Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My FIRST CVS Shopping Trip 12/11/2011 Ad: Trip #16 of the $50 Gift Card Challenge

I had a complicated trip today.  I had ordered the small cans of Gillette Fusion shave gel to use in the buy $30 of "any" Gillette get $10 ECB deal.  I also had the $2 coupons to go with it and since they were P&G coupons I had to check them out only 4 at a time making 5 transactions total. Then after I buy them I see they did not count toward the deal, tho the ad said "any."  So I showed the ad to the cashier and she said it should count and issued my extra buck.

I just read on a couponing board that a member called and asked about these cans and they said it was a clearanced item--tho ringing at full price.  And another member of the board said that even the larger cans aren't
counting--so something is mis-coded apparently.  The members of that couponing board were also stating that for some reason these Gillette cans were counting last week in the Schick deal--perhaps they coded them for the wrong week.  Sometimes there are glitches in the system and they are corrected later in the week--but be aware if you plan to do this deal that as of Monday noon these weren't tallying in the total.  EDITING to add:  I just read again on the couponing board that CVS verified these should be counting and they are issuing credit from corporate to those who purchased them--so maybe soon they will have them in the system as they told the gal that hers should print when she goes and buys the remainder of the amount she needs to reach $30 (she had purchased just 5).

I also had a $4/20 coupon--but because of having to divide my shave creams into different transactions I had to do some figuring to get up to the $4 to spend because most everything I was getting was free (or nearly so) after coupons. I threw in some Mentos Up2U gum at b1g1 free with $1/1 coupons for my Operation Christmas Child stockpile and a bottle of Palmolive.  I also had a rain check for Blistex [buy any get $1.50 ECB] and when I went to buy the largest tube it rang up at only 99 cents (apparently included in the sale) so I grabbed a second one for another transaction as my hubby goes thru this like water in the winter.

And finally, I had printed the Facebook coupon for a free Kodak collage last week and wasn't able to make it in by Sunday, before it expired, to use it.  My husband was going into town on Saturday and I asked to stop and ask if they would let him check it out and use the coupon and then I could come in and make it this week.  The manager said no problem, but instead of having him check it out she just attached a rain check to it saying I could use it Monday when I came in.  So that worked out nice with the $4/20, too.

I am currently doing a $50 Beginner's CVS Gift Card Challenge seeing how much I can get for a $50 gift card I earned on Swagbucks with a new CVS Extra Care Card just like a new shopper would be able to get.  The challenge will end when I run out of gift card and cash to be able to pay the tax.  I will  most likely have extra bucks left over, but without cash to pay the tax they are basically useless so this challenge will end.  Here are the balances after 16 trips.

$50 Beginner's CVS Gift Card Challenge Balances:

Total Saved:  $ 1,041.44 (including tax)
Total Spent:  $ 52.36 (including tax) -- I went over the original $50 GC, but still have some left on it because of the CVS gift cards I earned on deals
Total Value of Products Purchased:  $ 1025.90 (without tax)
Gift Card Balance:  $  30.56*  (began with a $50 GC earned on Swagbucks)
Gift Cards Earned Balance :  $  17.08* (these are CVS gift cards earned on deals purchased with this $50 GC)
Cash from Rebates Balance:  $  9.56* (from rebates sent in on products purchased with this gift card--less stamps)
Extra Buck Balance:  $  16.00* (I began with no extra bucks with this gift card)
*Total CVS Spending Power Balance:  $73.20

This week's trip's details (I did 5 transactions, but I am combining them for ease):

1 -- Blistex Ointment @ $.99 [I had a rain check for buy any Blistex get $1.50 ECB, I grabbed the biggest--$2.99--but it rang up as the sale price of the small ones; when they printed the extra buck it printed for $2 instead (they always round up when they print them)]
Used 1 -- $.55/1 Manufacturer insert coupon
1 -- Blistex Ointment @ $.99
13--Gillette Fusion Shave Cream @ $2.37 [spend $30 get $10 ECB] I special ordered these.
Used 13 -- $2/1 Manufacturer insert coupons
1 -- Palmolive @ $.99
1 -- ProNutrient Vitamin @ $9.99
Used 1 -- $5.00 CVS Scanner Coupon
Used 1 -- $5.00 off one Centrum ProNutrients™ Fruit & Veggi Printable
6 -- Mentos Up2U
Used 3 -- $1/1 Manufacturer insert coupons
1 -- 8 x 10 Kodak Kiosk Collage Photo
Used 1 -- CVS coupon from Kodak FB page [no longer available]
4 -- Snickers Holiday singles @ 2/$1
Used 2 -- $1/2 Manufacturer Printable coupons [no longer available]

Used a $4/20 CVS coupon

Saved:  $  68.53 + $ 1.35 tax = $ 71.46 (some of my tax is paid on coupon values, this is the tax on the total product less the tax I paid--that is all I saved on tax)
Spent:  $ 2.93 + $ 3.47 tax = $ 6.40 
Beginning Extra Bucks Balance: $ 6.00
Total Extra Bucks used:  $ 2.00
Total Extra Bucks earned:  $ 12.00

Check out my SECOND CVS Shopping trip of this week, also a Money Maker.

NOTE:  Because I often do multiple transactions my total extra bucks earned may differ from the ending extra buck balance and the total used may exceed the beginning balance as I use some from one transaction on another.

Check out these and all of this week's deals.  Also, read how I have learned (from others) how to "stack" the coupons in the right order to pay for tax.  Some states have to pay tax on extra buck usage and some don't so it may or may not affect your CVS shopping.  And if you don't have any, or many, extra bucks check out how to have the least out of pocket cash when beginning or check out these scenarios for spending less than $5 or $10 out of pocket for several items.

You can read about all of my CVS shopping trips or check out readers' trips.

Step by Step CVS Shopping for Beginners

I started a step by step lesson series on how to begin CVS shopping as I am beginning as a "new shopper" with a new card and no extra bucks this month and will share what I am doing.

Readers' Gift Card Challenges

If you haven't joined us in the Simply CVS gift card challenge we'd love to have you do so.  Check out the details in this introductory post:  Join the Simply CVS Gift Card Challenge.  If you have joined already, leave a comment below with your most recent trip and/or totals.  If you blog about your challenge trip leave a link in a comment below directly to your challenge shopping trip or the post introducing your challenge.  I would love it if you would add the Challenge button like the one here in your post or on your blog so your readers can join us and see what everyone is doing on their challenge (the ink for the code can be found in the right hand side bar).

Earn CVS Gift Cards Online

If you haven't worked on earning free CVS gift cards online yet, now would be a great time with Holiday shopping in full swing.  Click the banner below and you can see a few different sources I use to earn CVS gift cards from, along with free Paypal, to help with my CVS shopping (they offer other prizes, but CVS gift cards are my favorite).  If you'd like to learn how to earn more Swagbucks towards your prizes check out the Index to the Swag Bucks 101 Series of posts. Thru 12/31/2011 when you join Swagbucks use the code HOLIDAYSWAG at sign up (it is case sensitive) and earn an additional 100 Swag Bucks just for signing up.


Sobeida said...

Great!, so you didnt have more of the pronutrient coupons? I see you only got one

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Sobeida, I didn't have any more of the scanner coupons. I hope to stop back in one more time this week--use two printables and a scanner and get the $10 GC--but I am not sure I will be able to get a ride to town. I guess I could have gotten them without the scanner q, but I was thinking I really wanted to do it with another scanner q and so I was limiting my thinking on that one, lol.

Johanna said...

What a great haul. I'm having a terrible time finding the vitamins. I've already gone to 3 cvs with no luck, but I'm not going to give up.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

I hope you find some, Johanna. My store had several of each--hopefully I get back and get to get a couple more.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl that is such an excellent idea! It didn't occur to me to buy one of the ProNutrients every day to maximize the CVS coupon values by printing daily, rather than buying 3 together. I can walk past a CVS on my way to work so it could be doable, assuming they have stock. Thank you!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

You have it made for these types of week long deals, Anon! I hope you can score more this week.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed when I went last night (Tues) - they were out of almost everything. First of all the scanner wasn't working - said it was out of paper and I told the clerk and she said "okay" and I went about my shopping and came back by where she just stuck a piece of paper on the scanner that said "out of paper". Then I checked on the ProNutrients - the store tag said the coupons (which I had 4 of) were good on 50 ct. that were $9.99 and they only had 2 boxes of the 100 ct. which were not on sale so I couldn't get those. Also had American Greeting card coupons (some of which were issued by CVS) but my store only carries Hallmark so those I couldn't get either. (I guess this is regional - I just assumed if they were printed by the CVS scanner then my CVS would carry them)! So, I only came out with a few deals and alot more OOP than I wanted too! They were also out of Glade products (for which I have coupons for) and I did get a rain check on those. (So my rain checks won't expire on these .99 cent deals?)So frustrating....I get the paper on Sunday afternoon - takes me Monday p.m.'s to get my list all ready, etc. and by the time I get there on Tuesday they are out of everything! Oh, I also had a 20% off coupon that wouldn't scan for some reason and the girl told me it wouldn't scan, then just said "oh well". By that time I was so frazzled I just had to leave! I guess I just need to plan better and now that I've read that rain checks don't expire and that you can also still use them towards the ECB's deals if needed I will always ask for RC's now. Thank you so much for what you do.....I just started shopping at CVS at our new corner store and couldn't do it without all your help - especially love your "Coupon match-ups" - they help so much. Well, I guess I just have to keep practicing, and keep my patience!! Thanks again!

Ami said...

Tammy maybe find a different CVS...I always have problems with the CVS by my house because its usually out of stock or has few..so I just call the next closest CVS and ask em if they have the things on my list,they usually do!And there much nicer,and calling is better then making a pointless trip..

Hope its helpful:)

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Tammy, it does take a while, really, to get into it and find ways to make it go more smoothly (where possible) and learn to not get frustrated--which is nearly impossible. I used to be so tense each time I shopped and dreaded what would happen "this time."

I stuck with one store, they got to know me and knew I wasn't mis-using coupons and I also would share what I read online--coupon usage, CVS policy, whatever--and they would check into it or try it and they learned, too, how it all works. It is complicated--so many variables/rules and lately they have changed some, which makes it even harder.

I actually learned to enjoy the rainchecks. Takes the pressure off. But now my store almost always has stock, lol. Also, find out what day your store gets their truck--that way if it is later in the week, you can prepare on Monday as usual and shop the afternoon of the day they get the truck. Mine is Monday--but many are as late as Thursday.

It can be frustrating, I know. But try to "expect" problems so they aren't surprises and it will help calm the nerves a little. There are times when I still don't enjoy it, but I am much more relaxed about it.

Also, on the 20% off coupon--I think it says on there if it won't scan to enter the code? Check the next time you have one and if it won't scan show it to her and ask if she would please try it.

I hope you do find a way to get the deals and enjoy them. And you are welcome for the posts here and also you are welcome to share your frustrations and joys here. I would love to hear how it is going.

My motto is "by the inch it's a cinch, by the yard it's hard." CVS fits right in there--start small, little trips, little deals, and eventually the bigger ones will be just as easy.

J Rodney said...

It sounds like a very complicated trip Cheryl, but as always you get it done!

I checked and our CVS did not have these small cans....of course you are smart and order them:)

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you Cheryl for the kind (calm!) response! LOL! I have been reading over some of your lessons again and have learned more and more. I've also come to the conclusion that I don't have to get every single deal every single time I go to CVS! I do love the store - so close by me so I will take your advise and try to get to know them better and ask questions, such as truck delivery days/times, etc. Since I've only been doing this for about 2 months now I think I'm just not as prepared as I think I should be and also have to work on organization skills as well. I know I'll get there and I know it will take time so I will just calm down!! (I was just so frustrated on that trip that I needed to vent and I love your site so much that unfortunately you are the one who "got it" but I also knew you would "get it" as well!) Again, thank you (and your daughter - hope she's feeling better by now!) for all your help....
Baby steps Tammy! :)

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

JR, sorry you missed out on them--wish you lived closer, I'd share some of mine :-).

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Tammy, you are right--step by step (or inch by inch when necessary). Did you read over the 5 CVSer personalities and the Step by Step lessons? They both have some hints to organization that may be helpful.

Vent anytime you need to--it will help you be able to hang in there and keep saving. And you are right, you do not need to get every deal--they will come around again and within a year you will be able to have all your needs stockpiled and be sharing on top of it! Enjoy!