Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shopping Lesson 101

My daughter in California and several friends have been following along with my CVS/Walgreen's shopping trip adventures I post about on here. They haven't ventured into this area themselves because they just don't know how to get started or they don't understand how "the game" works. I took some time yesterday to actually write out step-by-step what my daughter needed to do on her first shopping trip and I emailed it to her.

She doesn't have a stockpile of coupons because she doesn't purchase the Sunday paper -- so with that in mind I asked her how much she was willing to spend up front (cash) and what were the main items she needed. She told me she only wanted to spend $20.00 because she needed wet wipes and diapers and she would spend that much on those items anyway.

So keeping that in mind, this is the "deal" I worked out for her based on May's sales. Let me show you this first and then I will explain some basics you need to know.

Purchase #1 - Tell the cashier you have separate purchases - they never mind, if they get a long line normally another cashier will come open another register but if that doesn't happen you might want to step aside and let the cashier check some other people out before you finish your multiple purchases - she will appreciate you!!

You are starting with $20.00 cash
First purchase
(3) Colgate 360 toothbrushes @ 3.99 each = $11.97
(1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean Polishing Action @ $2.99
(1) Dawn dishwashing liquid @.88

Total = $15.84
Subtract your coupons (hand them to cashier IN THIS ORDER!)
your $3.00 / $15.00 purchase coupon - have to give that to her first always, then it doesn't matter what order you give her the rest in
(2) Colgate toothbrushes coupons - $2.00
-$1.00 Any Colgate Adult Manual ToothbrushPRINTABLE
(1) Aquafresh coupon - $1.00
-$1 off Extreme Clean (Polishing Action) PRINTABLE
-$Various Aquafresh products (Polishing Action) PRINTABLE

You are going to pay $9.84 + tax out of your pocket.
You will get back $14.96 in Extrabucks (add that to what cash you have leftover and you have just profited about $5.00 so you now have $25.00 to spend)

Second purchase
(1) Aquafresh Extreme Clean Polishing Action @ 2.99
(1) Gillette Body Wash @ 3.99
(1) Adidas Anti Perspirant @ 4.99
(2) 1-gallons of Nursery Water @ 1.69 each = 3.38
(1) Non Drowsy Allergy Relief @ 3.79

Total = $19.14
Subtract your coupons
-1.00 Aquafresh toothpaste
-$1 off Extreme Clean (Polishing Action) PRINTABLE
-$Various Aquafresh products (Polishing Action) PRINTABLE
-.55/2 nursery water
-11.97 ExtraCareBucks (ECB's) - from purchase #1

Pay $2.62 + tax out of pocket
You will get back $16.76 in ECB's and add that to your $2.99 ECB's you still have left over from purchase #1 you now have
$19.75 in ECB's + $7.54 in cash left = $27.29 to spend

Third Purchase
Pampers Wet Wipes @ 2.99
Pampers @ 8.99
Honey Nut Cheerios @ 1.99
Olay Body Wash @ 5.99

Total = $19.96
Subtract any coupons you have and then you can subtract your ECB's.
-$3.00/$15.00 purchase
-4.99 ECB (got for Adidas deodorant)
-3.99 ECB (got for Gillette Body Wash)
-3.79 ECB (got for Non Drowsy Allergy Relief)
-2.99 ECB (got for toothpaste)
-1.00 ECB (got for the nursery water)

You will pay .20 + tax for this purchase
You will have $2.99 ECB's left over + $7.34 cash = $10.33 to spend

4th Purchase
Olay Quench Lotion @ $5.99
York Mints @ 2/$3.00
Pringles 1@.88

Total = $9.87
No coupons and total doesn't equal $15.00 so you can't use the $3.00/$15.00 coupon
-$2.99 ECB's

You will pay 6.88 + tax cash for this purchase
You will receive back $5.00 ECB's for the Olay and $2.00 ECB's for the York mints so you have $7.00 ECB's to spend the next time you come shopping!!

Look at everything you got for your original $20.00 cash AND you have $7.00 left over (in ECB's) to spend on your next shopping trip!
3 Colgate toothbrushes
2 Aquafresh toothpaste
1 Dawn dishwashing liquid
1 Gillette Body Wash
1 Adidas Anti-Perspirant
2 Gallons of Water
1 Non Drowsy Allergy Relief
1 Pampers Diapers
1 Pampers Wet Wipes
1 Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
1 Olay Body Wash
1 Olay Quench Lotion
2 York Mints
1 Pringles chips

Okay, so here is some FYI -
  1. You have to get an Extracare card!! Either go to CVS website and register online (takes longer because you have to wait for it to come in the mail) or get one in the store.
  2. Once you have an Extracare card - go to and register there with your card to receive email updates - you will get great coupons in your email.
  3. Pick up a weekly AND monthly flyer from the front of CVS stores - they have different specials in them.
  4. When you are walking around the store always keep a lookout for other specials - they are everywhere! They will have peelie coupons, flyers with coupons, free magazines with coupons in them. If they have a scan machine - normally near the pharmacy section- scan your extracare card - you will get coupons printed out that you can use.
  5. Your ECB's print out in different denominations and you have to use them as close to that amount as possible. You will not get change for these. Your cashier will adjust the amount down if you are willing to lose a few cents. Let's say in one purchase that you purchase 5 toothbrushes (there is a limit of 5) @ 3.99 each = $19.95 and you are going to receive $3.99 ECB's back for these toothbrushes. Your ECB's will print off on one receipt as $19.95 which means you now have like a $20.00 bill in your hand - only you won't receive change back so you HAVE to spend close to 20.00. Hope this makes sense!
  6. I have shopped at CVS stores all over town with many different cashiers and I have always had wonderful cashiers who are great about my multiple purchases and tons of coupons! I always tell them I have several purchases I want rung up separately. Most of them are thrilled to see how "the game" works and start asking me if I and find any more coupons to use to get a few more cents off. Don't be intimidated...just be nice and courteous AND if you see the line growing long, offer to move to the side for a few moments - your cashier will appreciate you!
Hope this has helped you and I look forward to hearing about YOUR great deals real soon!!

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