Monday, May 10, 2010

CVS Lover

I have become a huge fan of CVS and regret that I avoided shopping there for years. I (along with others) always thought that they were waaay overpriced, and, even if they did give back Extra Care Bucks (ECBs), it did not offset the cost of the items I was buying.

Oh, little did I know how much CVS just gives away!

After reading many couponing blogs, I realized that to succeed at CVS you need to take the ECBs that you earn and ‘roll’ them into your next purchase. Meaning 1) use them! Don’t let them expire and end up in the trash and 2) try to buy something that generates another ECB. This way you are continually getting ‘free’ money.

I started an experiment that got put on hold while I was on vacation – and I am still working on it. I decided to pick a purchase where I started with no ECBs (like a CVS newbie), but made sure that the purchase generated ECBs. Then, I would take those ECBs to the next purchases and see how much I could get before depleting all the ECBs.

ECBs usually expire within a month of your purchase, so that gives you 4 weeks to find another sale that you can roll your ECBs into.

So, here’s my scenarios:


Trans #1:
Bought Charmin, Bounty and 3 Puffs tissues and I had a $4 off $20 purchase coupon from CVS (you get these in an email or when you scan your card).

My total for the items, with tax, was $21.54.

Not a great price (and why I never shopped at CVS before), the Charmin was 9.99 – 50 cent coupon and the Bounty was 12.99 for a 12 roll. Again, neither was a fantastic price, but the purchase generated a $10 ECB for my next purchase.

Trans #2:
Bought a CVS tag for my reusable bag for 99 cents. This generated a 99 cents ECB.

The beauty of this CVS tag is that every time you use a reusable bag and scan this card, CVS keeps track and, after 4 times, it generates a $1 ECB….free money for using a reusable bag!

So, after #1 and #2 I have $10.99 in ECBs.
#1 / #2 : $22.59
Trans #3: 
CVS had a deal, buy $15 in Nivea products and get a $5 ECB. 

I also bought Depends (no, I don’t need them but will donate them since they are free!) They were 6.99 with a $6.99 ECB generated.

And, CVS sent me another $4 off $20 purchase in my email. So...

3 Nivea Body Washes ($4.88 x 3 = $14.64)
2 Nivea Lip Care Items ($2.99 x 2 = $5.98)
1 Depends - $6.99

Total: $27.61

$4 CVS coupon (use this first before total is less than $20)
$4 - 2 Nivea Body Wash Coupons (2x2.00)
$4.88 - 1 B1G1 Nivea Body Wash
$2.99 - 1 B1G1 Lip Care

Total = $15.87

$27.61 – $15.87 = $11.74

Now, I use my ECBs from trans #1/2: $11.74 – $10.99 = 75 cents! (You have to pay tax on the full amount, so my total was $2.08)

Cool thing, I get back a $5 and a $6.99 ECB, so I make a buck, because I now have $11.99 in ECBs.


Trans #4: 
Venus Embrace (had 2 cartridges in it) was on sale for $9.79, which generated a $6 ECB.

$9.79 – $2 coupon – $6.99 ECB  = 80 cents! With tax, $1.34…pretty good for a $9 razor.

I also got $6 in ECBs, so right back where I started before #3 (ie. I have a $5 and $6 ECB)

#4: $1.34 Out of pocket

Trans #5:
Made a killing in this transaction!
 2 Pantenes – 2/$6.97 (will get $3 ECB)
2 Right Guards – 2/$5.98 ( will get $4 ECB)
1 Crest Pro Health – $3.50 (will get $3.50 ECB)
1 Lady’s Mitchum – $2.99 (will get $1 ECB)
1 Kotex U Liners – $4.99 (will get $4.99 ECB)
1 CVS Wipes - .99

Total = $25.42


$5 CVS coupon ($5 off $25 – from scanning card)
$1 Pantene
$3 Right Guard
$1 Mitchum
$1 CVS coupon for Kotex
$1 Kotex

$12 coupon total

$25.42 – $12.00 = $13.42

I used my 2 ECBs, $5 and $6 = $13.42 – $11.00 = $2.42; plus tax = $3.54!! For all of that…

I then received 16.49 back in ECBs, making a little over $2!!

I turned around and bought the 2nd Crest Pro Health (there was a limit of 2) using the $3.50 ECB and spent 19 cents. I received another $3.50 ECB and a $1 ECB for using my CVS tag on the reusable bag.

So, I now have $17.49 in ECBs and still have another $5 off $25 purchase. For the next month I will look for deals that will let me get more free stuff!

#5: $3.73

The total, to date, that I have spent from (and including) the first purchase is $29.74. See the picture with all my products below.

I will keep adding to this note (probably not to the picture, though!!) to see how much will be purchased before I run out of the ECBs.

All of this, so far, for $29.74!!
There are 22 items, so around $1.35 per item!
Or around 7 bucks for everything after my first purchase!