How I Saved $120 at CVS

Where I live, Savon Drugs, possibly the most wretched drugstore I've ever visited, has been switching to CVS. In the process, they've been cleaning up their stores, lowering everyday prices, and giving out tons and tons of fantastic coupons. If you haven't gotten any coupons in the mail or in-store, you may be able to snag some on eBay, especially the $30 gift card with prescription transfer coupons.

The first set of coupons I collected from CVS came in the mail. I got a flier for three coupons worth $5 off a $10 purchase and a coupon for a $25 gift card if I transferred a prescription or brought in a new one. I noticed that many other people in my apartment complex had tossed out these fliers, so I nabbed them from the mail recycling pile, giving me a total of 12 $5 off a $10 purchase coupons. For quite a few days (until I got sick of it and ran out of things I needed), I went to CVS and purchased exactly $10 worth of goods (before taxes, Extra Care savings or manufacturer's coupons. After the goods were rung up, I presented my $5 off $10 coupon, any manufacturer's coupons I had, and my Extra Care card, which is CVS's customer loyalty card that entitles the user to certain sale prices not available otherwise. On each trip, I came away spending only $3-5 for a bag full of loot that I would normally pay full price for.

I wanted to make this opportunity really worthwhile, so I stuck to purchasing essential items that I buy anyway (mostly toiletries and a few groceries), deciding to stockpile them while I could get them at a discount so I wouldn't have to shop for them or pay full price for them later.

A couple of weeks later, a new coupon came out for a $30 gift card with a prescription transfer. Since I hadn't picked up my prescription yet, I used the $30 gift card coupon instead of the $25 one. I also snagged a $5 off a $20 purchase coupon from the newspaper and some store coupons that CVS was handing out. I used all of these along with my gift card to get an unbelievable amount of stuff totally free.

All in all, here's what I got. At regular price, these items add up to about $165 before tax. By carefully planning each purchase to take advantage of sales, coupons, and my gift card, I acquired all of this stuff for $45, a savings of $120. Given that CVS sells many items for higher prices than I normally pay (I buy all my toiletries at Target), I'd estimate that I probably truly saved more like $100.

Additionally, as part of CVS's Extra Care program, you earn 2% back on all non-prescription purchases. Not including the purchases I made in December, I've earned $1.35 in cash back.

Prior to this experience, I thought coupons were a waste of time and effort. Now I've been converted and have started taking advantage of all sorts of other coupons that come my way.

My CVS Spoils and their regular, non-sale, pre-coupon prices:

1 Sunsilk conditioner - $4
29 zone bars (a type of protein bar) - $38
1 Package of 5 cloth headbands - $6
1 Herbal Essences shampoo - $4
1 CVS brand Pepto Bismol - $3
1 Box of 10 candy canes - $1
1 Large pizza - $6
1 Red nail polish - $2.50
1 Tom's of Maine toothpaste - $4.20
1 Pantene conditioner - $4.50
3 Dove deodorants, 2.6 oz - $10.50
1 CVS brand Cetaphil - $7
1 Half gallon ice cream - $6
1 Marshmallow pumpkin - $1
1 Loreal Vive shampoo - $4
1 package gummy worms -$0.50
2 bars Dove soap - $3
1 ten pack fun sized Kit Kats - $1.50
2 bottles contact solution $16.60
1 vo5 shampoo - $1
1 Garnier Fructis shampoo - $4
1 Herbal Essences conditioner - $4
1 twelve-pack Coke - $4
1 prescription - $10 (with insurance coverage)
1 Pantene shampoo - $4.50
1 large body wash - $7
1 package of 4 razors - $1

Grand total, before tax*: $165
Actual money spent, including tax: $45

For those of you who may take moral issue with this type of deal-getting, my advice is to not engage in it. However, my personal stance is that if CVS makes all of these coupons available, they have to assume that people will use them. Every coupon I used was a legitimate, original coupon.

*Calculating sales tax on these purchases is not worth my time because not all items were taxed and coupons affected the taxable totals. I've already tossed most of these receipts, too.



David said...

We used all those coupons too when they came out, it was great. And today I was in there with some of their "Extra Care" coupons, and got about 6 more on my receipt for 2 for 1 deals, $5 off anything, $10 off $15 purchase, a free beauty care product when you buy one...I hope they keep this up for a while, as it is WAY better than Sav-On was!

Congrats on your savings!

Kat said...

The cashier at my CVS just told me last week that you can use those ExtraCare coupons that print with your receipt, after they expire. I haven't tried it yet, but there you go.