Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How CVS Works

Shopping at CVS can be a pleasure if you know how to use their loyalty program to your advantage.  This one is a little more complicated than Rite Aid so you will need to bear with me until the end.  First, you will need to sign up for a CVS card on their website.  Then you will need to register that card on the website (unless they now do it all in one step).  A CVS card is how the company is able to limit the number of deals you get, if you don't have a card then you don't get the deals, when you have a card you are limited to the number of deals you can get.  Instead of an actual rebate being mailed to you at a later date, your CVS receipt will have something called an Extra Care Buck (ECB) printed at the bottom.  Do NOT throw that away, it is a "coupon" that can be used on another product or purchase.  Sometimes there will be random coupons printed on the bottom of your receipt as well so the moral of the story is:  when shopping at CVS pay attention to the bottom of your receipt

Here is a shopping scenario for CVS:

Buy Blink Tears for $7.99 each (not including tax)

Use $2 off coupon on Blink Tears

Pay $5.99 out of pocket and get $7.99 ECB

Hold onto that ECB and use it the next time you shop at CVS

Extra Care Bucks cannot be used to pay the tax on any transaction.  If your transaction subtotal is LESS than the amount of the ECB the cashier can adjust the ECB down.  You can use ECBs to buy almost anything in the store (I do not think you can use them at the Pharmacy).  Here is a scenario to help you understand how ECBs can be beneficial:

Transaction 1:
Blink Tears $7.99 each
-$2 off Coupon
Out Of Pocket $5.99 + tax
Get $7.99 ECB

Transaction 2:
Huggies Diapers $15.99 each
-$3 off Coupon
-$7.99 ECB
Out of Pocket $5 + tax

You just paid $10.99 for $23.99 worth of products!  That is more than 50% savings.  Now, this isn't the best scenario out there but I just wanted you to see how it works.  The coupon pros do several transactions at CVS in order to pay the least amount out of pocket and use the most ECBs they can.  It's like allowing CVS to pay for your purchases with their own money.  Be aware

One way to start earning ECBs is to buy a "Green Bag Tag".  It's a tag that you attach to your reusable shopping bag.  Take the bag with the tag to CVS each time you shop, after they scan your CVS card get them to scan your "Green Bag Tag" too.  For every 4 times the tag is scanned you will get a $1 ECB.  I never step foot in CVS without my Bag Tag or my CVS card.

When you sign up for a CVS card you can sign up for emails from them as well.  I would sign up for those emails because on occasion they will send out a $X/$XX purchase coupon that you can use in store.  Also, don't forget the "magic" coupon machine.  They are located near the front of the store when you walk in the door.  When you walk in, scan your CVS card and see what kind of coupons come out.  Sometimes they are great and sometimes they are....useless.  Since I never know which it will be I always scan my card the moment I walk in the door.

So, that is how shopping at CVS works.  It's not my favorite but you can still get some pretty good deals there...I'm just not a huge fan of the ECB.  :-)

Standing on His Promises, Mrs. Bubba

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