CVS 411

Walgreens has been my rebate store of choice for a while now but I discovered CVS a while back and like it more in some respects. The main reason being – although it’s trickier to work their deals out, they don’t just give you one product. A few months ago I didn’t just get 1 bodywash free, I got 5. So it’s worth the extra effort (especially as I’m doing most of the leg work for you!) Without further ado here’s how to shop CVS, or play the CVS game as some call it!

First, sign up with a customer loyalty card or ExtraCare Card here on in the store. If you do it in the store you can use it immediately.

Secondly, scan your card at the coupon scanner at the front of the store each time you visit to get more good deals.
Next, always have them scan your card before they start ringing up your transaction. All of the deals are tied to your card account number, so if they don’t scan your card, you won’t be able to get any of the deals.

Ok, you’re ready! Each month there will be one or more things free after ExtraCare bucks (ECB). What this means is that although you will be spending money up front, you will get a coupon back good for money off your next purchase. CVS bucks are just like cash at CVS -you can use this coupon on your next purchase just like cash, with only a few exceptions (i.e. you can’t buy stamps or gift cards with them–the fine print on the ECB explains a little more in detail).
You can find out the things that are free by grabbing a copy of their Beauty Deals booklet at the front of the store OR by checking my blog.
The first time you go you will be spending money Out of Pocket (OOP) but after that you can roll your CVS “bucks” over.
Let’s take this month for example. They have Children’s Advil at $5.79 but it earns you $5.79 in ExtraCare bucks which make it FREE. When you buy the Advil, you will pay $5.79 OOP and at the end of your receipt will be a coupon for $5.79 off your next CVS purchase. This month you can buy 2 bottles of Advil for FREE so if you wanted you could use the $5.79 in bucks you just made to buy another bottle.
With me so far?
As well as things being straight out free, there will be other things in the book that are close to free and you may wanna do that. For example, buy a bottle of Suave shampoo normally priced at $1 and this month get $.50 “bucks” back. So although you spent $1 OOP, you really only spent $.50.
The other thing CVS will do to encourage you to come in is put other things free throughout the month. For example, that Suave shampoo may go on sale next week for $.50 and so it became FREE because you get $.50 in “bucks” back.

Some weeks there will be things that are not free but a good deal. For example – Buy $30 worth of J&J products, get $15 back. Well that’s quite a good deal. What I then look at is, do I have any J& J coupons? If I have $10 worth, I can then buy $30 worth of products, use my $10 in coupons and get $15 back in ECBs so overall I spent $5.
Stacking coupons.

The crazy thing is that you can also use Manufacturer’s coupons there. This month there is a coupon out for $1 off Children’s Advil. This means you will pay $4.79 but get $5.79 back! Trust me, it’s true – I already did it!!!
The best thing to do is look for coupons that take money off. When the new CVS opened in Munster they handed out $10 off a purchase over $20. So I spent $20 but then $10 came off the top, followed by some manufacturers coupons I had making it a very cheap deal!
Words of advice:
Unless it’s something you really don’t want, if it’s free get it! Think of somewhere to donate it to or swap with someone else who may have something you want. The bucks do expire and in the past I’ve rolled my bucks over by buying something I didn’t really need but it was free and gave me bucks back that expired a month later.

This can be quite complicated until you get the hang of it so I would start out easy and build up. I will try and post deals each week and how to do them but if you need more help, don’t hesitate to email me.

Lastly, when you are doing a more complicated transaction, make sure you have your coupons in good order so that your transaction goes smoothly and you get the most money off. The best way I have found to do this, is to always give $2/$10 (etc.) coupons first. Then give any other CVS coupons, then your manufacturer’s coupons. Lastly, give your ECBs as they are like cash. If you have an ECB that is for more than what your total is, they can either manually reduce it down and just take off the amount for your total (and thus you lose the rest of your ECB), or you can add on another small item to make up the difference.

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