to Become the Coupon Queen for the weekly deals.
This is how you will find the best deals. In the ad, you will find sales that say something like “Revlon Nail Polish. Pay $3.99, get $3.99 ECBs. Limit 5.” It will be written on something that looks like a little yellow sticky note right next to the picture of the Revlon Nail Polish.
This ad means that the first five times you purchase a Revlon Nail Polish, the store will give you $3.99 in ECBs. You must use your store card in order to get the ECBs. It’s a card holder’s privilege.
3. Clip and save your ECBs from the bottom of your receipts.
An ECB is printed at the bottom of your register receipt. It is basically CVS cash and can be used on your next purchase.
Note: ECBs are attached to the card account, so if you have 2 cards, keep your ECBs separate for each account. You can only use your ECBs on your account and your spouse can only use their ECBs on their account.
In our example deal, the Revlon Nail Polish is a wash, and you basically pay nothing. Now, if you have coupons, it makes an even sweeter deal. If you have five $1/1 coupons for Revlon, CVS (actually the manufacturer) pays you $5 to take five Revlon nail polishes off the shelf. So, you would pay $14.95 cash for the nail polish and get $19.95 back in ECBs for your next purchase!
Often times you will make money on purchases at CVS, and I recommend always getting the money makers even if it isn’t something you need. Take the item and give it to a family or friend that can use it or better yet donate it and get a tax write off. I have “bought” many items that I don’t use such as depends because I actually made money from the deal which I in turn use to buy products that I want or need.
4. During your first few trips to CVS, you will actually have to spend money to get and build your ECB stash. Don’t worry. Just wait and see what all that money is going to get you!
Once you start earning ECBs, you will want to use them on your next purchase where you get more ECBs. We call this “rolling”. It gives you the least amount out of pocket.
5. Always scan your Extra CareCard at the Coupon Center in-store.
These magical little machines give you awesome CVS coupons that can be used in addition to manufacturer’s coupons to add even more savings. Continue to scan your card until it tells you that there are no more coupons for the day. Sometimes you will even get ones like $5/$25 purchase. Always hand coupons for an amount of your total purchase to the cashier before any other coupons.
6. Make sure you have signed up your email with CVS.
CVS emails fantastic coupons from time to time usually along the lines of $5/$25 purchase. Keep in mind that the total in this case just needs to be $25 before any other coupons are applied.
7. Always get a raincheck if the store is out of the ECB deal.
CVS offers rainchecks on ECB deals if they run out of an item.
8. Keep the CVS coupon policy with you.
I highly recommend keeping the CVS coupon policy with you. You can print it HERE.
On your first trip to CVS, you’ll use only coupons and cash to pay (always have them scan your card first). On your second trip, you will use coupons, then ECBs, and finally cash to pay. Just keep rolling your ECBs on the free deals and watch them grow.
Your weekly ECB limits are always printed at the bottom of your receipt so you can see what ECB deals you have already purchased. Sometimes even though the ad says limit of 5, it may actually be 10 and looking at the receipt will tell you if you have reached the limit or not.
In addition, be sure you sign up for the CVS Advisor Panel. Once you sign up, you may receive invitations to participate in online surveys about CVS products and services. If you choose to participate in the surveys, you will get CVS ExtraBucks immediately upon completion.