Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How I profited off my child's misfortune ~ CVS & their awesome rewards program

After talking with a couple great friends last night about the mysteries of CVS I realized it might be time to rework a previous blog post.....

Most of us at one time or another will need a perscription filled.  Of course a trip to the Doctor and then the pharmacy is a hassle, but many times it can be used to our financial benefit....

You can apply this little nugget of financial wisdom to nearly any pharmacy - but because I am on a CVS kick - I am going to write about a CVS experience, but just know most pharmacies will honor competitors coupons.

I personally always keep the '$25 gift card for a new or transferred perscription' coupons. 

A few month's back my son needed a perscription.  With our insurance it was a $10 copay for a one time perscription.  I handed  the CVS pharmacisist $10 along with my '$25 gift card for a transferred perscription' coupon.  He handed me my perscription along with a $25 gift card good for anything in CVS.  (Is it wrong that despite my son's discomfort I am a little giddy at this point?)

So with our insurance my free gift card has pretty much paid for my son's perscription and his copay for his Dr. visit - nice! But that is not good enough for Kate, I took it one step further.

I had already researched the items I could purchase at CVS and recieve ECB's for that week.  For those of you unfamiliar with ECB's - they are basically a rebate printed out instantly on a reciept that you can use the next time you come into CVS.  Many times there are one or two items that have FULL credit given back to you for your purchase - ie - mouthwash for $4.99 - you get $4.99 in ECB's.  You can also apply coupons to any item at CVS - ie - that mouthwash that is $4.99 - if you have a $1 coupon you apply, you still get $4.99 in ECB's - what?! I know! You just 'made' a dollar for taking mouthwash out of the store!  CVS also often has printable coupons (either at the register or the scanner) that will give you $5 off a $15 or $4 off a $20 purchase that you can also stack with your coupons - what?! OK - so how many of you have I lost at this point??  I know it can be confusing - but at the very least I suggest you try it out.  That $25 gift card can very easily be stretched out into quite a bit more in that first visit AND can give you credit for your next visit.

The key is learning to 'roll' these ECB's - essentially getting to the point where you are spending no money at all (or in our case here in CA - just covering the tax).  My personal best was a reciept around $40 that worked out to $2.49!

Despite my love of coupons and an intense desire to save, I really didn't start applying the whole ECB aspect to my shopping until about a year ago.  It was all so confusing - I share the prescription story because this made it SO easy for me!  I had basically a $25 cushion as I learned. 

I don't write drugstore 'match up' posts because there are so many other sites that do such a great job of it - here are two of my favorites - http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ and http://www.couponingtodisney.com/ -these ladies have CVS (along with other drugstores) down to a science!  Don't let it intimidate you - just learn what you can.  Apply what is realistic to your life - it is a little work in the beginning, but maintaining (like anything really I guess) is not that intense.  If you are looking to cut something in your budget this is a GREAT way to do that.  In the last year I don't think I have paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, bodywash, feminine products, deodorant,....the list goes on and in my experience it really does add up!

Happy Shopping!

Kate

1 comment:

  1. I love love love rolling ECB's at CVS. Just recently I was able to roll some over and get 3 boxes of bandaids, sunscreen and a tube of toothpaste for $.46. I also got another $9 in ECB's for the next purchase. Using ECB's with the $4/20 and $5/25 coupons are another way to make your dollars stretch. Always scan your card when you first get in the store to see if any coupons print out for you. And make sure you are signed up to get their emails!

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