Thursday, January 7, 2010

CVS shopping 101--MUST READ!

Unfortunately, I do not have a CVS near me, so I do not shop there nor do I post deals for CVS. However, I realize that many of my readers may have one near them, so wanted to pass along this AMAZING, in-depth tutorial written by and posted on Saving Your Cents. If you've ever even CONSIDERED shopping at CVS, this will be just what you need to get you started! I am only giving a little snippet of the post, as it's VERY long and detailed, but there is a link at the bottom to continue reading. Enjoy! I am curious to many of you shop at CVS and has it been a good/bad experience for you?

CVS 101

An In-Depth Guide For Shopping At CVS

I have had many of you email me and ask me to explain how I am able manage to get such good CVS deals. The best way that I can show you is by telling you my history with shopping at CVS, sharing everything that I know about CVS, and creating a scenario for you to see how it actually works. Don't shoot me for this one (the length) but I feel that it is necessary to give you as many details as I can about how I shop at CVS in hopes you understand the process better.

The History: How did I get started?

Two years ago I had just started a new job and CVS was just down the street. I filled a prescription there and picked up a pack of gum on my way out. I will never forget this day! I ended up getting in line behind a lady armed with a coupon binder and a buggy full of treasures. She turned to me and said "You can go ahead and check out since you only have that pack of gum. I have coupons and it'll take me a while to check out." Intrigued with what was fixing to happen I simply asked her if she would go ahead and check out while I watched. She accepted and the miracle began.

Everything was rung up in one transaction. Her total was $187.94 (I told you I couldn't forget this day). She handed coupon after coupon to the cashier. Back then they didn't have the screens like they do now so I had no clue what her total was going to be! A few minutes later the cashier said "OK, you owe me a whopping $.83!"

EIGHTY THREE CENTS! I could not believe what I had just heard. I was floored. Neither the cashier nor the lady showed any emotions and acted like it was the normal thing to do! I thanked the lady for letting me watch and talked a little with the cashier after she left. I was told that she wasn't the only one, that there were many like her that came in each week and bought things for free.

I knew at that point...that I too was going to pay $.83 for $187 worth of items one day and vowed to do so...and now I am that lady with her coupons in hand and a buggy full of treasures each week!

To make a long story short I actually learned how to play the CVS game before I took it to any other store (even the grocery stores). After about 6 months of trial and error I learned it to the "T". Don't get me wrong...I still make mistakes...everyone does! CVS has thrown a few wrenches in the mix (like changing their coupon policies, limits, and the way tax works etc) but I was able to adapt each time pretty quickly!

Why You Buy What You Buy At CVS:

There are only 3 things that I think about when I create my CVS Shopping Scenarios each week.
1. What can I buy to profit from.
2. What can I buy to break even on.
3. Is there anything that I really need this week but don't want to pay for anywhere else?

Why do I think like that?

It's all one huge game to me. I try to buy the most that I can each week (from any store) for the smallest amount I can spend out-of-pocket. By doing this I haven't paid retail prices for any items in over 2 years, my stockpile is out of this world, and I can give like I have never been able to give before!

I know that there seems to be no rhyme or reason for me to buy some of the things that I buy but I can assure you that they do get used! Most of the time I use the items that I purchase to give as gifts or to donate. No I don't need a gazillion Bayer Contour Blood Glucose meters but often they are I buy them...and donate them!

As crazy as it seems...the key (for me) to CVS is to buy things that you don't need to build your Extra Care Bucks up to be able to buy the things that you do need without actually spending cash!

On average I roll about $50-$80 Extra Care Bucks each week. At any given time I could buy a box of trash bags or milk or whatever and get it for free by using my surplus of Extra Care Bucks! This was my have CVS pay for the things that I needed for spur of the moment purchases and to get tons of free stuff in the mean time!

How can CVS give so many things away for free each week?

CVS's Extra Care program is funded by the manufacturer's of the products included in the Extra Care Buck sales. Every time you receive an Extra Care Buck the manufacturer is technically giving you that money. Not only are the manufacturer's paying you the Extra Care Bucks but they are reimbursing the stores for the coupons that you use along with it. The only time that CVS takes a hit on a promotion is when the Extra Care Bucks come from store brand items OR when they give out the $5/$25 coupons that we use there! That's it! So technically CVS isn't giving it to you for free the manufacturer's are! When you think about the mass quantity of products that the manufacturer's produce of each and every item on the market the numbers are pretty small when it comes to us "Coupon Users" getting the items for free!

Things You'll Never Pay For Again By Playing The CVS Game:

1. Toothpaste: I can't tell you how many tubes of FREE toothpaste I have received over the last 2 year at CVS!
2. Razors: Some to note: Bic Soleil, Schick Titanium, Schick Quattro, Venus Embrace (the good razors!)
3. Medicine & First Aid Products: I have tons of band aids and any type of medicine that you can think of!
4. Make-Up: Tons of make-up is free each year!
5. Air Fresheners: Glade, Air Wick, name it!
6. Shampoo & Conditioner: All types and brands!
7. Cleaners: For any room in the house!
8. Candy: There is always a great candy deal!
9. Glucose Meters: Each time one goes on sale with an ECB you get it free and usually make money off of the purchase!
10. Pretty much anything you can ever think of! The items above are just some of the common items that are free each month!

Teaching You How To Play The Game:

To continue reading this IN-DEPTH tutorial, click HERE to go to the Saving Your Cents site. She continues to give MANY, MANY more instructions and tips! Sure makes me wish I had a CVS nearby!!!


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