Just about a month ago I went to CVS for the first time with the goal of minimizing my out of pocket expenses, while buying as many products as possible and gradually increasing my stash of ECBs (follow this LINK for a quick lesson on how to use ECBs). Eventually I want to be using only ECBs to be making all of my purchases. During my last trip to CVS I bought two bottles of Vitamin D with $0.90 out of pocket and earned $2.00 in ECBs. It took me about a month to find a deal that was worth spending my ECBs, mostly because I didn’t have access to a large number of coupons.
I recently began making it a habit of going grocery shopping on Sunday mornings (before the NFL games of course) and picking up a Sunday paper. The Sunday paper has all kinds of store ads, but more importantly it has three sets of coupon books: Proctor & Gamble, Red Plum and SmartSource. Coupons are the key to making CVS deals real moneymakers. For example, if a product is advertised at CVS as free after ECBs and you combine it with a manufacturer coupon, you end up making money on the deal as well as getting that product. Last month I essentially made $1.10 and received two bottles of vitamin D for my trouble.
I have two weeks worth of Sunday paper coupons saved. With these two sets of coupons, I was able to find two deals. It was perfect timing as my ECBs from the vitamin purchase were expiring in three days. I bought a 13 FL. OZ. bottle of garnier fructis 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner for $2.99. I also bought a 4.2 OZ. of Crest whitening toothpaste for $3.49. I used a $1.00 coupon for the shampoo and a $0.75 coupon for the toothpaste. These two coupons combined with my $2.00 in ECBs from the vitamin transaction provided me with a savings of $3.75.
My out of pocket expenses came out to $2.95 after taxes. I also received $3.49 in ECBs for the toothpaste and $2.00 in ECBs for the shampoo. In the end, I spent another $2.95 out of pocket and received $5.49 in ECBs.
Total out of pocket: $3.85
Total ECBs: $5.49