Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Frugal Confusion?

I've been reading all over the blog world about various savings from CVS. It works something vaguely like this: When you purchase certain things (changes weekly or monthly, depending) you get ECB's (extra care bucks) printed immediately at the end of your receipt. These are supposed to work exactly like cash for other products the next time you shop. And you can buy things "next time" that have ECB's as well. Some things end up being "free". Meaning you buy X for $5 and you get a $5 ECB to use for next time. Other things are more along the lines of "Spend $15 on a certain product and get $10 ECB's".

I've done it for a couple of weeks. After an "initial" investment of $60 or so, It seems to be working for me like this:

I spend about $20 each visit out of pocket (meaning my cash) plus whatever ECB's I have (usually $20-$30), and I get back between $20-$30 ECB's to use next time. Just to clarify, that does NOT make the stuff free. I spend the $20-$30 ECB's AND appr. $20 cash each time. There is lots of information on the web that is *much* better that what I've written, so I encourage you to Google it and not take my (or any ones for that matter) word for it.

This is what I got on one of the trips.

The last two pictures is what I got on another trip.

We have to buy some of this stuff anyway of course. But some of it, I would probably never buy if it wasn't so cheap (or "free). So I'm still in the "undecided" camp. Yes, I got good deals. But what really is "good deals" on stuff that you wouldn't normally buy? I also spend about an hour a week going over the sales papers, matching coupons, and the actual shopping. And I'm in a season of my life where my time is pretty precious.

I plan to keep it up a while longer. I'll post my deals every week or two. If anyone else is doing it I'd *love* to hear your opinions.


Beth said...

Welcome to the cvs habit! I too am a cvs junky..but..I only get what I will use. In our house we don't have any babies (nor any babies coming) so I don't do the baby stuff..and I don't do the woman personal stuff either (I had to have my plumbing removed years ago). I stock up on toothpaste, aleve's, bath tissue, and laundry soap. Hhmm..maybe I better go check the boards and see what's good for this week! :o)

Michelle said...

That's no doubt the way to do it. Only getting what you would buy anyway. But what about the things that would be free (you have the ECB's to spare AND you'll get it all back in ECB's?). I've read that some people even eBay and yardsale the things they won't use?

As far as the women's stuff, I have *3* daughters and me, nuff said. :D

Beth said...

I still don't buy the things that come out to be free because I can use the ecb's on another trip rather than waste them on things I truly don't need. I do know of people who sell their excess..guess I haven't come around to doing that. Hhhmm.... :o)

Michelle said...

I'm sure I wouldn't do that either. That's taking frugality to a whole new level! Let me know if/what you get this week!?