It’s been awhile since I’ve darkened the doors of CVS. The sales just haven’t been that great, and we’ve been living off our stockpile. But looking at this week’s ad from my Friday’s mail, I see that they are featuring lots of school supplies — for free!
If you’re new to shopping CVS, check out the following primer for the low down on how to make the most of your money when shopping there.
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 are several back-to-school freebies. The sale prices are only good Sunday through Tuesday, so plan accordingly.
Purchase the following, after checking the ad for the correct prices and varieties:
Buy two packages Paper Mate Pens @ $.99 each = $1.98
Buy two glues @ $.99 each = $1.98
Buy two rulers @ $.99 each = $1.98
Your total should be $5.94 + tax.
You will pay out $5.94(+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $5.94. 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 two scissors @$2.99 each = $5.98
Your total will be $5.98 + tax
Pay with the $5.94 in ECB coupons.
Pay the remaining $.04 + tax.
Get back another $5.98 in ECBs
This means that after the two transactions, you’ve shelled out $5.98 (+tax) out of pocket. You have 2 packs of pens, 2 glues, 2 rulers, and 2 sets of scissors, and you still have $5.98 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. The deals are no longer good, but they will help you 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
Money Saving Mom regularly reports the weekly deals at CVS, so be sure to check out her site!