Thursday, January 17, 2008

CVS Trip 1/14/08

Just thought I'd let you know how I fared on my latest CVS trip... I had to stop by anyway to pick up a prescription, and I noticed they finally had SoyJoy bars in stock.

I've seen people blog about the SoyJoy deal, as CVS usually has these on special every few weeks where they are on sale 4/$4, and generate $4 in ECBs. This is a great deal if you have ECBs that are about the expire, since they generate as many ECBs as they use, so you can rollover your ECBs and get some free product. This is great on those weeks where there aren't too many other deals and you don't want to use your whole ECB stash without generating more. If you can find coupons, it's an even better deal.

(I believe this special is on all month, but not sure where I saw it now) I had two manufacturer's coupons that came out in the 1/6 paper, $3 off 10 bars and 1 bar free, plus a CVS coupon for $2 off $10 purchase. So here's how it worked out:
  • 12 SoyJoy bars - $12
  • $2 off $10 coupon - minus $2
  • 1 free bar - minus $1
  • $3 off 10 bars - minus $3
  • $3 in ECBs left from last time - minus $3
  • total paid out of pocket - $3
  • ECBs generated - $12

I get why people like this deal -- but would I like the bars? I tried two of the flavors, and while I wasn't overjoyed, it wasn't that bad. I can definitely stash these in my desk for those afternoons when I get overwhelmed with hunger at 3 pm. I won't be tempted to scarf them all down, but they will keep me from buying a candy bar from the vending machine, which is also good for the budget.

Have you tried a CVS deal yet? What have you had a good experience with?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Finding Bargains at CVS!

There’s no better feeling that being paid to shop! When your purchases are free, or close to it, and you walk away with money off your next purchase, it really helps the bottom line of the budget. What am I talking about? CVS!

Every month, CVS prints out their monthly list of deals that earn customers Extra Care Bucks(ECBs) that are good for their next purchase. Not only are some products free after ECBs, but many offer ECBs on multiple products, so you can purchase the item multiple times and stock up your medicine cabinets absolutely free. Weekly deals come out in mailout flyers or in the Sunday paper and also include ECB deals and discounts.

Even better, combine coupons with these great deals and get paid to shop! Okay, they won’t actually hand over a wad of cash, but you can add on extra merchandise to bring the total to zero and walk out with that stuff free as well. Considering the high price of milk these days, walking out with a free gallon can really make your day.

There are several ways to get the information on what specials CVS is offering for the month or week. One would be to stop by and pick up a copy of their flyers. I’ll usually pick up a copy of the monthly flyer the first time I stop in for the month, just to keep the best deals in front of me, but mostly, I find the offers online.

CVS prints their flyers on their website, or there are also forums dedicated to saving money that will print the monthly and weekly deals for you. Not only do they show you the deals (usually a day or two early) but they’ll also match them with recent coupons to show you how low the prices can be. My favorite is Pinching Your Pennies. There’s a forum category dedicated to deals at CVS and Walgreens in the “Deals about town” section that is fabulous!

Another great resource is Money Saving Mom. Crystal is an avid CVS’er and many weeks will post on how she uses the deals to her best advantage. She usually shows me how to separate the best deals into multiple transactions to minimize out of pocket spending, which is difficult for me.

Although I’m only scratching the surface with my own CVS experiences, I will definitely be exploring this option more as I attempt to get this area of my budget down to its bare minimum. My latest score? Two Cover Girl lipsticks free. A buy 1 get 1 free offer began on Sunday, and I had a coupon for buy 1 get 1 free that expired on the 31st. Combined, I got both lipsticks absolutely free.*

* your mileage may vary on offers similar to this due to differing managers and how they want their cashiers to ring these up. Mine rang up as 1 lipstick for $6.99 and the 2nd free, then the coupon discounted my total ticket $6.99. Some stores say B1G1, but really ring both up at half price ($3.49 in this case) giving you two lipsticks for ½ price of one. Other managers refuse the coupon as invalid with the deal. Try it and see how your store handles it. *

Happy Shopping!