How to save money at CVS
The same rules apply at CVS that apply to all shopping. Shop when the price is right and never run out of anything! The best way to do this is to keep a price book (#24). CVS has some great deals when you find a sale and then utilize the following techniques to save even more money.
Get an ExtraCare Card
Sign up online. This gives you access to special coupons and Extra Care Bucks (ECB). Extra Care Bucks are CVS gift certificates worth $1-10 that print on the bottom of your receipt when you make a qualifying purchase. They generally expire in 30 days, but you can use them right away. In fact I always use mine right away. More on that later.
Sign up for to receive email
When you sign up for your account opt-in to receive emails. I don’t shop at CVS regularly but it seems like every week I get an offer for 15% off, 20% off or my favorite $5 off a $15 purchase. If you get one of these click on it and “send” to to your card before you go to the store or shop online. These offers generally can’t be used for sale items but I’ve used them to buy things that never go on sale such as for clip on sunglasses which made them cheaper than Costco.
Sign up to receive texts
CVS ExtraCare members can sign up to receive texts from CVS and get a $5 off coupon one beauty product. Text EXTRA to 397-473 and you receive a text with a link where you complete your enrollment in ExtraCare texts. Details here
How to save money at CVS – Get the app
Text “App” to CVS-APP (287-277) to download. Then sign into the app with your EC card login. You can add offers you receive via email to your card from your phone. Recently I’ve noticed some “App only” deals.
Add coupons and register for ECB Offers
If you get an offer or coupon (i.e. Get $5 off $15 purchase) via email or on the app you always have to send it to your card to get the discount in-store or online.
Spend 98% of more to get ECB Deals
Let’s say an offer is “Spend $10 or more on X products and get $2 in ECB”. And let’s say the qualifying item(s) cost $4.99 each. $4.99 x2 = $9.98. You will still qualify to earn the ECB’s. In fact you just have to get to $9.80 or 98% to qualify.
Prepare before you shop
Review the weekly ad online (opt-in to receive it by email) or on the app and send any coupons to your EC card. Make a list of any other items with good prices.
Use your Extra Care Bucks right away
To use your ECB’s immediately you have to make two purchases. Recently I completed this shop. Purchase 1) I purchased an on sale item which offered $5 in ECB’s back. Purchase 2) I purchased two items on sale for two for $6.
I went to the store and collected all the items. My first purchase was: scan the EC Card (phone) or enter phone number and make purchase 1. I tore the $5 ECB certificate off the receipt (you have to scan and deposit it at the register with the second purchase) then I made my second purchase which was scan my EC card (phone) again, scanned in both items and the $5 ECB certificate. That’s it. Now I don’t have to go back to the store a second time or worse let the ECB’s expire.
Scan Your ExtraCare Card when entering the store and after purchase
Find the red price scanner machine and scan your card. It will dispense a tape of discounts you’ve signed up for and many times new offers and coupons. Also after you make your purchase scan your card again. It may have added more coupons that you can take advantage of immediately rather than having to make another trip back. Also check the bottom of your receipt after every purchase. There are sometimes additional coupons and offers.
I’ve never done this but I know someone who stockpiles their ECB’s and then makes a purchase applying all their ECB’s so the whole purchase is almost free. The rules are fairly straightforward the key being you can’t use more ECB’s certificates than items purchased. Also if the ECB’s exceed the total purchase you do not get cash back. Some people also use ECB’s to make purchases that generate additional ECB’s. Finally you can apply manufacturer coupons if you have access to those. Rules.
Earn 2% ExtraBucks on most purchases
Every time you scan your ExtraCare card, you earn two percent back on your purchases. The money can be redeemed every quarter (Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, Oct. 1) in the form of Quarterly ExtraBucks.
If you have prescriptions, check prices and if they’re competitive sign up for the program and fill them at CVS. You’ll get $5 ECBs for every 10 prescriptions you fill.
You get $3 ECBs for every $30 you spend, plus $3 ECBs every year on your birthday. The Beauty Club includes items from the following categories: Cosmetics, Fragrances, Hair Accessories, Hair Appliances, Hair Care, Hair Color, Healthy Skin Care and Skin Care. Excludes items from Trial & Travel, gift cards and prescriptions.
Every three months, you’ll get back 2% of what you’ve spent in the form of ECBs, so you want to make sure every purchase you make qualifies for that 2%.
CVS does not price match
I’ve noticed on more than one occasion that the in-store prices were much higher than online. CVS does not price match to their own website. So if I need to purchase enough for free shipping I order online to get the lower price.
- Open a Extra Care Rewards account.
- Get the app,
- Add your email address to your account. Sign up to receive the weekly ad.
- Review the weekly ad for all the sale items and add coupons and deals to your card.
- Make a list of the deals that you can’t clip to your card.
- Check your email for deals.
- Scan your card when you enter the store to check for new deals.
- Make purchase(s).
- Scan your card before leaving the store to check for new deals.
- Enjoy your savings!