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02-07-2008, 05:35 AM #1
Article: How to Get Items for Very Cheap and Even FREE
Coupon Guide to CVS - How to Get Items for Very Cheap and Even FREE
Ways to Cut the Shopping Budget
By: Crystal Paine
With the current trend on prices rising for everything, it certainly
helps to cut costs where you can. Most people believe they can get a
better deal on household products from a Club like Sams or Costco, and
even Walmart. Dont be fooled!
A lot of the national chain pharmacies (i.e. CVS) are vying for your
business. Promotions are always being offered to get your business.
You can take advantage of these promotions and get the items that you
normally use for a fraction of the price you normally pay, and
sometimes even for free!
All it takes is a little planning and you are off! If you get the
Sunday newspaper and keep your coupons, you are already ahead of the game.
Look at the weekly sales flyer for CVS and see what their weekly
promotions are. Most weeks, there are deals that show "Earn $3 in
Extra Bucks when you buy this toothpaste product for $3".
Find any coupons that you may have for that toothpaste. Get a CVS
Extra Care Card when you get to CVS. Go buy that advertised sale of
When you go to check out, hand the cashier your CVS Card. Buy your
toothpaste and use your coupon from the Sunday paper that you have.
Now you are only paying $2 for that toothpaste - BUT you are earning
back $3. So you basically made $1 by purchasing that toothpaste. The
$3 in Extra Bucks prints out at the bottom of your receipt and can be
used just like cash on another order, may it be that same day, or the
The key is to roll those Extra Bucks over every week by purchasing
other sale items that generate more Extra Bucks.
Before long, you will have a stockpile of these items and you will not
be paying full price.
My family and friends are amazed at the deals that I am able to get
from CVS. Even my family (who called me Coupon OCD) now gets it and
loves to come shop at my house.
Why pay full price, when they can pay you to take it home!
My goal is to spend as little money out of pocket as possible and to
roll over my ECBs to be the same amount or more as the ECBs I spent.
By doing this, I usually will get $15-$50 worth of groceries and
household items paying less than $1 out of pocket and earning enough
ECBs to go back and do it again the next week.
Sometimes, like in the case of the Addidas deodorant one week, the
item was cheaper than the ECB it generated and thus you "make money"
by buying it. For instance, with the Addidas deodorant (check your
sale flier to make sure you get the exact kind listed), it is on sale
for $2.49 and is generating a $3 ECB. So, even after tax, you will
still "make money" buying it. And if you have any coupons (there were
$1/1 coupons in a recent insert), you will "make even more money."
(Please note: You will not be actually "making money" in that the
store will be paying you cash, you will be making money in that you
will have overage to use towards other groceries. And you will be
"growing" your ECBs larger which will thus make you more "money" to
spend on future deals.)
Most of the time, there is a limit on how many of an item you can buy
per card which will generate ECBs. Usually it is somewhere between 1-5
and will be stated in small lettering underneath the deal in your ad.
There are weekly deals and monthly deals. The weekly deals are
advertised in the weekly fliers and the monthly deals (which are good
for the entire month) are advertised in the monthly ECB booklet, which
should be available at all stores all month long. Sometimes, they will
advertise a monthly deal in the weekly flier. This is usually just to
draw more attention to the deal. However, this does not normally mean
the deal can be done both weekly and monthly (doing it twice that
month), you can only do it two times, or five times, or whatever
number of times the limit is.
Once you have started figuring out the weekly and monthly free after
ECB deals, you can start moving up to more complicated deals and this
is when the fun really begins! Your goal should be to not only roll
your ECBs over and over week after week after week, but to grow them.
How do you do that? Well, the easiest way is by stacking a
manufacturer' s coupon with the free after ECB deals.
For instance, with the Addidas deodorant sale, you could go in to your
local CVS, pick up an Addidas deodorant (be careful to only buy the
ones advertised for this deal!), use a $1/1 coupon, pay $1.49 plus tax
out of pocket and get $3.00 back. You could then repeat this deal four
more times (there is a limit of five per card on this deal). If you
had more than one $1/1 coupon, you could add on around $1 worth of
stuff to each order and get that for free, too. Once you had done this
deal five times, you would leave the store with five deodorants, $4
extra worth of stuff (purchased with the overage given you from the
manufacturer' s coupons you used) and $3.00 ECB to roll over to next
week - all for only pay $1.49 out of pocket to start with!
The next step into more complicated transactions is to start stacking
CVS coupons and manufacturer' s coupons along with the ECB deals. Once
you have shopped at CVS using your card for 4-8 weeks, your receipt
will automatically begin printing other CVS coupons. You'll want to
save all of these until they expire and check them against the deals
for each week. Since these are store coupons, not manufacturer' s
coupons, you can "stack them" (i.e. use them in conjunction with), a
manufacturer' s coupon.
To take the example of the Addidas deodorant above: Let's say my
receipt had printed off a coupon for $1 off any Addidas deodorant last
week. I could use that on one Addidas deodorant along with a $1/1
manufacturer' s coupon. This would mean that I'm only paying $.49 for
the deodorant (using ECBs I've rolled over, of course!) and getting $3
Another way to make your ECBs grow more, is to use $3/$15 or $4/$20
coupons in conjunction with the other deals you are doing. The /
or $4/20 are coupons which often print at the bottom of your receipt.
They are also sometimes available in your newspaper - especially if
you live in an area where there is a lot of drug store competition.
For those not familiar with these coupons, a $3/$15 is a coupon which
is just that - you get $3 off of a $15 or more purchase. I look at
these as "free money," meaning, if I'm going to already be spending
$15.50 and after coupons and ECBs be paying basically $0.00 out of
pocket in order to generate the same amount of ECBs that I spent, if I
stack on a $3/$15 coupon, I can get $3 more worth of groceries without
paying anything extra. So, I'll use this extra "money" to buy
something that is around $3 and generates more ECB, or I'll use it to
pay for something we need that week - say toilet paper or milk, etc.
That way, it is lowering my normal grocery bill, without costing me
Provided you have over $15 or $20 worth of products (before coupons,
not after coupons), you can stack these coupons on top of any of the
previously mentioned deals, too. You will want to make sure and use
these coupons first, though, before you give your other coupons to the
cashier. Otherwise, the register could have trouble inputting them. By
the way, if you've not done so already, you can also go to CVS.com and
sign up for email offers and you'll instantly get a $4/$20 coupon.
Plus, when you sign up for email offers, they often email you coupons,
Oftentimes, there are weekly and monthly deals which generate ECBs,
but which are not free after ECBs. These can still be good, so don't
overlook them. Paired with a manufacturer' s coupon, or CVS coupon, or
a $3/$15 coupon, or a mixture of all three, you can often get the item
for free or close to free. I don't do this as often as I do the free
after ECB items, but now that I have a stash of ECBs accumulated, I
will often look at these deals and see if I can work one into my
weekly shopping trip.
When you are checking out and doing a more complicated transaction,
you will want to make sure and have your coupons in good order so that
your transaction goes smoothly. The best way I have found to do this,
is to always give $3/$15 (etc.) coupons first. Then give any other CVS
coupons, then your manufacturer' s coupons. And lastly, give your ECBs.
If you have an ECB that is for more than what your total is, they can
either manually reduce it down and just take off the amount for your
total (and thus you lose the rest of your ECB), or you can add on
another small item to make up the difference. I always bring my
calculator and tally up the total after coupons to try and make sure I
throw in an extra item or two if I need to. It's best to go up to the
register with a very good idea of how much you are going to be
spending anyway, so calculating it up ahead of time is highly recommended.