Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Learning How to Roll ExtraBucks at CVS

Yesterday was the first time I rolled my ExtraBucks in one trip by doing 3 separate transactions.  I was a little nervous about doing it, so I had each step planned out and typed up so that I wouldn't make any mistakes.  I figured it'd be easy to post this on my blog so that you could see how rolling ECB right away makes it so that you don't pay much out of pocket in one trip.  Typically, I do one big transaction and just save all the ECB for the next trip during the following week.  This might be more enticing to some of you.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there are many people who have multiple CVS cards so that they can stock up on offers since there are sometimes limits on how much you can buy per card.  I only have my card, but Howard recently signed up for a card of his own too.  That worked out really well this week because he already had $3 ECB from a previous purchase and CVS randomly emailed him that $3 ECB to spend too!  That meant I had $6 total going to the store today, and I was also crossing my fingers for a $2 off $10 oral care coupon, which would mean I'd only have to do 2 transactions.  I knew he would probably get the $1 off $5 though based on his online account.

Transaction #1: Spend $0.55 OOP, get $6 ExtraBucks

On Howard's card, I purchased the 2 travel-friendly 4-packs of Colgate toothpaste.  The regular price would have been $7.18, but I used the $1 coupon that came from the redbox on oral care along with the $6 ExtraBucks.  That meant the subtotal was only $0.18!  With tax, I had to pay $0.55, which I paid for using coins.  I love these situations where I pay with coins because I consider it not really spending money at all since I don't even know what change I have in my wallet.  Although it was rare, I would sometimes have to grab a snack from the vending machine before leaving work for $0.50 to have enough energy to drive home (that's why I buy snacks in bulk to carry with me).  To think that this toothpaste cost just a little bit over a bag of chips is why I really dislike buying ANYTHING from vending machines and wonder how my former students could just spend so much money on snacks each day!  But I know that that's just something that comes with the age.  I used to buy snacks all the time from the vending machine in high school because I often had to stay after school for activities like when I was on the layout committee for the yearbook during my senior year.  Nowadays, I would rather buy toothpaste!  Plus, I used pennies for the five cents, so less change to lug around!

Transaction #2: Spend $1.89 OOP, get $3 ExtraBucks

Since transaction #1 gave me $6 in ECB, I was able to use it for the second one.  I did the Nivea one again because it really is such a deal!  I used the lotion I got yesterday on my legs after my shower, and it was so soothing.  With the cooler weather, the skin on my hands and my legs have been drying out and actually a little bit painful at times.  This really helps a lot more than when I've tried to use Lubriderm, which isn't as rich.  Today I decided to pick up the "Essentially Enriched" one, which is the richest of their options (you can see near the bottom of the bottle that they have a scale of Light to Rich to indicate where it falls) since the frigid cold winter months are ahead of us.  I also picked up the body wash that smells girly because I really like the scent (yes, I sniffed each bottle to see which ones I liked) but didn't buy it earlier since I don't think my husband wants to smell like that.  Haha, but since I was getting another bottle, I wanted to get the pink one!  The prices were, of course, the same as yesterday, so the lotion was $6, and I used a $2 coupon, and the body wash was $4, and I used a $1 coupon (I needed to print them from Howard's computer).  Instead of paying full price, I used the $6 ECB from the Colgate deal, paid $1.89 out of pocket, and got $3 back in ECB.

Transaction #3: Spend $4.57 OOP, get $4 ExtraBucks

The last transaction (I purposely waited for other people to pay and leave so that I wasn't hogging up a self-checkout for too long) was on the mouthwash again and Listerine PocketPaks.  The mouthwash was on sale 2 for $5.98, and I used two of the $1.10 coupons.  The Listerine was on sale for $2.99 with $1 back in ExtraBucks instead of the regular $4.49 price.  With the coupons and the $3 ECB from the Nivea deal, I paid $4.57 out of pocket and got $4 back.

That means all I spent for everything I brought home today was $7.01 out of pocket and still have $4 for next time.  If you do what I said yesterday and look at deals that people post on Instagram using #CVS, you'll see that many of them deduct the amount of ECB from their total and claim that it's really only spending $3.01.  I don't do it that way because you actually deduct it from your OOP total in your next trip, so it's as if you're convincing yourself that you saved more than you really did.  I still had to pay $7 regardless of what money I may have for the next trip, so that's another thing I'd suggest you keep in mind because there is a difference!  But I was COMPLETELY fine with the $7 spent today for all that I got since it's less than one full price bottle of lotion!  Couponing is awesome!

I took my goodies back to the car and checked the date on when my free $3 ECB was going to expire, and the little paper said 9/19/03, which I realized was this Friday!  It would've been such a waste to drive there to use it on another day, so I went back to the store!  I was thinking that the lady by the self-scan checkout place would think I was crazy since she already had to help me so much by okaying coupons with her little card.  Thankfully, once I walked into the store, I saw there was a new employee working that area!  Yay!  I just went in to grab another Listerine PocketPaks so that I wouldn't spend any money out of pocket yet still get to take something home and get another $1 ECB back.  The coupon corrected itself to $2.99 so that my subtotal was $0.00 so I didn't have to reach for my wallet all!  Thanks, CVS!  

As you can see, it's possible to just continuously roll your ECB during the same sales week instead of saving them.  This method might be helpful for you if you don't want to hold on to too much CVS currency at once in case you're afraid you'll forget to use them (I've heard about some CVS stores taking expired ECB, but I don't really want to risk it) or if you just want to take advantage of one sales week and not worry about not being able to use it during future weeks.  Either way, you still end up saving a LOT of money by rolling and getting a lot of products that you and your family will need!

Anyway, couponing does require a good amount of work, but it's really nice to know that there are so many people out there who do the heavy lifting for you so it's not all on your shoulders!  I do a lot more planning for myself though so that I won't make any mistakes.  Take a look at how I planned this trip using Howard's card based on what potential coupon I would get from the redbox (I had to go with the second plan of three transactions).  This is obviously all done without tax, but my time spent paid off here because all the subtotals match my receipts exactly!

By the way, I don't actually know how to use Excel other than using it as a chart, but hey, I can still save money!  Wahoo!

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