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About 7 years ago, I had a closet full of bath and beauty necessities. Shampoo, deodorant, soap… you name it, I had it. It was like my own personal convenience store. The best part, I had paid practically nothing for all of it, thanks to couponing. Once I got pregnant with my youngest, I stopped. We had enough to last us for a few years and let’s face it, with a newborn, I was in no hurry to wake up early, spend time searching for deals, clipping coupons and shopping. I just wanted to sleep.
About a month ago, I decided that I was ready to get back into couponing. We had finally run out of everything and since we only had one steady income coming in, I wanted to do my part to help my family save money. I got my two older girls involved and they helped me look for deals, find coupons and make our lists. We woke up at 6am, headed over to our local CVS and I taught them how much fun it is to save money.
And then my husband got the phone call that we’ve been afraid of for years. He was let go from his job. At first I didn’t want to believe him, but once reality set in, I realized that we were in trouble. While my blogging career is incredible and the most fun I’ve ever had, nothing is guaranteed so not having a steady income at all scared the crap out of me. We immediately went into panic mode and planned out our meals for the week, gas and bills, leaving us with $20.
We spoke to our 2 oldest daughters and explained the situation. It was hard and there were tears (from me). I have always wanted to give my girls everything they needed and now we are in a situation where we need to tighten those purse strings and for an 8 and 12 year old, that may be a little hard to understand. On Saturday, my 8 year old asked if we would still be able to go couponing. She has already become excited about it and I knew I couldn’t disappoint her. So we sat down, made a detailed list and headed out first thing yesterday morning with our coupons and our last $20.
We came home with $107.79 worth of goodies. And we paid $3.52 for it all, which was retail tax. PLUS, I received $17.50 in ExtraBucks Rewards for our next trip and I received another $.50 from Ibotta in rebates. It was our best couponing trip ever. We must’ve high-fived about 20 times in the car. There was so much to celebrate. Not only because we had gotten so much for so little, but because it was a glimmer of hope in this sad and scary time for our family. If we plan and get focused on the things we need vs. the things we want, we will be ok.
I know we aren’t the only ones going through something like this, so I wanted to share my knowledge of couponing, in hopes that another family can save some money and gain a new hobby that will help them to live an easier life.
Couponing Tips for CVS Pharmacy
Get a CVS Extracare Card: If you don’t already have one, go and get one. They are really easy to sign up for and they’re FREE. You’ll need one to get all of their best deals and to earn ExtraBucks Rewards. You’ll also be able to scan it at the store for some additional savings! Every quarter, you’ll receive bonus rewards just for shopping and you’ll receive rewards for beauty products throughout the year.
Download the CVS app: Connect your CVS Extracare Card to the app. You’ll be able to check out the weekly ad (Sunday’s ad is available days before so you can plan). There is a coupon and deals section on the app. Scroll through and add any coupon you might purchase to your CVS Extracare card. Adding coupons to your card will allow you to use these coupons with just a scan of your card at the register. No clipping and no worrying about losing them.
Scan the Weekly Ad: Go page by page and search for the best deals. What I love about CVS is that they actually tell you when there is a coupon available on their app or in the local paper. What I do first, is look at all of the items that offer you ExtraBucks Rewards. If they have a great deal, a coupon and ExtraBucks Reward, even better. Their weekly ad will let you know how much you will pay after your savings and rewards. My favorites are the “spend $30, get $10 ExtraBucks Rewards.” They are often things we all need, like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, etc.
Make a List: Make a list of all the things you are getting. Write down the retail price, what coupons are available (or you have already) and how many ExtraBucks Rewards you will get. This will help to determine how much you’ll pay out of pocket. Just a heads up, you will pay something out of pocket that first trip since you won’t have any rewards yet. Try to take advantage of the ExtraBucks Rewards deals! You’ll be able to use those rewards on any future purchase.
Search for Coupons: If you buy your local Sunday paper, there are usually around $400 in coupons in each insert. We try to buy one paper a week. You can also search online for printable coupons. The easiest thing to do is google “[brand name] coupon”. Make sure you check the size/qty to make sure you can use that coupon for that particular deal. For example, if the special is on 50 oz detergent and you find a coupon for 80 oz+, you won’t be able to use it. Check out coupondivas.com, coupons.com, redplum.com, and smartsource.com – all printable coupon databases. My recommendation is print anything you might possibly buy and print 2 of each (that’s the max per computer). While you may not be buying that particular product during this trip, they may have a deal on it next time and you’ll be glad you have that coupon in hand.
Join Ibotta: Lastly, you must join Ibotta! I JUST found out about it on Friday night and within 24 hours, I had already racked up $27.75 in rebates on things I had already purchased that week. Once you’ve downloaded the Ibotta app, you can search for deals. Just like the CVS app, you add those deals to your Ibotta account. Within a week of purchasing any of the products, you take a picture of your receipt and claim money back on those items. And once you hit $20, you can cash out! It’s literally the best thing ever and I’m sad I didn’t know about it sooner. Right now, you can qualify for a $10 welcome bonus just for signing up and redeeming at least $10 in rewards. PLUS, this May, everyone who refers at least 2 friends will split $100,000. Want to share $100,000 with me? Sign up today!
My Freebies Included:
- (3) 12 Packs of Coca-Cola
- (2) Packages of Oreos
- (2) Boxes of Wheat Thins
- (3) L’Oreal Elvive Shampoo/Conditioner
- (1) Purex Laundry Detergent
- (3) Softsoap Body Wash
- (4) Irish Spring Body Wash
- (1) Colgate Toothpaste
- (2) NYK Lip Gloss
Retail Subtotal: $107.79
Total Paid: $0
Total ExtraBucks Rewards Received: $17.50
Total Rebates Received: $.50
I hope these tips helped. I’m more than happy to answer questions. Just leave me a comment below!
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Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.