Friday, August 26, 2016

Top 1% (At CVS)

Every year, CVS likes to send a little snapshot of their customer's yearly savings.  I had kept my card last year (total pack-rat, I know), and I had it to compare to this year's.  When I got this card, I just laughed pretty hard because the line at the bottom in red stuck out.

"You're in the top 1% of CVS Pharmacy savers in VA!"

Thanks CVS.  Not a recognition I ever dreamed of getting but I'll take it.

I have gotten a little too into couponing if you can't tell.  It is actually a bit of a fun hobby, and though it definitely saves us some money-the rush of finding great deals is what keeps me doing it.  I've picked up so many tips for how to "do" CVS though, that I wanted to share some here.

I originally was always a Walgreens girl.  I stopped there many early mornings in AZ while I was teaching for random school supplies (dry erase markers, sugar cubes, straws, chocolate, etc) mainly because I was a procrastinator and had to stop there because they were the only ones open early in the morning.  But once I started couponing, I fell in love with CVS.  And luckily there are a few stores within five miles of me.

Here are ten ways you can become a top 1% shopper too.

1.  First, sign up for the rewards card.  (Scan this card at the coupon station located near the front of the store each time you visit.  Multiple exclusive coupon offers will print.). You will also get 2% back in quarterly awards 4 times a year for any purchases made with your card.
2.  Download the app.  (You'll get special offers sent through the app and can use it to track your offers.)
3.  Make sure your online profile includes your mailing address (CVS likes to send paper coupons in the mail.). You can also go online and reprint Extra Buck coupons if you lose them!
4.  Make sure your email address is also on file (many of my best coupons come by email, and I simply click on them to "send to card".
5.  Becoming a member of the CVS panel.  I have gotten a few $5 rewards for taking some surveys through the panel.
5.  Buy a gift-card from or a similar site so you are already saving 12% or so by using a discounted gift card.
6.  Use a coupon matchup site, like Krazy Coupon Lady to help you narrow down the best ideas each week.
7.  Try and stack manufactures coupons, CVS store coupons, money-back rebates (like Ibotta), and Extra Buck offers.  I almost never buy an item until I have at least two or more ways to reduce the price.
8.  Look for the 25-30% off purchase totals (doesn't apply to sale items), and my favorite the $5 off $15 or $4 off $20 (does work on sales) or similar coupons.  These normally come to me by email, and they are one of the best way to save.
9.  Take advantage of the Extra Buck offers to get money toward future transactions just by buying certain items.
10.  Check out the weekly circular, and shop from a list.  The sales reset each Sunday morning.  You'll want to find the best items your family needs from CVS.  My favorites include:  nuts, cereal, diapers, deodorant, toothpaste, contact solution, holiday candy, occasionally cleaning supplies, etc. 
*Bonus*  CVS also works automatically with our flexible health spending account that is a pre-tax savings plan through Brian's work benefits, giving us even more savings on several health care items.

Here is a recent shopping examples:

Regular Prices:  $42.99 (CVS regular prices are super high!)

2 Aluminum Foil
On Sale:  2/$6
- $1 manufacturer's coupon (printed online)
- $1 manufacturer's coupon (printed online)
- $2 Extra Bucks
That's like $1 a roll!

Snickers Bar
On Sale:  $0.99
- $0.50 manufacturer's coupon online
- $0.75 Extra Bucks
That's a Moneymaker of $0.26! 

Renu Contact Solution
On Sale:  $7.99
-$2 manufacturer's coupon I printed online
-$2 store coupon for eye care printed from machine
-$2 Extra Bucks
That's like getting it for $1.99 (which should be refunded* through our health savings plan, so it'll be even cheaper)

Calendula Cream
On Sale:  $8.49
- $3 manufacturer's coupon from newspaper
- $6 Extra Bucks
-$3 Ibotta rebate
That's a Moneymaker of $3.51!

Organic Gummy Bears
On Sale:  $1.49
-$1.49 Extra Bucks
That's like getting it for FREE

Drum roll......

Total cost of $42.99 worth of products:  $0.22 (plus tax)

Obviously, not every trip will be this fantastic but every couple months the deals hit just right and I get a really nice trip like this (and several times around the winter holidays).  And after doing this for a year my closet is now packed with just about any health/beauty item we need.

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