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A CVS Primer for January

Months ago I prepared this primer for the benefit of my two younger brothers at college. Neither one of them took advantage of their big sister’s advice. (Yeah, I can’t believe it either.) But, since I posted it to the blog, several moms have benefitted from it.

Now that I live a mere two blocks from said brothers, I intend to take them to task and teach them the ways of CVS and Walgreens. Here’s a CVS primer for you if you haven’t yet shopped there, making use of their Extra Care program. Prices should be good through January.

1. Go to CVS.

2. Sign up for an Extra Care card if you don’t already have one.

3. Pick up a weekly ad and the current month’s Extra Care Book.

4. Look through the flyers for items that say “free after ECB’s” or those that give back ECBs. Are any of these items that you or someone in your family will use? If so, choose two to three items to start. When you get to the checkstand, make sure you use your Extra Care card and have them run it before they run the items. Don’t forget to double check the ad with the items to make sure you got the right brand, style, and size of the item on sale.

In the January book, there aren’t too many “freebies,” but let’s go with what’s there. They’re helpful for cold season. And since they’re free, great things to stock up on.

Purchase:

Buy 2 Children’s Throat Cooler Ice Pops @$4.99 each = $9.98
Buy 1 Naso Gel Drip Free gel spray @$7.99
Your total should be $17.97 + tax.
Use this coupon for the Throat Cooler and this coupon for the gel spray. (The first you can print directly, the second you’ll need to fill out a form and they’ll email you the coupon.)

So, 17.97 subtotal
Minus $4.99 BOGO throat cooler coupon.
Minus $2 Naso Gel coupon
TOTAL $10.98 + tax

You will pay out $10.98(+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $17.97. You basically got those products for free PLUS got extra “money” to spend at CVS. The ECBs are good for about a month’s time. Don’t lose them!

Now, if you spend your ECBs wisely, you will continue to save money on your pharmacy purchases. If there are other items on sale that you need or will use eventually, purchase those. If you have manufacturers coupons, so much the better. Try to buy things that you have to have or items that generate more ECBs. This is called “rolling your ECBs.”

The above items have limits of 5 throat coolers and 2 nasal gels. So you could do the exact same transaction again. For example, you could buy:

Buy 2 Children’s Throat Cooler Ice Pops @$4.99 each = $9.98
Buy 1 Naso Gel Drip Free gel spray @$7.99
Your total should be $17.97 + tax.
Use this coupon for the Throat Cooler and this coupon for the gel spray. (The first you can print directly, the second you’ll need to fill out a form and they’ll email you the coupon.)

So, 17.97 subtotal
Minus $4.99 BOGO throat cooler coupon.
Minus $2 Naso Gel coupon
TOTAL $10.98 + tax

Pay with the ECBs that were generated from the Throat Coolers the first time ($9.98).
Pay the remaining dollar + tax.
Get back another $17.97 in ECBs

This means that after the two transactions, you’ve shelled out $11.98 (+tax) out of pocket. You have 4 boxes of throat coolers, 2 nasal gel sprays and still have $25.96 in ECBs to spend on future transactions. That is a great bargain!

Check out these other primers to get an idea of how the CVS system works:

How to CVS with Big Store Coupons
May CVS Primer
June CVS Primer
July Primer
MOM Deals and a CVS Primer

The deals are no longer good, but they may help you understand how the ECB system works. Happy Shopping!

Thanks to Hot Coupon World for the coupon links in this month’s primer! HCW also has a very nice FAQ prepared for CVS newbies.

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Comments

  1. Innocent Observer says:

    Wait wait wait!!!

    You have to include the newest $3/$15 coupon! It’s good until the 9th. http://wikisend.com/download/584774/CVS_4in1.pdf

  2. Thanks, IO.Unfortunately, I think that would qualify as an “unauthorized posting.” I don’t believe it’s okay to use those coupons. I wish….

  3. Thanks for this primer!

    I followed your very first one, and have looked for other ones you posted. :) I don’t get many manuf. coupons here so when an item has an IP coupon, I’m all over it. :)

    Unfortunately, the 2 CVS stores within my area are lousy at carrying enough of the items with ECBs. I only got 2 throat coolers and they were completely out of the Naso gel.

    What do you do when that happens? I mean, it’s only Wed. Should I ask the clerk, pharmacist or manager if they have anymore in stock? I’d really like to be able to take advantage of the deals. I was irritated and ended up not doing so well; plus, having the 2 kids with me didn’t help. :P

    Thanks, FishMama!

  4. First, Vicky, remember that “It’s Not a Race.” I know that feeling of frustration when the deal doesn’t go according to plan. I think in those moments, we’ve made it WAY more important than it really is. Take a deep breath and trust that God will provide all that you really need.

    Second, these deals are good for all of January, so you have plenty of time to see if your store will get those items in stock. Ask when they get their shipment in so you can shop at the best time.

    Third, CVS may be able to give you a rain check. They recently added something to their computers where the manager can issue ECBs manually. I assume that means that with a rain check you can get the sale price and the ECBs even if the deal has expired. Not sure on this, so ask your manager.

    Fourth, it always helps if you can do your shopping sans enfants. If you can go without the kids at least until you get a hang of it, that will help immensely.

    Happy Shopping!

  5. Thanks for your fast response! :)

    I do need to learn to take baby steps in regards to CVS and couponing in general. This is something my mother never did (surprisingly, for raising 9 kids on an extremely tight budget) so I’m a fish out of water. :)

    I’m glad to know those are monthly deals, so I will try again! I need to make sure DH is around so I don’t have to take the kiddos with me.

    Thanks for your tips. :) Love your blog, even if I don’t comment! You are an encouragement to me.

  6. Would you be able to use a $3 off $15 coupon for the scenario you presented? I received one recently and need to use it soon. I didn’t know if you could combine it with the coupons you mentioned and still earn ECBs. Is there a proper way to hand over coupons and ECBs?

    Thanks!!!!
    Dawn

  7. Yes, Dawn, if you received a $3/15 you could use it, just give it first. That would make your initial out of pocket expense $7.98.

  8. This absolutely works. This weekend I used my $4 off $20 coupon, $3 CVS bucks, used the circular and wound up spending about $18 on $42 worth of items … and now have $2 CVS bucks to spend next time. :D And a $3 off $15 purchase coupon! :D

  9. I need someone like you to come and hold my hand at CVS. I have had an extra care card for a long time, but rarely use the ECBs – and I’ve read tutorials for what I need to do, but I always get mixed up – math isn’t my strong suit. I’d love it if I could do nothing else but use my ECBs for Pull-Ups or things like that!

    Thanks for the tutorial. It is a bit like figuring out a word problem for me, but maybe I’ll try it.

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