Thursday, August 6, 2009

CVS - $34 worth of merchandise for Profit

CVS is legendary in the frugal shopping world for their Extra Bucks (EBs) deals where you can get items for free or almost nothing out-of-pocket (OOP). I religiously shopped at CVS all during the spring, summer, and fall of 2008 to build up my stockpile of health and beauty aid items.

Then two thing happened. Firstly, I was so stockpiled up on our supplies that I didn't feel the urgency to go out every week and work the EB deals. Also, I started feeling frustrated with the stores for being out of stock week-in and week-out on the things I wanted to buy. I found myself living from raincheck to raincheck. Eventually, I had a big quantity of Extra Bucks expire. I spent my remaining Extra Bucks on things our family needed in the short-term, and I took a six-month break from CVS.

Now, all that said and done, I was running low on cokes, so last week, I bought four 12-packs at CVS and earned 3 Extra Bucks. Hmmm... What to do with them. I decided to jump back into the fray this week. Yes, there were many of the free school supply items out of stock, but there were still many deals to work with.

First Transaction
Jack Link's Chicken Nugget Jerky, $3.99 - FREE coupon from All*You = FREE
Soft Soap Serums, $4.99 - $2 MQ = $2.99
Used $3 Extra Bucks from last week

Subtotal = -$0.01
Total with tax = 46c
Earned 4 Extra Bucks for Softsoap
Got a coupon for free CVS aspirin

Second Transaction
2 Packs of Stayfree, $5 each, - $1 MQ ip, -$1.50 CVS Q from scanner, - BOGO Q = $2.50 for 2
Caliber Compas, $1.50
CVS aspirin, $1.99 - FREE coupon from above
used 4 Extra Bucks from above
Subtotal = 0
Total with tax = 70c
Earned 5 Extra Bucks for Stayfree
Earned $1.50 for Compass
Earned a second Free Aspirin coupon. (I don't know why I got two.)

Third Transaction
2 x Caliber 1-subject notebooks, 99c each
1 x Caliber protractor, $1.50
2 x Caliber erasers, 99c each
2 x M&M candy packs (filler) 45c each
CVS 100 ct. aspirin, $1.99 - FREE item coupon

Used $1.50 EBs & $5 EBs from #2

Subtotal $0
Total with tax, 43c

Earned $1.98 EBs for notebooks
Earned $1.50 EBs for protractor
Earned $1.98 EBs for erasers

Transaction Summary
I started the day with $3 Extra Bucks,
spent zero before tax,
paid $1.59 in tax.
I ended the day with $5.46 Extra Bucks.

Total value of goods purchased = $34.47 (including sale pricing savings)

(And all that with three antsy kids!)


  1. Wow, I Love reading your savings deals!!

  2. You might check with your Publix, but mine will happily take my ECBs as competitors' coupons -- and I can save a whole lot more at Publix than CVS.

  3. Hi Tina,
    Thanks for the tip! I was just thinking about that this morning. Back when I let those ECBs expire (and it was a big amount!) I don't think my Publix was taking anything except Kroger competitor coupons. We have new management now, and they accept a wide range of competitor coupons, so I bet you are right.

  4. So this is my deal with CVS... maybe you can help. CVS has great deals, but I always end up spending my ECB's on something I need, like toilet paper. Sounds great, right? The problem is, I know I could've actually purchased my TP somewhere else for a better price! So, I'm thinking that in order to make CVS awesome, you actually have to invest a little bit of money the first time in order to gain a decent amount of ECB's, which then you would use on your next trip to purchase your next plethora of ECB products... and the cycle goes on. Am I right?

  5. Hello Momy-Wise,
    Yes, in order to be really successful at the CVS game, you should try to "roll" your ECBs from visit to visit. Once you make your first visit and get your first ECBs, use them on your next visit to buy things that will be free with coupons and give you more ECBs. Continue the process again and again.

    As you can see, I rolled my ECBs even within one visit to the store, using three transactions. I will hang on to my ECBs until the next time I want to buy something that will generate more ECBs. Do watch carefully. They do expire in about a month. As Tina suggested above, you might be able to use them at a store such as Publix that accepts competitors coupons.

    There is a great primer on maximizing your ECB savings at CVS at


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