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Monday, July 14, 2008

CVSing 101 (A Tutorial)

Enjoy the pictures while you receive a tutorial.

Step 1: Get a CVS weekly flier and monthly flier. To see the fliers ahead of time, I highly recommend I Heart CVS.

Step 2: Gather manufacturer's coupons and check sites like Money Saving Mom for additional printable coupons. Money Saving Mom will explain good scenarios for making money at CVS.

Step 3: Look through the ads for items that have ECBs (Extra Credit Bucks) when you purchase them. Often the monthly flier will have several items that you get an equal number of ECBs back that you spent. July has CVS tampons for $1.49 and you get $1.49 in ECBs, and pantyliners $.99 and you get $.99 in ECBs. It's best to start with items like this to build your ECBs.

Step 4: Check for coupons that you can use on items that also have ECBs. For example there is a $1.00 printable coupon at Neutrogena and you get $4.00 back in ECBs when you buy a mascara for $5.99. So, when you purchase 1 at $5.99, use a $1.00 coupon, you actually pay $4.99 then get $4.00 back in ECBs. Nearly every week, there are several items that you can do like this.

Step 5: Make a list. Fairly often there will be coupons printed in a newspaper somewhere in the US that are for $3.00 off a $15.00 purchase. Check I heart CVS for information on where these are located and you can print the coupons from the newspaper's online version.

Step 6: If you have a $3.00 off $15.00 organize your items where you have several transactions so that you can use the $3.00 off $15.00 couponS several times.

Soleil Razors are in the July ad (buy 2 for 6.99 each and get $5.00 back)

Example Transaction 1:

2 Soleil Razors 13.98 (6.99 each)
1 Pantyliner $.99
1 Candybar $.50

Total: $15.47

Use 2 $4.00 off 1 Soleil Razor Manufacturer Coupons ($8.00)
Use 1 $3.00 off $15.00 coupon

New Total: $4.47

Earn $5.99 in ECBs

Remember in the beginning, you WILL have to put a little money out to get some ECBs, here's a quick example of how you can use your ECBs to make a purchase with very little cash.

2 Sure Deoderants $5.98 ($2.99 each)
3 Sally Hansen Nail Polish $2.97 ($.99 each)
1 CVS Lotion $1.79
1 Pantyliner $.99
2 Tampons $2.98 ($1.49 each)
1 Candybar $.50
1 Pack of gum $.75

Total $15.21


Use 2 $1.00 off Sure Deoderants
Use 1 $3.00 off 2 Sally Hansen Nail Polish (will adjust to $2.97 at register)
Use 1 $2.00 off CVS Skincare (will adjust to $1.79 at register)
Use 1 $3.00 off $15.00 CVS coupon

New total: $6.29

Use $5.99 in ECBs from previous transaction

Total out of pocket (OOP): $.30


Step 7: Organize your coupons by transaction. You want to make sure that you have all of your coupons ready for each transaction. It is really annoying to realize that you forgot to use a coupon after the transaction! Believe me!

TIPS: You can combine a manufacturer's coupon with a coupon for a product that prints out at CVS. Example: This week there is a $10.00 ECB with $20.00 purchase of Benefiber, Excedrin, or Maalox.

I had 2 $2.00 off coupons for Excedrin, 2 $2.00 off coupons for Maalox, 1 $5.00 off 2 Maalox coupon printed at register, and 1 $3.00 off Excedrin coupon printed at register. I also had a $4.00 off $20.00 coupon. So, I had a total of $20.00 in coupons off $22.00 worth of products. So for $2.00, I made $10.00 in ECBs.

TIPS: Check the Web sites that I listed earlier daily for great tips on CVSing.

TIPS: Always send in the mail-in rebates. I have earned $140.00 in rebates from Glucose monitors that were basically free after ECBs initially.

And now ... to answer some questions from the blog post for yesterday.

Julie said: "Can you explain how to get and use the coupons and the bucks that you blog about. Kind of a "CVS for Dummies" lesson."

Julie, I hope that this lesson is helpful for you. Please let me know if you need any clarification.

Dee'Anna said: "Same here Jeff I am a little confussed on this CVS thing we need the inside scoop!!!"

Dee'Anna, call me up when your in town and I will take you to CVS and show you if you need more help. I think Michelle wants a lesson, too.

Anonymous said: "What is an ECB?"

Anon, an ECB is an Extra Credit Buck from CVS. You can use them just like cash on anything at CVS. They are a GREAT perk and reason for shopping at CVS. I have also found almost EVERY CVS employee to be kind and courteous and have a can-do attitude. That goes a long way with me!

Anonymous said: "Pardon me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you're buying a lot of stuff just because it's on sale and not because you need it. Am I missing something?"

Anon-2, no, you are not wrong. I do buy things that I don't need. Here's a little information about me. I love to give things, but because I am the only one in our household with a full-time salary and we are trying to adopt a daughter from CVS (uh, I mean Taiwan), we have little to no "extra" cash for giving to organizations other than tithing to our church which is a must in our house. I consider my purchases at CVS a ministry. We are able to supply all of our friends with necessary hygeine items and we always have some for ourselves. I have given almost everyone in our Sunday School class some items, we have plans to give some items to a local shelter, and we even gave a man whose family did some work around our house recently some of the items just as a little happy. It also allows us to buy special items that we would normally not have money for like Febreze, namebrand paper towels, face wash, brand-name body wash, good shampoo, etc. Many of those items, we would normally buy generics in, but because we can get the real thing for free why not? I also buy happies for the girls in my Sunday School class like fingernail polish. We'd be happy to share some with you if you live around us!
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