Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Centsible Shopping at CVS: Part 1

For those of you who are unfamiliar with how advantegeous it is to shop at CVS, here's the first in a 3 part series on how to shop at CVS. In these articles you will learn how to get stuff for cheap, for free, and sometimes even get paid to buy things! I know it sounds to good to be true, but it really is true!

Sounds great! Tell me more!

How it works:

Every week CVS puts out a circular which lists the sale items. Many of those items, however, are not only on sale, but they also produce what are called Extra Care Bucks (ECB's). When you buy that particular item, a coupon will print at the bottom of your receipt that can be used toward your next purchase.

Keep in mind, though, that you cannot split up ECB's. For instance, if you have an ECB worth $3.00 and your total is only $2.00, your ECB will pay the $2.00, but you will not get the other $1.00 back. Instead, you want to make sure your total would be at least $3.00 so that you don't waste any of your ECB's.

Another thing to keep in mind is that ECB's will not pay for sales tax. If your total is $3.00 and you want to pay with $3.00 in ECB's, your subtotal might only be $2.49. Therefore, you would waste $.51 worth of ECB's. I always ask what the subtotal is to make sure I am not giving them more ECB's than I need to.

Okay, I think I understand. But how can I actually get stuff for free?

Many times it is as simple as CVS giving stuff away. No joke. If you look in the circular you might find something like X brand deodorant: buy it for $3.99, get back $3.99 ECB's. "Well, that's not free", you say, "I still have to pay $3.99 in cash." Yes you do, but you'll only have to do that on your first trip. Once you get that $3.99 back, you can use what I call your "paper money" from now on. The trick is to do what is called "rolling" your ECB's. Instead of buying anything you want for $3.99, you need to buy something else that gives back ECB's.

Sometimes, things are not necessarily free after ECB's, but if you add a coupon to the mix, then they will be. For example, you might find in the circular X brand shampoo: buy it for $4.99, get back $4.00 ECB's. Sure, a buck for a bottle of shampoo is not half bad, but why don't you check to see if you have a coupon for $1.00 off? If you do, then buy the shampoo for $4.99, use your coupon to make it $3.99, and get back $4.00 in ECB's. If you used your $3.99 ECB's from the deodorant you bought, then you didn't have to pay anything for your shampoo, and you still have $4.00 in ECB's for next time. And you actually gained a penny's worth of ECB's!

I'm liking this! Tell me more!

1. If you do not already have a CVS Extracare card, sign up in the store to get one.
2. You need to either subscribe to the Sunday paper or buy a Sunday paper every week. You will need all the coupons you can get!
3. Save every coupon whether it is for something you would normally buy or not. There will be times when it will be advantageous to buy something just because you can actually make money buying it.
4. Read this blog regularly. Every Friday I post what the following week's CVS deals will be along with any coupons that match with the deals.
5. After you get your CVS card, go to the CVS website and register your card with them. They will email CVS store coupons occasionally.

I can't wait to give this a try!

Well then, be sure to check back to read Part 2 in this series!


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