How to Save at CVS

Extreme couponing isn't about buying 100 of 1 item and looking like a hoarder, it's about saving money for your family.  I don't just walk into CVS and save 90% it involves a bit of planning and a bit more patience.  Let me show you how I was able to come home with this: Four (4) wet Swiffer 12packs and three (3) 12packs of Charmin toilet paper for $6.95.

You read that right. $6.95. That's not all.  I also came home with $15.00 in ExtraBucks for next time.  How did I come home with $75.13 in full retail value products and $15.00? Simple, I take full advantage of every savings offered to me.  No matter how small the savings appear, they add up to a big impact.  I consider this being paid $8.05 to shop at CVS - the difference between what I paid OOP and when I came home with in ExtraBucks was $8.05 profit.

I'm going to show you how I saved big bucks at CVS and how I was able to make the purchase above.  I am warning you now, this post has a lot of info and it might be confusing at first but I promise you when it clicks, you too will laugh at everyone who pays full price for TP and paper towels.  There's 9 packs of TP in my house that I saved 95 - 100% off.

First thing, You want to have an ExtraCare card and Green BagTags on your BYOBs.  That's Bring Your Own Bag, Gorgeous!  My week starts at CVS, this is where I purchase ten (10) newspapers every Sunday morning.  But I'm not ready to check out yet - I'm just getting started.  The first thing I do when I enter the door is grab the CVS in-ad, also knows as sales flyer, they are right by the front door.  Then I head to the big red magic coupon machine and scan my red ExtraCare card for CVS coupons that I can use with my MFCoupons to deepen the savings.

Sometimes I strike it big with coupons for free items such as panty liners, candy, band•aids, magazines and cookies.  These coupons have been valued as much as $5.00 in free merchandise. Get one of those coupons every week and you've saved $20. What's $20?  How about $240 a year - or enough to pay for your legs and arm pits being lasered.  Keeping it real.  All for scanning a card at a box in a store you're already shopping.

This is where I become the crazy coupon lady.  I immediately find my freebie because they're usually in limited supply, then I go through my CVS ad looking for other things that I want to purchase that will get me MORE ExtraBucks.  I specifically look for products that give me a 100% return on my money, like RePhresh tampons.  You pay for it up front but after payment you get that high value EB coupon for a 'next time' purchase.  Holla! 

Now I'm going to tell you a little secret.  It's called coupon overage.  Coupon overage is when the value of the coupon is worth more then the cost of the item and the overage is applied to the balance of the transactions total.  You will never receive cash back from the overage but it help save on additional items.
True story:  One week there was a CVS coupon for free panty liners.  The value of the coupon was for $1.77 and the pantyliners were actually $1.67.  I used the 10¢ coupon overage towards the purchase of allergy medicine.  Now, without confusing you too much, I just happen to have a coupon for 50¢ off of those pantyliners from the manufacturer.  So the transaction looked more like this:

Pantyliners @ $1.67 - 50¢ MFC - $1.77CVS coupon = 60¢ overage that went to the purchase of the allergy medicine.  How? You're buying $1.67 in product and giving the cashier $2.27 in coupons, that's a 60¢ overage.

But you know the saving didn't end there, right??  It's me we're talking about.  I should change my name to fashionCHEAPsta. Remember the Green BagTag?  You attached the leaf to your BYOB and every time you shop, the cashier will scan that tag.  ok, you always have to show it to them, they never ask.  1 scan = 25¢ earned.  When you have 4 scans you will receive a $1.00 ExtraBucks coupon.  See how easy that was?! You made $1.00 for doing something you were doing anyway,  just now you're being paid.

For now, we're going to say that's the end of it.  I'm going home with 10 newspapers which I have the cashier ring on a separate transaction that I will explain later, 1 free pantyliner, 1 allergy medicine and 1 $1.00EB.

Crazy Coupon Lady part two takes over.  I pull all of my coupon inserts from the Sunday paper.  I'm looking for RedPlum and Smart Source, specifically.  The first weekend of the month P&G (proctor & gamble) puts out their insert and 2 x a year there has been an insert for Sobe/Sun Chips products. Make sure you look through 1 Target ad to see if they have coupons (usually free panty liner, too) and I quickly flip through one of the USA weekend inserts - did you get those free lemonade coupons? yum yum.  I also pull one of the Walgreens and Rite Aid ads. After I read the coupon packets I read the drugstore ads and compare the ads to my available coupons;  those from this week and this from the weeks past which are still valid.

The first thing you start to notice is, the drugstores which I refer to as the Big 3 - CVS, WAG & Rite Aid, offer similar deals based upon the coupons coming out that week.  So I split my shopping up depending on the deal.  This week it was better to buy TP at CVS and CoverGirl at Rite Aid.  Why? Because I was able to get $10EB from the TP purchase and $10+up from the makeup purchase - I got $10 free for driving 2 miles down the street.  A penny saved is a penny earned.  It's true.

Over the next couple of weeks, I play this game.  Get my papers, my freebies and my extrabucks.  I don't go crazy but I buy things that make sense.  ALWAYS read the fine print in the CVS ad - you can't reap 10 rewards on the same thing, usually only 1 per household per item.  It keeps it fair, fun and rewarding for everyone.  Over the next 3 weeks I purchase Nuance Serum, Excedrin  and Pantene, to name a few.  My coupons make these purchases cheap to free and the ExtraBucks make the next deal happen:

CVS has a promo this week: Charmin is on sale for $10 for a 12 pack.  Regularly $15.99, this is a FANTASTIC deal. But it is a little sweeter with the addition of a high value ExtraBuck: Spend $30 on certain P&G products and receive $10EB for next time. That's a 33% return on my money if I purchase 3 packs of TP.  Plus, there is a 25¢ MFcoupon in the Sunday paper making each pack $9.75.  

Remember two things: 1) I have ExtraBucks that I have been saving for two weeks... So the total will come down.  2) This transaction started at $30.00 before any coupons or ExtraBucks were applied.  

Starting at $30.00 the following is the list of ExtraBucks that I redeemed and which prior purchase gave me coupons to make this nearly free deal possible: 3x 25¢ MFcoupons $29.25 -$10.00EB from Nuance purchase, $19.25  -$1.00EB from Green BagTags, $18.25  -$5.00EB Beauty Club Reward $13.25 - $2.00EB for taking a Facebook pledge to not Trash my Cash, $11.25 -99¢EB from Excedrin, $10.26  -$1.50EB another Excedrin, $8.76 and the ultimate: $4 Off a $20 Purchase because I receive CVS offers in my inbox! See, spam pays!  Bringing my total Out Of Pocket to $4.76 + sales tax.  And what? And I took home a $10.00 ExtraBucks, which I can use to get a fourth pack of TP for Free.  As JessieJ would say, 'who's laughing now?'

And the swiffer? Regularly $6.79, on sale for $3.99, If i purchased $15 in Swiffer products, I got $5.00 ExtraBucks. I purchased 4 packs at a subtotal of $15.96, redeemed $13.77 in ExtraBucks, bringing my OOP to $2.19.

It's not as overwhelming as it may seem. Let me break it down like this: 
  • Get a CVS ExtraCare card.
  • Register your card online at and accept their emails. I just sent a $5 off $25 purchase to my card as I am writing this.
  • Purchase a Green BagTag for 99¢.  On it's 4th scan it will start to pay for it's self.
  • "Like" them on Facebook!  And play the games! They emailed me $2 because I said I would use it.  And I did.
  • Follow them on Twitter!  Let's me know when to visit their FB page for coupons, see above.
  • Scan your ExtraCare card every single time you shop, at the magic red coupon machine, before you head to checkout.  It's where the freebie coupons and BeautyClub rewards hide!
  • BeautyClub rewards are earned when you spend $50 on beauty.  You are rewarded with $5 ExtraBucks.
  • ExtraBucks Expire!  Don't waste free money.  If your goal is to never pay for TP then you need to be aware of those expiry dates - you don't have to wait for a 12 pack, get a 4 pack.  It's still free TP, right? I keep my EB's in front of me on a magnetic board at my desk.
  • Plan your trips but be prepared to make changes based on stock levels and/or other promotions.
  • Don't panic - those deals will either A) come around again B) be at another retailer the following week.  It happens.
  • Don't be afraid to roll your coupons through multiple transactions. I bought 3 packs of TP and went back for a 4th for free on a separate transaction.
How confused are you?
Tomorrow I will make another post with the in-ad and you will start to understand it more.
Read this post again.  It's a lot of information and I only have more coming, like donations and tax claims!!


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