I've spent a lot of time talking about how I play the grocery game - particularly using the Couponmom.com to track coupons and sales and get the most bang for my buck. I've also used her site to track down deals at the drugstores like Walgreens and CVS....but did you know there's a whole school on how to play the DRUGSTORE GAME????
Money Saving Mom has the best explanation I've seen out there for how to play the CVS game. To be honest, I have avoided getting too deep into CVS because Extra Care Bucks confuse me. And I have a hard time keeping track of them, DS seems to get into my purse before I can file them away and use them later. But MSM reminded me that there's no rule saying you have to save those ECB's for another shopping trip. Yes, it requires a bit of preplanning. Yes, it also requires multiple trips to the CVS. But since I hit more than one store anyway, it's not impossible.
The idea is, you look for items that give you ECB's and use multiple trips and manufacturer's coupons to get lots of stuff for free. She uses a great illustration with a deodorant sale that lays it out pretty clearly. Here's how she explains it:
Deodorant is on sale for $2.49 with $3 ECB's and a max of 5 offers. She points out this is already a moneymaker, because the ECBs are more than the item cost. There happened to be a $1 off/1 coupon in the paper. If you can score multiple coupons, the trips would pan out as such...
- Visit 1: Buy 1 deodorant with your coupon and pay $1.49, earn $3 ECBs
- Visit 2: Use ECBs and 2 coupons to buy 2 more deodorants. Pay tax, walk away with $6 ECBs
- Visit 3: Use ECBs and 3 more coupons, buy 3 more deodorants and one item worth $1.50. Pay nothing and walk away with $9 in ECBs
You make almost 8 bucks off of CVS by doing this...and don't have to buy deodorant for MONTHS! And the deals aren't just to be found in the weekly circular, they also put out a monthly ECB catalog just for CVS cardholders.
I haven't yet tried this particular technique, but the idea of a big chain PAYING me to shop there definitely has its appeal. Oh - and check with your local store, the one near my house accepts ALL competitor's coupons. That includes those Walgreens coupons that show up every week. It requires a little more vigilance too, making sure I'm not spending more than I would at Price Rite even after the ECBs...but I feel the bee stirring in my bonnet :)
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