Shopping at CVS

What is "ad shopping"? Ad shopping is when you look at an ad for a particular store and you make your list, youur menu, whatever it is that you are making, based on what is for sale or what will give you back reward money (think Extra Care Bucks).

In order to be a successful ad shopper, you need to have three things:
1) Coupons
You MUST have multiple copies of coupons. This will require you to purchase multiple newspapers. I buy 4 every week because I feel this is a good,even number for me and my family. As my skills as a couponer increase, I may consider purchasing more. BUT, you need at least 2 papers and atthis point I say 4 is a good number to begin building your coupon collection.

2) No Brand Loyalty
This is the hardest thing to get over. The only thing that I have brand loyalty for is coffee and baby formula. I will not give up good caffine and with baby formula, as many of you know, you have to stick with just one brand. Everything else is interchangeable. Let's put it this way, if you can get a tube of toothpaste for .09 cents, are you still going to buy that tube of toothpaste for over $3.00?? Eventually,the toothpaste that YOU MUST HAVE will go on sale, but for now, get the .09 cent toothpaste. Your teeth won't know the difference.

3) An organizational system
However you choose to organize your coupons is up to you. After all, my system is not going to work 100% for you and vice versa. But, you can always modify a system that you see to make it your own. For instance,I am using the binder method, but instead of using the baseball card sheets, I am using photobook pages (the slide in kind, not the sticky kind) I have then divided my coupons into sections such as make-up, hair care, condiments, etc. Regardless of your method, it needs to work for you and you NEED ONE. To be a successful couponer, you cannot rely on loose coupons. You will get frustrated and give up which is NOT what you want to do - TRUST ME :)

I am going to give you an example from this week's CVS ad (8/22) and explain how I ad shop.

What you are looking for when you ad shop is getting the products for as cheap as you can, sometimes even free. You are also looking for overage, which is like the holy grail of coupon shopping. I explained what overage was in a previous post. In order to shop successfully at CVS (or Walgreens or Rite Aid) you are going to have to put out some money at first. This will pay off, I promise.

Ok, the first thing I look for in a CVS ad is what is offering ECB with purchase. On the front page they are offering 10ECB for a $25 purchase of select P&G Products. I would suggest buying something from here if you are just starting because everyone needs paper towels and toilet paper, right?

Buy (1) Bounty for $12.99
(1) Charmin for $9.99
(3) Puffs for .99 ea.
Total: 25.95
I have a coupon for .25/1 Charmin and $1/1 Bounty. I will pay
24.69 for all 5 of these and I get back 10ECB, so it is like I
am only paying 14.69 for all products.

Buy (2) Glade Fragrance collection candle or reed diffuser for $10.
Total: 10.00
Use (2) glade coupons from this Sunday's SmartSource insert
for $2/1 Glade Fragrance collection candle or reed diffuser.
I will then pay $6 for two candles and you will also get back
a 3ECB so it is like you are paying $3 for BOTH candles.

Buy (3) John Freida products (shampoo, conditioner, styler) for $15
Total: 15.00
Use (3) John Freida coupons from this Sunday's insert. There
are TWO John Freida coupons. One for regular products and one
for his Root Awakening. Clip both because the Root Aawakening
coupon is for $3/1 and the other coupon is for $2/1. Purchase
3 John Freida products and use (3) $2/1 coupons. Pay $9 for all
three products. Get back 5ECB and you will pay only $4 for all
John Freida products.

Buy (6) Garnier Fructis Styling and shampoo and conditioners.
Total: 16.66
Last week's insert had Garnier coupons for styler and shampoo
and conditioner. If you still have them and did not use them
the last Garnier ECB deal at CVS, use them here. Buy a shampoo,
conditioner, 2/1 shampoo, and 3 styling products. Use (6) $1/1
coupons and pay only 10.66 for all 6 products. Get back 5ECB
and pay only 5.66 for all 6 products! That is less than $1 per
item!!!

Buy (3) SoftSoap refills
Total: 10.00
Get back 2ECB and you only pay $8 for all three refills.

Remember, the ECBs are good for your next purchase, so if you wanted you could do seperate transactions but since I usually have 3 kids hanging on to my legs, I just do it all at once.

So, you will pay around $60 for all of this stuff. It sounds like a lot but you are going to get back $25 in ECB to put toward a future purchase. Also, when you register your email, CVS will email you coupons for $5/25 or $5/30, etc coupons, which you can also use. Some weeks are better than others, depending on the coupons and the deals that you can get. I save all ECBs from one week together and place them in my binder and then I use them the week they expire. Thus, I always have a supply of ECBs to use for any given week at CVS. This week I have $38ECBs to put toward my purchases, so it is possible that I will only pay around $20 for all of these items.

Don't forget that when you go to CVS, they have the coupon machine where you can scan your card and coupons will print out for you to use either that day or on a future purchase. You may have to scan your card several times to get all of the coupons that are available to you for that day. Once you get to the CVS brand coupon and the candy offer coupon, you have hit the end and no more coupons will print for you. These two coupons will often print together.

Shopping at CVS may not make sense at first, but you will slowly get the hang of it :) I liek CVS because you don't have to wait for a rebate like at Rite Aid and the ECBs last longer than Walgreens Register Rewards, which are oly good for about a week. ECBs last a month.

There are other deals available this week at CVS. Just look at the ad, see what coupons you have, and match the coupons with the ad. Remember, it is all about minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses while maximizing your rewards. Happy CVS-ing!!!