Friday, May 9, 2008

First Time CVS'er

Considering that it is Frugal Friday and all, I finally did it.

I made first foray into the mystery that is the Extra Care Buck at CVS.

I studied for two weeks and read every blog I could get my eyes on. I was finally brave enough to try my luck with the coupons and all today.

Here is what happened:

I bought 2 small bags of dog food, one razor, two tins of breathmints, a toothbrush, and the Tuesday edition of the Greenville Advocate which has my son's prom picture in it.

The total came to $22.58.

Then I whipped out the coupons!!

I had a coupn for $4 off of a purchase of $20 or more at CVS which I used.

I had a $4.00 off coupon for each of the $3.99 dog foods, that made them free and a coupon for the razor and the toothbrush too.

After coupons my total was $9.70.

I got $22.58 worth of stuff for $9.70 and earned $10 in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs).

That means that technically I got paid $0.30 for buying $22.58 worth of stuff.

Here is how it works:

Certain items at CVS produce ECBs. That means that when you buy them you will get a coupon printed out on your receipt for money to use at CVS. For example, the Colgate 360 Toothbrush I bought today cost $3.99 (for a toothbrush!, crazy I know) but it also produces an ECB coupon for $3.99, so it's like you get it for free. I also happened to have a coupon from the paper for $1 off of a Colgate 360 Toothbrush so I paid $2.99 for it and made $3.99 in ECBs.

The trick is to buy things that produce ECBs greater than or equal to the amount of the purchase, like the toothbrush.

If you can combine manufactuers coupons with the CVS deal then all the better. I was able to do that today too. I had a coupon for $4.00 off of the Venus razor that costs $9.99 at CVS. That would make it cost $5.99 for me (see how good I am at the math :)). The Venus Razor produces a $5.00 ECB. You guessed it. The razor technically cost me $0.99.

I say "technically" because I did pay $5.99 out of pocket for the razor and $2.99 out of pocket for the toothbrush...but I received $8.99 in ECBs for making those two purchases. I will roll over my ECBs and let them accumulate and then use them to buy stuff that I need, but that doesn't actually produce ECBs, like detergent or something.

Now, some people will buy anything and everything at CVS that produces ECBs and figure out what to do with it later. I am not one of those people. If it isn't something I can use or give to someone else that might need it I am not going to buy matter how many ECBs it produces. I just don't need extra stuff laying around.

So, how do you know what will produce the most ECBs? The sale flyers at the CVS stores tell you exactly what does and doesn't produce ECBs and how much each item will produce. All of those frugal mom blogs listed on my sidebar will give you their best CVS "scenarios" too. (What combination of items to buy to maximize the use and accumulation of ECBs.)

What should you do now? Well, the first thing is to make sure that you have a CVS card. You can sign up for one and receive it immediately in the store. While you are there pick up the sale flyer. (Don't forget to get a new one every week, Sun. I think) Next, go online and register with CVS and get your e-mail coupon for $4 off of a $20 purchase. Then just start readin' the blogs and workin' the deals. Whatever you do do not throw away your ECB coupons (Mom!!). Send them to me if you don't want to mess with them.

If you don't trust me, or don't understand anything I've said here, or would just like a little more explanation of the whole CVS, ECB thing then check out the CVS tutorials here and here. These women have been CVSing a long time and they have it all figure out.

For more tips about living frugally go to Biblical Womanhood and check out all of the Frugal Friday posts.


Mom2fur said...

You did a great job, and you're only a beginner! Don't forget to combine manufacturer's coupons with the CVS ones for really great savings.
And I bet your son looked cute in his prom picture! You must be so proud.

Denise Sawyer said...

GREAT JOB!! Don't be shy...
come over to my blog and leave a link!
Post over at my site for CVS Superstars with a TWIST...
You can post your adventures at CVS or Walgreens or ... BOTH!!

Hope to see you there!
The "Cent"sible Sawyer