I know what many of you are thinking…drugstores are overpriced. For the most part, that’s true. If you were just to walk in and buy some things, chances are most items cost more than say, Walmart. However, let me teach you about CVS’ reward program, Extra Care Bucks. You can get many items free or super cheap when you combine the weekly sales with coupons and Extra Care Bucks.
If you don’t already have an Extra Care Card (it’s free), you can sign up here https://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/user/extracare/extracare.jsp and you’ll get shortly receive it in the mail, or you can sign up in store and receive your card immediately.
When you first walk into the store, locate what I like to call “The Magic Coupon Machine”. It will be a kiosk, often near the registers, where you can scan your card and see what CVS coupons pop out. Keep scanning until it says no more coupons are available. You never know, there might be a coupon that you can use on something you were already planning to purchase!
If this is your first experience with CVS and their Extra Care Bucks (which I’ll refer to as ECB’s), I highly recommend starting off with one or two items until you get the hang of it. I started out trying to get every ‘good deal’ and quickly became overwhelmed. Remember, another great deal is always around the corner!
If you look at the weekly ad, you will see items that will earn you ECB’s after your purchase. Think of these as your CVS “cash”. As soon as you make a qualifying purchase, the coupon will print at the bottom of your receipt good towards your next purchase (they expire anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 month after they print). I just tear it off the bottom of the receipt and keep it with my other coupons. This coupon can be treated just like cash, good on anything in the store with a few exceptions (gift cards, stamps, alcohol, tobacco).
The best part about the ECB’s is that you can use manufacturer coupons on the items that generate ECB’s, making them an even better deal! Often, you can get items for free or better than free (I will explain in just a second) after ECB’s.
For example, let’s say CVS is advertising toothpaste for $2.50, with a $2.50 ECB back. You will pay $2.50 out of pocket, and get $2.50 ECB towards your next purchase, essentially making the toothpaste free! Quite often there will be a coupon floating around (I will always let you know where you can get it), making this what we call a MONEYMAKER! If you have a $1 off coupon from say, the Sunday paper, you will pay $1.50 and still receive the $2.50 ECB back!
Remember: start small so you you can master it first, and also so you can keep your out of pocket (OOP) cost low (I like to stay under $10 at any time if I can).
Here is an example of an excellent deal this week on sunscreen or sunless tanning lotion:
Get $10 ECB when you buy 2 Neutrogena sun care or sunless tanning, with prices starting at $7.99 for the sunscreen. There is a limit if 1 per card, meaning you can only do this deal once and get the $10 ECB.
Use the $2 coupon here: https://www.neutrogena.com/sp/specialoffer.do and print 2 of them (for the 2 you are buying). Most online coupons have a limit of 2 per computer.
Your scenario will look like this:
2 Neutrogena suncreens at $7.99 each: $15.98
minus the 2 coupons, or $4: you will pay as low as $11.98 and receive $10 ECB back for a future purchase….like paying $1.98 for both, or 99 cents each….AWESOME price for sunscreen!
CVS coupons (those that print at the Magic Coupon Machine) can be combined with Manufacturer coupons (such as those you get in the newspaper, they will always say manufacturer coupon at the top) to get even greater savings.
Well, James is awake now so I’ll save part 2 for later! Feel free to ask any questions! Thanks for reading!