I love CVS. I've had an ExtraCare card for as long as I can remember. And my name on it has been spelled "Mr. Remnee Bochard" for as long as I've had it. Tragic, I know. But I tolerate the butchering of my (quite elegant and very French) name because they hook a girl up with some serious discounts. Friends, if you do not have an ExtraCare card, get on it! Here are some examples:
A few weeks ago, I stopped in to pick up some shampoo. I'm a fan of Pantene's Color Preserve Volume shampoo and conditioner. I like to buy the large bottles when I see them on sale. On this particular day, they were discounted from $7.99 to $5.99. Unfortunately, the only thing left on the shelves was the conditioner. No problem- I stocked up on two large bottles and then got a rain check for the shampoo. In addition, my favorite toothpaste (Sensodyne) was on special. If I spent $10 on that brand of toothpaste, I would receive 5 "Extra Bucks." In the world of CVS, that's literally 5 free dollars. In addition, my facial moisturizer of choice- Skin Effects- was ALSO on special- if I spent $20 on that brand, I would receive an addition 5 "Extra Bucks." Oh, and I almost forgot- I had scanned my ExtraCare card when I first entered the store and got a coupon for 2 "Extra Bucks" to be used on anything in the store.
So, here's what I did- I first went to the register and bought the moisturizer and the toothpaste. Ding-ding! Two coupons for 5 Extra Bucks was handed right over. I then used those Bucks to pay for the already discounted conditioner. Fully stocked on conditioner, moisturizer and toothpaste, I went on my merry way with a rain check in my pocket to boot!
Some might have waited a while and gone back with the rain check after a week or so. Not me! The next day, I hit a different CVS that happened to have my shampoo in stock, so I got it at the discounted price without even using the rain check! Cha-ching!
Total saved from those two trips? $20! Yes, I spent about $40 in order to get that discount, but I purchased the products and brands that I prefer to use every day. I didn't compromise and get the discounted "generic" version, which often isn't nearly as good as the real thing and also not THAT much less expensive. And a $20 savings isn't too shabby- instead of spending around $60, I only spent about $40.
If you aren't impressed with that story, let me tell you another CVS shopping tale that might cause you to raise and eyebrow (or two). Tonight, on my way home from work, I swung into the original CVS where I got the rain check. The sale had passed and my Pantene was back to the normal $7.99/bottle price. I got a couple of bottles with the plan to use my rain check. I also swung by the hair dye section where I normally purchase a box of Revlon's dark brown hair dye. It's an inexpensive brand, but after experimenting with many different versions of "dark brown," it just so happened that one of the less expensive brands was the one I liked best. It normally sells for about $5/box. However, about once a year, CVS sells the dye in 2-box sets for only $5 each. We're talking a 50% discount right there. Finally, I needed some new lip color. L'Oreal is one of my every-day lip color favorites, and there happened to be a sale on the Endless lipstick line- 75% off. What is normally a $12 tube of color was suddenly less than $3!
Here's the breakdown from that trip:
Money saved due to rain check: $4
Money saved due to packaging discount- $10
Money saved due to make-up special- $17. 70
But it doesn't stop there! I had also received an email offering me a discount of $5 off a purchase of $25 or more. Even with my discounts listed above, I still qualified for the additional coupon which brought my total down from about $60 to $22.85! (Side note: the coolest part about the email coupon is that they scan the bar code straight off the screen on my smartphone- how cool is that?!?!Technology just blows my mind sometimes!)
To sum up, in the last two weeks, I have spent about $63 at CVS on products that I need and use every single day and I have also saved a total of $55 thanks to special discounts, coupons and smart shopping. Are you impressed? I hope so- I know I was!
The thing about the Extra Bucks is that it helps to know when you're going to get them. That way you can plan multiple transactions all at once. It's not always predictable, but there are often signs by the products that state, "Spend $X and get X Extra Bucks." You have to keep an eye out for them, and be prepared to possibly have to stock up on it to get the discount. Finally, in regards to the Extra Bucks, plan the order of your purchases and make multiple transactions in the most cost-effective order. The cashiers are always very accommodating when I ask them to please ring up certain items first. It may take an extra minute or two, but if it means saving about 50% every time I shop there, I'll put in the extra time. Wouldn't you?