Tuesday, August 05, 2008

So, how does it work?

To answer Emily's question in the comment box, I figured I would just write another post, since the answer might be a bit long.

Here are some of the many links you can find on how to save money at CVS. I found stuff like this over and over again on various sites, but it just didn't click with me... until just recently.

Since I know this would have been helpful to me, I'll give you what I did this past week, and hopefully it will start to make sense.

First, get a CVS card (yeah, I hate them too. I feel like I'm selling a piece of my soul every time I fill out an application for a "loyalty card.")

Make sure you get a paper (or two or more!) every Sunday for the coupons, and save all the circulars that you are interested in.

LAST WEEK'S sale at CVS was for picture DVDs -- you know, put 60 pictures on a disk, add music, and voila! Instant stocking stuffer for someone! The ad stated that they were on sale for $10, and with each one purchased, you would receive $10 in extra care bucks (ECBs). These are coupons that you can use like money at CVS.

I bought 3 of these disks.

Last week's sale also included 2/$5 bags of Hershey's candy. If you bought $10 worth of candy (4 bags) you would receive $5 ECBs.

I bought 4 bags and got $5 in ECBs.

I had to come back for the disks an hour later, and when I took those to the counter and it rang up to $34 (I bought something else... I don't remember what). I had the ECBs from the candy, so I was able to bring my total down to $29. I paid the money and got $30 in ECBs back.

If you're following so far, I paid $44 out of pocket, and got $35 back in ECBs.

THIS WEEK, Pampers are on sale. There was also a coupon for $1.50 in the Sunday paper. I got two packages.

Dawn is on sale for $0.88. There was a coupon for $0.50 in the Sunday paper. I got two of those.

Baby Magic is one of their monthly ECB specials, as is the Children's Advil (buy it at $5.79, get $5.79 back in ECBs).

PaperMate pencils are 3/$1.

etc etc etc.

I walked up with all the stuff shown in the picture below, presented my ECB coupons, and wound up only paying $7.... AND, walked away with more ECBs.

Confused? I hope not!

The goal is to buy those things that you need that have ECBs attached to them. Buy them when they are a good deal or when they are on sale. Use those ECBs next time you go to CVS, and make sure you plan your purchases to take advantage of all the sales and ECBs specials you can. That way the money sort of... recycles... and you won't be spending so much out of pocket!


Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Huh. That makes sense, sort of...but it sounds a bit too good to be true! Why would they give you almost as much "money" as what you spent?

Maybe I should just try it out for a few weeks and see what I think. Although the prospect of adding another store to the list of errands each week is a bit daunting!

In any case, thanks for the explanation!

Ouiz said...

From what I've heard... and I haven't been doing this long enough to know from experience one way or another... CVS offers something "free" (that is, you get its purchase price in ECBs) every time. I know that two weeks ago they were offering photo books -- same deal -- sale price $10, get $10 back in ECBs.

I'm assuming that since very few people really take advantage of coupons, sales, rebates, etc... they don't have too much to worry about. You know?

Plus, they are getting more people into their stores this way, so more power to them!

If you do give it a try, make sure you pick up the little circular in the front of the store, that shows what the ECB specials are for August.

Hope your trips are as successful as mine have been!

LAVA said...

@ Emily,
I have been doing the CVS thing for a couple of weeks now and it really is true.

The thing is they give away something 'free' to entice you to come back and check out what else they have.

I got a baby advil for free just by recycling my ECBs.

In a lot of cases the free things are not something that everyone would purchase and their prices are higher than Walmart so CVS makes the money.

Also, since the coupons (ECB) expire in a month...people want to get more stuff before the expiry date..so they spend more time going over the circular and walking around the store to see what is a good deal.

You do have to spend up front but then you make the money back.

Since I started I have spent:
$95.34 out of pocket
gotten $178.30 in ECB and
spent $135.95 of my ECB.

I am now only getting the free stuff so you can see that I have gotten about $82 worth of stuff for free 9difference between out of pocket and ECB).