Monday, November 2, 2009

Coupon Institute Week 4 --CVS shopping basics

Compared to Walgreens, CVS has the easiest to understand policy.

Hopefully you have signed up for an Extra Care Card. If you have not, do it NOW.  Also make sure you sign up for email alerts--you will get more money saving coupons (like $4 off a $20 purchase, $3 off a $15 purchase, etc...) via email and those are how you really score at CVS!

  Here are the basics on the Extra Care Bucks program:
  1. You earn 2% back on purchases in store and online.  Every quarter, your total earned will print out on the bottom of your receipt.
  2. You can earn 1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions filled
  3. You can earn ECBs for buying certain advertised products (much like Wags RR's.)  For example if Secret deoderant is advertised at $2.49 and you get $2.49 in ECB's to use on your next purchase, it is as good as FREE. You goal is to "roll" your ECB's as you have seen in my $5 Challenges to keep your OOP as low as possible.
UNLIKE Walgreens, the ECB's are NOT like a coupon, so there is no worry with a "coupon to item 1:1 ratio" I told you with Walgreens.

There are 4 types of coupons you can use at CVS:
  • $/$$: These are those special coupons you might get via email or in store for a dollar amount off your total purchase amount.
  • Manufacturer coupons: Use them just like you would at any store
  • CVS coupons: You can "stack" a CVS coupon with a Manufacturer coupon
  • ECB's: These are like cash and will print out at the bottom of your receipt.

To maximize your savings, hand over your coupons in this order:
  1. $/$$--If your total is right at that amount (if you are using, say, a $4/$20 Q) your other coupons could make it fall below the $20 amount.  So hand this over first!
  2. CVS Coupons
  3. Manufacturer Coupons
  4. ECB's--You can't use ECB's on sales tax, so hand these over last.  You will also NOT get change if there is overage, so plan carefully before heading out to the store!
Always be on the lookout for coupons--especially from the "magic machine" located right inside the door.  Sound fun, right?  Well the "magic machine" is a red box, usually located right inside the front door, and my CVS has another one in the middle of the store too.  It is generally used to "price check" items by scanning the barcode on the item.  However, make sure you scan your Extra Care Card each time you go to CVS on this machine because you never know what you might get! (hence the "magic").  Sometimes it will print out your quarterly ECB's earned or a $/$$ coupon (love those!) or CVS store coupons.  You just never know what you are going to get, so scan each time you walk in the door!