Understanding CVS

xtracarelogo1CVS shopping is not just a simple “running to the store” thing anymore! CVS shopping has become a whole “game” to play that can be quite confusing sometimes. So let me try to explain it here for all the beginners out there!

  • First of all you need to get a CVS Extra Care Card. You can pick one up at the counter at your next visit.
  • After you get your card, go here and sign up online to keep track of your Extra Care Account. Once you sign up, they will send you occasional emails with coupons! I think the typical first coupon email from CVS is a $4/20 and can come in very handy in making some of your early purchase. The $/# coupons are highly sought after and are usually “card specific”
  • Do a “dry run” walk around CVS once to get to know your store better. Look for the Price Checker Machine… and scan your CVS Extra Care Card while you’re there. It will print out coupons specifically for YOU! Look up towards the front of the store for the monthly ECB booklet. It’s a flyer slightly smaller than the weekly flyer.. but it has more pages. Look in the back of the store for any pharmacy booklets that mention “Savings Inside”  for coupons on many different CVS items or medicine items. Occasionally CVS will also put out a Beauty Handbook FULL of coupons on both name brand items and CVS only items. All these coupons are coded as CVS coupons and CAN BE STACKED with regular manufactor coupons!
  • Educate yourself with other websites when you are planning your CVS trip. Hot Coupon World Forums has some wonderfully talented people sharing their scenarios for a few weeks in advance! This site is positively crucial to helping people learn to play at CVS! Moneysavingmom, iheartcvs , and Keeping the Kingdom First are also great places to get educated! Follow along on their challenges and scenarios and be thankful that there are so many ladies out there that enjoy helping others!! 🙂
  • Now that you are learning, it’s time to PLAN your trip! Using the examples of others, look through the weekly ad and your own coupon stash and find a match up!  Look for items that are on sale to combine with your coupon. In the beginning, you may be thinking that you don’t “need” toothpaste yet… but try to remember that someday you will! It costs WAY more to buy it simply because you’re out of it than it does to buy it in advance when it’s at it’s cheapest price.
  • Know your rules as you plan.
  1. Buy One Get One Sales– You can use a coupon for the one you buy AND for the one that’s Free! For instance, if deodorant is on sale for $3 and BOGO, and you happen to have a coupon on that deodorant for $1.50 off. USE TWO of those coupons and both are now FREE!  Here’s the math for those that need to see it…. 1st one $3.00 + 2nd one 0.00= $3.00 Coupons 1st one -1.50 2nd one -1.50= -3.00  $3-$3=0
  2. Buy One Get One Coupons– You can use a Buy One Get One Coupon ON a Buy One Get One Sale and they will both be FREE! How? CVS rings up both items at regular price. CVS then deducts the 2nd one as part of their sale. You hand them the coupon, they look at the screen and see what you paid.. and they enter that price (as a negative amount)
  3. Understand why coupons are good for CVS. CVS EARN’s the value of your coupon PLUS 8 cents on every one they turn into the manufacture! They profit from our coupon use!!!
  4. Overage– if CVS has a sale on an item for $1 and you have a coupon for $1.50… you can use that “overage” to plan the rest of your purchase. You can’t get “money back”.. but you CAN add that into the cost of another item making that item cheaper. I’ve used overage to purchase items that are hard to find coupons for.
  • Work with your ECB’s. ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks) are like cash in your pocket. When you purchase an item in the beginning, try to purchase items that generate ECB’s. As you become more comfortable with CVS’ing, you will learn to “Roll” your ECB’s and find that real money isn’t coming out of your pocket anymore.  The first time you buy something that generates ECB’s it might seem like you’re buying something for too much. But once you have that ECB in your hand, you can then use it to buy MORE ECB items.  It’s easier to show you than to tell you about this…. recently I rolled 5ECB’s like this:
    2- Colgate MaxFresh w/ Mouthwash beads- on Sale 2.99 each Get 2 ECB’s each.

    1- CVS Kids antibacterial spray- on Sale 1.99 Get 1 ECB

    1- Reese’s peanutbutter cup- on sale .50 (this was a filler.. my total was 3 cents short!! ( )

    Total before tax/q’s= 8.47

    q’s used: $8

    -$1 (used 2)  Maxfresh-CVS Beauty Handbook

    – $1 CVS product- CVS Beauty Handbook

    – $5 ECB on hand from last week

    Total Paid OOP .51 and earned $5 ECB’s right back.   Can you see how I actually got all of those products for free??? That’s how ECB’s work. 🙂

  • Utilize Rainchecks! Don’t be shy about asking for a raincheck. If CVS is out of an item they have on sale, or marked with an ECB promotion… ask for a raincheck!!! You can always pick it up later and still get the great deal. Some CVS’s will also honor your expired coupon IF they can’t restock before your coupon expires! Don’t ever be afraid to ask!
  • Get to know your managers, and if you’re having trouble.. contact Customer Service! CVS is a customer first type of company and they readily handle problems via phone or email.
  • Sign up to be a CVS advisor! Go here and sign up to help them by doing surveys. I’ve been an “advisor” for about a month or so and they’ve asked me to do 2 survey’s. I earned 10 ECB’s just for comparing my CVS ad with my Walgreens ad one Sunday! I also earned 2 ECB’s for offering to do another survey but then discovering I didn’t qualify to do it. This is a win win situation and it’s a FREE way to earn ECB’s!

Hopefully some of this will help you get started with CVS! The first time you begin to “get” CVS’ing it will be exhilarating! I still get a little shaky when I start handing over my ECB’s and walk out of the store with a bag full of stuff for little to no cash at all! Good luck and Happy Shopping!

Please, feel free to leave me questions here!

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5 Comments

Filed under CVS, Getting Started

5 responses to “Understanding CVS

  1. I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

  2. awakened1

    Thanks! 🙂 There’s something hopeful and joyful about being able to help others! I really appreciate you letting me know!

  3. Keep up the good work! I really appreciate the info, its helping me stay on budget this month.

  4. awakened1

    Someday you’ll be staying UNDER budget! 🙂

  5. Pingback: feeling frugal? « the simple front porch

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