Monday, February 4, 2008

Money Monday - The CVS Game

I'm SO excited about this new task I've taken on. Spend a tiny bit of money to get a HUGE amount of stuff, and in the process, get things to give away to those who are in need! This particular journey is sometimes referred to as "the CVS game".

For those of you who are not familiar with "the CVS game", let me take a moment to explain:

CVS has a program called Extra Care Bucks. It is simply an in-store rebate that can be applied to any future purchases you make at CVS. In essense, CVS-only money. Each week, there are several items in the store that, when purchased, will give you a full refund in ECB (Extra Care Bucks). So, as long as you plan to buy something - anything - at CVS in the future, it's like getting your purchase for free. In addition to these ECB, you can also use manufacturer coupons on top of any current CVS coupons (usually something like $3/$15 purchase).

Oftentimes, with coupons, you can actually make money by shopping. (Again - not real money, CVS money).

Once you get the ECB rolling, you pay hardly anything out of pocket for your purchases - that is, as long as you stick to things that have ECB rewards and things for which you have coupons.

I have been collecting coupons for a few weeks now and yesterday I made my first trip to CVS to try out this "game".

Here is what I bought:

1 bottle of Garnier Fructis shampoo
5 large tubes of Colgate Total toothpaste (which happens to be my FAVORITE toothpaste!)
2 large bags of M&Ms
1 Maybelline trio eyeshadow kit

All of these things had ECB rewards and I had manufacturer coupons for all of them, along with a CVS coupon, so in the end....

Total before coupons: $23.48
Total after coupons: $14.23
Total ECB earned (remember - CVS money): $16.48

In addition to getting all of those products *technically* free, I "got paid" $2.25 to shop at CVS! The way the game is played, though, has little to do with what you actually need. You simply buy things that will be free with ECB that you also have a coupon for in order to earn ECB to spend on things you actually DO need. Then, you can give away all those things you got that you didn't need to charity!

Coming later today: Money Monday - Budget, Part 3

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