I’ve been trying to save money each week by clipping coupons from the Washington Post and searching the weekly circulars for deals. I shop primarily at Giant, Rite-Aid, and CVS, which are all within a mile of my home. A co-worker told me she saves a ton of money at CVS through their ECB program. ECB, stands for Extra Care Bucks, and it’s CVS’s form of a loyalty program. If you belong to the CVS Care program you will receive coupons for buying specially marked items listed in their sales circular. Two days after purchasing the item, you can log in to your CVS account online, and print out the ECB coupons.
So far the CVS program hasn’t saved me much money. First of all, the coupon isn’t available at the time of my purchase, so I’m forced to spend money today, in order to save money tomorrow. Second, I have to go home and wait for two days before I can print the coupon. Third, my local CVS will only take one coupon per visit. Most of the coupons are only $2 or $3, and it’s not worth my time to repeatedly drive to CVS just so that I can use all my coupons. Fourth, CVS usually requires it’s consumers to spend a certain amount of money in order to be able to save money. So for example, they’ll give you a $5 ECB if you purchase $20 worth of products. Fifth, the coupons appear to expire after two to three weeks.
So what am I missing? I know that I can use an ECB to purchase a product that will earn another ECB, but when all is said and done I still seem to be spending more money than I’m saving at CVS. Does anyone out there really save money by shopping at CVS?