Saturday, October 15, 2011

Step by Step CVS Deal Shopping ~ Lesson Three: Step #7 Organizing Take to the Store Supplies [Part One]

Step seven in getting the most out of CVS shopping is to organize our take to the store file.  It can be in anything from an envelope to a huge binder, but it needs to be convenient and organized according to the individual shopper's personality and shopping goals.  The items I am including in this "take to the store" container are:  CVS Extra Care Card,  CVS Gift Cards, Extra Bucks, rain checks, CVS scanner coupons, $/$$ CVS coupons, rebate info and the following coupons which are most useful on a weekly basis:

  • for Current Week's Deals
  • for Upcoming Week's Deals Known in Advance
    • Those being collected/printed from seeing the next week's ad.
  • for Free Products
    • To have handy if we need something added to our total for a $/$$ coupon.
  • for Fillers
    • There are often great coupons out that make products under $1 and work great as fillers for when our extra bucks are just a bit more than our total.
  • Those Matched to Rainchecks or Rebates

I have recently re-organized my take to the store supplies in what I fondly call "My Little Black CVS Book."  I had been using a little notebook received in an advertisement for my mom's eye drops reward club and longed for a "real" binder, but just couldn't wrap my frugal mind around actually paying for one since what I had would do until the day it would fall apart.  Then one day Sarah brought me a super sturdy little black binder the exact size I had been wanting--she rescued it from the trash as it was no longer needed in the program she was working in.  I still use the dividers that came with the other notebook, though.

Supplies I Used to Build My Little Black CVS Book

  • 9 x 7 1/2 x 1" Binder
    • Fits nicely in small CVS shopping cart front basket
  • Dividers
    • I use five since that is what I had and it worked out to be just right.
      • I divide the store by sections:  beauty, food, health and household.
      • I made one divider for "Mom" since I pick up her scripts and other health items at CVS.
  • Baseball Card Holders
    • I had a couple dozen of these I used to use for all of my couponing needs.
    • They were for a full size binder so I cut them down to just four slots to fit and punched new holes to fit my binder.
  • Mailing Labels
    • I cut these in half and folded them over the edges of some of the pages for tabs.
      • I left about 1/4" overhanging and wrote on them as I would a tab.
  • Plain White Paper
    • Okay, this is not necessary, but when there is nothing in some of the clear pockets you can see the coupons in the page behind and it drove me crazy when I was using a coupon binder.  So I cut plain white paper to fit in the baseball card holder pockets which gives a neater appearance.

Organization of Coupons, Extra Bucks, Rainchecks, Etc. Inside My Little Black CVS Book

  • Section #1:  Necessary and most likely to be used while shopping supplies.  (Baseball Sleeves with address labels for tabs.)
    • Coupons for this week's deals.
      • Filed individually so they are easy to see and to pull.
      • Coupons can also be tucked behind the little white papers in the back so you actually have two coupons in each slot--one seen from the front of the page and one from the back.
    • Coupons for upcoming week's deals.
      • This page then can be swapped out with the first page after shopping so it is ready for the next week's trip.
    • Rain checks for free after extra buck items or that have coupons.
      • This makes it easy to scan them quickly and see if they are in stock.
      • I try to be patient with the free after extra buck rain checks for a few reasons:
        • They come in handy in rolling extra bucks that are about to expire.
        • They help reach the total necessary for a $/$$ coupon.
        • A coupon may come out for it (if I don't already have one).
    • Coupons for Free items or fillers.
      • Often there are coupons for free items or that make an item nearly free, these I clip or collect when I see them and keep them at the ready for helping get to a necessary total for a $/$$ coupon or to fill in the amount of an extra buck I have so I don't loose any of it.
      • I used to be in a hurry to use these, now I hold onto them until near expiration in case they help with one of the above scenarios.
    • Rebate offers.
      • I write the details down and file them like a coupon.
      • If there is a coupon for the product I include those.
      • These come in handy for those elusive $/$$ coupons and for using up an extra buck that is about to expire.
      • I save them until near expiration in case they will come in handy for a certain week or an extra buck deal comes along for them.  Also, by waiting for a sale I will pay less tax than buying at full price.
    • Extra Bucks.
      • Filed by amount and then expiration date.
      • One 4-slot page for $1 thru $5 ones.
      • One 4-slot page for over $5.
      • If I have several varying amounts under $5 they can be filed on the back side of the page, too.
    • Checkout needs.
      • Extra Care Card
      • Gift Cards (earned online)
      • Extra Green Bag Tag to be sure I don't forget to have it scanned.
      • And if I ever have a $5/25 CVS coupon I tuck it in behind my extra care card so I remember to use it.
  • Section #2:  Items that might possibly be used.
    • Divided by sections of the store.
      • Beauty
      • Food
      • Health
      • Household
      • An extra one marked "Mom" for my mom's needs.
    • Three Baseball card sleeves under each divider.
    • Rain checks filed here that are not free after extra bucks or I do not have current coupons for.
      • Folded so the deal/price is visible.
    • CVS scanner coupons filed here.
      • Folded so product, value and expiration date shows.
Other Uses to Stay Organized While Shopping

  • Front pocket used to tuck in scanner coupons and rainchecks received for filing when I get home.
  • Back pocket used to tuck in receipts and extra bucks received to take care of when I get home.
  • If I find any coupons or rebate forms I tuck them in one of the pockets, too.

Where to Get the Supplies (these are just some I found quickly to share in case you want to make a book like mine)

  • Notebook
  • Baseball Sleeves
  • Baseball card sleeves.
  • Dividers
  • Office Supply Stores may have them but I had problems trying to search around the sites to find them so I quit looking.  I figured their prices are higher anyways.  The above list will at least give you an idea of a price.
  • You can earn free Amazon gift cards to pay for your couponing supplies as well as for ink and paper to print coupons, too.  Find out how in these earlier posts:  Intro to Swag BucksIntro to MyPointsIntro to Superpoints.

The Step by Step Series

I recently decided to throw out my old CVS Extra Care Card and to get a new one and to write a step by step lesson series here at Simply CVS on saving money while shopping at CVS. I thought with a new card and having to go thru each step again myself, I wouldn't leave anything out.  Click the Step by Step banner above to see all of the posts in this series.

Follow along on my $50 CVS Gift Card Challenge Journey as I take a new CVS Extra Care Card account and show how to stretch the $50 into hundreds.

Disclosure: Links in posts may be Simply CVS affiliate partners or personal referrals.


Anonymous said...

This so helpful!! I am just getting back into couponing and this is very useful. I don't know about the binder, I like to 'hide' them in my purse. lol Don't want everyone thinking- O she's just doing it because of that show. When I'm not I was doing CVS long ago- when everyone said I don't shop at CVS, it's to high. Well it is if you don't use coupons and there is sales.
Love all your post! Thanks :)Amelia J

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Glad to help, Amelia! That is one reason I like the little binder--it isn't so noticeable tucked in the little "child basket."