Frugal Friday (Help with CVS!)
I need your help to be more frugal this Friday and from now on!
I have read countless blogs in the past several weeks, referencing and preaching the goodness of CVS.
At first I ignored it, thinking it was a store that we don’t have in Arizona, well at least a different CVS than the one two blocks from me. Over the past year, CVS has taken over all the Osco’s in Scottsdale, and I am sure, nationwide. Osco was a very high priced drugstore, not unlike Walgreens. I assumed CVS was the same.
Slowly I have come to realize that all CVS stores are the same, unless Scottsdale is special. And trust me, we are often "special" in many ways, including our high schoolers that drive Hummers to school. But that is a different post.
I read about a woman that got $17 worth of stuff from CVS for 81 cents. Then another talked about her free razors, she showed a picture of them and had tons of them. I need the free razors and to spend under dollar for a year of household goods. Heck I’ll even round it up to a dollar just because it’s located in Scottsdale.
So, I ask you, what is the best deal you’ve ever gotten at CVS? Is there a right or wrong way to shop the store? And for the love of all goodness, what am I missing????
Go on over to Biblical Womanhood for many, many more Frugal Friday tips!
I wasn’t sure about CVS for a while. And I would say it takes a few months to get good at it. I’m not saying that I am great, but I have gotten several good deals there. I post most of them on my blog. But, it can become a crazy obsession too.
If you want to start, I would say start small. Buy something that give you the full price in Extra Bucks back. Then roll that into something else that gives Extra Bucks plus something that you might need.
Also, give yourself a limit that you can spend each week. It is fun to say you are not going to spend more than $5.00 and see how far that will take you.
Thanks Gretchen – What are “Extra Bucks?” I am very CVS challenged.
I’ve only been doing the CVS ECB program for a few months, but I have saved hundreds of dollars and gotten many items for free over that time. One of my better deals was just a few weeks ago. They had Colgate on sale for $0.49 after a return of 2 ECB’s. I had coupons for $1.50 off to use on each tube. I received 4 boxes of toothpaste and made $1.00 on each box. I suggest starting with the deals that Crystal posts at http://moneysavingmom.typepad.com/. She usually posts her deals on Saturday night. Good luck!
Audra, I guess I’m clueless about the wonders of CVS as well! I was just mentioning to my sister-in-law the other day that I didn’t understand the hoopla about it, and she told me she LOVES it and gets really good deals there. I guess I need to watch the ad papers more…
http://www.moneysavingmom.com has a crash-course to help you get started. Be sure to go over there. The key to CVS is multiple transactions. When you purchase certain items, you receive coupons on your receipt for usually the full price of the item, Extra Care Bucks (ECBs). Let’s say deodorant is $2.99 and they are giving 2.99ECBs. If you have a coupon for that deodorant perhaps $1 off, you will spend $1.99 out of pocket (oop) and get $2.99 ECBs for your next transaction. So as you accumulate your ECBs, you always choose your purchases, using as many manufacturer’s coupons and CVS coupons as you can for the amount of your ECBs. So, you don’t spend money oop. Money Saving Mom will make things even more clear! (lol) It really works, though! You gotta try it for at least three months. It takes that long to learn the system. Then decide if you want to keep doing it. You will, it’s addictive ;)!
Money Saving Mom’s crash course is *very* helpful. But I will say that I’ve never gotten the super-super-great deals so many others seem to. I do save, but not $50 worth of stuff for 5 cents. I think if you have a lot of money to start out with, like you spend more upfront to buy things that will generate the Extra Bucks, you will build up a “reserve” of Bucks. You can then use those to buy more stuff that generates more Bucks, etc. But I only have a few dollars a week to spend in that area, so I only save maybe $3 a week.
It does take some time to learn the system. If you have “blow” money, try it with some of that and see how it works!
Good luck with it! Browse through the archives of MoneySavingMom. That’s what I did. Also try out hotcouponworld.com
It is a message board with an entire section of CVS chat. Both sites were/are very helpful to me!
Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) are like coupons – they print on the bottom of your receipt, and you can use them later for $$$ off your purchase. I am a novice at the CVS stuff too, but I am getting better at it.
I see a lot of people have already mentioned MoneySavingMom. 🙂 I would say though…don’t expect yourself to get it right off the bat! It takes learning and it took me awhile to come away with some really good deals…and I’m still learning how to make it better!
Thanks for posting on my blog.
I see here that your son just had a mission trip to Alaska…well,lol, my oldest just got back from his 2nd trip to Arizona:-). (I thought I would have a breakdown the first trip…whew!)
Now about CVS, I honestly do better at Walgreen’s but mostly because they have the type of items that I would normally buy. CVS does have good sales and a neat program if you have a mind to keep up–but I don’t and alot of stuff there would be ‘extras’ in my budget and well, they’re extras that just aren’t necessary for us, but I hope you can work to ‘beat the system’!
At Walgreen’s this week I bought 12 toothbrushes, 3 gum picks, and 2 (16oz)bottles of dish-washing soap, for $3.03.
We don’t have a CVS around here, so I’m no help! 🙂 Plus, I just stick with natural products (baking soda, vinegar, etc.), so there’s no need for me to visit drugstores anyway.
I’m always amazed at the stockpiles I see some women end up with- Wow! I know Crystal at MoneySavingMom does a great job of listing the deals she finds. Teresa at LifeAtHome: http://alifeathome.blogspot.com/ usually has some good Walgreens deals.
Grab the Sunday paper if you don’t subscribe. Then go to http://couponmom.com, register, click your state and then CVS. The work is all done for you combining coupons with their weekly sale. I used to play the grocery game http://tinyurl.com/6ky6ls but couponmom.com is free!
lol I have been wondering the same thing.. I got as far as receiving my ECB cards in the mail..but I have yet to step into CVS lol I am just so unsure about what to do..and if they will accept this or that. Totally understand!
There’s some good advice here! Here’s my 2 cents. After you leave CVS, but before you turn on your car engine, look at your receipt. Tear off any ECBs you know you will use and put them in your wallet. This way, you’ll be sure to have them with you next time you shop. When the circular comes, check to see if there are any ECB deals that interest you. If yes, check the coupon circulars in the Sunday paper (they appear every weekend except for holidays, like Thanksgiving) and see if there are manufacturer’s coupons. Combining a sale item with ECBs and mfr coupons is how we get the great deals.
And don’t hesitate to hold on to your ECBs if you don’t see anything you need. Do try to use them by the expiration date, but I have been told that CVS will take them up to one week later! (In case you find one you forgot about, LOL!)
One more thing: there are 3 kinds of Extra Care Bucks coupons:
1. Product specific, meaning you have to use the coupon for a particular brand
2. CVS ones–for instance, $2 off any $10 CVS-brand purchase.
3. Regular ECBs–the best ones! You can use these for anything your heart desires in the CVS store, no matter what brand it is.
You get those regular ones with certain purchases, as you see in the circular. But you also get them quarterly–on the first of April, July, October and January. So be sure to always check the bottom of your receipt!
Thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog this evening. Really, the thought about dying to self being painful like physical death hit me between the eyes today while I was writing. I have been a believer a long time – WHY did I not “get” that before now? 😉
As for CVS – I got Cover Girl Matte Foundation ($10) for free with a rebate coupon at Walgreens. I also got money back for it due to a sale. Takes time, but you can get a ton. My friend shops CVS all the time for that reason.
I didn’t get at first either and the funny part is my husband used to work for CVS. He work on the corp. side. We used to only get are prescription there. Then I started reading on the internet how people are saving money, so, I am going to start doing that too. Thank you posting because now I am starting to understand it too.
My link is to my post about the best CVS trip I’ve ever had. But I did a decent one online, so that’s possible too. I used my end of quarter ECBs, a $10 off $50 order offer & free shipping. Almost everything I bought was CVS brand (vitamins & allergy meds) that were on sale for cheaper than the store. I think I ended up spending $25, which was what the allergy meds cost in the store, so everything else was bonus!
Thank you for posting this. I also just don’t get CVS. These suggestions will help me take baby steps toward figuring out the magical CVS deals.