CVS Store Guide: Couponing and Extra Care Bucks

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CVS is a one of my favorite places to coupon. It can seem a little tricky at first, but it’s not hard and once you score your first amazing deal you’ll be hooked!

FIRST STEP: EXTRA CARE CARD AND GREEN BAG TAG
You must either go into a store or online here and fill out an Extra Care card membership form. If you go into a store you will get your card immediately to use that day. If you complete the online form, you will recieve in the mail in about two weeks. If you go in the store to get your card, make sure you still create an online CVS account here and link your Extra Care card to it. They’ll send you emails with great CVS coupons. Also, you will get a coupon just for doing this sent to your inbox. One more reason to sign up!

Always remember to give the cashier your card to scan first. That way you get all special pricing and Extra Care Bucks (ECB). 

The next thing you need is a Green Bag Tag.  It’s only $1.00, and you will earn $1.00 ECB every fourth time you use it!   Give it to the cashier at the start of each transaction along with your Extra Care Card.  The cashier has to scan at least one item before they can scan the Green Bag Tag.  You will only get credit for this once per day, so if you’re doing multiple transactions per visit, you only need to scan it during one transaction.  The Green Bag Tag is CVS’s way of rewarding customers who bring their own bag to cut down on the use of plastic bags.  It comes with a hang tag that you can attach to the bag you shop with if you’d like.  I don’t always have the same bag with me, so I keep my Green Bag Tag in my wallet with my Extra Care Card.

EXTRA CARE BUCKS- ECB

Extra Care Bucks or ECBs are like money that print at the end of a transaction on the bottom of the receipt for purchasing certain products advertised. They will come in different amounts and sometimes there will even be FREE after Extra Care Buck items advertised! This means you will buy an item for a certain amount and get the same amount back after purchasing in the form of ECBs! (For example, buy Crest toothpaste for $3.29, get $3.29 back in ECBs.) Also, if you have a manufacturer’s coupon to use on the free after ECB item, then that turns into what we call a moneymaker! These are my favorite deals! (For example, use a $1/1 coupon on that Crest toothpaste and you’ll only pay $2.29 and still get $3.29 back in ECB.) They can be used the next transaction like cash but remember they do have an expiration date. They also can print from the red coupon kiosk in store. I scan my card as soon as I walk into the store to see what magic comes out of our friend the kiosk.

Also, you will earn 2% cash back in the form of ECBs on every purchase in-store and online. Every 3 months these will print out at the end of your receipt, or you can get them when you scan your card at the kiosk, or print them from an email that CVS sends you. You can also earn 1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions purchased online or in-store.

ROLLING “CVS STYLE”
The first transaction you do you will use your own money. After you get your first ECBs the best way to get the most for your money is what we call ‘rolling’. This means you will be able to do new ECB deals with your ECB earned from the previous purchase. Often this works out to you spending little to NO money out of pocket! To get the most bang for your buck (or theirs) you can run multiple transactions. You CAN check out with multiple transactions and not wait for your next visit. Of course be courteous if there are other shoppers in line.  :)

After you get ECBs from your first transaction you can immediately turn around and redeem them on your next transaction.  Just keep going this way one transaction at a time. Here’s an example:

Transaction #1
Speed Stick deodorants, 2/$4, get $2 ECBs
DEAL IDEA
Buy 2 Speed Stick deodorants, $4
Use two $1/1 Speed Stick deodorant coupons (from the newspaper or printables)
= $2, get $2 ECB back

So far you’ve paid $2 out of pocket.  Onto the next transaction...

Transaction #2
Colgate Toothpaste, $2, get $2 ECB (limit 2)
DEAL IDEA
Buy 2 Colgate Toothpastes, $4
Use two $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste coupons (from the newspaper or printables)
= $2, get $4 ECB back (because you’re doing this deal twice in this transaction)
Pay with the $2 ECB you earned from Transaction 1 and get these two Colgates for FREE, plus you’ll leave with $4 in ECB.

In this example you’ve paid $2 out of pocket for all 4 items, plus you have $4 in ECB to ‘roll’ into another transaction.  If you’re done shopping for the week hang onto them and apply them toward a deal or two next week!

There are many times that I walk out with getting my items for no money out of pocket and some of CVS’s money. It’s like they’re paying us to take this stuff off their hands! It just takes some planning and all of the best CVS deals are posted for you here to make it easy.

Also, watch when using ECB’s that the total of your bucks doesn’t exceed the total spent. They don’t give change back on ECB’s.  If your ECBs exceed your purchase total, add some filler items to your cart to make the most of your ECBs.  Finally, pay attention to the limits per ECB deal.  They often limit you to one or two items per Extra Care Card. 

EMPTY SHELVES?  GET A RAIN CHECK!
The hottest weekly deals can be gone in a flash.  You can’t rock CVS deals when things aren’t in stock.  I recommend you ask when your store gets its weekly truck, and also when the store is typically stocked with the shipment.  My local CVS’s weekly truck comes early Wednesday morning.  Shopping Wednesday night is a good time to catch the store well-stocked.  

If this trick of the trade doesn’t work for you, CVS will issue rain checks.  These rain checks do not expire!  The cashier should note on the rain check if the item should generate ECBs for you.  You’ll be able to do the deal at a later time without missing out on your ECB!

CVS COUPON POLICY
The CVS coupon policy can be found online right here!

STACKING COUPONS
CVS store coupons can be stacked with manufacturer coupons for greater savings. Some will print out at the bottom of your receipt with your ECB’s, from the red kiosk,  on the CVS website, or they might come via email from CVS, too. Also, you can use BOGO coupons on an in-store BOGO sale. The sale gives you one item for free, the coupon gives you another. That’s getting two items FREE!  In addition, if the store is having a BOGO sale you can use two manufacturers coupons on the items, making the savings even greater!

CHECKING OUT
When you’re ready to check out remember to have the cashier ring your card Extra Care Card and Green Bag Tag first, then give them any CVS money-off-purchase coupons (for example, $5/25, received via email from CVS), CVS store product coupons, manufacturer coupons, and last but not least your Extra Care Bucks.

If you have more questions, let me know!

Now get out there and become a CVS rock star!   

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