Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheap thrills at CVS

If you come by here from time to time to check on my shopping expertise, it may have occurred to you that if I ever had any (which is doubtful) I appear to have lost it.

This is in part because I'm not doing a lot of shopping. I mean, I am kind of a goofball, and that is certainly a factor, but right now, for me and my fellow Americans, it's the dawning of the Age of Austerity. Right?

Well, pardon me for going all I was there first on you, but I stopped shopping long before real estate values started their steep dive and the stock market ended up in the toilet. And you know what? I take a perverse pride in that.

And now, as a grizzled veteran of the Compact, FlyLady, and voluntary simplicity--as a person who recognized Real Simplicity for the marketing scam it is--when I look around at the mountains of crap I already own, I'm surprised I ever step into a store. So mostly, I don't.

But you know, a girl needs to buy toothpaste. And toilet paper. And batteries.

So my latest hobby is shopping at CVS and using my ExtraCare Rewards Card.

Now, I don't have the time or energy to explain what Extra Bucks are. I'll just say that every week there are items on sale that give you Extra Bucks back, which you can then spend like money. I learned about it from Crystal at Money Saving Mom. Her post "CVS 101" has the best explanation of how to use ExtraCare Bucks I've ever seen. Her follow-up post is equally good.

For example, this week Duracell batteries were on sale, and if you bought $20 worth of them, you'd get a coupon for $15 in ExtraCare Bucks.

Today I spent $100 at CVS. I got back $45 in Extra Bucks. This is pretty good start, although the hard core people, the real CVSavvies, come out of the store with bags of stuff that was free. Still, I saved a bunch of money on stuff like batteries, toilet paper, and Honey Nut Cheeries.

Of course, I'm probably going to have to build an addition onto my house to store all the buy one, get one free Colgate toothpaste I bought. But it gives me such a warm, housewifely feeling to have a few tubes squirreled away.

OK. Ten tubes. WHATEVER.

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