Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Just Pretend It's Monday! - CVS For Beginners!

I realize that Wednesdays are not usually about money, but I just have to tell everyone that if you have not yet started playing the CVS game, this would be a GREAT week to start!

For just $1.57 you can get 2 boxes of snack bars, 15 sets of toe dividers, 2 bottles of body wash, and 3 boxes of (CVS brand) Tylenol! In addition to that, you'll be receiving $16.97 back in ECB (Extra Care Bucks - i.e. CVS money) to use at a later date!

Now before you tell me that you don't NEED 15 sets of toe dividers, let me remind you that there are women's shelters all over the country. While women NEED certain items, don't you think they would love to get something FUN too? Or wouldn't you love to host a girl's night out and be able to give everyone their own set of FREE toe dividers for those pedicures you're going to do? Ok, so that excuse is out.

Now, onto the good stuff. In order to play this game, you must split up your transactions. Our CVS is the slowest early in the mornings, so if possible, you might want to go then. If not, just apologize profusely to the people in line behind you while you make them wait. (There's a good chance they'll be in awe of your savings anyway and won't mind waiting so long!)

Before you begin, you will need to print out the following coupons:

$1/1 Softsoap coupon - Once you print this, hit the back button and you should be able to print it again. (Or if you get the paper, there was a $1.50/1 Softsoap Body Wash coupon in this week's coupon insert. That would be an even better deal!)

$10 Glucerna coupon - This one is a little trickier, but it's well worth the 2 minutes it takes to figure it out! Register at the Glucerna website. After you register, sign up for the "Control Plan for Weight Loss" feature. When you have finished that, go to "My Profile" at top of page by the sign out button, then click on "Control Plan for Weight Loss" under the light blue section. There you should find a printable $10 coupon. If you for some reason, you cannot find it, never fear - there is probably one being sent to your inbox.

Now jump in your car and RACE to CVS! Well, okay - drive the speed limit. Once you get there, fill your cart with the following:

(15) Essence of Beauty toe divider sets (These were a little hard to find at my store. Look all around the HBA section or just ask an employee. Also, make sure there is a SET and not just one - they tend to fall apart very easily.)
UPDATE: I have been informed that ONLY the toe dividers with the following UPC code will work for this deal: 050428072981. Any other toe divider won't work.
(3) boxes of 24ct CVS brand Rapid Release Pain Reliever (Tylenol knock-off)
(2) bottles of Softsoap Spa Radient body wash (the green one)
(2) boxes of Glucerna 4-ct mini snack bars

UPDATE: I apparently can't add. You will need to purchase either (2) boxes of the 8-ct bars, which are on sale for $5.49 each or 1 package of the shakes, which are $10.49 in order to reach the $10 Abbott limit and therefore receive your ECB on that deal. If you already bought the two smaller boxes and did not receive your ECB due to the total amount being insufficient, I believe the Zone power bars are included in the Abbott deal. They are $1.19 this week and there was a recent coupon for $1/1 in the Sunday paper. But double check that, because I'm not positive.

Also, look for a "scan your card for savings" electronic box in your store. Some stores don't have them, but most do. You can only scan once per day. They print out CVS coupons, so be sure to scan your card every time you go! (They expire quickly though, so watch the expiration dates!)

Here are the ECB deals you will be using:
Buy any 3 Essence of Beauty products, Get $5 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy 24ct CVS Rapid Release Pain Reliver @ $3.99, Get $3.99 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy 1 Softsoap Spa Radience Body Wash @ $4.99, Get $4.99 ECB (Limit 5)
Buy $10 Abbott Nutrition Products, Get $2 ECB (Limit 5)

When you get to the register, here's how to work your transactions to get the most for your money. (Feel free to print this out and use it as a guide):

IF YOU DO NOT YET HAVE A CVS CARD, GET ONE NOW FROM THE CASHIER. YES, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The cashiers are usually great about scanning it, but just in case, make SURE they scan your card with EVERY transaction.

Also before I begin, note that all of my cost numbers are pre-tax, so you may have slightly different numbers once you get there.


Transaction #1:

2 boxes Glucerna 4-ct snack bars @ $4.69 each
1 toe divider @ 99 cents

Total: $10.57
Use $10 Glucerna coupon.
Total OOP (out of pocket): 57 cents
ECB back: $2

For the Glucerna deal, you could also get 2 boxes of the 8-ct snack bars @ $5.49 each or 1 multi-pack of Glucerna drinks @ $10.49. You would just have a little bit more out of pocket to begin with.


Transaction #2:

2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $1.98
Use $2 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $5


Transaction #3:

1 Softsoap body wash @ $4.99
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $6.97
Use $1/1 Softsoap coupon and $5 ECB.
Total OOP: $.50
ECB back: $4.99


Transaction #4:

1 Softsoap body wash @ $4.99
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $6.79
Use $1/1 Softsoap coupon and $4.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $.50
ECB back: $9.99 (a $4.99 and a $5.00)


Transaction #5:

1 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99
6 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $9.93
Use $9.99 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $13.99 (a $3.99 and a $10.00)


Transaction #6:

2 CVS Rapid Release 24ct Pain Reliever @ $3.99 each
2 toe dividers @ 99 cents each

Total: $9.96
Use $10 ECB.
Total OOP: $0
ECB back: $12.98 (a $5.00 and a $7.98)

You still have $3.99 in ECB from Transaction #5, so you have a total of $16.97 in ECB to spend later! (But don't wait TOO long - these have an expiration date too!)

I want to mention also that IF you scanned your card and happened to get a $3/$10 CVS brand purchase coupon (sometimes these coupons print out from the electronic box OR at the bottom of your receipt), Transaction #6 would be a great transaction to use that on! Just throw in another box of the CVS Rapid Release. Your OOP will go up $1, but you'll get another $3.99 ECB back!


If it looks confusing (and I can imagine it does), it's really not. You'll pick it up quickly and never go back to shopping the way you used to! Seriously! And you don't have to all those transactions in the same day. You can go a few times if you prefer to be more thoughtful to the people in line behind you. :)

All in all, if you try it out and decide it's not for you, at least you now have $16.97 to blow at CVS on whatever you need! :)

If, for some reason, your ECB don't print like they should, you can call the 800 number and they will fix it for you. Candace posted about this here.


On a fairly unrelated note, TODAY ONLY is free ink refills (color or black) at Walgreens. The limit is one per person, so take your spouse with you if you want to fill both for free! Be sure to print out this coupon and take it with you!


Nicki BL said...

Have you tried the snack bars? I don't do cereal and I don't do shakes, but the snack bars might not be too bad.

I can always give them to a co-worker or food bank.

FLUUD7 said...

I haven't tried them. I'm actually giving mine to a friend who's diabetic.

I thought the same thing - that's why I got the snack bars, but then I realized...I got such a great deal at Kroger a few weeks ago, we already have TONS of cereal bars lying around. Why not give them to someone who could actually USE them?

Nicki BL said...

I stocked up on Quaker Chewy Granola bars last week at Meijer. I had several $1/2 Q's that my friend sent me so I have about 27 boxes.

I think my DH would kill me if I bought anymore boxes of snack bars in this house. LOL

Question: Did you go to high school here in Indy? If you prefer, you can email me at

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

Also, if you haven't signed up on do so now! I got $7.50 in ECB for doing that. I just had to go to CVS and scan my card at the machine and out it printed!!!

Lisa said...

I found your sight throught Money Saving Mom. I am a beginer at CVS and was wondering why you had so many transactions? Why not just one?
Lisa Smith
Clueless at CVS

Tracy said...

Thank you a million times over for this beginner's guide! I have been trying to figure out how to win at the "CVS game" and this really helps me out. Can't wait to try this out tomorrow.

Candace said...

Great post!
Thanks for the linkage!

Nicki BL said...

Here's what I did:

(2) Glucerna bars @ 5.49 each (you have to spend $10 in order to get ECBs)
(3) EOB spongy/loofah pads @ 1.49 each
(2) CVS gel tabs
(1) bag of ice (b/c we needed it)
(1) milk chug for my mom

With $10 coupon, $3/$10 coupon, and $11.97 ECB, I owed $1.34 (which I paid with CVS gift card), and got back 14.98 in ECBs.

I heart CVS.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting a beginners' CVS scenario!

I thought I was going to go crazy with all the scenarios using $5/$15 coupons recently, since I didn't have one. AND I didn't have any ECBs to start with.

Ok, pouting over. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, that was very helpful.

FLUUD7 said...

LISA: You could do all of these things in 1 transaction, but obviously you would pay more out of pocket. This is meant to be a guide to those who have no ECB to work with. However, if you already have ECB built up, of course you could do it all in one transaction! :) You would pay $35.37 and receive $48.95 back in ECB if you did it all at once.

Another reason I like to do them in separate transactions is to have smaller amounts on each CVS slip instead of one large amount. For instance, if I were to buy all 15 toe divider sets at once, I would get an ECB slip for $25. But if I bought 3 at a time and did that transaction 5 times, I would get 5 ECB slips for $5 each. Just makes it easier for the next time I shop, especially if I only need a few cheap things.

NICKI: Great job!!!

ELSIE: Yes, unfortunately all of those coupons have expired now anyway.

Jan said...

How did you get the Abbott ECB since your Glucerna does not add up to $10.00. Am I missing something?

Thank you so much for sharing all this information. I adore you for doing it!

FLUUD7 said...

JAN: The coupon is good for $10 off any 2 boxes of mini snack bars. Since they are on sale for under $5, you would make money on this deal regardless of the ECB. CVS (and most stores) will allow you to use a coupon even if it is over the amount. Obviously, you don't need to mention it though. :)

But lest you think it's unethical, be assured that it's no loss to CVS. The manufacturer pays them back. (And we all KNOW that manufacturers make PLENTY of money on their regular sales without coupons!)

But, as always, if you feel uncomfortable doing it that way, you can always buy the 2 larger boxes (8-ct) which are on sale for $5.49 each this week instead to push you over the $10 mark. :)

Anonymous said...

Wait a you don't have to buy 3 Essence of Beauty products all in one transaction to get the $5 ECBs?

FLUUD7 said...

ELSIE: Right! You can buy them in 1, 2, or 3 transactions. But whenever you purchase the 3rd one, that is when your ECB will print. The system keeps track of how many you have already purchased.

The scenarios listed should work fine. But PLEASE NOTE there has been an update added about the toe dividers. Check the UPC to make sure you're buying the correct ones.

Mandy said...

Ok my sister has turned me onto the CVS thing but I am just starting so I don't have ECBs yet to use. Do I just figure whatever you used in ECBs for this scenario, would initially be out of pocket for me? Thanks for any help you can offer. There is a CVS within walking distance from me so I think I can really make this work for me.

Anonymous said...

These scenarios are really, really helpful to a beginner like me! Thanks!!! I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that 2 boxes of the Glucerna snack bars did not print out ECBs for me. The woman at the register said that I had to spend 10.00 worth of the product to get the 2ECB, and the two boxes of snack bars came up 22 cents short. This was confirmed on my receipt as well. So, the bigger boxes that you mention should work because they will end up costing over 10.

FLUUD7 said...

ANONYMOUS: You're right. I apparently can't add. Buy 2 of the 8-ct boxes at $5.49 or 1 of the shakes packages $10.49.

MANDY: This scenario is FOR beginners who have NO ECB to work with. You will pay OOP on the first transaction and then will start getting ECB. The ECB listed in the following transactions are the ones you just earned. Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these scenarios. Almost all the others I've seen elsewhere use at least one of those $/$$ coupons that I've never gotten.

Tracy said...

I'm so glad that you added the update about the toe separators. The scenario didn't work for me today because I had the wrong ones. I was so confused that the manager ended up giving me lots for about $12 dollars off and I ended up with:
4 separators,
2 boxes of the Glucerna mini bars ($10 off coupon), and
1 package Glucerna drinks for $2.50 (plus I got $2 ECB and a $3/$15). Not bad, but I'm still going to try yours again tomorrow!

Kimmy2303 said...

Thanks so much for this post! I'm a beginner (yesterday was my first purchase like this) and it probably sounds strange but I was quite nervous so I decided I was going to break it up over several visits. I went to the CVS closest to my house and you were right, finding the toe separaters was a little difficult, so I grabbed 3 of those and then 2 boxes of the snack bars (oatmeal ones look pretty good). I placed the snack bars and one of the toe separaters on the counter and asked for a Extra Care card. With the $10 coupon I only ended up spending about $2 (a little less) and got my $2 ECB so I used that for my next purchase. The girl looked at me in amazament and said "look at that you get $5 in ECB" There was a girl next to her and she said "well that must be wrong, that cant be right" I didnt stay for the rest of the convo. I did transaction 3 this morning on my way to work. I'm so excited for transaction 4 this afternoon! lol THANK YOU!

FLUUD7 said...

KIMMY2303: I know, isn't it fun?? :) I was telling my hubby the other day that I seriously get a high from shopping there. LOL. I get all jittery at the counter because I'm so excited to be getting stuff for free (or getting paid to buy it!). When we went out of town a few weeks ago, I went through a bit of a withdrawal period because there is no CVS where my parents live.

Maybe I should scale back a bit. LOL.

Nicki BL said...

What? No CVS near your parents? That's horrible. LOL

I can't wait for Sunday's ad. I've already maxed out the Softsoap deal, the gel tabs deal and the EOB deal.

Anonymous said...

My CVS has been out of Softsoap Spa all week. I have asked employees every time I've been there. I'm giving it one more chance tomorrow (in case they didn't get yesterday's delivery all shelved yet). Just curious - when I request a rain check, will they give me a raincheck for only 1? Or for 5 since that's the deal limit?

Did some alternate deals this morning and got:
3 Softsoap body wash (on sale $3.49 each, $1.50/1 coupon for each)
2 Colgate toothpaste (B1G1 + 2 coupons)
3 CVS rapid release
4 EOB facial buffs (that's all they had on the rack, could not find toe separators OR EOB gift bags anywhere!)
1 white vinegar
2 packs Extra gum (B1G1 coupon)
1 Colgate 360 sonic toothbrush (coupon)
About $14.00 OOP, saved $39, and walked out with $3.99 ECB and coupons that came with the vinegar.

I'm new at this, so I don't adjust very well yet when my plan is thrown off. I came home and figured out a couple more transactions for tomorrow. Should get 2 more CVS rapid release, 2 more white vinegar, and 2 facial buffs for a total OOP of about $.50, and have ECBs left for $1, $1, and $3.99. At least, I think so!

FLUUD7 said...

ANONYMOUS: I'm fairly new to this too. I just started about 2 months ago, but I jumped in headfirst!

I have heard that different stores do different things regarding rain checks. I have personally never got one, so I can't tell you from personal experience, but I've heard that some stores will give it to you for the price after ECB. For instance, on the Softsoap deal, they would just write you a rain check for the Softsoap and write the amount as $0.

If you try it, let me know. I'd love to hear your experience!

Anonymous said...

Still no Softsoap Spa. I asked about the raincheck and she gave me a raincheck for 5 of them, written as "sale price $4.99, $4.99 ex bucks". She also said that if I still have the coupons to just bring them in (even if they expire before they get the product back in). They'll honor them too! Woo-hoo!

Jem said...

The toe separators did not work for my CVS here. I tried to purchase 3 right away just to see if the $5 ECB will print out. The manager even punched in the UPC code manually but no ECBs printed.

I am new with CVS and I was hoping to build ECBs especially for this week's diaper and baby deals but unfortunatly it did not work.

Any other scenarios for beginners?


Anonymous said...

Okay, how about this week (4/6 - 4/12)? Got my ad yesterday, and my newspaper coupons today, but I don't see any "free after ECB" items at all. I'm going to compare all of my coupons with the items on sale. But if anyone wants to post deal ideas for newbies for this week, I'd love to see them! Thanks!

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

This is a long one, but here is my deal I did today (I am new to this too):
CVS Deals

(2) CVS Baby Wipe – 80 Count 2/$4.00
(2) CVS Brand Cotton Swabs - 625 count $2.99 each
Huggies Jumbo 40 count $8.99
Huggies Pull ups 26 Count $8.99
(3) Essence of Beauty Toe Separators $0.99 each
(1) Organic Cotton Ball $2.49 each

Total before coupons: $33.42

Huggies Diaper Coupon: $1.00
Huggies Pull Ups: $2.00
CVS brand $3.00 off $10.00: $3.00
Get $4.00 off of $20.00
ECB: $5.00

Total coupons/savings: $15.00

Total OOP: $18.42

Total ECB back: $16.00
Which includes $1.00 from the CVS brand Organic Cotton Balls
Buy $25.00 of certain baby products get $10.00 in ECB back
Buy 3 Essence of Beauty products get $5.00 ECB back

Anonymous said...

Hmmm - That's a good deal if you have the $3/10 or $4/20, but I don't. My store doesn't have the "Scan your card for savings" machine; no CVS brand coupon fliers on the pharmacy counter; and no toe separators. I'm starting to think my CVS just isn't very with it.

I bought an item on Thursday that was marked $1.79 on the shelf, rang up as $1.99, and the cashier just shrugged when I told him it was wrong. I know it's only 20 cents, but still.

BHRW Mom said...

Here are the first two deals I'm doing this week:

Transaction 1:
5 Sunsilk products @ 3.49 each
1 Heinz vinegar @ 1.99
2 EoB facial buffs @1.49 each (had 1 of these on an order last week, so need 2 more to earn the EoB ECBs)

2 Sunsilk BOGO coupons
2 Sunsilk $1.50/1 coupons
.75/1 Heinz coupon
$7.98 ECB

Total before coupons/ECB $22.42
Total OOP after coupons/ECB $3.71
Get back $5, $1, and $5 ECB

Transaction 2:
1 Febreze Noticeables @ 6.99
2 Febreze Air Effects @ 2/$5

Buy 1 Noticeables, get 1 Air Effects free (value $2.50)
$5 + $5 ECBs

Total before coupons/ECB 11.99
Total OOP after coupons/ECB 0.00
Get back $5 ECB

Total value of products = $34.41
Total OOP = $3.71
ECBs left = $6.00

How does that sound?

Jem said...

the deals posted are great but the toe separators are not working in my area. i'm trying to come up with a scenario. i especially need diapers and could use the johnson's and cvs products as well. i do not need baby food yet.

please help!

Nicki BL said...

Jem: do you have any coupons to work with? I can help you if you let me know what you have.

Jem said...

Nicki bl: I only have $2 ECBs from last week, and 2 $3/$10 CVS Products coupon. I have kept all manufacturing coupons from our Sunday paper.

I have not yet bought any free items after rebate for April (Softsoap, CVS Tylenol, etc.)

Nicki BL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicki BL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicki BL said...

Here are your scenarios.