Before I discovered all of this CVS stuff, I thought CVS was rather expensive, but now, I do enjoy it. My only problem is that here in the Milwaukee area, they are always out of the sale items. For instance a couple of weeks ago they had a sale where you could buy listerine and get full price ECBs back. I have a gift card for CVS from buying a new prescription. They have a coupon where you can get a $25 gift card with a prescription. But did they have the listerine? Or the Excedrin that was on a similar deal? No. Do they have it now, I think two weeks later? No. This week, I liked at least somewhat the toilet paper deal, but did they have any in? No. I do have rainchecks, but how many times can I go in?
Oh, one other thing, there is a kiosk at the front of my store where you can scan your CVS card and get coupons printed. Sometimes with the coupons printed, sales and manufacturer coupons, you can do well also. I know recently they paid me in more extra bucks then I spent in oop for buying two things of Stayfree maxipads.
I also donate some of the items that I obtain free from CVS, as long as I know someone or an organization who can use it.
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If you're looking to get started with CVS, please read the following. This should help get you started.
Step 1 is to signup for an extra care card. This is a discount card used at cvs. Without it you will NOT get the sales prices listed and you will NOT earn rewards!! You can signup in the store and instantly get your card, or you can signup online at www.cvs.com and wait about 2 weeks for your card to arrive. MAKE SURE TO HAND THE CASHIER YOUR EXTRA CARE CARD WITH EVERY TRANSACTION YOU DO!!
Abbreviations: OOP= Out of pocket MIR = Mail in rebate ECB = Extra care buck(s) HBA = Health and beauty aids Bogo or B1G1 = Buy 1 get 1 free YMMV = Your mileage may vary FAR = Free after rebate MFR = Manufacturer
The above are commonly used abbreviations when posting about CVS.
What is an ECB exactly? An ECB is a reward that you earn. There are weekly ECB deals and monthly ECB deals. The weekly deals are found in your sunday paper (the CVS sales ad) and the monthly deals are found at your local CVS (usually at the front of the store). Another GREAT place to find the deals in ADVANCE is by going to www.iheartcvs.com In order to earn ECB's, you must complete the necessary requirements for the qualifying purchase(s). Let's say one of the deals this week is for Dawn dishsoap (this is just an example). For every 2 bottles of dawn that you buy, you earn $1 in ECB's, but there's a limit of 5. That means you can ear $1, 5 times. So, if you want all $5 in ECB's you would have to purchase 10 bottles of dawn.
I'm sure you're thinking "but that would cost me way more then I would earn. What's the point"? Well, here's how you play the game...
It says in the cvs ad that dawn is $1 a bottle. You'd have to spend $2 to earn $1 in ECB's. Well, you now look through your coupons (save EVERY COUPON...even ones you would NEVER think to use). Wait, you just found $1 one bottle of dawn.. even better, you have 2 coupons for $1 off!! Not only will you get both bottles of dawn for FREE, but you'll earn $1 in ECB's!
ECB's print at the bottom of your receipt as SOON as you earn them. You do NOT have to buy all qualifying items at one time to earn the ECB's. As long as you fulfill the requirements within the time frame (a week if it's a weekly ECB deal or a month if it's a monthly ECB deal) then you will be rewarded with ECB's. They will print as soon as you complete the requirements.
Don't have coupons to go along with the sale? No problem. You can do a google search for "dawn dishsoap coupon". You may (or may not) find printable coupons. Most printable coupon websites only allow oyu to print the coupon 2x. So if you want to buy coupons in bulk I recommend ebay.com
Again the above product deal was just an example. This was a deal they ran a couple weeks ago. Each week there are different ECB deals..and each month there are additional ECB deals.
What can I do with my ECB's I earn? This is the best part. You can use them on ANYTHING in the store except prescriptions, tobacco and alcohol.
How soon can I use my ECB's? You can spend them the SECOND you earn them. ECB's DO expire though. You have 30 days to use them from the date you earn them. There will be an expiration date printed on them for your convenience.
How can I keep getting things without using all my ECB's? This is what we CVS'ers call "rolling". In order to "roll" your ECB's, you want to use them towards other deal's that earn you ECB's. here's an example.
Let's say that this week CVS has revlon blush for $9.99 and you earn $9.99 in ECB's for that purchase. Now let's say you have a $10.00 ECB. You would pay for your revlon blush with the $10 ECB. You would now have your blush AND $9.99 in ECB's.
So to break it down, you get FREE makeup AND you ECB's. Since your $9.99 ECB just printed, you now have another 30 days before it expires. You just "rolled" your ECB to last longer.
What about tax? You will be required to pay sales tax on your purchases. Each state has a different % that they tax but it's never more then pocket change.
CVS's coupon policy You are allowed to use one manufacturers (mfr) coupon per item. If you have 20 items, you can use 20 coupons. Simple!
To make it even sweeter though, you can also use your ECB's too. So let's say your total after coupons is $4. You have a $3 ECb and a $5 ECB. What do you do? Well that's really up to you. You can pay with the $3 ECB and then pay the difference OOP (out of pocket), or you can give them the $5 ECB and pay nothing out of pocket.
VERY IMPORTANT.. If you decide to use the $5 ECB, it is in your best interest to ad an item to your order that is worth about a dollar. The reason for this is that you do NOT get refunded the difference. So if your total is $4 and you pay with a $5 ECB, you're gonna lose out on $1. So your best bet is to find something in the store worth about a dollar.
Are there any other ways to save even MORE money? ABSOLUTELY! If you signup at www.cvs.com and link your email to your account, you will occasionally get coupons sent to you from cvs. These are WONDERFUL!
The most commonly emailed coupon is $4/$20. This means you get $4 off your total if you spend $20. As with ANY coupon, this means you have to spend $20 BEFORE coupons, NOT AFTER coupons.
You have 10 coupons for $1 off of 1 johnson and johnsons buddies bar soap. These are a dollar or less. So your total so far is about $10 BEFORE coupons. You need to add another $10 worth or stuff before you can use the coupon.
You decide You wanna get some cereal. But wait! They cereal is b1g1 AND you have coupons for $2 off per box!! That's great since the cereal is normally $4.29 each! Even sweeter deal! Turns out the cereal earned you $2 in ECB's if you spent $10 on it!
Now let's calculate this. You already have $10 worth of stuff in your cart. You need to spend atleast $10 more. You would need to buy 3 boxes of that cereal (and get 3 free). Lucky for you, you have 6 of those $2 off coupons (yes, you CAN use a coupon on a free item).
So here's your total so far..
10 bars of buddies soaps = $10 6 boxes of cereal (bigi) = $12.87 (plus you'll earn $2 in ECB's)
TOTAL BEFORE COUPONS $22.87
After the cashier rings up your items, hand them your $4/$20 FIRST!!!!!!!!! Then hand them your other coupons. Here's what will happen..
$22.97 minus $4/$20 coupon = $18.97 $18.97 minus 10 coupons for $1 off buddies = $8.97 $8.97 minus 6 coupons for $2 off cereal = -$3.03
I bet you're thinking "but that's a NEGATIVE balance". yes it is. So what do you do about it??? Remember, we talked about this earlier... You add items to your cart to fill in that balance.. Yep, MORE free stuff!! Go ahead, pick up ANYTHING you want that will fill that balance. How about a 12 pack of coke? Or a tub of baby wipes? Whatever your choice is, just keep it around the $3 mark.
All you'll be left paying is sales tax AND YOU LEAVE WITH $2 in ECB's!! You just made a profit and got 10 bars of soap, 6 boxes of cereal, and whatever item(s) you added to your cart to fill out the negative balance!
I have a BOGO coupon and CVS is having a BOGO sale. Can I use the coupon?
ABSOLUTELY! These are the best! You pay NOTHING out of pocket and get twice the amount of product. If you're wondering how this works, it's simple. The manufacturer pays YOUR portion of CVS's BOGO sale. So you pay nothing but tax and get 2 items (for each BOGO coupon you have).
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