Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How to CVS, Vol. 1

Thanks for being patient. I am not healed, but I currently am not afflicted with a fever, which is an improvement from yesterday.

I have had a few requests to do a "How To" post about CVS, so today's post is just that, the How to CVS, Volume 1. I don't expect any other volumes, but you never know. I'm all about keeping my options open.

First, let me give the disclaimer that neither I nor anyone I am related to nor anyone I am an acquaintance with (outside of the local CVS stores) work for or are receiving any type of compensation (other than Extracare Bucks) for this post.

Second, to all the CVS personel who may stumble upon this blog, please feel free to contact me and send me lots and lots of CVS coupons. Because I do believe I have single-handedly given you free publicity to 100s, perhaps THOUSANDS (and I have converted a colleague whose husband is employed by a competitor (the W one) *GASP*).

Third, I apologize about the previous mumbo jumbo, let's get down to business.

CVS is a drugstore/pharmacy located in several areas of the United States. If there is not a CVS in your town/city/principality, I suggest you move NOW to a town/city/principality which does have a CVS store.

The first step in CVSing is to get an Extracare Card. Without the card, shopping there is pointless. You can do this by going to the store and getting one from the friendly cashier or you can register to have one mailed to you at your home through the CVS website. You will need to use this card each time you make a purchase in order to get the rewards.

After you have received a card you must then begin to think like a CVS shopper. This is the hard part. If you do not clip coupons, begin immediately. You will save a lot more money doing so, not just at CVS either.

The main point at shopping at CVS is to earn "Extracare Bucks." These are rewards which print at the bottom of your receipt when you purchase specific items. There are weekly and monthly deals. Each week CVS will have specific extra care items which will give you "Extracare Bucks" when you purchase these items. These rewards are only good with the card you used to earn them so hold on to that CVS card!

For example, this week, when you purchase $20 in Pampers items you receive $5 extracare bucks to use on your next purchase. You can also use Pampers manufacturer coupons as well as CVS coupons, which are often emailed to you or you can register your extracare card on the CVS website and you will get a $4 off $20 purchase emailed to you. You can also find these coupons around the internet or they may print on the bottom of your receipt.

I completed this deal and here was my purchase:

2 Pampers Easy Ups -- $15.98
2 Pampers Wipes -- $5.98
Total: $21.96
Coupons used:
$2 off 2 Pampers items -- $19.96
2 -- $1 off Pampers Easy Ups -- $17.96
$3/$15 CVS coupon -- $14.96
$10 in ECBs -- $4.96
Tax .54
Total: 5.50
Earned $5 in ECBs.

Convinced yet? Great! Keep reading.

I gave out links yesterday to Money Saving Mom's CVS 101. She is able to articulate the how's and why's of CVSing, so feel free to check her site often, but here are the tips which help me.

I clip coupons each Sunday from the newspaper. I save all coupons, even ones I think I won't use. I also ask friends, colleagues and family members who get coupons to save me their coupons they aren't in need of so I can get ones I use. I will also give them ones I don't use as a "trade."

Several websites will post CVS deals each week with purchasing scenarios using coupons. One of these sites is Money Saving Mom (my favorite), but so does this one and this one.

To get started I suggest you purchase small items initially until you are able to get the "hang of it." For example, the Gillette Fusion razor is on sale this week for $9.99 and will give you $4 in ECBs. There is a $4 coupon from this past week's newspaper for this razor. You would pay $5.99 plus tax out of pocket and receive $4 in ECBs to use on your next purchase.

If you want to venture beyond the $9.99 range and head toward the $15 range, here is a great way to get a $3 off $15 CVS coupon to use toward that purchase.

I have specific CVS stores locally which I prefer. If you are a local reader I can give you recommendations based on my experiences, if you are interested. And I'm more than willing to meet up for a in person tutorial. CVS employees LOVE when I do that!

I am sure you all have unanswered questions that I did not touch upon so please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll post Volume 2 to answer those. The cold medicine is kicking in and my thought process is slowing down.

Good Luck CVSing!

1 comment:

The Simpsons said...

Great tutorial! I came across your blog on my journey to researching couponing and CVS specifically and I would love to know which local CVS's you prefer. I live in Richmond (only one choice here) but I am in Lex at least once a week. If you get the chance you could email me at: jenjacey@hotmail.com
or I'll just check back...
Thanks for helping a girl out!