Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Save Big at CVS ~ My Essay for English Class

I'm not the best writer by any means but I had a chance to write a process essay over a topic of my choosing. I chose to write it over how to save at CVS. :)  

How to Save Big at CVS Pharmacy
            Many people these days are trying to cut their budgets in order to live better elsewhere. In my example, I will show how to save 97.65% on a pre-coupon total of $86.12 in merchandise at CVS Pharmacy which included two bags of Brookside chocolate, four bottles of Pantene, one bottle of Clear shampoo, two feminine hygiene products, one box of alcohol swabs, a liter bottle of Crest Pro-Health rinse, one Almay eyeliner, one Almay mascara, and two bottles of Pediacare. I will explain how I managed to save this much in hopes it will help others learn the steps in order to succeed as well as I do when shopping at CVS stores. This includes being prepared; watch sales, gather the corresponding coupons and be equipped with extra coupons. While at the store, scan your CVS card at the coupon machine, go through the instant coupons, taking note of which ones have matching manufacturer’s coupons. Check out prices of the items that have both CVS coupons and manufacturer’s coupons and decide if the savings from both coupons are going to bring the retail price down to a reasonable amount of savings, preferably making the item or items free. Last, decide how much to spend out of pocket. The steps may seem lengthy but a seasoned couponer can do all of this in a matter of no time. As with anything in life, practice makes perfect!
            Being prepared is the first step in saving big at CVS. Follow a few of the coupon bloggers on Facebook or elsewhere to see what great deals can be expected. A lot of times, the bloggers find the coupons so as to cut the search for coupons down. I found my coupons for candy and the free alcohol prep pads from a blogger and had those printed out and ready to go for this trip. I also saw a blogger’s post about Almay makeup being free after coupons and Extra Care Bucks so I had my Almay coupons ready to go as well. Go over weekly sales and make a list of what deals to purchase. I had a mental note of what I was going to purchase. I knew the Clear shampoo was going to be free after an instant coupon from the coupon machine, as stated in the sales ad. Also, gather coupons from weekly coupon inserts and the internet. Always take extra coupons in a coupon binder or file system so if one is needed, it will be handy. Now that the preparation process is out of the way, we move to the next step which is what to do at the store.
            The next step in saving big at CVS involves matching CVS instant coupons to manufacturer’s coupons. Scan the CVS card at the CVS red machine to get the instant coupons. Always scan the card several times until the machine states that there are no more coupons. Pick out which of the CVS instant coupons have manufacturer’s coupons which can be stacked together for greater savings. In my case, I picked out the coupon for $4.99 off a bottle of Clear shampoo, making it free, a coupon for $4.00 off a $12.00 shampoo and conditioner purchase, a $2.00 off a $6.00 feminine hygiene purchase, and a $2.00 off a $12.00 makeup purchase. Sometimes picking out coupons can be done in the next steps. It’s a matter of trial and error.
            The third unofficial step in saving big at CVS is to check out prices of the items which have both CVS instant coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. Decide if the savings from all coupons are going to bring down the retail price of the product or products to a reasonable price, preferably making them free. Add up how much savings the CVS coupons and the manufacturer coupons are going to give on the product. For example, I didn’t plan on purchasing the Pantene products until I printed out the instant coupon at the store then I noticed I could save $4.00 if I purchased at least $12.00 in shampoo and conditioner products. I already had a product in this category for $4.99, being the Clear shampoo so all I needed to do was to pick out $7.00 more in a pre-coupon amount. I decided to go with the Pantene deal because I had high value manufacture’s coupons for them, being $3.00 off two Pantene products. I purchased four of those in order to meet the requirement on the Pantene coupons and the CVS instant coupon. In this example, I mustered up a $15.00 savings from all the coupons and had only $2.00 due at checkout on this deal. This is a reasonable amount of savings and defiantly a smart purchase.
            The final step in the process of saving big at CVS is knowing if there is a previous Extra Care Buck that needs to be used. Also, take mental note of how much the total purchase will be after coupons. In my example, I had a $10.00 Extra Care Buck to spend and needed to get the total price I paid over $10.00 in order to use this Extra Care Buck. I though about what was in my basket. The Almay was going to cost me $3.00, the candy actually gave me a dollar overage with the coupons I used, the prep pads were free, the Clear shampoo was free and the Pantene was to cost $2.00. So far, my estimated total was about $4.00 so I needed $6.00 in after coupon amounts to add to my cart. I found Pediacare on clearance for $2.00 and I had two $1.00 off manufacture’s coupons to use on them. After coupons, my total was now up to $8.00.  I moseyed around the store and looked back at my instant coupons, remembering the $2.00 off a $6.00 feminine hygiene product coupon and saw that the items I purchased were on sale two for $7.00 and I had a manufacture coupon, good for $2.50 off two of them to pair with the instant coupon. After coupons, the feminine hygiene products I purchased only cost me $2.50. I also went ahead and grabbed the Crest Pro-Health rinse because it was a great deal. After coupon, it only cost $2.99 and I got back a $2.00 Extra Care Buck for the purchase of that product. Bingo! I got my after coupon price I was shooting for over $10.00. When my purchase is all said and done, I ended up paying $2.03 in change to the cashier and I received back $5.00 in Extra Care Bucks for my next trip to CVS. This final step may seem confusing to some but really, all it consist of is thought process. Once the shopper has their thought process flowing, the whole shopping trip to CVS will become second nature, thus allowing big savings.
            Anyone can save big like this at CVS. It doesn’t take a lot of time and lengthy preparation in order to use coupons at this store; all it takes is a little practice. One just needs to get the steps down which include preparation: getting coupons from all sources such as bloggers, internet, newspaper inserts and the CVS coupon machine; matching instant coupons with manufacturer coupons at the store; checking prices of products to see if the product can be purchased for the lowest price possible; and last, one must decide how much they will be spending out of pocket, taking a mental note of how much the price of the product will be after coupons. This whole process can equal a highly profitable hobby for anyone, just like it has for me.