Monday, August 9, 2010

Saving Money at Drugstores: CVS

Several national drugtores include their own built in system for helping their customers save money, which is great news for us coupon shoppers and those that like a good deal. Don't forget, that on top of all the programs listed below, every store accepts Manufacturer coupons to make deals even better.

CVS: Extra Care Bucks (ECB)

The CVS Extra Care program is a customer loyalty program which requires each participant to have a CVS Extra Care card. You can ask for an Extra Care Card at the register or you can request to have one mailed to you online. Either way, make sure to give them your email address as they regularly send out great coupons! In order to participate and get all the perks of the Extra Care program, you must present your card at every transaction.

  • Extra Care Bucks are not like coupons in the sense they cannot be used for the same transaction from which they print. Instead, they will print on your receipt for you to use on your next purchase. (Thus the beauty of checking out with multiple transactions.)

  • Items that will print ECB are noted in the weekly sale ads for the most part (sometimes, an ECB will print from an unadvertised item which is a nice surprise). For example, the ad will state "Free after ECB." This means, you will receive enough ECB to cover the entire cost of this item! For example: If Dove Deodorant is listed at $3.29 and advertised as "Free after ECB, when you purchase it, your receipt will show $3.29 in ECB.

  • When you first begin using ECB, you will have to use your own money to pay; however, that could very well be the last time! Consider the example scenario which follows to get an idea as to how ECB can allow you to shop for Free:

You go into CVS, grab a sales ad, and notice that Dove Deodorant is Free after ECB, so you grab one off the shelf and head to the check-out counter. You pay the $3.29 + tax, and see that $3.29 in ECB is printed at the bottom of your receipt. NOW, you can go right back to the Deodorant aisle, grab another Dove Deodorant on sale for $3.29, and go to check-out again. This time, you present your $3.29 ECB from your first purchase instead of your own money. (You may still have to pay tax.) Surprise... ANOTHER $3.29 in ECB printed on the bottom of your receipt! You can continue this until you reach the limit of transactions noted or until you get tired of going back and forth!

Another scenario: Walk into CVS with the "$4 off $20" coupon emailed to you, and 2 $1.00 off Dove Deodorant coupons. You buy:

(2) Dove Deodorants: $3.29/ea with FREE after ECB

(2) Ace Bandages: $6.99/ea with FREE after ECB

Your total: $20.56 - $4/$20 CVS coupon- $2.00 in Dove coupons= $14.56 + tax

Your receipt prints $20.56 in ECB!

Now, you can go back and purchase those same 4 items, use ECB to pay, and get another $20.96 in ECB! This is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship between you and CVS!

Here are a couple extra hints:

  • Shop with the ad in hand so you know the EXACT items which will be Free after ECB.
  • Pull out your cell phone and take advantage of the calculator feature to keep track of what you are buying compared to how many ECB you have.
  • Sometimes you may need to grab cheap filler items to help you hit a designated dollar amount such as $20.00 to use your $4/$20 coupon. (They have lots of under $1 items to help!)
  • ALWAYS present your "$ off $$ purchase" coupons before manufacturer coupons. Presenting your manufacturer coupons first may knock your total down below the designated dollar amount thus making you unable to use your CVS coupon.

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