Wednesday, September 30, 2009

These are a few of my favourite things: CVS-ing

Did you know that I've saved over $1500 shopping at CVS so far this year? And most of the stuff I've "bought", I haven't paid a dime for. Nooooo, it's not called the 5 finger disount, it's CVS-ing!

If you're not cheap like me, you may have no idea what that term means. Basically, it's shopping at CVS using their Extracare Card to get Extracare Bucks (ECBs) which you in turn use to buy stuff at CVS for almost no money out of your pocket. Let me explain:

In their Sunday circular, CVS lists things that are on sale, some of which they offer you Extracare Bucks for buying. For example: a tube of Colgate toothpaste will be listed on sale for $2.50, and you get $2 in ECBs back, therefore making said toothpaste 50 cents (although you have to pay the whole $2.50 up front). But wait, there's more!

If you have a $1.00 manufacturer's coupon, CVS is basically paying YOU 50 cents to buy that toothpaste. Even better, by using your CVS card, you get coupons printed on your receipt that can be used alongside the manufacturer's coupon (this is called stacking coupons). So if I also had a CVS coupon for $1.00 off that same toothpaste, CVS is now "paying" me $1.50 to buy it.

Oh, but it gets better. If you sign up to receive emails from the CVS Extracare program, they email $4 off $20 coupons out every two weeks or so. So what I do, is look through the circular and see what items offer me the best return (that are free or close to free after the ECBs, or better than free if I'm using a CVS or manufacturer's coupon). I add up the items I wat to buy, making sure I can use my $4 off $20 coupon. If the total amount of ECBs I get back is pretty close to the amount I'll be spending, then I'm set to go shopping!

Since I have a pretty big stash of ECBs (I've been doing this for quite awhile), I use those to pay for the items... confused? Here's what I did last week:

These are all the items I bought on my last trip.

The Aveeno conditioner was $6.49. I had a $1 off coupon and got back $2 ECBs
The Aquafresh was $2.99. I had a $1 coupon, a $1 CVS coupon, and got back $2 ECBs
The razor was $9.99. I had a $4 coupon and got back $5 ECB
The toothbrush was $1. I had a $1 coupon and got back $1 ECB
The cream was $7.99. I had a $1 coupon and got back $7 in ECBs

My total came to $28.46. I also had a $5 off when you spend $25 store coupon (you should always give this coupon first, before all you manufacterer's coupons). After coupons, my total came to $15.46. I used my ECBs from my stash, and received $17 back in ECBs. So, they paid me to take all these items off of their hands. Pretty cool, eh?

Now, not every week is that good, and yes it takes time to go through the circular and match up your coupons, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy. There are also websites out there that will tell you what the best deals are and what coupons to use, but I prefer to do it myself.

I've actually had to curtail my CVS-ing because I now have a stash of about 50 toothbrushes, 20+ tubes of toothpaste, probably close to 50 razors and more that I've paid next to nothing for. I've actually started donating some of my stash to shelters and other organizations because I'm running out of room to store it all.

Whew, that was a long post, and if you've made it to the end, I commend you! Enjoy the spoils of your CVS-ing!


phonelady said...

i do cvsing too . Is it not awesome ? I love when drugstores have crap on sale . it is great and yeah I do stock up like that too .

emily said...

love the part about giving the extras to the shelters, or in my case, to the mental health hospitals here in georgia. they also like those little shampoos and lotions from the motels and hotels from our vacations. they use them as prizes for Bingo and scrabble, and such.

Val said...

Wow, if we ever have a ginormous natural disaster, I'm gonna head to your house. You've got all the supplies covered! We will be squeaky clean and clean shaven!!

Meri said...

I'm stalking! I've never read you "other" blog before, so here I am!

And I HAD to comment because our Longs JUST turned into a CVS about 1 month ago, and I am SO SO happy to be up to speed on the CVS-ing!

Thank you Thank you Thank you!