Tuesday, March 3, 2009


For many in our country, whether by choice or necessity, frugality has become a way of life in this present economy. I could not believe it when my freshman grammar class had never even heard the word frugal. We got a nice vocabulary lesson that day :) Anyway, its true, we are all pinching pennies a bit more these days. Many of my friends have asked me how we seem to stretch our food and necessity dollars so well with so many in the home and one still in diapers. My oft repeated reply is cooking at home, clipping coupons and CVSing 101 as taught on moneysavingmom.com (see link on my blogroll). The first two are self explanatory, time consuming and worth it! The last is a bit of a puzzle for some.
Though I have directed many friends to the MSM site, they seem to come away either confused or in disbelief. I have promised for a while to show the CVSing in action so, here is my first post.
On Sunday after church, I stopped by the local CVS on the way home to pick up a newspaper and the new monthly Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) book. This is always available on the first of every month and should be tucked away as reference for the entire month of CVSing. I admit, the planning of such shopping takes some time. In fact, I had not been CVSing in a while so, I was nearly starting from scratch with my ECBs.
So here is the concept, you invest a little money in the beginning to get lots of ECBs, combine those with coupons in the following weeks and keep rolling them over. Essentially, you turn an original $20 out of pocket purchase into free toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries and other necessities for months.
Here is how I got started again. I pulled all of my coupons from my Sunday paper, printed all available coupons online (including the ones emailed from CVS) and began scouring the CVS circular and monthly ECB book. I found the items that I could use that I had coupons for and offered ECBs. This usually makes for the best purchases! I had a $5 off of $15 purchase and a $4 off of $20 from CVS to start with. I also had a $2 off of playskool wipes from the CVS website. So, there was $11 off of my first $20 before any other coupons or ECBs. Playskool wipes and Pampers were on sale at CVS this week offering ECBs as well (buy $20 of these combined and get $5 ECBs). There were also coupons in the paper for pampers. You see the deal coming together?? There were several other items on sale that I could use that offered ECBs and for which there were also coupons available. Here was the result of this week's CVSing:

This is a 6 pack of Charmin, 8 roll pack of Bounty, 2 Jumbo packs of Pampers, 2 large tubes of Crest, 2 bottles of Tylenol PM, 1 Secret deodorant, 2 bags of playskool wipes and a 16 pack of duracell AAA batteries.

We got all of this for about $30 out of pocket with $18.99 in ECBs to start out with next week. I know that $30 may seem like a lot but when you consider that two jumbo bags of pampers cost at least that much, you see the savings. Plus we got a lot more! Also, we will not have to spend that much again unless I fall behind and quit turning over my ECBs again. A typical weekly CVS shopping trip costs me anywhere from $4 to $8 out of pocket and we come home with at least this much. I will keep posting these shopping excursions for a few weeks until those interested parties get the hang of it. Happy shopping this week!

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