Posted by  | Thursday, July 30, 2009  at 8:49 PM  
I'm going to give a very brief overview of how I shop at CVS. If you are interested in learning more, there are a lot of great How-Tos out there that I'll give the links for.

The way that you can get free or cheap items at CVS is by shopping their deals regularly and using their "Extra Care Bucks" program. Each week CVS offers several items such as:

Buy 1 Colgate Total Advanced Toothpaste or 360 Toothbrush at $2.88, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)

So you will have to pay $2.88 (plus tax) out of your pocket, and then you will get back a coupon that says it is worth "$2 off of your next order".

Now, to bring down your out of pocket expense, Money Saving Mom tells you that there is a $1 off printable coupon or $1 coupon from the 7/12 SmartSource insert. That means that instead of paying $2.88 in cash, you will only pay $1.88, and you will still get your $2 Extra Bucks coupon at the end.

These Extra Care Bucks don't expire for a month. The key is to use those Extra Care Bucks coupons to buy your items for the next week instead of spending cash out of your pocket.

So here's CVSing at my house:

Each Saturday evening, I read Money Saving Mom's post on the weekly CVS deals. I write them down and collect the corresponding coupons. I then consider what amounts of Extra Care Bucks I have. For example, this week I have these Extra Care Buck coupons: $5, $5, $4, $2, $1, $.99

Once I have the deals I want to do for the week, I'll see what combination of my Extra Bucks gets me down to spending the least amount of cash out of my pocket. In this way, I am "rolling" my Extra Bucks to get the next week's items without having to pay too much cash out of my pocket.

Make sense? Really, it's not that hard to do because there are frugal bloggers out there that do all the researching and figuring for you. And I actually enjoy doing the deals.

The one great tip I've figured out is to always ask for a raincheck if they are out of an item I want. Their rainchecks never expire and can come in handy in the dry weeks when there aren't any items I want to spend my Extra Bucks on.

If you want to see more detailed explanations on shopping at CVS, check out these links:

Money Saving Mom's CVS 101
The Thrifty Mama's CVS 101
I Heart CVS blog


Katie said...

One thing I wanted to point out that should be obvious, but wasn't to me, is that you actually have to save your Extra Care Bucks receipts. I kept giving them my little card thinking they were all saved on there and they are not, so make sure you save them, they come on your receipt!

Christina said...

That is a GREAT point that could be easily overlooked!!

Alisa said...

I am inspired! CVS always seemed like too much work for me, but I received my first extra care bucks last night. I'm going to give it a try! Thanks for all the many helpful money saving tips! (my husband thanks you, too) (:

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