CVS 101

Welcome to CVS 101. I realize that when someone is new to couponing, our posts can seem a little daunting with all the abbreviations and terminology. Let me try to make things simple for you.

• First of all, I am assuming that you have a CVS near you. If you are not sure, you can check here.

• You need to apply for a CVS card. You can do this in the store or online. I did mine in the store  because they let you use it right away. 

• When you checkout, always scan your card first. The deals are tied to you card.

• CVS has a reward system called Extra Care Bucks (or ECBs for short). Almost every week they will offer a couple of items that will be completely free after ECBs. This means that you will buy the item now, and get a coupon printed on your receipt for that amount. For example, let’s say they are offering M&Ms at 50¢ with a 50¢ ECBs. You would pay 50¢ now, and get a coupon for 50¢ printed on your receipt to use on your next purchase just like cash! Which would make it essentially free.

• When you are first starting out, go slow!! Pick out a couple of items and start earning the ECBs. don’t go overboard or you will get overwhelmed.

• There are 2 ways to approach your ECBs. You can roll them week by week, or save them to use as part of a big purchase. I, personally, like to roll my ECBs each week. However, there are times when I know cash is going to be tight and I just use them to make the purchase – same as cash – and not worry about getting any back. 

•There are times when the items that are featured with ECBs, also have coupons that can apply. This is where the fun starts. Let’s go back to the M&M deal above. Now, say I just clipped a coupon for 25¢ off 1 pack of M&Ms. Using the coupon and my card, I would not only get the M&Ms for 25¢, I would still get 50¢ in ECBs to use on my next purchase. Coming out 25¢ ahead (commonly called – a Money Maker or MM)!

• CVS also offers many coupons for $3/$15 ($3 off a purchase of $15), $5/$20  and so on. These are another great way to make your ECBs go further and increase chances of a MM scenario.

• ECB deals are offered on a weekly and monthly basis. Once you reach the limit, you cannot do that deal again.

•It is important to be prepared. Check your local ad and your favorite blogs for the breakdowns on the items as well as the coupon matchups. I make a list before going and put all the coupons together that I know I will need. I will also bring my binder with me just in case I find something unexpectedly good.

•If you don’t know how to read the posts for the coupon matchups, go here to Learn the Lingo.