Still playpretending? Good. Let's say you're in a CVS, you've registered for your card with the super helpful cashier, and you're ready to work some frugal magic! Wait right there, Ms. Ready-To-Save! Be sure to give your email address to the cashier so you can receive the get started email with some cool coupons. CVS will send you coupons each week too. That's EXTRA care, friends.
So... there you are, standing in CVS with your new extracare card! Don't you feel like a winner already?! Just like with those grocery store cards, you always have to show your extracare card to receive the benefits. You won't save money off normal prices, but you will receive extracare bucks (ECB). ECB are rewards you receive after you make your purchase. ECB print on your receipt and then, you use them on a future purchase for anything you want in CVS. The products that will print ECB are advertised weekly. You'll see them with catchy phrases like "Free after ECB!" or "Get $2 ECB after purchase!" Earning those ECB are an important step in the whole ABCs of CVS!
But, Beth, you say, how in the world is this saving me money?! CVS is so overpriced! How could shopping there be frugal and fabulous?! Well, hold on a minute, my young padawan shopper, CVS can be frugal AND fabulous IF you plan just a little with One Fabulous Mama.
We're still playpretending, remember? You're ready to start saving money and scoring FREE stuff at the CVS. You have your extracare card and you are already a winner. Let's use a deal from this week's CVS sales paper as an example. You purchase one Power Bar for 99 cents and you get a 99 cent ECB back on your receipt! Now, this is you're first time at CVS, so you'll pay that 99 cents out of pocket (OOP), so this first time through, it's not free, but next time it will be! Just wait. Let's say you turn right back around and grab one more Power Bar because you see in the sales paper that the limit is two. You purchase the Power Bar and use that 99 cent ECB. You pay a few pennies tax, but it was FREE and guess what? You get another 99 cent ECB! I know! It's like magic! Now, make a note here that you can continue doing this until the limit is reached or they no longer have that item.
That's pretty nice, Beth, you're saying to me on this playpretend CVS shopping adventure, but I read your posts where you score a lot of stuff. I just got two lousy Power Bars for free. Alright, alright. You had your first taste of CVS freebies and you want more. I getcha, friends. Let's take it to the next level.
Using ECBs and coupons together to earn even more.
Now, we're playpretending that you've gotten your email from CVS with a faboo coupon for $4/$20 purchase (and you will because that's just how CVS rolls). You have your 99 cent ECB from the Power Bar purchase (because that's just how you roll). This week, CVS is offering a deal on Colgate toothpaste ($2 ECB back), Pantene shampoo and conditioner ($3.99 ECB back), and Listerine ($3.49 ECB back). Here's how the transaction plays out:
two Colgate toothpaste for $2.99
two Pantene Shampoo for $3.99
two Listerine for $3.49
Your total before coupons is $20.94.
$4/$20 purchase CVS coupon from your email
two $1/1 Colgate coupons from the newspaper
two $1/1 Pantene coupons from the newspaper
two $1/1 Listerine coupons from the internet
99 cent ECB
Your total due OOP after coupons and ECB is $9.95.
BUT GUESS WHAT?! You get $20.94 back in ECB!
Are we still on that playpretend shopping trip? Well, I'm gonna hafta hug your neck because look at what you just did! Scored $20.94 worth of stuff for only $9.95 AND earned another $20.94 in ECB! Woohoo! Good job! Now, guess what we're gonna do? We're gonna walk right back in and grab something else- another of the same items if we want to and we haven't reached out limit for our extracare card. Use that $20.94 in ECB and get another $20.94 in ECB! Now, you've score $41.84 in products, you've paid $9.95 OOP, and you STILL have another $20.94 in ECB to spend! Good googley moogley, you're a natural, friend!
Now, hold up there, Beth, you say as you struggle to hold all of your freebies and your ECB. How is the world did I know to use all those coupons and where did I find them?!
Well now, friend. I'll tell you how. You checked One Fabulous Mama on facebook or visited the website at www.onefabulousmama.com and you were READY to go. You knew what was on sale, when it was on sale, and what coupons to use. You are one smart shopper, friend!
Once you begin your love affair with CVS, you won't be able to stop. We have a dresser in our hallway that acts as catchall for the gajillion hair bobs our three daughters and I use and the various mallets and drum sticks the three drummers in our family use. It's now filled to bursting with body wash, toothpaste, razors, soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouth wash, aspirin, deodorant, and toothbrushes. I may have made an initial $10 or so investment in my CVS love affair, but it's been well worth it when I look at the mini CVS stockroom I have stashed in the hallway.
Are you still a little hazy on the whole ABCs of CVS, friends? Just message me on facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll be happy to help you. I LOVE strolling into my CVS, paying nothing for $40 worth of stuff, and leaving with another $40 in ECB to do it all again on my next trip. I LOVE being able to donate items to charities that need them. I LOVE saving so much money by scoring FREE stuff. Now, you can too and you won't even have to playpretend!
Here's a few more tips and tricks to the ABCs of CVS. Still easy peasy, but important nonetheless.
-Make sure you use the $4/$20 CVS coupon first (or whatever CVS coupon you are using). In the playpretend scenario above, if you had used the manufacturer coupons first, your total would have been below $20.
- Always print or make your list of what you want to get. I post directly from Southern Savers and it couldn't be easier, my friends.
- Make sure you aren't wasting your ECB. Try to spend just a few pennies more than you have in ECB. You don't want to spend a $10 ECB on $6 worth of merchandise. CVS won't give you ECB change back!
- Make sure you have a plan if your CVS is out of something. You want to be able to use that $4/20 coupon, but you'll have to know how to get to $20. When you're close to your target amount, you may need what we call a "filler," something low in price like a candy bar or pack of gum to get you over the amount needed to use the coupon.
- The ECB generated from one extracare card has to be used with that card.
- You can use as many ECB per transaction as you want.
- If you lose your ECB or your ECB are in some way damaged by the sun or are unreadable for some reason, there is nothing CVS can do to help you. The moral of this tip? Protect your ECB!
- Despite what some CVS employees will tell you, you can have more than one CVS card per household. Everyone who lives there can have one according to customer service, so you can use multiple cards, but you'll have to keep those ECB straight!
-ECB generally are good for one month. Don't let your ECB expire, friends. That's like throwing away money!