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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The CVS Black Friday Game

Every year on Black Friday, the drugstore chain CVS gives out a lot of good stuff for free. Well, almost free. But you have to know where to look.
The freebies come in the form of “extrabucks (EB),” a form of CVS currency usable only at the store. You’ll often see those coupons printed out at the end of the 7-foot receipts that the chain seems to be so fond of. Every so often, you’ll get a “free after purchase,” which is along the lines of “Buy XYZ for $3.00 and we’ll give you $3.00 EB back for a future purchase.” Simple enough.
On Black Friday, you’ll get a ton of those. Do you really need all this stuff? Probably not. But there may be a shelter or charity that does. And it’s fun. You can do it all at a self-service register, so you’ll have nobody looking at you funny.
This year, there are over $54 worth of freebies and it will cost you about $.12 out of pocket. The trick is to use the EB from your previous purchase to make your next one. Continue down the chain until you hit the end. Calculating the best way to do it is a pain, but fortunately, I’ve done the hard work for you.
First, check out the Black Friday Ad. Note that yours may be slightly different. There are just under $55 worth of “free after rebate” items in mine. The magic number is “$11.” By that, I mean that I’m going to match items up so that they total $11 each to maximize the refunds. Here’s how you should order your purchases:
  1. Buy the candy bar, batteries, Green Giant, Glade, wipes, pantiliners and soda. Your total is $11.12
  2. Buy the mascara and toothbrush. Your total is $11. You’re out $.12 here.
  3. Buy the CVS blade, Nicotine gum and Skittles. You may need the cashier to help you here if you have an extra penny. You won’t get the penny back.
  4. Buy one more CVS blade (You can do two in this deal.), the pain relief and Propel.
  5. Finally, buy the leggings, Trolls candy and Ocean Spray. You’ll get $10 worth of EB.
You put $11.12 in, you get $10 back. You also still have a dollar left from step four to spend. So what I would do is buy the $2.00 Cheerios, with a dollar and that remaining dollar from step four. You’ll get a dollar back EB. And now you’re down to $.12 out of pocket.
There is also toothpaste on sale. You can get a $.50 coupon at and a $2.50 in-store coupon. The toothpaste costs $3. So that’s one more freebie.

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