Saturday, September 19, 2009

CVS for Newbies

I'm a member of a board called "poor skills". I wouldn't call myself poor but I'm not rich either (hahah Fiddler on the Roof). Anyway, someone posted about whether you could actually save money shopping at CVS. After reading a bunch of comments saying no and it wasn't worth it (gosh, no wonder they are poor!). I posted this and thought it was helpful for those that don't know about the program.

Wow, reading these responses kind of makes me understand why there are so many people scrimping these days.

Yes, you can actually make money from CVS using their Extrabucks program, BUT it takes a bit of work and you can't be picky about the products that you use. Here's what you have to do.

a) Buy products that are "free" after extrabucks (not every week btw).
This means that you do pay for the product first. And then they gave you a coupon for the price that you paid. Combine this with coupons and remember to use the extrabucks and you walk away spending very little or with CVS paying you for the products that you bought. Once you have this coupon, you 'roll' it into another purchase. So for example:

Assume you start off with no Extrabucks:
buy 1 Revlon foundation for $9.99
use $1 off Revlon product
pay $8.99 plus tax
get $9.99 bucks back in Extrabucks

then the next week, there's a sale on... say tampons - Buy 1 at $4.99 get $4.99 in Extrabucks

buy tampons for $4.99
(ok, so here's a problem - they don't give you money if you spend less than the amount of the Extrabucks so you either need to buy something else, or pay cash)... What I generally do, is buy other things that we need, say milk which doesn't go on sale around here to eat up the other Extrabucks
And let's say there's also another on Halloween candy - coming soon! Where if you pay a bag of candy corn for .99 you get $.99 in Extrabucks, limit 2

buy tampons for $4.99
buy milk for $3.50 (yeah, I hate Maryland too)
buy candy corn for $.99
buy candy corn for $.99

Let's say you also have a $.50 cent coupon for the tampons (and I've seen $1 too)

you total comes out to $9.47 excluding tax

Oh no! Still less than $9.99! You must buy something low value - generally the stores will have a 75% off bin, or 50% off bin or other "specials" going on with low values. Last week it was 15 cent CVS band aids. Hey! I need bandaids! So you pick up 5 packages of bandiads: $.75

Now your total is $10.22 excluding tax
you 'pay' with $9.99 in Extrabucks
you total is now around 50 cents

You get $1.98 in Extrabucks from the candy corn and $4.99 Extrabucks for the tampons

You now have $6.97 to roll for the next week.

In essence, that $9.99 foundation has also bought milk, tampons, bandaids and candy corn and whatever you buy next week.

It takes a bit of planning, you can't be picky, and until you get the hang of it, you may have to bring a calculator on shopping trips, but it is well worth it. I have not paid for feminine items in over a year. I have not paid for shampoo, conditioner, or deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, you name it.

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