I know, I know, I’m sounding like a broken record talking about my venture into Couponing with a Purpose. I’m just excitedly spewing out everything I’m learning. Eventually I’ll simmer down. Pinky swear.
Prior to learning about how to shop drug stores, and then using sales/coupons/on-site rewards to score great deals, I can tell you that I rarely set foot in a CVS or Walgreens.
Mostly because as a whole, the prices are elevated, especially when compared to some place like Wal Mart. And so for that reason, I don’t purchase anything at a drug store unless it is an advertised sale, and I know that I have the coupons to back it up.
I can honestly say that much of my recent experience is with CVS exclusively. Their Extra Care Bucks (called Register Rewards at Walgreens) are easier to use and accumulate. Also, CVS just seems to be better stocked. Whenever I’ve attempted to buy something on sale at Walgreens, they are usually out of the item. And yes, I could ask for a rain check, but Walgreens does not honor Register Rewards with a rain check. I’ve asked.
CVS, on the other hand, will honor the Extra Care Bucks with a rain check.
Extra Care Bucks are advertised in the Sunday circular. For example, if you buy a certain item, you can use a coupon, and you may get, say, $2.00 ECB printed on your receipt. You can then use those ECB like cash on your next purchase.
Which could be either next week, or on another consecutive transaction. I typically only do one or two transactions at a time, because mentally, that’s all I can take.
I’m still a novice, after all.
Basically, there are a few things you can do at CVS to get you started.
- Scan your Extra Care Card at the red in-store kiosk every time you walk in the door. You can receive some nice high value store coupons that way. And you can usually scan your card at least twice.
- Purchase a Green Bag Tag for only 99 cents. I have a bag that holds my coupon box and purchases, and I have just attached my green bag tag onto the handle. Have the cashier scan it whenever you check out, and you will receive $1 ECB for every 4 times you shop. Every little bit helps. And you’re using your own shopping bags, thusly saving a plastic tree. Or whatever.
- For every 2 prescriptions you have filled at CVS, you will receive $1 ECB.
(Special hat tip to True Couponing for all their terrific information regarding shopping drug stores!)
Earlier in the week, I did my shopping at CVS, and I wanted to show you what I came home with.
People, I spent $1.62. And that was just to cover the tax.
Here’s how I did it:
First of all, because I registered with CVS ExtraCare e-mail (insert link), I was able to receive a special $5 off of a $25 purchase (before coupons).
• The Head & Shoulders was on sale for $4.49, and offered $2 ECBs (limit 1). And I used a Buy One Get One manufacturers coupon, so I came home with 2 bottles.
• The Cascade was on sale for $2.99. I used a mfg. coupon for $1.00 off.
• The toothbrushes were on sale for $3 each. I used 2 $2 off mfg. coupons, and I received $2 in ECBs.
• The candy bar was free, because I got a coupon which covered the entire cost of the product from the kiosk when I entered the store. And no, the children never laid eyes on it. 🙂 I like to think of it as a shopping bonus.
• I bought the mascara at 50% off for $5.25, the concealer at 75% off for $2.37, and the Scunci hair products on sale for $1.99 because they were a great deal, and I needed them.
I paid for the remainder of the purchase with my ECBs from last week, in the amount of $16 ECBs. I only had to pay cash for the tax.
And still, I have $5 in ECBs from this purchase and a Green Bag Tag credit.
My goal now is not to pay anything other than tax if I shop at CVS next week. This method of shopping is really keeping my cleaning supplies and toiletries budget down.
And if an occasional candy bar crosses my path, who am I to say no.
For more Frugal Friday ideas, head over to Life as Mom.