CVS shopping has so many variables to get the best deal. One has to do with order your coupons are rung up. When checking out at CVS it is best to give your extra bucks first, then your manufacturer coupons for less out of pocket--IF you have enough extra bucks and coupons to cover the whole cost. Let's see if I can explain this simply.
All of your products have been rung up and you have your total--some of it is tax. In MOST states now extra bucks issued for the purchase of non-CVS products--meaning any manufacturer products--will not reduce the taxable amount (didn't used to be this way--was sooo fun to always get $.00 balances). If your sub-total is $12 before tax and you give $12 in extra bucks earned on non-CVS products you will owe the tax. IF you have extra bucks earned on CVS products or quarterly extra bucks to use, you will owe NO tax--they reduce the taxable amount.
Manufacturer coupons also DO NOT reduce the taxable amount, BUT they can "pay for" the tax. So if you have an order sub-totaling $20 and your tax is 10% or $2 (to make it easy for figuring) your total bill is $22. Let's say you are going to pay with:
2 -- manufacturer coupons totaling $1.25
5 -- extra bucks totaling $20
If you pay in this order: Manufacturer coupons then extra bucks, the register will tell the cashier to adjust the last extra buck down to $1.25 LESS than it is worth and you will pay the $2 tax (or you can grab something for that $1.25 and throw it in--also causing more tax).
If you pay in this order: $20 Extra bucks then the $1.25 in manufacturer coupons you will pay $.75 and your sub-total will actually show a negative balance because the coupons reduce the total owed.
I have read this for years on couponing sites but didn't really do it. It takes a lot of close figuring--once when I tried it today on my mom's purchase it threw my balance to negative $.01. You cannot have a negative balance (only in the subtotal). So this is only useful if you have plenty of extra bucks and if you figure closely. I tried it on my large order and my subtotal shows negative $1.29--I still paid $2 in tax but saved $1.29 in cash by switching the order (if I had figured it closer I could have used more extra bucks and paid less).
I hope this is as clear as possible--I'm excited about the possibilities of saving even more at CVS, though it will be a bit more challenging because of the figuring. Oh, and always be prepared to grab a cheap item to throw on the order if you go in the negative.
Let me know if this is clear and if you try it and it works. And I am editing this to add: be sure to read the comments below--Cheryl shares a problem she had with this order of coupon usage and I have replied with what I have read of others' experiences and my experience.
Disclosure: Links in this post may be Simply CVS affiliate partners or personal referral links.