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CVS 411 – Boot Camp Episode #13

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CVS 411 – Boot Camp Episode #13

I love shopping at CVS because I can often get free or really cheap stuff.  Toothpaste, shampoo and razors are all items I’ve gotten for free.  I never would have believed this before I learned how to shop the CVS deals. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • If you don’t have a CVS card, get one immediately and make sure your email address is registered with it.  They often email valuable coupons like $5 off a $30 purchase. I find it’s easier to get your email attached to your card if you request a card online.  I have a card and my husband has one (although it’s in my wallet :))  If you need a card ASAP, you can get them in the store.
  • Understand ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks) – These are rewards that print at the register after your receipt, for certain purchases.  They are like cash (some exclusions apply) and can be used to pay for future purchases at CVS.  They do have expiration dates but you usually have 4 weeks to redeem.  Notice the below item is advertised at $2.99 with your CVS card and you will get $2.00 back in ECB’s.  If you use a $1.00 off coupon when you make your purchase, you’ll pay $1.99 OOP but get back $2.00 in ECB’s.  It’s like getting it for free.  Try to roll over your ECB’s.  Meaning if you get $5 in ECB’s this week, use it on another purchase where you will get more ECB’s.  You will have to invest money in the beginning to acquire the ECB’s but if you roll them over it will benefit you in the end.

  • When the weekly flyer says “Spend $25 on the products shown, get $10 back in ECB’s”.  This means you have to spend $25 worth of the products listed BEFORE coupons are applied. Use coupons on these products and you can get a great deal!
  • Scan your card at the CVS kiosk (price scanner) as soon as you walk in.  Valuable coupons may print that you can use on your purchase.

  • CVS accepts 1 MFR and 1 CVS store coupon per item.  You can also use a competitor coupon for pharmacy purchases
  • Each time you use your ExtraCare card, 2% of your total out-of-pocket expenses is credited to your ExtraCare account. You also earn 1 Extra Buck (ECB) for every 2 prescriptions purchased. This “money” is printed at the end of your receipt once every quarter.
  • CVS will issue rainchecks for items they are out of.  If it is an ECB item, make sure to ask the cashier to write down the ECB code so it’s easier when you come back to redeem it.
  • There are 4 main ways to get CVS coupons:




  1. Email – As mentioned above, make sure your email address is linked with your CVS Card.
  2. CVS Kiosk or price scanner – Scan your card each visit to see if any coupons print.
  3. CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine – This is a CVS magazine and can usually be found in the magazine racks or near the cash registers. It costs $.99 and contains multiple CVS and manufacturer coupons inside.
  4. Clip-Free Monthly Coupon Booklet – These booklets are usually found near the weekly fliers in-store and sometimes spread around endcaps.  You do not need to actually cut them out, just use your CVS card at checkout to receive the discounts.


  • You can now purchase CVS tag for your reusable bags ($.99).  Each time you make a purchase and use your bag have the card scanned along with your CVS card.  After 4 scans, you’ll earn $1.00 in ECB’s!
  • It’s better to use your coupons in this order: CVS $ off $ Coupons, MFG coupons, ECB’s.
  • You can split up transactions to be able to roll over your ECB’s and have less OOP.  For instance you can make a purchase and get back ECB’s, then do another transaction for your other products and use the ECB’s in the first transaction to pay for it.  Here is one of my previous CVS trips that may help you understand.

All of this can be quite confusing in the beginning but you’ll get the hang of it.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Happy Savings! 🙂

Be sure to check out the rest The Boot Camp Series for more tips on Saving the family money.