Monday, September 20, 2010

Shopping for Free at CVS Part 2 of 3

Just Starting Out?  Check out Part 1 HERE.

Part 2:  Using Coupons at CVS

  • CVS accepts two types of coupons:  CVS store coupons and manufacturer coupons.   You can “stack”(or use together) one CVS store coupon with one manufacturer coupon for each item you buy at CVS.
  • CVS coupons:  There are two types of CVS store coupons:   
    1.  CVS coupons valid for a specific product
    2.  CVS coupons valid for a dollar amount off of a certain purchase amount.  
  •  An example of the last type is:  a $4/20 CVS coupon.  $4/20 means that you get $4 off a $20 purchase.   
    • *The purchase requirement for this example is calculated before any other coupons, including specific-item CVS coupons or manufacturer coupons.    
Take this set of Transactions for example (you can see my original posting of this HERE):
During this particular trip to CVS I did two transactions.  In the first one I bought the Nivea body wash, the Alive vitamins, and the Tylenol precise.  In the second transaction I bought the two boxes of Benadryl and the candy corn.  Doing more than one transaction can be beneficial because it allows you to pay less money out of pocket.  Here is how and why I did this:

Transaction #1:
I bought:
  • 1 bottle of Nivea for men body wash on sale for $4.99 with a $4.99 ECB back.
  • 1 box of Alive vitamins on sale for $9.99 with a $9.99 ECB back.
  • 1 Tylenol Precise on sale for $5.99 with a $2.00 ECB back.  

My subtotal for this transaction was:  $20.97  I had a CVS store coupon good for $4 off a $20 purchase, so I handed that to the cashier first.  After she scanned that, I gave her the rest of my coupons. 

I had a Nivea manufacturer coupon good for $1.00 off.

I had an Alive Vitamins manufacturer coupon good for $1.00 off.

 I then had 2 coupons for the Tylenol Precise.  I had one manufacturer coupon good for $2.00 off and I also had one CVS store coupon good for $2.00 off.  The reason why you can use two coupons on one product is because the CVS store coupon is a store discount and then the store will be reimbursed for the manufacturer coupon.   

So after all these coupons, my subtotal was:  $10.97.  Then after I paid, (I actually used an ECB for $10.00 that I already had, and $0.97 in cash) I got back the ECBs on the bottom of my receipt for the products that I just bought.  I got back a $4.99 ECB for the Nivea, a $9.99 ECB for the Alive vitamins, and a $2.00 ECB for the Tylenol Precise.   So I paid a total of $10.97 in cash and ECBs and I got back a total of $16.98 in ECBs.  This is what a “money making” transaction is at CVS:  you get back more in ECBs than what you paid with cash and ECBs.

Then I did my next transaction.

Transaction #2:
I bought:
  • 2 boxes of Benadryl on sale for $3.99 ea. (for a total of $7.98)
  • 1 bag of candy corn on sale for $0.99 with a $0.99 ECB back
My subtotal was: $8.97
I then used 2 coupons, each good for $2.00 off one Benadryl (“peelie” coupons that I found attached on the front of the box) 

My subtotal after coupons was: $4.97  I then paid for this transaction with the $4.99 ECB from the Nivea above(the cashier had to change the price of the ECB to $4.97 and then I only owed the tax)  and I got back on that receipt my $0.99 ECB for buying the candy corn.  I really didn’t even want to buy the candy corn but I knew that after the coupons for the Benadryl were used I would still be $1.00 shy of the $4.99 ECB that I was wanting to use.  Since the candy corn was free after Extra Bucks, I was able to buy it and use my $4.99 ECB and still get the $0.99 back in the form of another ECB.  The money making transaction I did first, allowed me to get the Benadryl(which my family needed) for free.  

With a little planning, it is possible to start out with some ECBs after doing your first transaction and hardly ever have to pay more money out of pocket at CVS (besides tax).  If you continue to "roll" your ECBs into transactions that will give you more ECBs, you can get free items at CVS almost every week.  If you have access to coupons, then chances are that you will not only get items for free every week, but very likely you will have more ECBs after each time you shop.  You can then use the "CVS money" that you made and buy products that your family needs.  This will allow you to start lowering your grocery budget.  Often, CVS will have items you can get for free after Extra Care Bucks that you probably won't use.  Why not go ahead and purchase those items and give them to someone you know, or donate them to a shelter or food pantry?
*CVS Shopping for free etiquette:  If you are going to do more than one transaction per trip, and there is no one else in line, that is alright.  However, if there are other customers in line, you should go to the back of the line before making your second transaction.

 Where to get CVS coupons:

There are several different places that you can find CVS coupons:
  • Through your email.  Once you have an Extra Care card you can sign up to receive emails from CVS and you will get a $4/20 coupon probably right away.  You can do that HERE. (If you just got an Extra Care card, you may not be in the system yet)
  • From the Price Scanner machine that I told you about in Part 1.
  • From  Here you will find some CVS coupons and some manufacturer coupons.
You can find Part 3 HERE.

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