In Part 1 of CVS 101 you learned how to get CVS Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) and other CVS Coupons. This week’s Thursday Tutorial will discuss how to make the most of them.
The best way to maximize your ECBs is to “roll” them. If you buy something that earns ECBs try to use those ECBs to buy something else that earns ECBs. This way you make an initial cash purchase and then use CVS money (ECBs) for all future purchases. The only way the CVS money is not like regular cash is that you can not get change back. Therfore, your purchase must be equal to or greater than (before tax) the ECB amount.
Every week CVS puts out a circular with deals that are good for one week. Some of these deals are regular sale items and some are ECB deals. Although some of the regular sale items are good deals, make sure to check out the ECB deals so that you can keep “rolling.” With ECB deals you can use a manufacturer coupon, a CVS coupon and still earn ECBs!
Here’s an example:
This week at CVS Softsoap Scrub Body Wash is $4.99.
Combine it with the $1 coupon from 3/29 SS
Then you can use this $4/20 Beauty Items coupon from CVS. To get to the $20 check out the other free and cheap items at CVS this week. (The $20 is before coupons)
Earn $4.99 ECBS
The end result is about a $2 profit!
So even if you don’t normally use Body Wash it is still worth it to buy because you now have $2 more than you had before to use on something you need. You can either donate the body wash or check here on alternative ways to use it.
There is usually a limit to how many ECB deals you can get. For example, with the Softsoap Body Wash, the limit is 1. You can continue to buy the Softsoap, but you will only get 1 ECB for $4.99.
One more note on ECBs is that some deals require you to buy multiple items. You do not have to buy all the items at one time. You just have to purchase them before the sale period is over. Once you buy all the qualifying items or reach the dollar amount required then your ECBS will print.
Sometimes CVS will have great deals that don’t involve ECBs. For example, this week Purex Naturals laundry detergent is B1G1 free. You can combine it with the B1G1 coupon found here and you will get both items FREE. The sale pays for one item, and with B1G1 coupon the manufacturer pays for the other.
If there isn’t a B1G1 coupon available, but there is a $ off coupon, you can use two on the B1G1 sales because you are getting two items.
Each month CVS puts out an Extra Value Book with ECB deals that are good all month long. Some of these deals are featured in the weekly ads. Make sure to pay attention to the limits. If it is limit one in the monthly ad and is featured in the weekly ad at limit one that means it is limit one for the whole month.
Figuring your Out of Pocket and How Many ECBs to use
Figure your Taxable Item Total
Less CVS B1G1 Sale
Less CVS Coupons
Less ECBs used (Remember you don’t get money back)
Equals NEW Taxable Total
Times your Tax Rate
Less Manufacturer Coupons
Equals your Total OOP
When shopping at CVS it is best to give your coupon in the following order
- $/$$ (For example the $4/20 mentioned above)
- CVS coupon
- ECBs (After you have figured out your OOP as shown above)
- Manufacturer Coupon
I hope this tutorial has helped you understand CVS and have fun rolling your ECBs.