A little over a year ago, I discovered the beauty of shopping at CVS. Really. Truly. Up until that point I had paid a very pretty penny on toiletries and pharmaceutical products.
Never again, I say.
If you watch sales, clip a few coupons, and have just a tiny bit of storage space, you can get all you really need for mere pennies. The trick is buying it at a great price, before you really need it. That is how stockpiling works.
If you’d like to try your hand at what some call, “The Drugstore Game,” here’s a step by step plan for the deals that are going this week, April 19 – 25th at CVS.
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. Check the dates to make sure it’s the right one.
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 this week’s ad, there aren’t too many “freebies,” but let’s go with what’s there.
Purchase the following, after checking the ad for the correct prices and varieties:
Buy one box Bayer Aspirin, quick release crystals $2
Buy an Edge shave gel $2.89
Your total should be $4.89 + tax.
You will pay out $4.89(+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $4.89. One will be for $2, the other for $2.89. You basically got those items for “free.”
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.”
Now, you could do the following:
Buy 2 Crest product (check the ad for the specifics)@ $2.88 each
Your total will be $5.76 + tax
Pay with the $4.89 in ECB coupons.
Pay the remaining $.87 + tax.
Get back another $4 in ECBs
This means that after the two transactions, you’ve shelled out $5.76 (+tax) out of pocket. You have 1 shave gel, 1 aspirin, 2 toothpastes, and still have $4 in ECBs to spend on future transactions. That is a great bargain! It took some time and some cash on hand, but you got those items for VERY LITTLE MONEY!
It takes a little practice (and a lot of math) to get the swing of things, but after a few tries, you’ll be gathering all you need in toiletries, OTC meds, and other drugstore items for just pennies.
Check out these past primers to get an idea of how the CVS system works:
CVS for Beginners, April 12-18
March 15 Primer
Will You Learn to CVS in February?
How to CVS with Big Store Coupons
May CVS Primer
June CVS 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!
Money Saving Mom regularly reports the weekly deals at CVS, so be sure to check out her site!