How to get started with CVS

August 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm 3 comments

CVS drugstore offers a multitude of deals on everything from makeup, to toilet paper, to cereal.  This is where I do the majority of my household shopping each month.  With their Extra Care program, several items end up being free.

To begin, you will need your own Extra Care card.  You can get a card by signing up in any store or online at  This is CVS’s loyalty card, similar to other store card programs.  Your CVS card will track your purchases, which you need to get your Extra Care Bucks (they are tied to a specific card).  For each quarter you can also get back 2% of your total purchases in Extra Care Bucks.   The number of cards you get is debatable – usually it is acceptable to have one card per adult in your household.

CVS Extra Care Bucks, or ECB, can be used like cash in any CVS store.  These coupons will print out at the bottom of your receipt after purchasing qualifying items, and they can be used on just about anything (except alcohol, tobacco, and prescriptions).  ECB usually are good for one month, giving you plenty of time to plan how to spend them. Using ECB to buy items that will also give you ECB back is called “rolling”.  Most couponers like to roll their ECB to keep their out of pocket expense (OOP – the cash or change you have to pay) really low.

Besides ECB, there are several different kinds of coupons you can get from CVS:

  • Scanner Coupons.  The price check machine will print out coupons if you scan your card!
  • CRT coupons – these print at the end of your receipt.
  • Reinventing Beauty magazine (RIB).  This is a CVS publication & usually costs $.99.  Sometimes the stores will pull the coupons out of the center & allow you to just take the coupons.
  • – there are several CVS coupons and manufacturer coupons available to print.
  • The pharmacy often runs promotions several times a year.  Asking about their prescription refill programs can usually score you some coupons for $4/$20 purchase 🙂

The main CVS coupon policy states that you can use one CVS coupon and one manufacturer coupon per item.  You can also use one coupon per item on a Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) sale. even though one of your items will ring up as $0.00.  Combining CVS coupons and manufacturer coupons often will allow you to get an item for free, or even make a bit of money!  You wont get cash back, but any overage could be applied towards other items in your transaction.

Here is a sample transaction based on the sales for 8-9:

1 Revlon Mineral Mousse foundation – $9.99, get $9.99 ECB back

3 Colgate Wave toothbrushes – $2.99 each, BOGO sale

3 Colgate toothpastes – $2.99 each, BOGO sale

Subtotal = $27.93

Coupons to subtract:

$1 any Revlon

$8.97 Colgate BOGO sale (register automatically deducts this)

$9 Colgate coupons (3 x $3 off when you buy a toothbrush & toothpaste printable coupon)

$5/$25 purchase (printable from when you watch the short video for their pharmacy program)

Total = $3.96 + sales tax.

At the end of your receipt, you will get $9.99 in ECB that you can use towards your next purchase.  Since you only paid $3.96 and got $9.99 back, this is a $6.03 money maker (MM).  If you save those ECB until next week to purchase the items that will give ECB back that week, you will be rolling them.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cyndi Dubbeld  |  November 15, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I am trying to get the hang of this…..thanks for the info.

  • 2. Christen  |  November 16, 2009 at 12:47 am

    So, at CVS, can you only do one item that has extra care bucks per transaction?

    • 3. sammyssecrets  |  November 16, 2009 at 5:09 pm

      You can do as many deals per transaction as you would like (I think the official limit is 50 deals per transaction, but I have NEVER met anyone who hit that).


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New? Check out these posts to get started

How to get started with CVS ________________________________ How to get started with Walgreens ________________________________ How I use my printer to print money ________________________________ How to get coupons and keep them organized ________________________________ Stockpiling Basics

Coupon Terms

BOGO = Buy one, get one (usually buy one get one free).

EB = Extra Bucks. Use these like cash at CVS.

IP = Internet Printable coupon.

IVC = Instant Value Coupon. These are at Walgreens

MIR = Mail in Rebate

OOP = Out of Pocket

P&G = Proctor & Gamble. One of the Sunday
coupon inserts.

RP = Red Plum. One of the Sunday coupon inserts.

RR = Register Rewards. Use these like cash at Walgreens.

SS = Smart Source. One of the Sunday coupon inserts

WYB = when you buy

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