Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learn How to Coupon at CVS

Part #3 in a four part series Never Pay Full Price for Drugstore Makeup. Click here for part #1. Click here for part #2.

CVS is one of the greatest stores for coupon shopping. Take a look at the haul below. At regular price with no coupons, no sales and no Extra Care Bucks the total would have been $110.35 with taxes. However, I spent $37.59 including taxes and I received $34.00 in Extra Care Bucks to spend on a future purchases at CVS. Thus making the 'cost' of this shopping trip only $3.59!!

Do I have your attention yet? As you can clearly see, all of these are name brand, full-size products. They are products we enjoy using in our home on a regular basis. If you want to learn how keep reading as I will show you how I save money on great products at CVS. 

Always get 4 copies of the Sunday paper in order to receive 4 copies of each coupon. Remember to check Sunday Coupon Preview to ensure they will be having coupons each week because occasionally there will be no coupons. Clip and organize your coupons on a weekly basis. If you do not stay organized you will become frustrated and want to give up. In part #1 we talked about coupon organization. 

Manufacturer coupon from the Sunday paper

Printed coupon from Coupons.com

Pick up an Extra Care Card from the cashier at CVS. This card is your key to receiving discounts at CVS. After you have your CVS Extra Care Card, sign up for an account at CVS.com. This will give you access to additional discounts that would be emailed to you. So use an email you check regularly. 


After you have signed up for an online CVS account then enroll in the Beauty Club. This will provide you with a $5.00 Extra Bucks (see below) for every $50.00 you spend in beauty items. Coupons will not be deducted from the product cost when including the item towards the $50.00 goal. For instance, if you were to purchase a $5.00 beauty item but use a $1.00 coupon; the entire $5.00 will be counted towards the $50.00 goal. Cosmetics, fragrance, hair care, skin care, beauty tools, hair appliances, hair accessories and nail care purchases are included in Beauty Club. 

If you purchase prescriptions at CVS you will also receive Extra Care Bucks by connecting your prescriptions to your online CVS account. Once you fill 10 prescriptions you will earn $5.00 Extra Care Bucks.

So to recount in order to receive the maximum discounts at CVS you should
1. Purchase 4 Sunday Papers
2. Obtain a CVS Extra Care Card
3. Create a CVS Online Account
4. Enroll in the CVS Beauty Club
5. Connect Any Prescriptions Filled at CVS * this step is optional

Once you have completed the steps above you are ready to learn how to shop at CVS. The goal is to match your coupons up with CVS sales, discounts and coupons to score big savings. The easiest way to find these matchups is to use a website such as Wild for CVSThe Krazy Coupon Lady or For the Mommas.  You will also want to check the weekly ad to ensure the information provided is accurate for your area.                                      
You will need to stop by CVS once or twice a week to pick up your CVS Coupons from the Coupon Center. All you need to do is to scan your CVS Extra Care Card at the Coupon Center and coupons will come out of the right side of the machine. 

CVS Coupon Center

You will get some standard weekly coupons which are advertised in the CVS weekly ad and you will get some personalized weekly coupons. You can check some of your personalized coupons by clicking on 'Extra Care' after signing into CVS.com. Don't forget to check your email for additional discounts. You can combine CVS coupons, both from the coupon center and from email, with manufacturer coupons to receive double discounts. 

CVS Coupon from the Coupon Center

Next, you need to understand Extra Care Bucks. These are certificates which are located at the bottom of your receipt that you can use for future purchases at CVS. For instance, CVS is running an Extra Care special, spend $10.00 on Physicians Formula and receive $7.00 in Extra Care Bucks (ECB). You purchase a blush for $12.79 when you go to the cash register and pay for the blush you will receive a $7.00 ECB on the bottom of your receipt. Thus making the cost of the blush drop from $12.79 down to $5.79. You can use the $7.00 on a future trip or you can rip it off in order to use it instantly.

 CVS Extra Care Bucks (ECB)
Now, I will show you how to combine manufacturer coupons with a CVS coupon in order to sweeten the bargain even more. You arrive at CVS to purchase Physician's Formula blush since you have a $1.00 off manufacturer coupon and receive the $7.00 ECB. The first stop in the store you make is the Coupon Center. You are pleasantly surprised to discover that you receive a $4.00 off any cosmetic purchase of $12.00 or more. So this means that when you go to the cash register to purchase the blush you can use your $1.00 manufacturer coupon and the $4.00 off $12.00 cosmetics purchase. This will lower your out of pocket cost of the blush to $7.79 and you will receive $7.00 ECB on your receipt. Leaving the final cost an amazing $0.79. 

Some coupon websites will show you how to roll your ECBs. This means that you will make one purchase in which you will receive an ECB. You will take that ECB off the bottom of the receipt and use it for your second purchase. You can keep doing this as much as you would like until you have purchased everything on your shopping list. I however have built up my ECB stash to around $40.00. So what I do is figure out what I want to purchase and take the sum of all the ECBs I will be receiving. I give the cashier the equivalent amount of ECBs from my stash which will lower my out of pocket cost. For instance, I enter the store with my $1.00 manufacturer coupon and I receive the same $4.00 off a $12.00 cosmetics purchase. I look through my $40.00 stash of ECB and pull out $7.00 ECB. When I go the cashier, she will ask for my Extra Care Card which she will scan. Then she will scan the blush; followed by the $1.00 coupon and the $4.00 coupon. She will then scan my $7.00 ECB and I will only pay $0.79 out of pocket.  

NOTE: You can use only one CVS coupon that has a dollar amount off of a dollar amount. For instance you could not use the $4.00 off any $12.00 cosmetics purchase in the same transaction as $2.00 off any $8.00 in deodorant. You would have to do two separate transactions for the cosmetics and the deodorant. You can use a dollar amount off a specific number of products multiple times in the same transaction.  For instance you could use $4.00 off any $12.00 cosmetics purchase and $2.00 off the purchase of any 2 deodorants in the same transaction.


I use the following formula to determine my out of pocket costs for my CVS shopping trip.
MQ = Manufacturer Coupon
CVSQ = CVS Coupon Center Coupon
ECBU = Extra Care Bucks Used
OOP = Out Of Pocket
ECBR = Extra Care Bucks Received

Item                                 Cost           MQ            CVSQ         ECBU       OOP          ECBR
Phy Form Blush               12.79          -1.00            -4.00           -7.00          0.79            7.00
Maybelline    (2x5.79)     11.48           -2.00                               -4.00          5.48            4.00
Listerine        (2x5.79)     11.48           -2.00                               -5.00          4.48            5.00
TOTAL                                                                                                       10.85

This formula allows me to know at a glance what coupons and ECBs I should give the cashier, how much I will pay out of pocket and what ECBs should be on the bottom of my receipt. It's easy to see in this formula how giving the cashier the equivalent ECBs of what I will be receiving so I can save myself from paying that amount. I don't mind giving them $20.00 or $30.00 in ECBs as long as I am getting an equal or higher amount in return. 

If you were rolling ECBs this is what the scenario would look like. 

Item                                 Cost           MQ            CVSQ         ECBU        OOP          ECBR
Phy Form Blush               12.79          -1.00            -4.00                              7.79            7.00
Maybelline    (2x5.79)      11.48          -2.00                               -7.00          2.48            4.00
Listerine        (2x5.79)     11.48           -2.00                               -4.00          5.48            5.00
TOTAL                                                                                                       15.75

So you can clearly see that having an abundance of ECBs allows me to pay less every time I go shopping. But the choice is completely yours. Many people choose to roll their ECBs, it's just not the method I prefer.