Monday, June 28, 2010

How to do CVS

Get an Extra Care card.

  • It is free.
  • It is just like the loyalty card that you have for any other grocery store.


ECBs (Extra Care Bucks) are earned during weekly sales. You will see them advertised in the flyer and/or on tags in the store--“Buy X, receive $Y in ECBs.”

For example:

You see toothpaste advertised “Buy Crest at $2.99, and receive $2.99 in ECBs.”
You take your toothpaste to the register.
The cashier scans your Extra Care Card, then your toothpaste.
If this is your first time shopping, you owe the $2.99, but when your receipt prints, you will see a coupon at the bottom that says that you earned $2.99 in ECBs for buying Crest.

You can use ECBs just like cash to buy something else you need, like milk for $2.99. You check out, but instead of paying for your milk with cash, you pay with your newly acquired $2.99 ECB. Free milk! The other thing you can do is save it and use it for a future week.

What I usually do is save it for the next week's sale and pay for that sale item with the ECB I just earned. This makes for items that you pay a few pennies for...or often times completely free!!

ECBs print at the end of your receipt. They do not expire for 4 weeks. I like to think of them as “paper gift cards.” You can use them just like you would use cash in the store (*). The difference is that you must use the entire ECB at one time. If your total comes to $4.97, and you have a $5 ECB, you may use it if you don't mind losing the .03. However, if you were to try to use a $7 ECB, you'd lose $2. In this situation, you'd simply buy something else you needed to fill that $2 gap.

(*) Exceptions

The following exceptions apply:

  • Prescriptions
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Lottery items
  • Gift cards
  • Money orders
  • Postage stamps
  • Pre-paid cards.


CVS accepts coupons for all items. You can use coupons on items that print ECBs to save even more or, in some instances, make money on the items you buy.

Manufacturer coupons

CVS accepts all manufacturer's coupons, including ones that are printed from legitimate sources on the internet.

Store coupons

CVS also has their own store coupons. These can be emailed to you (if you sign up on, printed on your receipt, or printed from the coupon scanner machine at the front of the store. These store coupons can be used in addition to your manufacturer coupons.

For example

If you are purchasing diapers for $8.99 and...
  1. Have a $3 manufacturer's coupon, and...
  2. Have a $2 store coupon, then...
You can use them BOTH to save $5 on your diapers. This makes your total $3.99!!

One special store coupon that you can get is the $$/$$ coupon ($3/$15, $4/$20).

For example:

  1. Say that you have the $3/$15 coupon.
  2. You check out and your total comes out to $15.12.
  3. You can then use the $3/$15 coupon to knock your total down to $12.12.
  4. THEN, use your other store coupons and manufacturer coupons.

Always use the $$/$$ coupon before all other coupons.

Rain checks

If the advertised item that you are looking for is out of stock, as for a rain check.


They are good for the exact same price and include the ECBs that are advertised. You can even use your coupons on the rain check item. There have been times when I have gotten a rain check and then, the following week, gotten a coupon that was even better than the one I had!! Repeat after me...


Bag Tags

In an effort to be “green,” CVS has started using ECBs as an incentive. If you purchase one of their green reusable bags, it comes with a little bag tag. Each time you're in the store, have the cashier scan the bag tag. After every 4th use, you get $1 ECB.

(If you have any questions at all, leave me a comment. I'll answer them ASAP. It will also help me to make these explanations clearer in the future. Thanks!)


  1. I love you, you crazy coupon lady!!!

  2. I learned a lot just now!!! Gotta put this knowledge to good use....only we don't have a CVS that is close by. Booooo!!!