Items you will need
- Easy Care Card issued by CVS
- Sunday newspaper
- Computer and internet connection (optional)
- printer (optional)
Wow, do diapers ever wreak havoc on a bank account! Having had ten children I've search high and low for every way imaginable to save money on diapers. After twenty years, I've come across the best way - get them free at CVS!
Do you have a CVS drugstore located near you? Probably. It's a nation-wide chain. If you don't know of any local CVS, visit their website. You might be surprised to find one in the next town.
Then sign up for a free Easy Saver card. This is part of their customer loyalty program which offers tremendous deals to loyal customers.. You can sign up at a store on their website. If you do it in-store you will get your card immediately. Otherwise, you should receive it in the mail in a few weeks. Once you have that in hand you are ready to start saving!
Start collecting coupons for diapers and other grocery items. You'll find these in the coupon inserts of the Sunday paper, in baby and parenting magazines, at special displays in grocery and drug stores. Ask your friends and family to save them for you. Sign up online with diaper companies to receive them. Sometimes you can even find them online for printing. Another option is to buy them through a coupon clipping service.
Organize your coupons in a way that is most efficient for you. I like the way thecouponmom organizes hers using her computer. See the Resources below.
Save all the CVS sales circulars both weekly and monthly (from the newspaper or from the store) or you can download them from the web.
CVS has a program that offers "Extra Care Bucks" (ECBs). ECBs are can be used as gift certificates at CVS. Each week they offer a number of items that are come with ECBs that equal the purchase price. If you use the ECBs it is like getting the items for free. For example, I received an ECB certificate for $3.49 after I bought Crest Pro Health Night Rinse which was on sale for $3.49. The ECB printed out at the end of my receipt. The next time I shopped at CVS I was able to use the $3.49 ECB to purchase more items. If I shop carefully I can actually increase the number of ECBs I have with every shopping trip. When I have about 20 ECBs I can "purchase" diapers with my ECBs instead of cash from my own bank account.
In order to do this, I search carefully through the current week's and month's circulars for these ECB items. I try to always use ECBs to purchase items that will generate the same amount or more ECBs than I previously had except when I'm buying diapers. (Unfortunately, diapers almost never generate ECBs.) In this way, I get all kinds of drugstore inventory items for free in addition to diapers. It's easy to bring home $15-50 worth of groceries but pay only $1.00 out of pocket and earn the same or more ECBs than previously so that I can go back and do it again next week!
Plan exactly what you will purchase so as to get maximum ECBs with as little out of pocket as possible. If you'd like some suggestions check out the becentsable blog (link in Resources).
Go to the CVS and gather the merchandise on your list. If your store has a price checker machine, be sure to scan your card when you first enter the store. Coupons and rebates will print. If you're lucky, you'll get a $3/$15 or $4/$20 coupon. These coupons are just what they sound like. You will get $3 off of your total if you purchase $15 or more in merchandise (or $4 off of $20). This is like free money to us. If I'm already going to be buying $15 worth of products before coupons (with ECBs, of course) then I can get $3 toward free diapers! These $3/$15 or $4/20 coupons also can print at the bottom of your receipt. Newspapers will sometimes carry them as well if your area drug stores are in intense competition.
These coupons can be stacked on top of manufacturer's coupons, CVS coupons, and ECB deals to make even more money. Here's a current deal this week:
Buy 8 bottles Dove shampoo/conditioner at $4.29 for 2 bottles x 4 = $17.16 total (This price may vary according to region.) Use the following coupons for this deal: $5/$15 CVS coupon $3/$15 CVS coupon Beauty Purchase from a CVS email $6 off by using 2 Manufacturer's coupons $3/2 $12 off by using 4 Manufacturer's coupons $3/1 Total coupon value $26
This amounts to a negative balance of $8.84. CVS actually owes you money. But their policy won't allow paying you money. In this scenario they pay you with merchandise. You knew about this negative balance before getting to the register because you tallied up your purchases with your handy-dandy calculator. So, before going to the check-out counter, you simply put a pack of diapers for $11.99 into the cart. You have a $1.50 coupon. So you walk out with 8 bottles of shampoo and a pack of diapers for only $1.65!! Now, that's what I call cheap diapers!
If the item you want is out of stock, be sure to ask for a rain check that reflects the ECBs you missed out on. Just because they miscalculated their inventory needs doesn't mean you have to miss out on the good deal.
Before getting in the register line, add up your total (after coupons) with a calculator to be sure things go smoothly. When your total is less than your ECBs you can buy your diapers for pennies.
Be sure you present any coupons you have to the cashier in the proper order. The order in which you present your coupons makes a big difference. You should hand over your CVS Extra Care card first. Otherwise, you may not get all the deals that you should. Next, place your merchandise on the counter. If you have one of those $3/$15 or something similar give that to the cashier next. This is important. If you do it after CVS and manufacturer's coupons the total price will be smaller and your transaction may not qualify for the coupon. If you're using CVS coupons, they come next. Then hand over your manufacturer's coupons and get your final total. Lastly, use your ECBs.
It is quite a thrill to have a total go from $16, down to $13, to $11, to $3! And as a crowning touch pay with $3.00ECB! I love getting free diapers!
Look for and save ECBs and discount coupons that print at the end of your receipt. On your first shopping trip you will have to pay out of pocket. The following weeks, however, you will pay for your purchases with previously earned ECBs.
Do it all again next week!
ALWAYS buy the items that are free after ECB's, they'll help roll your ECBs, extending the expiration date. Online registration of your Extra Care card will net you discount coupons via email such as "save $5 on your next $15 purchase". You can use one CVS coupon & one manufacturer coupon per item. If you find that you don't have the exact amount of ECBs to pay for your total you can add small items to make up the difference. You don't have to do that but if you pay with a $3 ECB but only owe $1.00 you will be losing $2 ECB in the transaction.
You can't buy stamps or gift cards with ECBs. ECBs expire after one month. The number of times an ECB deal works is limited to a certain number. If you exceed that number you will not receive any more ECBs on them. Be sure the items purchased match exactly with the coupon(s) used. If you're using a rain check, be sure you place it on top of the item so that is the price is inputted manually and not scanned.