CVS 101

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by on February 3, 2009


Since I realize some of you may be new to shopping at CVS and the great deals you can get there, I wanted to create a post for you.

  1. The first thing you want to do is apply for one of their Extra Care cards, which you can do in the store or online here. If you order it online, it will come in the mail in about a week, so you will need to wait to go shopping until it arrives. When mine came, it had 3 cards (all linked to the same account): one regular sized card and 2 mini cards that fit on key chains.
  2. While you are online, make sure register your card because CVS will email coupons every once in a while (For example, this weekend, I received a $5 off a $40 purchase coupon)
  3. Before you head to the store, I recommend you plan out your purchases. If you are new to CVS, then stick to only a few items (one or two) so you don’t get to confused or frustrated. I will try to highlight some good scenarios for newbies each week.
  4. Each week and month, CVS offers Extra Care Bucks (ECB) on selected items. These ECBs work like an instant rebate, or a gift certificate, on your next purchase. They print at the bottom of your receipt, so you will want to rip off the ECB and save it for your next purchase. For example, this month when you buy Children’s Aspirin for $1.99, you get $1.99, so this item is basically FREE. You can use the ECBs immediately for another transaction or later, however, they do expire, so make sure you use them by the expiration date.
  5. These ECB deals are even better when you combine them with coupons. Sometimes you can get items FREE or even have overage to apply towards other items in your cart.
  6. One of my goals is to continually roll my ECBs each week so that I pay hardly anything OOP (out of pocket). This may mean doing more than one transaction a week, but in my experience the CVS employees have been nice and very helpful.
  7. Once you have a plan and go to the store, you should scan your card at the kiosk in the front. It will print you some coupons and sometimes a $x/$xx purchase.
  8. Make sure you give the cashier your card before you start ringing up your items to make sure that you get all the deals and always check your receipt after checking out to make sure you received all of the ECBs.

To find the latest CVS deals, go HERE.

Are you already a CVS shopper? Do you have other strategies or tips to share? I’d love to hear them!


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  • CVSer in training

    I would love to add this to The Frugalicious Mommy site…of course I would give you full credit and a link to your site…Is that fine?

  • The Sensible Momma

    Sure! I hope it can help your readers- you can also let them know that I post new scenarios each week, especially for newbies! :)

  • Anonymous

    In your transaction for this week, you list “a couple of fillers” on your list in Transaction #3. Are those just things that you wanted to buy or do you need to buy several items to make the coupons work? I’m looking at the 3 Pepsi 12 packs 3/$11 -B2G1 Pepssi printable, ” a couple filler” -$6.49=change, get $2 for next week.

  • The Sensible Momma

    Great question…actually you don’t have to use the fillers, but I mentioned them since the ECBs are worth more than just the pepsi alone (3 12 packs of pepsi would be $5.34 and you would have $6.49 from the previous transaction) The cash register can adjust your ECBs, but you maximize your savings, you could find a couple items (maybe some easter candy?) to add up to at least $6.49. Does this help? let me know if you have more questions!

  • allhisblessings6

    What do you mean by this: “Once you have a plan and go to the store, you should scan your card at the kiosk in the front.”

    Is there a kiosk at every CVS store? Is that what I’m supposed to do BEFORE I begin shopping? Thank you!

  • The Sensible Momma

    I assume that each CVS has a kiosk since every one that I’ve been in has one…it is a little scanning machine that you can scan your card (the barcode) on and it will print out additional coupons for you. You don’t have to scan your card, but it is great to do it to see if you happen to get a coupon for something you need/want. I’ve gotten $/$$ coupons before ($5 off when you spend $20 or something similar). If you can’t find the kiosk, I would just ask one of the cashiers if they have one if their store. Hope this helps!

  • Deb

    I have learned that CVS will take their own store expired coupons, from their kiosk, ask at your local store and hang on to them, also since they stock a limited supply of items on sale, ask for rain checks and they will even give you the extra bucks when the items come in,even if the item goes off sale! (Keep your ad) also ask for the maximum allowed per customer on your rain check and continue to look for Mfg. coupons while you wait for your items to come in! it’s worth your time!

  • Deb, good advice about rainchecks! I’m not sure if all CVS stores will take expired store coupons, but it is worth asking! Thanks for the additional tips!

  • TX Snark

    Are the ECBs like RR in that you can’t use them on the same product and still receive the ECBs again?

  • Jen

    Hi, Is there a particular order that we should give the coupons to the cashier when paying? Thanks in advance.

    Jen (AZ resident too!)

  • Hi Jen, just make sure you hand over any $x/$xx coupons first.

  • Lisa

    I was wondering if anyone in the Tucson, AZ area who shops primarily at Frys has created a price book. I’m new to this and if you’re willing to share the information with me, it would give me quite the head start. TIA

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