The first store I went to on my Extreme Couponing trip was CVS. I'd personally never shopped at a CVS before; the one in our neighborhood isn't particularly close (there are at least three Walgreens in between us and CVS), but it's not terribly far away either, and I keep reading about all these great free things people get at CVS using their Extra Care Bucks (ECB) program.
Jill Cataldo posts what she considers to be the best deals of the week on her blog every Monday. She recommends shopping on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday because the deals overlap at your typical stores - grocery store sales cycles typically run Thursday - Wednesday, and pharmacy type stores typically run Sunday - Saturday. So if you go on one of those days, you can do all your shopping at once and hit both kinds of stores during the cycle. These were the CVS deals she recommended for this week.
I only had coupons from the 11/14 Sunday paper since I just started this journey, so that's primarily what I focused on. The two that applied to me were:
Herbal Essences shampoo, conditioner or stylers is on sale for $2.99. Buy one bottle and get $2 back in Extra Care Bucks! Use the .50 coupon from 11/14 RP, pay $2.49 and get $2 back... making this .49!
Oral B Rechargeable Vitality toothbrushes are on sale for $23. When you buy one, you'll get $13 back in ECBs. Use the $10 coupon from 11/14 RP1, pay $13 and get $13 back! It's FREE!
Now, $.49 name brand shampoo is pretty awesome, but I wouldn't have driven out to CVS just for that. However, FREE fancy toothbrush that typically retails for over $25? I was SOLD!
As a bonus, when I went through my coupons to find the one I needed for the toothbrush, I had TWO OF THEM. Which just so happened to be the limit at CVS. One for me, one for my husband!
Having never been to a CVS, I first needed to get an ECB card (you only get the bucks if you have their membership card), so I went to the counter right away and signed up for my card. Then (also thanks to Jill Cataldo), I had learned that CVS has coupon scanners that will print out extra coupons for you if you scan your ECB card. So that was stop number two. I got three coupons, all for candy that was already pretty expensive, so I ignored them this trip. (Does anyone know if these coupons become more tailored to you after you've shopped there for a while? Or are they just random?)
I picked up my Herbal Essences easily, but they were out of the toothbrushes. BUT! CVS does rain checks, AND you will get the promised ECB bucks from the deal. So I got a rain check for two of the toothbrushes, and my coupons for them are good for a month or so.
As you can see from my receipt, I also picked up a pair of fuzzy socks. Impulse buys are NOT the way to save money, but I'm a huge sucker for fuzzy socks. I always buy a pair or two every winter.
Since this was my first trip to CVS, I had no previous ECBs to redeem, so I did have to pay $2.49 for my Aussie (and will have to pay $26 for my two toothbrushes, minus the $2 ECB I now have from the Aussie), but I got the $2 back and I will get $26 back from the toothbrushes. Moving forward, now that I have ECB bucks accumulating, I will be able to take advantage of more super CVS deals without paying anything, because I'll be using the ECB's I get back.
Counting my socks, my total pre-sales and coupons at CVS would have been $7.62. I saved $1.30 by taking advantage of the sale, used a .50 coupon, and got $2.00 ECB bucks, making my post-deals total 4.26. A savings of 56%. (It would have been even better without the impulse-buy socks!) AND I got the raincheck for the two free toothbrushes.
I left CVS feeling pretty good about this whole couponing thing.
Experienced couponers, would you have done anything differently? Were there some deals I missed? Please share your tips with me!