Before you checkout for your first time at CVS you’ll want to sign up for an ExtraCare card if you do not have one already. I recommend getting one in the store rather than online simply because you’ll be able to use it right away. Also make sure that you sign up for their emails because you will get special offers and coupons when you do! You might even get a sign-up bonus. 😉
CVS has a program called ExtraCare. ExtraCare rewards are called Extra Care Bucks (ECBs) which are CVS store coupons printed at the bottom of your receipt after purchasing qualifying items. ECBs are offered on participating products weekly. Buy a specific product or specific dollar amount of product and earn a specified amount in rewards. You can always use coupons on an item producing ECBs. ECBs expire 30 days from the date they are printed.
You can then use the ECBs you earned on your next transaction. You can redeem any number of ECBs in any amount but there is strategy to this as well. Let’s say you have a $5.00 ECB and you want to buy something that costs $3.00. You can absolutely purchase an item lesser in value than your ECB, but you will lose out on the full value. You use it, you lose it. The better idea would be to buy another $2 item to get your total to $5.00 and get them both!
Make sure when looking at the ECB deals for the week that you make a note of how many times per ExtraCare card the ECB will print – located directly under the “final price”. For the Physicians Formula ECB above you would earn ONE time per card. For the Crest ECB above you would be able to earn it TWICE per card. You can even purchase two Crest in one transaction and get the ECB twice!
Make sure that you hand over your CVS store coupons and ECBs first, and always have a backup plan in case the items you’re planning on purchasing are sold out. Also keep in mind exactly which items are producing ECBs that week, including sizes and varieties. Lost or destroyed ECBs will not be honored so hold onto those puppies as if they were cash.
Let’s say we have a Huggies offer like the one above. Buy $30+ in Huggies get a $10 ECB. You do not have to purchase all $30 worth in one transaction. You can break them up throughout the week in case you don’t have enough coupons with you, or they are out of stock, and still earn the $10! I love this part!!
To get the best bang for your buck at CVS you’ll want to break up your transactions based on the manufacturer’s coupons you have, the ECBs you have to redeem and the ECBs you expect to receive. ECBs also “roll” meaning that you can use an ECB you received in a previous transaction (if you didn’t purchase the limit per card) to buy any deal and a new ECB will print. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and you’ll get better in time.
Make sure you also sign up for the Beauty Club. They offer various offers and sometimes for doing nothing at all!
There’s a machine at CVS that I like to call the Magic Coupon Machine. Ha! Just scan your CVS card every time you go to the store to see if it will spit out any CVS store coupons for you. Sometimes we are able to get FREEBIES just from those alone!
My sister is a CVS pro, and she has some tips too!
Most deals have a “limit 2” restriction. I like this for two reasons. First, it keeps my stash in check. I don’t have a lot of room so having a limited excess/stash on hand works best for me. I also appreciate the 2-item limit because it raises the likelihood there will be product on the shelf if I am not able to get to my couponing until mid-week. My CVS is very small so it would otherwise be easy for someone to clean them out on day one of the sale.
Your receipt details the deals you got that day. The bottom of the receipt includes a list of all your ECB deals for the week. It tells you how many items count toward each ECB. For instance, say you only bought 1 item that would get you an ECB if you bought 2. The receipt tells you where you stand with those scenarios. Similarly, say you only have one coupon for something that has a “Buy 2 get $2 ECB” deal. You can buy that one item early in the week with your one coupon. You won’t get the ECB at that time. However, if you get another coupon later in the week go back and get one more. That second time you should get the ECB.
Green Bags and Green Bag Tags. Like many stores these days, CVS sells green tote bags. They are roomy, and fairly durable. However, when you attach a Green Bag Tag to either your own bag/tote or theirs, you can net some serious ECB! Make sure they scan your Green Bag Tag because you get $1 for every 4th scan (limit one scan per day). They have to scan the tags last, fyi. If you’re like me, you make the “lazy man’s” trip from the car to the door. Getting all or nearly your entire haul in only one or two green bags is NICE.