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Thursday, September 4, 2008

How I Started CVSing

Until about six weeks ago, I was a casual coupon clipper. I kept a tiny stash of coupons in one of those cute spiral-bound coupon holders, but I usually only saved a few dollars on each shopping trip. My grocery/Wal-Mart bills were still a few hundred dollars every couple of weeks.

That's when I got fed up and started to research printable coupons. I happened to be doing a search for CVS anti-gas medicine coupons (the only ones we can give my daughter), and I stumbled upon the Money Saving Mom blog about saving at CVS. I couldn't believe what I was reading. People were getting things free and almost free from CVS! They were singing the praises of the Extra Care Bucks program offered by CVS. Huh?!?!?

I used to stop at CVS to pick up my grandpa's prescriptions for him. I earned $1 for every 2 of his prescriptions, and I used them casually, usually on items that were splurge-worthy. But they only printed every 3 months. What were the people on this blog talking about? Little did I know that CVS had changed their ECB program since I stopped picking up prescriptions there. Now they offer ECBs immediately on many items. Hmm..... That got me thinking.

I did a lot more reading and thought it was worth trying. I did my first week's deals and was absolutely hooked. I now get my personal care, cleaning, and paper items for next-to-nothing. I have to be creative sometimes and maybe buy an item or two that I know I won't use (see Contour meter post). But those can always be donated to be used by someone who truly needs them or sold on eBay.

Sometimes I want to kick myself for the immense amount of money I've handed over at Wal-Mart and the grocery store for the same things I'm getting almost free now. I wish I'd known about the CVS ECB program changes earlier. But at least I know about them now. It's a bit of a time investment, but I love finding a great deal!

How about you? How did you get started? Did you stumble onto the deals like I did? Or did someone intentionally introduce you to the whole ECB thing? Feel free to leave a comment and share your own CVS tale.