If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Friday, February 6, 2015

How I stretch our budget by playing the CVS shopping game - Part 1

Since the fall, I have been making an effort to shop at CVS almost weekly - buying sale items with coupon match ups that also offer Extra Care Bucks with purchase. ECBs print at the bottom of the register receipt and can be spent on the next shopping trip on most anything. 
If ECBs get spent on another item that offers ECBs as well, then very little, if any, cash is spent on the next purchase. That is called "rolling". It is legal and can really be a savings. 

When shopping at CVS, you must get a Extra Care card. The cashier will be happy to give it to you. 
You also need to register your card online and give them your email. CVS will then email you about sales and more coupons like $5 off your next $20 purchase or $5 off any Revlon.  The coupons CVS sends you might be based on your previous purchases.  I often buy diapers and get CVS coupons like $5 off $30 baby purchase. 
Whenever you visit CVS, scan your Extra Care card at the red kiosk scanner.  These scanners have been near the front of every CVS I've visited. It will print off store coupons for you. Scan your card multiple times until the screen says you've printed them all.

Each week, there is usually one coupon for a weekly deal to get one item at a very good price. Last week, the Colgate was free with the scanner coupon and a newspaper coupon. 

The coupons from CVS are called " store coupons" and can be combined with newspaper and Internet coupons that are called "manufacturer coupons"  That makes for double savings.  

Big Savings happen when store coupons are matched with sale items that offer ECBs and you also use a manufacturer coupon on the purchases. 

CVS also rewards shoppers with a quarterly  bonus of 1% of the purchase price in a ECB. 
Their Beauty Club offers $5 ECB for every $50 spent on beauty items -this includes hair care, fragrance and cosmetics and maybe some other things I am not aware of. Register for the Beauty Club when you register your CVS card online. 
CVS also gives ECBs for prescriptions and refills- I think it $5 for every 10 but I am not sure. 

If you have a smart device, you might also want to get the CVS app. 

I know it sounds complicated but once you learn the lingo, what is allowed and what is not, it is actually easy. 
There is so much information online to show how to match everything up. 
I have joined a couple of Facebook groups where shoppers share their deals and tips. 

IHeartCvs.com publishes the current and future CVS ads and that helps me with planning ahead. 

I also watch a YouTube channel who posts her weekly CVS shopping trip every Sunday morning. She is amazing! She seems to buy about $200 every week and pays for it all with coupons and ECBs she earned the previous week.  www.youtube.com/user/LASavings8

  Besides weekly sales, I read about some clearance sales

I also got 2 gallons of our favorite Borden milk this trip but I put one in the fridge and one in the freezer after pouring one cup into a creamer to allow for expansion when frozen before I had time to take a photo. 
The above photos are everything else I bought 
4 12 packs of soda
Oodles of candy for Valentines and Easter
1 bag potato chips 
Laundry detergent and fabric softener
2 mascara and 2 eye liners
3 body washes
1 razor and 1 shave cream
6 boxes tissue
4 hair colors
1 deodorant
1 toothpaste

My out of pocket (OOP) cash for the 3 purchases was $33.42 and I have $11 ECBs for my next shopping at CVS.  
Everything I bought was on sale or clearance. I used manufacturer and store coupons, ECBs, an email coupon, some coupons CVS mailed me  and $4.22 left on a gift card earned from MyPoints.com

Also, I don't pay sales tax because our state gives tax exemption to disabled veterans and their spouses.  

I don't live in a big town and don't have dozens of stores to chose from so I concentrate my couponing to CVS.  
I've glanced at other deals on line and have seen amazing shopping hauls at Target, Rite Aid, Publix, Walgreens and others.  If you want to find out more, do a search on Facebook or YouTube for the store you are interested in.  
Some couponers don't seem to follow the rules and I avoid their advice. 
I don't shop just to be shopping but I try to get good deals on things my family uses and needs. 

It's fun to get good deals. The cashiers at my CVS are all very coupon friendly and I feel like I am really making our income stretch farther.  

Part 2 coming soon!


  1. Hi Rhonda! As you know we don't have coupons here in Oz, but I remain in awe of what you are achieving all the same! Fantastic! Mimi xxx

  2. Rhonda you do use CVS well! I keep trying to find these great deals but seldom see them in my stores until it's too late. I've got to see what I can do to improve my ability to combine ads/coupons/ecbs!

  3. Great explanation! I showed your post to my daughter and her friend because you summed it up nicely. After your explanation they watched the YouTube video and went shopping! I have a wonderful CVS right by my house. I live in a big city area so there are many CVS stores around me. I have noticed a huge difference in the stores. Mine is extremely organized and has all the new hanging sale/ECB/clearance tags up right away early Sunday morning. But other stores take 2-3 days to get the week's sales posted! That might be what your previous poster is experiencing at her store. I'll keep shopping at my organized store.

    1. Julie, I was so happy to read this post helped you and your girls. That's great you have a good CVs close by.
      Even if the sale tags are not posted though, the sales in the flyer should be what the products scan and reward for at the register.

  4. You do really well at CVS. I got burned out and Chuck and Megan are now shopping the CVS deals. It is funny to see how excited Megan is to show me all the goodies when they come home!

    1. I am impressed that Chuck and Megan shop the bargains.
      It is easy to get burned out, I do understand. It is a lot of work and sometimes the deals don't go like we planned.
      My family doesn't really do this kind of shopping but they are happy when I share the goodies with them,

  5. I haven't shopped CVS in over a year. I really do need to get back into it!

  6. There is a CVS less than a mile from my house. I have to start playing this game!

  7. Great post. I watched the video and was confused when she talked about mfr coupons doubling, I only thought homeland doubled coupons in iklahoma, do you get dc at cvs?

    1. Lynn, CVS does not double coupons. I re watched her video. On some of her deal breakdowns, she lists both a manufacturer coupon and a CVS coupon. That may look like double coupons but it is different.

  8. I've never done the drugstore game. It always seemed like so much work although people seem to get great deals. I guess I just never sat down and really tried to figure it out!


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Jeff and Rhonda

Jeff and Rhonda