Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'll give it a try!

I'm going to attempt a beginner's level explanation of CVSing.

CVSing. Yes, it is a verb. Yes, it is an addiction. Yes, it is hard to get the hang of. And yes, I think it would be possible to get a good deal anywhere, even in NYC!

My good friend, and decade+ mentor, Karen lives in Manhattan and has had a CVS go up not far from her. She is wondering if CVS is worth her time since the NY Times does not include coupons. If anyone has advice for Karen, feel free to leave a comment and help a girl out.

As for my advice, here is what I would tell you (and this is for anyone who wants to give CVS a whirl.) Stop in and apply for the ExtraCare card. This is what will be your entrance into CVS bliss. Its free and easy to get. Take the card with you every time you shop. While you are there I would also ask if that store accepts competitor's coupons. (You can find these on line if you don't get the paper.) Also ask if there is an extension on the ECB expiration date. (My CVS ECB's never expire and several other stores around here take the ECB up to a month after expiration, making that a very good offer.)

If they DO accept them and the ECB's get a bit of a "grace period", I'd say you should DEFINITELY give it a whirl. There really is nothing to lose. (If its a no to either one of those things, you should still give it a try, it'll just be a bit less helpful.)

If you don't get the Sunday paper or that paper doesn't include coupons, there are coupon sites on line where you can print coupons. Often similar coupons to what you would find in the paper. is a great place to start. There are also several great blogs I check out almost daily that help me figure out what the good deals are and where to find the coupons I need to make the deals happen. Here are a few:

Those are a few I'd start with. They have lots of great tips on how to save and lots of links to freebies and giveaways as well as coupons.

If you want to start CVSing I'd especially start with the i heart cvs one because it usually gives you a look at the Sunday circular add and could be really helpful for those who don't get the paper.

An ECB is an Extra Care Buck. This is "free money". If you buy something that is on special at CVS (this can be found in the weekly circular or on that blog) it will tell you how many ECB's you get with the purchase. For example, this week if you buy Edge Infused comfort or hydrate shave gel (7 oz.) and you use your Extra Care card you pay $2.89. When you get your receipt, attached at the end you'll get $2.89 in ECB's. The next time you shop at CVS your ECB will spend the same as cash. So... if you are into CVSing you "essentially" get it for free.

**** This is what tripped me up at first. I kept telling Steve, "I got it for free" but he kept telling me, "No! You paid $2.89 for it!" My problem was I kept "spending" the ECB's twice in my head. Once when I got them and my product was "free" and then again when I used it the next time to buy something else.

Now I've gotten to the point where I've got a "stash" of ECB's where I truly am only spending pennies out of pocket and using ECB's and earning ECB's for future purchases.

Those other blogs I mentioned have much better and more articulate posts on how to CVS. Look in their archives for something like "CVS 101" or something like that.

But I do want to encourage you that if I can do it, so can you. Its so fun to get an awesome deal and to save so much for our family in the process. I feel like I've also been able to bless some friends of mine who are in some rough spots right now. When I have an over abundance of toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant or RAZORS I try to give them away to those friends first. Other people donate these items to a local shelter or similar place.

Well, that's enough for now. Hopefully that was a little helpful in pointing you in the right direction. If nothing else, start with the online coupons. If you can even save a few dollars here and there, every bit helps. Good luck and happy shopping.

PS Similar savings can be done at Walgreens, Rite Aide and Target. I've mostly streamlined mine to CVS and occasionally Target. Any more than that would completely overwhelm me!


Mommin' It Up! said...

I'm so proud! Seriously!

Tell Karen I've *heard* that NYC doesn't do nearly as many ECB deals as the rest of the country. She might want to look into that before she gives it a try.

KTC said...

I'd have better luck with Target since I go there anyway. Any website recommendations for that?

So, you buy the shaving gel even though you don't need it since you essentially then have the 2.89 to spend on somethign you do need later, and then donate what you buy but don't need? Or, mostly, do you buy stuff you would use/need anyway, and then it's like you get one thing you need for free? Cause the donating idea is great, but at this moment in my life, I probably only have time to do this if I"m going to get some direct benefit. Make sense? (sorry I sound insensitive... just a TJ coming straight to the point.)