Monday, June 14, 2010

Spending the Least Cash on CVS Deals With Few or No Extra Bucks on Hand

After months of CVS shopping I have been able to build my extra buck supply up so that I can usually just check out once with very little out of pocket cash.  Being able to take advantage of the best CVS deals with the least out of pocket expense takes a little more work for a CVS shopper who has little or no extra bucks to begin with—but it is doable.  Here are the steps to take and an illustration
from a recent ad (since I don’t know what all you want to buy from this week’s CVS ad, nor what coupons you have, I need to teach you how to do it or you will miss out on some deals you want).

Examples from a recent week:

Transaction #1:  1--$2   Colgate Pro Clinical   $3.99  <$1.00>   $2.99  [get $2 ecb use it on transaction #2]
                         Out of pocket $2.99 plus tax

Transaction  #2:  1--$4  Schick Hydro  $8.97 <$5.00>  $3.97  [get $4 ecb use it on transaction #3]
                     Out of pocket $1.97 and $2 ecb from #1   

Transaction #3:  1--$3  Covergirl Wetslicks  $4.99 <$1.00>  $3.99 [get $3 ecb use on #4]
                       Out of pocket $.00 and $4 ecb from #2

Transaction #4:  2--$4/ea   Old Spice Body Wash   $4.00/ea <$4.00 (b1g1)>  $4.00 [get $8 ecb]
                        Out of pocket $1.00 and the $3 ecb from #3

Transaction #5:  3--$4   General Mills Cereal  $10 total <$1.50>   $8.50  [get $4 ecb to save for next week or to spend on other sale items]
                          Out of pocket $.50 and the $8 ecb from above

Your out of pocket cash expense is $6.46 and you have $4 extra bucks at the end.  You could check it all out together and have oop expense of $23.45 and have $21.00 extra bucks left over--the decision of which way to do it is all up to personal preference by each shopper.

Actually, to get started if you can set aside 20 to 30 dollars and buy several of the deals one week, you will then have the larger quantity of extra bucks to be able to keep rolling each week after that with only one or two transactions (see this post for a more detailed explanation on rolling extra bucks).  It is up to the individual shopper.

  • Make two lists of items you want to buy from looking over the Current Deal posts and especially the Dollar Deals and the Coupon Match-ups posted here at Simply CVS (they are all under the current deals link for the current week)—one for those with extra bucks back and one without.  List the price in a column to the right of it and the quantity you will purchase and the extra bucks you will receive to the left of it [1--$4   product name   $4] (make it on a piece of notebook paper or some other way in which you can have the list down one side and room for columns of $ amounts on the right).
  • Look over the ad and see if there are any other items you want to get and check the databases at We Use Coupons or Hot Coupon World for any current coupons and add them to your lists.
  • Print or gather any coupons needed for the deals and write the amount of each in a column next to the cost column.  [1--$4   product name   $4  <$1.00> ]
  • Make a third column with the total of the product less the coupon—this will be your out of pocket expense. [1--$4   product name   $4  <$1.00>   $3]
  • Now number your lists along the far right side in order of the least out of pocket expense to the greatest. [1--$4   product name   $4  <$1.00>   $3   #2]
This information will enable you to figure the order in which to purchase the items.  The way to get the most items for the least cash is to check out more than once and use the extra bucks from one transaction on the next.  The more times you check out the more you can save.  When I need to do this I check out once and move aside, tear off my extra bucks just earned and prepare the next order.

You need to decide how many times you are comfortable with checking out and how much time you have to spend.  Some CVS shoppers plan their whole trip out before going to the store.  I used to, but with some items being out of stock it throws the whole scenario off. Now I just take my list with me, walk thru the store and put everything I find in my cart.  Then I go to an out of the way corner and use one of the baskets and put into the basket what I want to buy first including the coupons and repeat this process for each transaction adding in the extra bucks I just earned onto the new order.

To decide what order to check out in you need to:
  • Figure out how many times you are willing to check out and/or how much cash you want to spend.
  • Find the least expensive out of pocket items first that give extra bucks back.  Check them, or some of them, out and then use the extra bucks earned to buy a few of the next on your list and repeat until you have purchased all of the extra buck items.  If you have an extra buck for a little more than the next items you put together in one of the transactions you can throw in an item or two off your other non-extra buck list to use it up.
  • After buying all of your extra buck items use the last extra bucks you have earned to purchase your non-extra buck items.
To build your extra bucks up, you need to use coupons on extra buck giving deals so you get more back than you spend, do multiple transactions, and not use extra bucks on other sale items but save them for the next week and use them on new CVS deals that give extra bucks back.  Then once they are built up you can buy extra items each week with some and still have some left as they continue to build.  You virtually keep spending them over and over again.  Say you have $15 in extra bucks and you spend them this week and get $15 back and use those next week and get $15 back--it's like a gift card that will never run out.

Check out  the five different CVS shopper personalities and organization ideas for each (different ways to approach saving money at CVS) to see how it is easy to save money shopping at CVS with a  little or a lot of time invested--the choice is up to the shopper and to how much time they can or want to spend.

Disclosure: Links in this post may be Simply CVS affiliate partners or personal referral links.


a busy mom getting through life said...

thanks for posting

MsSharkBait said...

I like that you suggested setting aside $20-30 for your first CVS trip to build up your Extra Bucks. Everyone asks me how I can get CVS so cheap - cause I use and ROLL my Extra Bucks. But I always tell them you have to put up some the first time to get it going. Well worth the money to spend the first time!

Since 6/16/2010 I have...
• Spent: $52.59
• Saved: $497.33
I currently have...
• $38.98 Extra Bucks

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Way to go!! Yes, it is hard for newbies or those who want little of pocket without multiple transactions. I think taking $20 and starting and being very particular at first what you get then gives you the freedom to do what you want later. Thanks for sharing.