As I had mentioned yesterday, CVS is one of our favorite places to save! I currently work at CVS and am being considered to be hired as a big-time pharmacist there, so no company secrets are going to be shared here!
Here are some of our tips for saving at CVS:
1) ExtraCare Card: Simple and free, this members card not only gives you the sale prices advertised, but also gives you coupons on the end of your receipt. The card also tracks your spending and gives you “ExtraBucks” (ECBs) at the end of each quarter equivalent to 2% of your total spending that quarter. In the pharmacy, you also 1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions you fill. These really add up. At the end of one quarter, I’ve seen people with as much as $20 in ECB! They can be used same-as-cash on everything EXCEPT prescriptions, milk, alcohol, and tobacco products. Everything else is fair game. They give you a card, 2 key ring cards, and you can also give them your phone number. You can also register this card online so they can send you the week’s sales and manufacturers coupons that match it, and also load on electronic coupons so you don’t have to print it out.
2) Savings Center: New to the stores is a savings center, where you can scan your ExtraCare card and see what coupons are available to you. It would be a smart idea to do this before you start shopping. You don’t want to be disappointed that you had some ECB to use until after you’ve spent your money. My personal tip is to scan it as many times at once until it says no more coupons are available.
3) Beauty Savings Club: Although CVS is not the cheapest place for cosmetics, there are often many sales where you save a few bucks AND get ECB for spending a certain amount. The Beauty Savings Club has got to be one of the greatest hidden gems in CVS. When you spend $50 in beauty products, you get 5 ECB back. The secret is knowing that beauty products extend far beyond cosmetics. They include, nail polish, lotions, shampoo, face wash, cotton balls, beauty tools, etc. Buy those once a week REALLY add up. Did you know that CVS also has a 100% money back guarantee on all beauty products? If you are unhappy with any of the products listed above, they will give you your money back!
4) Green Bag Tags: Another way to earn more ECB, buy this little tag for 99 cents and keep it on your key chain. The concept is to keep it on your re-usable shopping bags, but if you are like me and are buying bottles of water here and there, your bag is probably no where to be found. Even if you don’t have a bag, just have it scanned anyways. After a habit of bagging everything, the cashiers probably won’t have a second thought about whether or not you are using a bag. For every 4 scans, you get 1 ECB.
5) Clearance CVS doesn’t really have a clearance area the way other stores do. They are more often than not just strewn about where they normally are, and have an inconspicuous yellow tag that states the percent off (normally 75%) and the new price ($5 UV disinfecting wand? Don’t mind if I do). Manufacturer’s coupons can be used for this. Sometimes CVS receipt coupons can be used for this as well. Make up goes on a mass clearance twice a year. They are normally marked down by 50-75% and will have signage and orange stickers on these specific items. Make sure to let the cashier know that these are marked down. For some reason, the registers do not know that they are on clearance, so each sale price has to be manually entered.
6) Break up your purchases: Your huge trip to CVS may have some ECB returns. If this is the case, break up your purchases so you can use those ECB on the next transaction. For example, you are buying shampoo, nail polish, some candy, and toothpaste. The shampoo is 3 ECB when you spend $10, the candy is 1 ECB and 2/$6. Toothpaste is $3 and nail polish is $6. Instead of spending $25, when you break up the transaction, can you limit your spending to $16 the first transaction, and $5 the second transaction for a total of $19–this before you even factor in any coupons you may have!
7) Coupons There is a magical order of coupons to use at CVS. Scan all manufacturer’s coupons first, then CVS coupons, then ECB. ECB are just taken off general purchases before tax. Just make sure that it is greater than the total you have before tax. You have to use the whole value at one time, so no cash back.
Good things to get free: Monster, Starbucks brand drinks, gum
One last thing. This quarter, you can get 4% ECB instead of 2% when you scan your card at the coupon center. More free monies!