CVS is becoming one of my favorite places to get great deals on many items – and often for FREE! They have a reputation for being very coupon-friendly and having excellent customer service.
- The first step to shopping at CVS is to sign up for an Extra Care Card. You can do this at any CVS store. They come in a credit card size and one you can attach to your key chain.
- I would recommend registering your card online here because they will send special offers to your inbox (such as $5 off $20 purchase that can be used in addition to manufacturer and store coupons!) that you can send to your card automatically.
- With your Extra Care Card, you can earn Extra Care Bucks (or ECBs) with your purchases. Each week, CVS offers great deals on free or inexpensive items (I will try to post the best ones at The Spirit of Saving.) ECBs work like an instant rebate that you can apply towards your next purchase. They will print on the bottom of your receipt, and so you will want to make sure you rip them off so that you can use them next time. They do have an expiration date, but usually it is a month after your purchase. Hint: I keep mine together in a paper clip in my car so that I always have them available. Additionally, they do have limits – usually one per card. (For example, when you buy x item for $2.99, you will receive $2.99 in ECBs, which makes the item basically FREE. You can use the ECBs immediately for another transaction or later before their expiration date.)
- The CVS Coupon Machine – This reminds me of the lollipop game at carnivals when I was a little girl (you know, where you pick a lollipop out and the color on the bottom of it designates which prize you won) – it is exciting because you never know what you are going to get! When you go to CVS, scan your Extra Care Card and some coupons will print out for you. Continue to scan until the machine tells you ‘no more coupons’ available. These are either store coupons (such as $3 off a $15 purchase) or coupons for specific products – and sometimes free items!
- Green Bag Tags – If you bring your own reusable shopping totes and scan the Green Bag Tag (can be purchased at CVS for $.99 or sometimes is offered free through ECBs), you will receive $1.00 ECBs after 4 uses (so $.25 each trip!)
- Rain Checks – Another thing I love about CVS is their use of Rain Checks. My understanding is that if they are out of an item, you can request a rain check and they will write the ECB on the bottom of it. Then you can come back when they are back in stock, and still receive the ECB!
Using Your Extra Care Bucks
Here is an example:
Buy 5 12pks of Diet Coke for $15.00
Use (2) $1/2 Diet Coke coupons
Pay $13.00 and get back a $5 ECB
Final Price: $1.60 each
If you have any $4/20 or $3/15 CVS coupons, the deal is even better!
Rolling Your ECBs: The ECB will print at the bottom of the receipt, and you can use it on your next transaction. Some people divide up their shopping trip into several transactions and use the ECBs that they received on the first transaction to help pay for the second transaction. Another option is to use them on your next visit to CVS.
You can also use manufacturer’s coupons and CVS coupons in addition to ECB deals. This can all add up to great savings!
See official CVS Coupon Policy here. Highlights:
- CVS/pharmacy accepts one manufacturer coupon and applicable CVS/pharmacy coupon(s) per item, unless prohibited by either coupon offer.
- To use a $/$$ coupon, the total amount is calculated PRECOUPON and you will want to give that coupon to the cashier first.
- There is no limit to the number of ExtraBucks Rewards that may be used in a transaction as long as it does not exceed the transaction total.
- CVS/pharmacy accepts multiple Dollar off Transaction coupons (e.g. $3 off $15) in one transaction if they apply.
- Buy One Get One Free – Two coupons may be used on a Buy One, Get One Free promotion as long as it does not exceed the item total. Buy One, Get One Free promotions may be combined with Buy One, Get One Free Coupons. Customers are responsible for paying applicable tax.
Putting it all together
- Sign up for an Extra Care Card.
- Shop at CVS and scan your card at the CVS Coupon Machine.
- When you checkout, give the cashier your Extra Care card and your green bag tag if you are using reusable totes.
- If you have a CVS coupon for money off your purchase (such as $4 off $20), hand the cashier this coupon next.
- Use your applicable CVS and Manufacturer coupons.
- Pay the remaining balance with any ECBs you have from previous purchases. (Remember – you will not receive any cash back for ECBs if they are over the remaining balance.)
- If the item qualifies for ECBs that week, look for them at the bottom of the receipt. Use them like cash to pay for your next purchase!