Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shopping at CVS 101

Use Your CVS Card for All Purchases
In order to get the sale prices in their ad (and in my "Best Deals" posts), you must use your CVS card.  If you don't have a card, you can get one for FREE in the store OR click here to sign up!  When you use your CVS card to make purchases, you'll get a certain percentage back in the form of ECB's...which brings me to my next point...

What are Extra Care Bucks?
ECB's print out at the end of your receipt when you purchase a certain item.  Sometimes you need to purchase a certain number to get the ECB's and there usually is a limit.  You can then use as many ECB's as you like in your next purchase.  The ECB deals can be found in CVS's weekly ad. 

Sometimes you'll find some awesome deals with ECB's, but sometimes you can get an item for FREE or even MAKE MONEY just for buying that item.

EXAMPLE: There are occassionally items ECB's offers for "FREE" after ECB's. A couple months ago, the Dulcolax Balance 8.3 oz. was on sale for $9.99.  When you purchase it, $9.99 in ECB's print out on your receipt which you can use just like money on your next purchase.  It's just like getting the item for FREE. 
What makes this a better deal, however, is that there is a $4 off coupon from the SS 5/16/10.  This means that I'll only PAY $5.99, but I'll GET BACK $9.99 in ECB's which means CVS just gave me a profit of $4 to use on my next purchase! 
Remember that ECB's print out at the END OF YOUR RECEIPT so make sure you don't throw your receipt away!  They look like this:

A Few More Words on ECB's
  • If you have to spend a certain amount of money in order to get the ECB's, the total is calculated BEFORE you use manufacturer's coupons.  For instance, for the deal listed above (get $10 in ECB's when you spend $20 on those select products), you'd have to reach the $20 total just using CVS's sale prices. 
    • Let's say Schick razors are $7 each.  You have 3 coupons for $3 off any Schick razor.  You'd only need to buy 3 razors to reach the $20 qualifying amount to get the ECB's.  At the checkout, you'd use those 3 coupons to get $9 off your total so you'd only have to pay $12 out of pocket.  You'd still get back $10 in ECB's!
  • ECB's can NOT be used to pay tax for your transaction.  If you buy a candy bar for $1 and use $1 in ECB's, you'll still need to pay the few cents in tax out of your pocket :)
  • You can NOT get back change when you use ECB's.  If your total is $4 and you use $5 in ECB's, you'll lose that extra $1 and still have to pay any applicable tax.  To get around this, just add a cheap "filler" (pack of gum, candy bar, bottle of water, etc.) to use up that extra $1!
  • ECB's typically expire 4 weeks from the date they are printed.
  • You will earn ECB's just by using your card.  A certain percentage of the total amount you've spent at CVS will be calculated and awarded to you each quarter of the year.  Those ECB's will be printed out on your receipt.
  • ECB's are linked to your CVS card and non-tranferrable.  This means you NEED to use your CVS card in order to use your ECB's.  You cannot transfer ECB's to another card.
  • ECB's will not be replaced if lost.  If you accidentally throw them away or misplace them, they are lost. CVS will not replace them.  Just remember to put them in a safe place and treat them like you would treat cash and you should be fine :)
  • There is no limit to how many ECB's you can use in a single transaction!
  • If there is an ECB deal but they are out of stock, get a raincheck! I LOVE CVS rainchecks for a few reasons...mainly because they do NOT expire and because you will get any ECB's you should have been awarded!  Just double check to make sure they filled out the raincheck correctly.  I usually save the ad from that week too just in case there are any issues.  I've used rainchecks several times at CVS and have never had a problem :)

A Little More About Shopping At CVS
  • There is a "coupon center machine" at every store.  Usually they are located near the front of the store by the registers.  When you scan your CVS card at the machine, it will print out money saving STORE coupons that you can combine with your manufacturer coupons!
  • If you sign up for their emails, CVS will occassionally send store coupons to your email.  I usually get coupons for $5 off my $30 purchase (or similar coupons).  If you hand over this type of coupon FIRST BEFORE ANY OTHER COUPONS, the qualifying puchase ($30 in this case) would be your pre manufacturer coupon total!
  • You can use one manufacturer's coupon and one store coupon on one item.  Sometimes you can get items for FREE!
  • I Heart CVS is a great blog to visit and they only focus on CVS deals.
*This post may contain affiliate links...they are what helps to keep South Suburban Savings alive! However, I do my best to only post credible deals, and I participate in most of them myself. To see my full disclosure policy, CLICK HERE!

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