CVS: My Frugal Dream Come True!

Posted by Madison on November 11, 2008

We finally got a CVS! It’s one of the stores that you read about, you hear how people are saving a ridiculous amount of money, even making money… and for the longest time, we didn’t even have one! All that changed this month when the doors to our newly built CVS opened!

CVS can be the dream come true for a frugal minded person. With their ExtraCare rewards program, great coupons and deals on free items, you can stock the bathroom closet for years to come. We actually have about 40 bottles of our favorite shampoo from a 3 week adventure at CVS when I was visiting my in-laws last year. Total cost: about $3.

CVS: The Plan to Stack Rewards

The best part about CVS is the ability to stack multiple deals and coupons on top of each other. Before you begin shopping at CVS, you’ll want to set up and link your rewards accounts and options.

  • Get an Extra Care card to earn 2% back on your purchases.
  • Register your email address with CVS to get additional coupons sent to your in box.
  • Register your Extra Care card with Upromise to get even more cash back.
  • Use a cash rewards credit card to make your purchases and earn even more cash back!

CVS Deal Sites

Each week and month CVS offers new deals. So that you don’t have to do the work for yourself, here are some of my favorite sites that track CVS deals. Most of the time, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to work a deal to spend the least amount of money (or make money).

More CVS Information

If you are new to the CVS game, but it sounds intriguing, here are some helpful resources:

Free Stuff

Each week or month CVS features deals that sometimes work out to be free. What if you don’t need the item? Normally, I would suggest skipping the transaction… however, when you are buying drugstore type items, there are many uses for free items:

  • Donate the items to a local shelter or pantry. Soaps, deodorants, shampoos, and other personal hygiene items are usually always welcome and in high demand. In addition, you can deduct the fair market value on your taxes if you itemize; the net result will be putting money in your pocket and a great charitable deed.
  • Use as stocking stuffers. Since the holidays are right around the corner, you can throw in some extra items for stockings. Chap stick, little gadgets and gizmos, and school supplies are usually fun for little ones.
  • Ship them to college students and servicemen and women overseas. They all love getting care packages, and sometimes just the necessities are a welcome gift. (Because of safety, I think that you must specifically ship packages to a specific soldier now. Ask around, and a neighbor or co-worker will probably have a contact if you don’t have a family member abroad.)

Action Plan

Since we’re celebrating the grand opening of our CVS, they sent $40 in coupons in the mail. I’m plotting my course to find the best way to use them!

Do you shop at CVS?

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Comments to CVS: My Frugal Dream Come True!

  1. To be honest, I am not a true “frugalist” and had no idea that CVS deals were so legendary. We have one nearby so I intend to explore this further. Thanks for the tips. You may convert me!

    Mr. ToughMoneyLove

  2. Oh yeah I shop at CVS. I am now a bonafide CVSaholic and I even have a page dedicated to it at my blog.

    I go every Sunday when the new stuff comes out and so far I have gotten some pretty good deals. I only wish I had known about CVS earlier!!!!!

    I would appreciate if you would check out my CVS page and let me know what you think.


  3. I am a reformed spendthrift who loves this blog and has a question about shopper cards.

    I’ve always avoided signing up for rewards cards at CVS, the grocery store, etc. because of privacy concerns. I don’t like the idea of every personal purchase I make being tracked and tied to my name. (Remember during some post-9/11 terrorist trials, when suspects’ shopper-card records were subpoenaed?)

    But the potential savings are very attractive. I wonder if Madison or any of my fellow readers have any information or insight to share about this issue.

    Thanks a million!


  4. Me too! I live in the Bay Area (Nor. Cal.) and Long’s is the other drug store besides Walgreen’s. CVS is buying out Long’s and I am so excited although I love Long’s !! But the two drug store chains in contention were CVS and Walgreens. We don’t need another Walgreen’s. I am so happy for their decision to go with CVS. Hopefully the transition will take place before the new year.


  5. I really wouldn’t worry about privacy concerns from shopper cards. Most companies have strict rules governing how the data is used. As an analyst who has worked with many companies on their shopper card data the personal info is kept separately from the regular data. I could look at the number of women who bought x or how many times the average shopper bought y or how you could increase a shoppers frequency with a coupon but I could not see what Jane Doe bought. If you’re really worried about it you could always sign up with a different name but I don’t think you need to worry.


  6. Thanks, Adrienne–that’s tremendously helpful!


  7. Thanks for the idea about CVS couponing for charitable purposes. I’m always looking for ways to give more without breaking the bank. Speaking of food bank stock, Mapgirl’s Fiscal Challenge mentioned today that they’re in need of pet food. Combining her post and yours – and the stacks of coupons I’m able to clip from 20 sets of Sunday circulars – I think I’ve got a plan!


  8. Wow- like the first guy who commented, I had no idea it was such a big deal; I, too, and not exactly a true “frugalist.”

    That said, I’ll definitely take a look!

    Love the blog.. 🙂


  9. These are great ideas! I already have my CVS card, but I will be registering my email and checking out the coupons.

    One other idea for the “extra free stuff”: Save it for when you have guests over. I recently had my in-laws spend the weekend with us and I made them each a little bathroom package (soap, body wash, lotion) they were all the small travel sizes and I put them together with a ribbon and bow and gift tag with each guest’s name on them. I think it was a great touch!

    Colombian Coffee

  10. I would say I am a CVS Addict! I love CVS and only wished that I had understood ECBs when I was a single mom. It would have radically changed my life back then. I have a closet full of razors, shampoo, shaving gel, oral care products, and the like…most I have gotten for free or nearly free.

    The only problem I see now is that in this depressed economy people that never shopped CVS are doing so and now the shelves are bare most of the time with all the great deals being snagged. Thank goodness we have at least five within five miles of my home.

    It is thrilling to have things you can donate to your church or homeless shelter. But nothing can replace the rush you feel when you have a cart full of products and the final tally is under a dollar! WOW! You walk out of the store in amazement!

    Enjoy your new CVS! I love your blog.


  11. I keep hearing about the CVS game and since we have one right near the house, I guess I should check it out. The donation idea is wonderful and probably the main reason I want to try it, I don’t really care to have a 3 years supply of shampoo!

    Miss M

  12. They rarely if ever have the deals listed in their flyer actually in stock. Plus you have to go back to use the coupon (expires in 1 month). Also their regular prices are outrageously high.

    Overall, I get better deals from Walgreens with the rebate offers, coupons, regular store prices, etc. Or Kroger, where they have amazing toiletry prices and offer double coupons (lots of almost-free toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.)

    CVS has it’s place for frugal shoppers, but be careful that you really calculate the value of the “great deal”.

    Annie G

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