CVS is a store I hit just about every week to get some good (mostly free) deals. I hear people tell me that “It's so confusing” or, the most familiar line, “I just don't have time.” So, I want to debunkify those comments and help you “play” cvs by just a few things to remember. Here are my Top 5 Tips to Playing CVS.
Current Sales and Promotions
The CVS sale is effective Sunday and lasts thru Saturday. You can find the current ad information online at CVS.com.
The CVS deals are posted on Savings Lifestyle by Thursday for the upcoming Sunday sale start.
CVS Store Loyalty Card
CVS has a Store Loyalty Card (CVS Card). You want to use this each time you shop. If you don't have a CVS card, just request one at your first shopping trip or go to CVS' website and request a card. Be sure to register you card online so you will get access to money-saving coupons (more on that in a second).
CVS Extra Care Bucks
CVS pays you to shop with offering you Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) on weekly deals. There are also Monthly ECB Offers (a book with monthly offers and Clipfree coupons can be found near the register). When you make a purchase for an item that is offering ECB's, you will see the ECB print at the bottom of your receipt as soon as you have met the requirements for the offer.
ECB's work just like a coupon the only caveat is that you must purchase an item for each ECB you choose to use. If you purchased two bags of chips and used three ECB's, the register will beep since you only had two items. You can also use real manufacturer's (MFG) coupons with ECB's to reduce you out-of-pocket (OOP) expense. ECB's expire just like MFG coupons so use 'em or lose 'em!
CVS Store Coupons
CVS has money-saving coupons (or CVS $ off $$ Coupons) they email customers (see #1 – Register That Card) that you can also use to further reduce your OOP in addition to using your ECB's and MFG coupons. These also have expiration dates.
In order to maximize your savings (and to avoid annoying beeps at the register), use your coupons in this order, I call it the CVS Coupon Submission Order: CVS $ off $$ Coupons, MFG coupons, ECB's.
If you know your total before you go to CVS, you can use this order: CVS $ off $$ coupons, ECB's, MFG coupons. This order helps to pay for some of the sales tax – but even with my high analytical style, I haven't minded to pay pennies for getting $50 worth of stuff!
You don't have to purchase all of the ECB items in one transaction! You can make several transactions in a row in order to roll your ECB's instantly and lessen your OOP. Just purchase the ECB items within that weekly sale (or monthly ECB book) in order to get the ECB to print.
For example, there was an ECB offer for Buy $25 in Baby Products, get a $10 ECB. In order to use store coupons and get the maximum savings, I did three separate transactions. On my third (and final) transaction, I had fulfilled the required $25 purchase amount and my $10 ECB printed.
If you are just starting and know that you will be buying stuff that earn ECB's, try this:
1. Complete one transaction and use store coupons, MFG coupons and pay. Get your ECB's.
2. Complete another transaction use any store coupons, MFG coupons, ECB's (just earned). Get your ECB's.
3. Complete a third transaction using the same coupons/ECB's as above. You get the idea :)
I personally have never had a store get upset about completing multiple transactions. Just be aware of how many people are waiting in line so you're not holding everyone else up.
Roll Your ECB's
This is buying an item that earns ECB's and pay for that item using ECB's. That way, you will use your ECB before it expires on something that is going to be giving you another ECB. I try to do this, but I won't buy ECB qualifying items if I don't need them – one can only have so many tubes of toothpaste and bottles of shampoo! Also, you can roll/use your ECB's for the same ECB offer that you earned it for (unlike Walgreens).
I certainly don't encourage purchasing stuff that you don't need because it earns you ECB's. I want us to be good stewards of our money! So, if you just gotta have the stuff that earns ECB's and don't need it – donate it or give it to a new couponer trying to build a stockpile – you can feel good about buying it and sharing it!
Any questions on shopping at CVS? Please leave a comment and I will answer you there :)
CVS sales are generally the same in all regions. There are a few differences, but overall they are the same for Georgia or Ohio. Please always double check your ad.