One night, I couldn’t sleep. What else is a girl to do? I turned on Netflix and saw that a new season of Extreme Couponing was posted. Bad. Idea. I got super excited at the prospects of couponing again. While I am not racking up hundreds of dollars at the grocery store, I am certainly taking advantage of my immediate surroundings. I love to coupon at CVS. Those long receipts are actually pretty amazing. Now, I am going to show you the method.
Disclaimer: I am a CVS employee. I receive a 20% discount on non-sale items only. All purchases were made when my shift is over and I am off the clock. All transactions were scanned by another store employee and all coupon policies and procedures were followed. I have no advanced access to store ads.
Step 1: Cut out all manufacturers coupons. I admit, I have a coupon binder. I take out all of my expired coupons and organize my new ones. I separate them by category and again by brand.
Step 2: Save all of your CVS coupons that print at the bottom of your receipts. They may be long enough for you to wear as a scarf, but they are worth money, especially extra bucks! Make a CVS.com account and see what coupons you may have lost–you can print them out on your home printer!
Step 3: Scan the ad for things you might have coupons for
Step 4: Write down the items you plan on purchasing. I have columns stating the item name, price, any coupon deductions, total price thereafter (the amount you are actually paying), and any extra bucks you receive from the purchase. My rule (that I break frequently) is that I only buy items that are 1) on sale 2) I have a store coupon AND a manufacturer’s coupon and 3) give me extra bucks. Sometimes the deal is a money maker, so I bend the rules a little.
5) I break the transactions up into multiple transactions so I can use extra bucks on the next purchase. It really depends on how many extra bucks you start off with. I like to use my my current ones and try to get my high-ticket items out of the way first, especially if I have a high ECB return on them. The most number of transactions I’ve done is probably around 4 or 5.
At the end of the day, you get A LOT of products for very little money. This particular adventure was originally worth over $175 and I spent less than $30. Roughy 84% savings! I mean that’s not extreme couponing status, but I spent what is usually a week’s worth of care prodcuts to buy almost a year’s worth of body wash and lotion.
Ways to maximize your savings:
1) Get an Extra Care Card. This is the way you get all the sale prices. This is how people get those long receipts. It sounds shady, but CVS tracks what you buy and tries to give you coupons on those items. Every quarter, you get 2% back in extra bucks!
2) Register your card online–and link your email! They will email you coupons like save $3 on your $15 purchase. It’s less money that you have to spend! And this is the pre-coupon, pre-ECB total!
3) Always mad that you get coupons for items you just bought? Some of these are pre-loaded coupons that everyone gets. There is a tiny red box called the coupon center by the front door where you can scan your card and get coupons BEFORE your purchase. There are always weekly freebies and you can only get that coupon from the coupon center.
4) Sign up for beauty rewards. For every $50 you spend, you’ll get $5 back. Basically, I buy a lot of beauty items (make up, lotion, soap, cotton balls, etc) with my coupons, so I am always getting this money back!
5) Fill your prescriptions. There is a pharmacy rewards program where you get $5 every time you fill 10 prescriptions. You MUST have a card to do this, the phone number won’t suffice, for privacy purposes. You don’t want to buy like 12 prescriptions for your family, and the person behind you over hear and try to get your ECB a couple days later! Just ask to enroll when you pick up your next prescription.
Remember: you can use one manufacturer’s coupon and one CVS coupon for an item. This can be combined with minimum purchase savings coupons (like save $3 on a $15 purchase) and THEN with extra bucks because those are used same as cash.
Where do you get your coupon fix?