Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten Steps to Saving Money at CVS - Part 1

When I first started to coupons, all the ECB and RR lingo was confusing to me. I was so thirsty to learn how to save money using coupons that I read anything and everything that had a word coupon in it. I learned that saving money at stores like CVS can be very rewarding, but also frustrating if you are a newbie. So today, I would like to take you shopping with me to CVS and share tips to maximize your savings.

1) Sign up for CVS customer loyalty card

All your savings at the store are tide to your customer loyalty card. Make sure every time you purchase a product from CVS; you let your cashier scan your card. Every quarter I received free Extra Care Bucks (ECB) based on a percentage of my spending for that particular quarter. Usually I get $1 ECB per quarter, which I can’t complain because it is free money and I didn’t have to break my nails to earn it. During weekly promotions if you buy a specific item that awards ECB, your card recognizes the promotion prompting the register to print your bucks.

2) Sign up for e-mails updates

I get very few e-mails from CVS promoting their products. Most of the e-mails I receive are surveys, which award me 4 or 5 ECB for participation. Not too long ago I received an e-mail from CVS with a coupon for $4 dollars off $20 dollars purchase. So make sure to sign up for updates and customer survey with CVS

3) Utilize your Extra Care Bucks

Extra Care Bucks, also known as ECB in the coupon world, are your free money! You can buy almost anything in the store; it does exclude purchase of gift cards, stamps, prescription drugs. I like it because instead of spending cash to buy a product that I want or need, I utilize my ECB to acquire the item for free. And we all know that free is good. ECB print at the end of your receipt, so make sure to check it before throwing it away. Also make sure to check the expiration date on the ECB. I love the fact that CVS has long expiration period and most of the managers will allow you to use expired ECB (ask first).

4) Read your receipt carefully

At the end of your receipt is a place where it says how many more purchases are needed to fulfill the requirement. Let me explain. If you open an ad and let’s say this week they are running a promotion that would require you to purchase $10 worth of Cover girl (CG) products in order for you to receive back 5 ECB. The good news is that you do not have to purchase $10 worth of Cover Girl products in one transaction. Your loyalty card tracks for you how many more items you need to purchase to fulfill the requirement. I can buy $4 dollar CG product today and $6 dollar CG product tomorrow. The day that I fulfill the requirement the ECB will print at the end of the receipt. Please note that you must purchase all the required items to qualify for ECB during the week of that promotion.

5) Invest in Green Leaf Tag

The cute little green shaped tag will make you money. It only cost $0.99 cents and you will make money that will cover the cost plus more. The way it works is that every time you scan the green leaf tag along with your card, it registers that you made a purchase. After four purchases you are awarded 1 ECB for free because you simply used your green leaf tag. Now, you can scan your tag only once a day, in other words you can not have 4 separate transactions in one day scanning your card 4 times. This will not generate you 1 ECB, because computer keeps track of your scanning. The creation behind the green leaf tag is to encourage customers to use reusable bags. However not all stores enforce this rule. You will meet some cashiers that will not scan your tag until you show them your reusable bag in which he or she will place your purchased items. Other cashiers will scan your card with no problem without enforcing the rule.

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