A Guide to Shopping CVS

CVS is by far the best drug store to shop in.  Walking away weekly with products for FREE or a MONEYMAKER is easy.  Many people won’t coupon because they simply don’t understand how to make it work.  Today I hope to clear-up some questions for you.

Photo Credit: thriftytexan.com
Photo Credit: thriftytexan.com

Extra Care Card

You must have an Extra Care Card to shop at CVS successfully.  It allows you to receive the sale prices, load coupons on to use in the store, and print the weekly coupons available from the Extra Care Coupon Center.  By using your card you are also tracking your spending for deals producing Extra Care Bucks, Beauty Bucks, and any Pharmacy Prescriptions.

CVS policy states you can only have one CVS Extra Care Card per household.

Extra Care Bucks (ECB)

Extra Care Bucks are store coupons that you can use like cash in CVS.  You can earn them 2 ways and the weekly ad will give you the required details:

  1. If you purchase a specific number of products to produce an extra care buck to print.  Example: Buy 2 Neutrogena cosmetics and receive $6.00 ECB.  These are usually limited to 1 or 2 per card, check ad for details.
  2. Purchase a specific total of a product to produce extra care buck.  Ex: Buy $15.00 in L’Oréal hair color or hair care and receive $5.00 ECB.  Now the total cost of the product is pre- coupon.  So if you have 4 products to total $15.00 or more and 4 coupons of $2.00 off one, you won’t pay the full $15.00.  See “Stacking Coupons” for more info.

Extra Care Bucks may then be used on your next transaction for most products in the store (see exclusions below).  You can use them to lower your cost of non-sale items or roll them to another sale to keep the Out of Pocket (oop) down.


Things to NOTE:

-Extra Care Bucks are specific to your account/Extra Care Card.  You cannot give someone else your ECBs to use because they will not work on their account/card.

-ECBs do expire in roughly 4 weeks.  Be sure you use them in a timely fashion.

-Be sure you use your ECB on products meeting or exceeding the value of the ECB.  If the ECB exceeds the value of the product purchased then the ECB will be adjusted down.  Example: Buy Shampoo for $3.00 and use ECB for $4.00, ECB will be adjusted down to $3.00.  To not lose that $1.00, throw in a “filler” item for $1.00.  Great filler items: candy bars, gum, clearance items, etc.

-ECB can be used on the cost of the products BEFORE tax.  Be prepared to pay tax for every purchase (tax will vary from state to state.)

-ECB cannot be used on the following: prescriptions, alcohol, Gift Cards, lottery, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards and tobacco products.

-EBCs will print on the bottom of your receipt at the end of the transaction.  Always double check that you received the ECBs you were expecting.

Store Coupons

CVS has all types of coupons specific to the store:

  • AppOnly Coupons: download the CVS app and you will receive weekly coupons that are only available for App users.  When you scan your card at checkout inform your cashier that you want to use an AppOnly coupon.
  • % off Coupons: these coupons will take a percentage off of the products retail price AFTER all store coupons but BEFORE manufacturer coupons.  % off coupons can only be used on non-sale items.  So, if the price is already reduced, SORRY!
  • Other store coupons:  lastly you have store coupons similar to manufacturer coupons.  Ex: $3/3 Pantene Products or $5/$30 in L’Oréal Products.

Stacking Coupons

CVS has the easiest coupon policy out there which makes it very easy to stack coupons.

Although you can only use one manufacturer coupon per product, you can stack those with a store coupon and ECBs!  This is how you take home products for FREE!!!!

  • Stacking Example:  Huggies Diapers
    • Start with a Sale Price
    • Store Coupon: $5/$25 Diapers, Training Pants or Wipes including CVS Brand
    • Store Coupon: $3/$20 Huggies, Pull-Ups or Goodnites
    • Manufacturer Coupon: $4/2 packages of HUGGIES® Diapers
    • Use Extra Care Bucks
    • Receive Extra Care Bucks

All of these can be used together, called “stacking”, making deals absolutely amazing!  **Also watch your rebate apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, or SavingStar for money back on your purchases.

Beauty Care Club

Be sure you sign-up for the Beauty Care Club to receive extra savings and bonuses.  You can sign-up online or on your app.

As a Beauty Care Club member you’ll receive

  • $3.00 ECB on your birthday.
  • 10% Off Beauty Shopping Pass for enrolling
  • $5.00 ECB for every $50 spent on qualifying Beauty purchases (pre-coupon is tracked on your card)  *Note: can take up to 48 hours after purchase before Beauty Bucks update.
    • Qualifying items:
      1. Cosmetics
      2. Ethnic Hair Care
      3. Fragrances
      4. Body Wash
      5. Hand Soap
      6. Hair Accessories
      7. Hair Care
      8. Hair Color
      9. Healthy Skin Care

Raincheck Policy

CVS not only has an awesome couponing policy, but it also has an amazing raincheck policy.  CVS out of a sale product?  No worries, just ask for a raincheck.

Things to NOTE:

  • Rainchecks NEVER expire.  Lose the raincheck and find it 3 years later- No problem!  Take it to CVS and redeem it.
  • Rainchecks can be used at any CVS location.  If you move or get a raincheck while traveling, just go to any CVS location to redeem.
  • Rainchecks will include instructions for ECBs you’ll receive (must have “event code”) and what coupons you plan to use both store and manufacturers. (Manufacturer coupons will be stapled to the raincheck.)



Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) sales happen regularly at CVS and sometimes they will correspond with a BOGO Free manufacurers coupon.  This will result in 2 FREE products (must pay tax).

Coupons will also be accepted on FREE items (must pay tax).

  • Example: Suave Shampoo for $3.00 each.
    • BOGO Free Sale
    • Use (2) $1/1 Suave Shampoo Coupons
    • FINAL: $1.00 for 2

**To access the Full CVS Coupon Policy Click Here**

36 thoughts on “A Guide to Shopping CVS”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *