CVS How To Guide

Get an ExtraCare Card
Go to CVS’s website and sign up for an ExtraCare card. You can also sign up in the store. It’s free, and you’ll need the card because:

Sale prices. You only get certain sale prices with the card.

Email offers. They do send out occasional email offers, so I would suggest giving them an email address. Consider having a separate email account for your couponing/ads/freebies.

Coupon spitter-outer/Coupon Kiosk. Each time you go to CVS, you can scan your card at the CSO (“coupon spitter-outer”). It’s a blue machine labeled “price scanner” where you can scan your card on each visit and it spits out a CVS-issued coupon. Usually they are for CVS brand items, but you may also get great dollar-off coupons – my best was a $10 off a $30 purchase coupon. (At one point, they were giving out freebie coupons, ie free carefree liners, or a free Hershey bar, etc. but not lately.) You also can scan your card twice each day, so do so, you might get a great coupon. Even if it is for a product you don’t normally buy, save the coupon as you might be able to use it next week or so for a money maker item.

Extra Care Bucks. Each week, the card will allow you to earn Extra Bucks (ECBs, or Extra Care Bucks) when you buy certain products. The Extra Care Bucks are a store credit that you can spend like cash for your next CVS purchase (but they don’t give change back if you spend less than the value of the Extra Care Bucks). They print out on your receipt at the end of your transaction. You get 2% back on your purchases, after coupons and ECB automatically also. Each quarter goes along with the seasons. IE the fall season ended around December 21st and printed January 1st.

Join the Advisor Panel
Join the CVS Advisor Panel ( and you’ll get high-value Extra Care Bucks for taking an occasional market research-type survey. (When I first signed up for this, I received a survey or two and received a few high value ECBs, but not since.)

“Roll” your Extra Care Bucks
Here’s how you walk out with bags of stuff for just a few dollars. You can do multiple transactions at CVS and pay for them using Extra Care Bucks that printed out from the previous transaction (aka “rolling your Extra Care Bucks”). For example, one week you might get $10 in Extra Care Bucks if you buy $20 worth of certain products. You can purchase those items, then use that $10 Extra Care buck to pay for items you ring up in a separate transaction that day or on a future visit. If the items you buy in your second transaction or future visit items also generate Extra Care Bucks, then you’ll get those too, even if you pay with Extra Care Bucks. Extra Care Bucks are like cash, no counting the number of items or number of coupons, etc. They also last for a full month after date of issue.

Stack deals
Stacking deals means you use CVS coupons + manufacturer coupons + Extra Care Bucks to reduce your total spending. In the example above, you don’t actually have to pay $20 for the items to get the Extra Care Bucks. You could use a CVS-issued $4 off a $20 purchase coupon (if you have one from a CVS email or from the coupon spitter-outer), plus use manufacturer-issued coupons on the products, and pay with Extra Care Bucks you may have from a previous purchase. The $20 requirement, in the example we’re using, must be reached before any coupons or Extra Care Bucks are applied. To maximize your savings, hand your coupons to the cashier in the following order:

— CVS $X/XX dollar off coupons (so the discount is applied to your total before other coupons)
— Manufacturer-issued coupons
— Extra Care Bucks

Be patient
You will need to spend a bit out of pocket initially to earn Extra Care Bucks.

CVS Bag Tag
If you plan to shop CVS at all, you should also invest in a $.99 bag tag. You tie it to your reusable bag and then each day you shop CVS, have the cashier scan the bag tag. They have to scan at least one item first, then they can scan your bag tag. For every 4 scans, you will receive a $1 ECB. Even if you only go once per month, that adds up to $3 per year. If you go weekly on the other hand, then it is a lot more! You can scan the bag tag, only once per day.

Always ask for rainchecks at CVS. They can give rainchecks on ECB items and those rainchecks last forever. IE say they have an easter candy deal where you buy a $1 Easter egg and get $1 back in ECBs, then you can request a raincheck if they are out and they can then give you that deal when you come back in and they have more. Walgreens can’t do rainchecks on RR issuing items, while CVS can. If you don’t use the raincheck for months, cashiers can force an ECB. As long as the raincheck is recent, it will work no problem. They use a deal number on the raincheck that the system has saved for at least a month or so.

CVS does have some strict limits, unlike Walgreens. Limits are tied to your card on the ECB deals. Some of the other listed limits are less enforced, but I tend to follow them.

Let me know if you have any questions, as I am a regular CVS shopper and have a twin who works there.


About skirnirh

I am a wife and mother of one who lives in San Jose, California. I enjoy couponing, walking/biking outside, financial matters, exercise, cooking and health news.
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2 Responses to CVS How To Guide

  1. rainbowheartlove says:

    Since Easter eggs are only in around Easter, the raincheck wouldn’t be very good. You might want to consider requesting a substitution of some other Easter item for the sale. That would make more sense than to get a raincheck for something the store won’t carry until next Easter.
    Otherwise, I think your CVS guide is a good one. 🙂

  2. skirnirh says:

    Sorry was just looking up last year’s Cadbury egg price for listing Walgreens deals for tomorrow and I guess it transferred over. But you are right. Not the best example!

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