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Monday, July 21, 2008

CVS 101-Tips For Beginners


How To Get Great Deals At CVS

Learning the CVS game might be hard for some of you to understand in the beginning (it was hard for me at first) but that's where I come in. I will try my best to give you some easy helpful tips on how to make CVS work for you. CVS shopping is not easy in the beginning, and it definitely takes a couple trips, before you will catch on. But, I highly recommend trying to do your bargain shopping at CVS, for at least a couple months, before you give up! Trust me, it'll pay off.

What are Extra Care Bucks or ECB'S or (ExtraCare Rewards Program)

If you are new to CVSing, the first thing that you need to know is what an ECB is. An ECB is an Extra Care Buck or ExtraBucks Rewards.  An ECB generally is a coupon generated by purchasing a particular item and prints on the end of your receipt. An ECB works like cash for almost anything in the store.

You can GO HERE to get all the info that you need about Extra Care Rewards!


Now, here are some useful tips to help you to work the deals at CVS!

Tip #1 - CVS STORE LOYALTY CARD

If you don't have a CVS card, stop by your local store, and fill out an application, or go online Here to sign up for one. You will get your card right away, if you apply in-store, just ask a cashier and they will help you with getting a CVS card. This card is very important to have, so that you can get the Extra Care Bucks (above), Coupons, and more. Even if you get the card in-store, make sure to Go Here to sign up for an online account, so that you can receive more coupons, deals, ect.

Tip #2
I highly recommend shopping as early in the week as possible. The deal products sell out very fast! If a Free after ECB deal is already sold out when you get there, make sure to get a Rain check. Then you go back at another time to try to get the deal.

Tip #3
Start Simple. Start by only purchasing a couple of products at a time. Once you learn the CVS game, you'll then be able to attempt the more complicated deals.

Tip #4
Only shop at CVS for the deals that are listed on this blog, other deal websites or blogs, or from the CVS weekly ad. As soon as you start buying items NOT on sale, or items that do not produce ECB's, you will start spending quite a lot of money out of pocket. You will still need to do bargain shopping at other stores as well.

Tip #5
In order to play the CVS game, I've found that usually every week, I'll buy at least one thing (that produces ECB's) which we might not need, or use. However, I know that I can use these items to donate, giveaway to friends, or family, or sell at a yard sale. My goal is to earn as many ECB's as possible, pay as little out of my pocket as possible, and leave CVS with bags full of products. Even though I might buy something that we don't necessarily need, I know that in return, I will receive ECB's, that I can then use to purchase the things that we do need, or want, with only paying very little out of pocket. However, you need to remember to primarily only buy what you will use & work on your stockpile.

Tip #6
Always make a plan before shopping at CVS. Every week I figure out my deals, calculate how much money I am going to pay out of pocket, then I'll gather my coupons, and paperclip them to my list. When you get to CVS, stick to your list, and don't buy anything else (unless of course it's free, a great deal you missed before, or something marked way down on clearance). If you just walk into CVS unprepared 3 things could happen, #1 you'll spend too much money, or #2 a deal you thought was good, turned out NOT to be, or #3 you'll be there forever trying to calculate everything! Trust me, the more organized you are the smoother it will go!

Tip #7
This is VERY Important! Always, give the cashier your CVS card first! Your ECB's will not print off if you don't give her the CVS card! After the cashier scans all of your items, then give her your special CVS coupons (if you have one).For example: if you have a coupon for $3 off any $15 purchase, or a coupon for $4 off any $20 purchase. Next, hand the cashier your manufacturer coupons. It is very important to give the CVS ($4/$20 ex.) coupon before manufacturer coupons, because the price may be lower than $20 after your manufacturer coupons. Finally, pay with any ECBs you want to use, then you'll pay the actual out of pocket amount. If you just hand over the whole stack at once, things could get confused, and a good deal could possibly turn bad. So please remember this tip when shopping at CVS!

Tip #8 - Roll your ECB's
The CVS goal is to roll over ECB'S again, and again. The first time you do a transaction, you will need to pay money. But if learn to grow your ECB'S, then your next transaction will cost you very little. How do you grow your ECB's? The easiest way is to stack manufacturer coupons with FREE after ECB deals, to stack manufacturer coupons with any ECB deal, or to purchase any FREE after ECB deals.

Tip #9 - Multiple Transactions
In most cases, breaking up your transactions is the way to go. This will reduce your out of pocket amount, and will help you to better roll over your ECBs.

Transaction #1: Purchase items, pay with coupons, and cash. Get back Extra Care Bucks Rewards.
Transaction #2: Purchase items, pay with coupons, extra care bucks that you earned in transaction 1, then cash, then get back Extra Care Bucks.
Transaction #3: Do the same thing as many times as you need to, to get all the weekly deals.

Tip #10
Have fun with CVSing, let it be your guilty pleasure! Good Luck, and "Happy CVSing!"

As always, I hope that these tips were helpful, and made it a little easier to understand the CVS game. If you still don't understand, or you have any questions, or comments, please send me an email, or leave a comment!

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