Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shopping for Free at CVS Part 1 of 3

Ever since I started shopping at CVS Pharmacy a year ago, I have rarely paid more than a couple quarters for razors (and we’re talking Gillette Fusion here), body wash, toothpaste, personal care items, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, makeup, over the counter medicine, and many other products.  Most of the time, I can get these items for free, and sometimes I even “make money” by shopping at CVS for things that my family needs.  Over the next few days, I am going to show you exactly how you can shop at CVS for free too.  If you are new to all of this, the information that I am going to share with you may be overwhelming or confusing at first, but I am going to do my best to walk through everything step by step.

Do not feel like you need to do everything that I explain about in the coming posts.  As tempting as it may be to totally throw yourself into getting all the deals you can at CVS, I suggest that you start out slow and do some simple transactions, and go from there.  

Starting Out:  
  • First of all, before you can get any deals at CVS, you are going to have to get an Extra Care card at CVS.  Without an Extra Care card, you can not even get items for their sale price at CVS.  You can get an Extra Care card from any cashier at your local CVS.  Getting an Extra Care card is totally free and requires no further obligation.  Once you have gotten an Extra Care card, you are ready to start shopping at CVS.  Every time that you shop at CVS, you will need to have the cashier scan your card in order to get any sale prices or Extra Care Bucks (ECBs).
 What are Extra Care Bucks?
  •  Extra Care Bucks, or ECBs are special CVS coupons that print off on the bottom of your receipt when you buy a particular product.   An ECB typically does not expire for about a month.
  • An ECB can be used on pretty much anything at CVS* (see below for exclusions).  ECBs are tied to your Extra Care card-meaning the register will not allow you to use someone else’s (such as a spouse’s) ECBs if your Extra Care card has been scanned.  
  • One nice thing about CVS’s ECB program is that you do not have to make a purchase at, or over the value of the ECB that you are wishing to use.  For example:  If you have an ECB worth $10.00, but you only want to purchase something that costs $9.99, you can go ahead and use your $10.00 ECB to pay for it.  The cashier will simply have to change the price of your ECB to $9.99 and you will be forfeiting the remainder of your ECB (in this case, $0.01).   
  • If you wish to use an ECB worth $10.00 on a purchase costing only $8.00, you can use that ECB on it but, again, you will be forfeiting the rest of it, and in this case, you would be better off finding $2.00 more in merchandise to purchase.   
  • ECBs are not able to be used towards tax.     
The CVS Price Scanner Machine:

  • If you start shopping at CVS, you will want to know where your local store’s price scanner is located.  The price scanner machines at CVS will tell you the price of products, but they also print out CVS store coupons if you scan your Extra Care card.   
  • Each day you go into CVS, you can scan your card to see if any coupons print out.  If coupons do print out, you can continue scanning your Extra Care card until the machine says that there are no more coupons available that day.  It often takes 30 seconds or so after your first set of coupons print, before more will print.  
  •  If you don’t scan your card at the price scanner machine, some CVS store coupons may print out at the bottom of your receipt, but I like to scan my card before I pay, because a store coupon may print out that you can use that trip.
  *ECB exclusions:  Prescriptions, Alcohol, Gift Cards, Lottery, Money-Orders, Postage Stamps, Pre-paid cards & Tobacco Products.

You can find Part 2 HERE. 

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