How To Save At CVS Pharmacy

  • Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:58 AM

CVS Pharmacy is a great place to find fantastic deals. Often times, it is possible to save up to 90% or more on your transactions if you plan carefully.  But before you tackle CVS, here are a few pointers that should help you get the most bang for your buck.

Become Familiar With Your Store’s Policies.

CVS has some corporate policies (for example, you can use one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon per item), but they also allow regional and store managers to set policies. Some stores will accept coupons printed from the internet others may not. Many stores will issue rain checks for items that earn Extra Care bucks while others will not. Some stores will also limit the number of coupons you can use during each transaction. If you know your store’s coupon policies, you can save time and embarrassment during the check out process.

Extra Care Program

The Extra Care Program is CVS Pharmacy’s customer loyalty program. You can sign up for an Extra Care card in store or online.  After you sign up for the Extra Care Program, make sure that you register your Extra Care card online.  You will receive a coupon in your e-mail for $4 off your next CVS purchase of $20 or more and they will send you valuable coupons from time to time.  In addition, you can check your Extra Care earnings online and print your quarterly Extra Care Bucks.

Extra Care Bucks

Extra Care Bucks are card specific and can only be used with your CVS Extra Care card. Your Extra Care Bucks will print at the bottom of your receipt and typically have an expiration date that is about a month from the purchase date.
Earning Extra Care Bucks is easy. Look in the weekly CVS ads found in your Sunday paper. In addition to their weekly specials, they will have specific items highlighted in yellow – when you purchase these promotional items, you will earn Extra Care Bucks (also referred to as ECBs).

In addition to earning Extra Care Bucks for purchasing promotional items, you can also earn “quarterly” Extra Care Bucks.  You will earn a quarterly ECB based on 2% of your out of pocket spending (this means after all coupons and other discounts have been applied).  You will also earn 1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions you purchase in store or online at the CVS Pharmacy.

The earning and payment dates for quarterly ECBs are as follows: (your quarterly ECBs will start printing on your receipt on these dates and you can also print them online.)

  • For ECBs earned December 15th-March 14th:  print date is on April 1st
  • For ECBs earned March 15th-June 14th:  print date is on July 1st
  • For ECBs earned June 15th-September 14th:  print date is on October 1st
  • For ECBs earned September 15th-December 14th:  print date is on January 1st

What If You Lose Your ECBs?

Make sure you keep your ECBs in a safe place! Think of them as money. If you lose them, you cannot replace them.  SOMETIMES customer service will reprint any unused quarterly ECBs you have earned as a courtesy, but don’t rely on this.

How Many ECBs Can I Use In One Shopping Trip?

You can use as many ECBs s you would like in one trip!

Explain This “Rolling” ECBs Thing.

To “roll” an Extra Care Buck means to use it to pay on another advertised deal that has an Extra Care Buck offer attached to it and receive that Extra Care Buck after you pay. Thereby rolling the old Extra Care Buck into a new one. If the limit is more than one, you can roll one Extra Care Buck into another for the same item, it isn’t prohibited, and another Extra Care Buck will print!


CRTs are additional coupons that will print out on the bottom of your receipt.  These typically have a shorter expiration date than ECBs (ranging from a few days to one or two weeks) and are “store” coupons so they can be used in addition to manufacturer’s coupons!   Look for red “scanners” in your stores and scan your Extra Care card at these machines whenever you visit a store – CRTs will also print from these machines.  Typically, the CRTs you get will match up with upcoming promotions and help you save even more money!

Buy One, Get One Free Promotions

If your store is having a Buy One, Get One Free promotion and you have a Buy One, Get One free coupon for that item, you can get two items for free!

A Few More Tips

If you are participating in a promotion that says “Spend this amount, get an ECB for this amount”, you do not have to spend the total amount all in one store or in one transaction.  If you look at the bottom of your receipt, it will tell you how much you have left to spend.  This really helps if your store doesn’t have everything you need in stock!  This also applies for a “Buy 2 items, get an “X” ECB” promotion”

The amount you have to “spend” is based on your total BEFORE coupons!

Shop Early In The Week

If you shop early in the week, you will have a better chance of finding sale items in stock. If sale items are out of stock, remember to ask for a rain check. CVS rain checks are not store specific and do not expire.


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