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Ok lets talk CVS shopping and "worship"...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Ok we are finally in an area that has a CVS.


So far the items at CVS are priced ABOVE what I can pay at the grocery store let alone Walmart/Target. I mean some items are twice the price.


I did sign up for the card. I was shown the kiosk that you swipe your card at to get the print out coupons. I did transfer some meds to get the free gift cards, which so far has been the only "positive".


I can see the signs that show the cash back rewards, but it STILL costs more than anywhere else.




So is it my location or am I missing something???? So many people go on and on like it is a holy location.



?
post #2 of 21
In my area, we have Walgreens (HQ'd here, actually), CVS, and then Osco, which are in Jewel grocery stores (no freestanding Osco since Jewel got bought out by someone a while back).

I almost exclusively use Walgreens unless I'm running by CVS and need something very quick (like a snack). I noticed 5-6 years back that CVS was very expensive.
post #3 of 21
Okay, I am a huge fan of CVS! First thing I would say is check out http://www.iheartcvs.com and it may help you.
Second, yes if you look at their regular prices, they are WAY higher than Walmart, Target, grocery stores, whatever. The thing that you have to do is with their extra care buck program. I would also go here and read some of the posts. Most week CVS has items that are free after their extra care bucks, or free between the ecb's and if you have a manufacturer's coupon. IMO, it IS a holy location but it can take a little while to get into the swing of things and understand it all. I don't have time right this second to explain everything, maybe some other people can but I just wanted to encourage you, no it is not just your store, yes it can be a little confusing at first but yes you can do it and get free things eventually too.
I hope this post made a little sense and did not make you more confused! LOL
post #4 of 21
I don't have a CVS near me but I think its similar to the deals you can get at Rite Aid (which I just got the hang of this month!!!)
Its all about stocking up on things when they are on sale w/a coupon and not buying what you need when you need it. For instance I need dishwasher packs but my coupon isn't that great and I see no sales lately so I am really bumming about that and reluctant to buy it now. But I have plenty of toothpaste, laundry detergent, and dish soap, etc....! I just need to stock up on dishwasher packs when they are on sale so I don't have to buy them full price again!

Make sense?
Just today I got 3 packs of huggies diapers, mascara, 3 pks of cough drops, and a box of Puffs tissues for a whopping 79 cents. And with rewards and a rebate I am making $14 back. It takes some time to figure it out but its TOTALLY worth it! I regret all the money I wasted buying things full price.

You can do it! Just start small.
post #5 of 21
Yes CVS takes some time to get adjusted to, they run sales in cycles and you need to get a 'build up' of ECB (extra care bucks) and store coupons which you can 'stack'. You can even run negative with coupons as long as you buy enough to end up w. a zero balance.

When I had an inkjet printer I got ink for free w. my ECB's.

Another good thing is you get $1 per rx each time you fill it and they reward you each quarter with the total (as long as you are not on gov't insurance). I got lots of $$ that way when I had private insurance or cash pay.

I really like CVS - now they even have a key fob that gives you $1 back for every 4 resuable bags you use...

Don't get me started on the games they have going for digital prints
post #6 of 21
I used to be a serious CVSer.

I basically almost never "paid" for anything. I bought stuff that earned Extra Care Bucks, and I paid for it with previously earned Extra Care Bucks. I tossed in a dollar or two here or there to make up the difference, but there was VERY little money spent out of pocket.
post #7 of 21
I need to learn their method, too, b/c I do use them for convenience but they are waayyyy over priced.
post #8 of 21
I've wondered about this, too. We have a few CVS drug stores nearby, but to me, they seem just like Walgreens inside. I knew there was some sort of way to coupon or shop deals - but alas, I'm not sure I'm motivated enough. Maybe I'll look into more...
post #9 of 21
CVS may be all these things but they are ruthless to their employees and their business model is corporate to the extreme. My dad worked for a drugstore company for 20 years that was bought out by CVS and his job was downsized because he was too old (ie. made too much money). He got nothing on his way out but a boot to the rear. It was handled in a very inappropriate way.

I boycott CVS for this reason. Shop there with your eyes open.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Maybe I just do not use enough items from there and that's why it seems kind of barren.


Hmmm.


I did look at several items I would buy and that had the ecb's... but even with the ecb's they still cost more than at the regular store. Even if I had a manuf. coupon to put on there.


Hmmm.



Well if nothing else I did get the free gift cards and can buy things for "free".
post #11 of 21
I only bought things that earned ECBs, nothing else. And sometimes I "bought" things I didn't need just to earn the ECBs, and would then pass those items along to someone who could use them(sometimes just a charity).
post #12 of 21
Sign up for the ECB card and make sure you go through the website and link your card with your email. You will occasionally receive a store coupon for $5 off of a $25, $30 or $40 purchase. With that and matching sales with manufacturers coupons, store coupons and ECB deals you can sometimes get a great deal. But it's been really hit or miss lately, the deals aren't as great as they were a year or two ago.

ETA forgot to mention there is also a machine in the store that prints some coupons when you scan your ECB card-usually it's store coupons for CVS brand items but sometimes I get a $5/$25 type coupons there too.
post #13 of 21
post #14 of 21
My question is, are you spending more than you normally would when you first start and you're building up your ECBs? Because that seems counterintuitive to me. For me, a good deal generally doesn't involve a cash investment up front. I stay away from business models that offer that kind of program, and that extends to my shopping habits. I can see the lure of the "free" stuff later on, but it's not really free if you have to invest to get there by paying higher prices than you could find elsewhere, is it? Maybe I'm missing something. I've looked into it because we have a couple CVS's nearby, but we also have several other pharmacy chains, bulk shopping stores like Costco, several grocery store chains -- it's pretty competitive and I can always find better prices than I do at CVS, even coupons and sales that get me free things, or close to it, at other stores.

OK, I'm totally preparing to duck the onslaught for questioning the ECB program.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
CVS may be all these things but they are ruthless to their employees and their business model is corporate to the extreme. My dad worked for a drugstore company for 20 years that was bought out by CVS and his job was downsized because he was too old (ie. made too much money). He got nothing on his way out but a boot to the rear. It was handled in a very inappropriate way.

I boycott CVS for this reason. Shop there with your eyes open.
Sorry to hear about your dad. That really stinks. I know someone who got a job at a CVS call center through a temp agency(because she was desperate for a job after being laid off and the job market here is really bad). She's been promised a full-time job with paid time off and benefits since 4 months into the job and she's been there nearly 2 years and she's still a temp. They've hired other employees(temp employees) and not made her a permanent employee because it's cheaper because they don't have to give her time off for illness or vacation and she doesn't get benefits. And if she takes time off because she gets sick, she loses her job AND she doesn't have medical insurance to pay doctor's bills.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369 View Post
My question is, are you spending more than you normally would when you first start and you're building up your ECBs? Because that seems counterintuitive to me. For me, a good deal generally doesn't involve a cash investment up front. I stay away from business models that offer that kind of program, and that extends to my shopping habits. I can see the lure of the "free" stuff later on, but it's not really free if you have to invest to get there by paying higher prices than you could find elsewhere, is it? Maybe I'm missing something. I've looked into it because we have a couple CVS's nearby, but we also have several other pharmacy chains, bulk shopping stores like Costco, several grocery store chains -- it's pretty competitive and I can always find better prices than I do at CVS, even coupons and sales that get me free things, or close to it, at other stores.

OK, I'm totally preparing to duck the onslaught for questioning the ECB program.
No hate I don't do the CVS thing anymore for a variety of reasons.

As the OP said, CVS offers deals where you fill a new prescription with them(or transfer one) and you get a gift card, so that can be start up money.

I think I initially spent about $30 and all told ended up netting over a thousand dollars worth of products, and I think over the course of time I put in about $100.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
CVS may be all these things but they are ruthless to their employees and their business model is corporate to the extreme. My dad worked for a drugstore company for 20 years that was bought out by CVS and his job was downsized because he was too old (ie. made too much money). He got nothing on his way out but a boot to the rear. It was handled in a very inappropriate way.

I boycott CVS for this reason. Shop there with your eyes open.
I think your reasons are justified for boycotting them. But. Your complaints are pretty standard for big business in general. Wal-mart, Home Depot, they've all done the things you describe. It's the nature of big business. If one were to boycott for those reasons, you basically couldn't support any corporation.
post #17 of 21
Yes, it may cost you a (small) initial investment. CVS is more expensive than other stores, except the items that are on sale with ECB's. I never buy anything else in the store (well, unless it's a clearance item or I need to spend down my ECB's.) The sales ad is the first place to look. They may be offering contact lense solution for $7.99 (that you could've gotten at Wal-Mart for $5.00), but it earns you back $7.99. If you have a $1 or $2 manufacturer's coupon, you'll be making money when you buy the item. You can spend that $7.99 ECB on almost anything in the store, but if you continue to "roll" it onto the next item that earns ECB, this is how everything ends up free, because you are paying very little from here on out, you'll keep paying with those ECB's and getting new ECB's. I agree, it's not as great as it used to be, but it did pick up a little for this current week, so maybe they'll have some nicer deals with winter coming.
post #18 of 21
Ah, cool. Thanks for explaining that. I can see how that works a lot better with an initial credit from transferring a prescription.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by TTLLM View Post
Yes, it may cost you a (small) initial investment. CVS is more expensive than other stores, except the items that are on sale with ECB's. I never buy anything else in the store (well, unless it's a clearance item or I need to spend down my ECB's.) The sales ad is the first place to look. They may be offering contact lense solution for $7.99 (that you could've gotten at Wal-Mart for $5.00), but it earns you back $7.99. If you have a $1 or $2 manufacturer's coupon, you'll be making money when you buy the item. You can spend that $7.99 ECB on almost anything in the store, but if you continue to "roll" it onto the next item that earns ECB, this is how everything ends up free, because you are paying very little from here on out, you'll keep paying with those ECB's and getting new ECB's. I agree, it's not as great as it used to be, but it did pick up a little for this current week, so maybe they'll have some nicer deals with winter coming.
This exactly. You may spend $3 more initially than you would at Walmart for that contact lense solution...but then if you turn around and use that $7.99 ECB to buy another contact lense solution for $7.99 and get another $7.99 ECB back...then you have paid just $7.99 cash US dollars for TWO of the contact lense solution (which at Walmart would have cost you $10 total) AND you still have $7.99 to spend there another time.

As far as how they treat their employees...I agree with the previous poster that some of the things mentioned are pretty much any large corporation. I currently work at CVS, and am on maternity leave right now. But I haven't encountered any of the problems mentioned here, or anything similar to them (I am just a lowly cashier peon.) I have worked in various other corporate situations with other companies and I promise I have been treated MUCH worse my other places.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post
...I basically almost never "paid" for anything. I bought stuff that earned Extra Care Bucks, and I paid for it with previously earned Extra Care Bucks. I tossed in a dollar or two here or there to make up the difference, but there was VERY little money spent out of pocket.
Yep!

It does take a little getting used to, IMO, but after you understand how it works, you're set. I always end up having to clear out my ECBs because we end up with too much stuff. To start again, you do have to put a small amount out, but you can really work it to your advantage.
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