Getting Started Part 3-CVS

CVS is another wonderful store to snag cheap or FREE items. Like Walgreen’s Register Reward program, CVS has a rewards program called Extra Care Bucks or ECB’s. ECB’s print out at the bottom of the sales receipt and are valid for exactly 4 weeks.

ECB’s=Extra Care Bucks-think of a gift cards
CRT’s=CVS store coupons-think of as a coupon

The first step to shopping CVS is to get an Extra Care Card. Sign up for a card HERE or in store.

I’d also recommend getting the Green Bag Tag for $0.99. It can be found near the registers. Scan the tag when you use your reusable shopping bags and every 4th visit you’ll get $1 ECB. Basically the Tag will pay for itself after 1 month. If you’re a member of Recycle Bank you can get a B1G1 Green Bag Tag coupon for 25 points. Now, you don’t need (and shouldn’t have) 2 tags but it may be something to consider for a friend.

YOU MUST PRESENT BOTH THE EXTRA CARE CARD AND GREEN BAG TAG TO THE CASHIER!!

Next, check your weekly ad (or my site) for advertised deals. You will notice ECB promotions advertised that will either reduce the cost of an item or make it free after the ECB’s. Remember to start out small and only buy a couple items that produce ECB’s the first week and move up from there.

Now that you have your first ECB’s you can “roll” them the next week (or in another transaction) to further lower your out-of-pocket expense. Use your first weeks ECB’s earned to pay for the next week’s purchases and receive more ECB’s back. You can use more than 1 ECB in a transaction.

Additionally, you can use an ECB earned from a product to pay for the same product as long as you don’t go over the specified limit.

CVS allows you to use 1 manufactures coupon and 1 store coupon (CRT) per transaction. You can also use ECB’s on top of this. Play it right and you could walk out of the store with ~$20-$50 worth of items for only ~$1 OOP!

Example :
Softsoap is priced at $4.49 this week and earning $4 ECB’s plus there’s a $0.75/1 manufactures coupon (if there was a limit of 3) here’s what I would do. Note: this deal really has a limit of 1.  I’d buy my first Softsoap for $4.49, use the $0.75/1 coupon and pay $3.74 before tax and earn $4 ECB’s.  I’d then get another Softsoap for $4.49 use another $0.75/1 coupon and use my $4 ECB’s to pay for this soap.  I’d need to add in a “filler” for $0.26 because my total OOP needs to be $4 to not waste part of the ECB.  Do this transaction a 3rd time and walk away with 3 Softsoap’s and 2 small “fillers” for $3.74 plus tax OOP and still have $4 ECB’s for next time!

The best order to give coupons is:

Scan your card(s) first
Give any CVS coupons with a minimum spending limit such as $3/$15
Give CVS Coupons (CRT) (This is a different order than Walgreen’s!!!)
Give Manufacture Coupons
Give ECB’s

Notes for ECB’s:

-Valid for exactly 4 weeks
-ECB offers usually have a limit of 1-5; make sure you read the fine print. The limit 1 is for the entire week or month (whatever the particular promotion period)
-If you lose them you might as well throw away cash!
-Excludes alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, and prescriptions (see bottom of ECB for more details)
-ECB’s are tied to your Extra Care Card and can only be redeemed under that card. If your husband has a card, great but you can’t use an ECB earned under your card and pay for an item using his card.
-You can use an ECB to pay for an item that is less then the ECB value, but you will be forfeiting the rest of the ECB amount. Item X costs $2.50 and you have a $3 ECB, you’ll lose $0.50. Add in a $0.50 “filler” so you don’t waste money.

Additional Extra Care Rewards:

You can also earn extra ECB’s based on your purchases that will print every 3 months. This is in addition to the ECB’s earned from the weekly advertisements that print at the bottom of your receipt.  Here’s how:

-Earn 2% back with every purchase in-store and online
-Earn 1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions purchased in-store and online

You’ll notice when you go into the CVS store that there’s a lovely little machine (will come back and add the name, can’t think of it now). You can scan your Extra Card Card and store coupons (CRTs) and/or ECB’s you’ve earned from purchases will print out the side. I scan my card every time I walk into the store-you never know what will pop out!  My last trip I received a CRT for a $25 Gift Card with a new or transferred prescription and a CRT for $15 off a $75 purchase.

Additionally, CVS will issue rain checks for an item that are sold out up to the item limit and the ECB amount will be factored in. Say I wanted the Softsoap priced at $4.49 this week with $4 ECB’s back. I’d get a rain check for 1 Softsoap for $0.49. Now, I’ve never done this but it’s what’s supposed to happen!

Further, you can register your CVS card with Upromise HERE and earn more for the kids’ college fund.

*Keep a copy of the Official CVS Coupon Policy with you.

**I’m using the Softsoap scenario because that is the first product I purchased for my 4 week CVS Challenge for Newbie’s.  This is a SIMPLE starting point for readers who are new to shopping CVS.

Have a question, comment or notice something that doesn’t read right?  Leave a comment or email me

Part 1-FAQ’s
Part 2-Walgreens
Part 3-CVS
Part 4-Rite Aid
Part 5-Taking it to the Next Level

Disclosure: This post may contain an affiliate link.


Trackbacks

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