My “Black Friday” shopping started yesterday at 8 a.m. after I’d readied my 26-pound turkey (we had 22 people planned for Thanksgiving this year) for its 6-plus hours in the oven.
Instead of crawling back to bed whilst the scent of roasting turkey filled the house, I had a mission in mind. Earlier in the week, I’d stumbled across the CVS sale circular on BFAds.net and decided that although I was reluctant to brave the lines at the big box stores, I would be willing to head over to save some money on necessities for the winter: cold medicine, toiletries, and, most importantly, chocolate.
While all the claims of free stuff in the ad were compelling, it was MoneySavingMom’s blog entries on CVS that inspired me to try my own hand at a new kind of strategic shopping. She has an interesting tutorial online on how to gain the most savings from CVS by combining coupons with sales and the store’s ExtraCare bucks rewards program. Her goal is to spend as little out of pocket as possible while earning reimbursement and even “overage” money which can be used towards future visits.
While I’d never really put much thought into my drugstore purchases, nor bothered to use my CVS ExtraCare card, yesterday’s shopping trip was planned down to the smallest detail. I had my circular and a bunch of coupons I’d printed from CVS, MoneySavingMom’s site and SlickDeals.
Like a true Black Friday shopper, I went for the free items first: Advil PM, 3 tubes of toothpaste, plastic zip-top storage bags, lotion, body wash, a Bic Soleil razor and some Hershey’s dark chocolate. Then I kept on shopping until I had over $100 of merchandise in my cart. At the register, I brandished my fat stack of coupons and watched the total dwindle to $75, then watched along with the salesgirl as a 3-foot long strip of reward certificates printed: $59 in total.
As this was my first such CVS trip, I did have to pay the total out-of-pocket, but since I plan to spend my $59 in certificates on future trips, my hoard, including a full year’s worth of razor blades, pain and cold remedies, and enough chocolate to stuff all my friends and relatives only cost me $16. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m often chagrined by how much I end up spending to cure my winter colds, but now I’m well-equipped for the season.
So that I don’t end up spending more on drugstore items than I otherwise would, I plan to do some of my grocery shopping for the next month at CVS instead, since they actually carry a number of the items we regularly use.
The CVS Thanksgiving sale continues through Saturday if you’re interested in trying your hand at this sort of shopping game, and it appears that each week’s circular carries new opportunities. MoneySavingMom has all the details you need. Since I’m usually short on time, I don’t know that I’ll become a devoted CVS shopper, but I’m having fun trying out this new method.
I considered going to Staples today to get some printer paper on sale for $4.99 a ream, but I found a nice deal for $2 a ream with free shipping, so I now have a year’s worth of paper as well, without having to lug it home.
I’ve gotten the deals I wanted, and now am having a nice, mellow, Black Friday, with enough time to enjoy some of that leftover turkey.
Image Credit: Daquella Manera
Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published November 23, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.