Since I have a few people who are just getting into the coupon game that read my blog, I am going to do a series highlighting the ways to shop at my favorite stores. This will include grocery and drug stores. I will start with my favorite drug store, CVS.
CVS is my favorite because this is where I get majority of my hygiene products for pennies on the dollar and sometimes even FREE. It takes a little time to learn the ins and outs of shopping at a drug store, but it is well worth it.
The first thing you will need to do is register for a CVS card. You can register online or in the store. I recommend you register in-store because you are given your CVS card to use right away.
Things to know:
Review the store ads: CVS releases their ads on Sundays. You can get them in the Sunday Paper or you can sign up to receive a preview of their ad in advance (This is key to help with planning so you can get to the store on Sunday with your transactions already planned out)
Understand Extra Care Bucks (ECB’s): ECB’s are CVS money that is given back to you for purchasing a certain item. The is key is to buy those products that offer ECB’s so that you have them available to use on your next transaction/shopping trip.(If you need them). ECB’s are tied to your CVS card and can only be used with your CVS card, you can not give your ECB’s away.
ECB’s: You can roll your ECB’s. Meaning, you can buy one item that produces an ECB and use that ECB to purchase the same item, Did I lose You?
The above picture shows Ban deodorant for $2.99 with $2.00 in ECB’s. Your transaction would go as follows:
Buy (1) Ban Deodorant=$2.99
Will receive $2.00 ECB at the end of your transaction and could be used towards anything else in the store.
Understand the Limits on those items with ECB’s: Most of the items pictured with EB’s will have a limited noted in small print. In the above picture, It is noted as having a limit of 1. This means that you will only receive the $2.00 ECB once but may purchase as many as you like.
Let’s say you love Ban Deodorant and think that $2.99 is a good price for it, you want to purchase 3. Your deal would be as follows:
(3) Ban Deodorant: $8.97 ($2.99*3)
Total: $8.97. You would only Receive $2.00 in ECB’s.
However if the limit was in fact 3. Then your transaction would be as follows:
(3) Ban Deodorant: $8.97
Total: $8.97. You would receive $6.00 in ECB’s
Using Coupons with items with ECB’s: You may use a manufacturer coupon (Those in the Sunday Paper and those you print off the internet) and ECB’s together in 1 transaction. This is how you make those items with ECB’s either FREE or MM(Money Maker). Using the same scenerio above.
Buy (1) Ban Deodorant=$2.99
-$1.00 Ban Coupon
Will receive $2.00 ECB
Yes you pay $1.99 out of pocket (OOP), but you will receive $2.00 in ECB’s back to use on a future purchase)
For a little start up investment, you can get many items for health and beauty for FREE or next to it-week after week.
- Plan your purchase ahead of time. Determine what you need or use and how much you plan to spend OOP for that week. My weekly purchase for all drug stores combined for the week is no more that $5.
- If you see many things that you need/want and they all so happen to produce ECB’s, try breaking them up into seperate transaction from minimal OOP cost (out of pocket).
Looking at the two pictures; I want to purchase the deodorant and the toothbrush. These both produce ECB’s.
(1) deodorant:$2.99 (with $2.00ECB)
(1) Toothbrush: $4.00 (with $4.00ECB)
Total OOP: $6.99
You will pay $6.99, but receive $6.00 in ECB. For a total of all things for $.99
But if you broke them into seperate transactions, your OOP could be lower
(1) Ban Deodorant: $2.99
Total: $2.99 will receive $2.00 ECB
(1) Toothpaste: $4.00
-$2.00 ECB from Transaction 1
Total: $2.00 will receive $4.00 ECB
Total OOP: $4.99
See the difference?
- Know the order of coupons. Use your Dollar off CVS coupons, then your Manufacturer coupons, then your ECB’s
- Always keep your ECB’s with you.