Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cheap as Free at CVS

I've been shopping fairly regularly at CVS for about 7 months now, trying to figure out how to make the most of our money by combining coupons and Extra Care Bucks (ECB) rewards. I've gotten lots of "free" items as well as things that we need for much less than the retail cost.

Today, for the first time, I actually made TWO transactions in the same visit, using the ECB's from the first one to pay for the second...and I was pleased at how much money I saved.

(Just because I didn't want to take up too much of one cashier's time, I actually made my first purchase and then turned the cart around to go shopping for my second purchase. It worked out quite well, and I even got a different cashier the second time, so I didn't feel all weird buying from the same person twice.)

Transaction #1:
2 Crest Whitening Toothpastes, $1.99 each, got $2 ECBs and used a $1.00 off 2 coupon
2 Oral B Toothbrushes, $1.99 each, got $2 ECBs used $1.00 off 2 coupon
I Advil Infant Drops $5.79, got $5.79 ECB
Used $2 off $10 coupon
Total Spent OOP (out of pocket)= $10.57
Extra Care Bucks Credit= $9.79
Actual Cost= $0.78!

Transaction #2:
1 12pk Diet Mtn Dew (Sorry, dear, they didn't have 4!) on sale for $2.75
1 Band-Aid Advanced Box, $4.99, used $.50 off coupon
1 Neo-to-Go Neosporin, $5.99, used $1.00 off coupon
Got $5 ECB's for buying $10 worth of Band-Aid/Neosporin products
Used $2 off $10 coupon
Used my $.9.79 in ECB's toward this purchase
Total Spent OOP (out of pocket)= $0.53
Extra Care Bucks Credit= $5
Actual Cost= A profit of $4.47 in ECB's!

If you're confused, I basically spent $6.10 (because of the ECB's) and got $29.72 worth of useful items!

For those of you who are new to this whole CVS concept, you might want to check out Money Saving Mom for this and other great thrifty spending tips!

A note to readers: I only buy things we would actually use, and if I realize when I get home that we have way more than we would ever need of one item (like, say, toothbrushes), I'll donate them to charity. It's all good, y'all.

My next goal is to bring our grocery budget down to about $40/week. I like to think I'm at around $70/week now, but I know it's always a little higher with all the milk we buy. I always have difficulty with food expenses, especially since I like to buy fresh fruits and veggies.


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