Couponers United

CVS 101

by Mary on September 18, 2009

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I remember when I first started couponing. CVS was so hard to understand. How do you get Extra Bucks? What do you do with them? How many cards can you have? Can I use coupons?
Those were just a FEW of the questions I had. Thankfully, I had a dear friend that was a CVS Pro that helped me out ALOT during those days! I’m really hoping this post will help all of the newbies or even some of the seasoned couponers that run into problems at CVS.

First things first, Sign up for your Extra Care Card. You can do this at OR in the store! I suggest signing up in the store so that you can start saving IMMEDIATELY! However, once you do sign up, come home, go online and sign up to receive emails from CVS (use your new CVS Extra Care Card number) They will send you updated information, deals, and even some surprise COUPONS! Your extra care card is needed to get the sale prices and to earn Extra Care Bucks.

What are ECB’s?? ECB’s are Extra Care Bucks. When you earn them, they will be printed at the bottom of your receipt. TREAT THESE LIKE CASH! And, keep an eye on the expiration date. You have one month from the day you receive an ECB to use it. Some stores will let you use expired ECB’s, but you never know when they will change their rules, so try your best to use them before the expiration date. ECB’s can be used like cash at CVS stores. There are exclusions, like gift cards and prescriptions, check the bottom of your ECB for the full list of exclusions.

Next, get your scenarios together! You can use your weekly store ad, or your online ad. Also, places like and will usually list the ads early. I also post the ad HIGHLIGHTS & coupon matchups ahead of time. Scan the ad for the FREE after ECB deals and any other sales that offer extra bucks. Your goal is to creat a scenario that will make the product free after coupons & extra bucks or even earn a profit ! This is done by reducing yourtotal amount spent with CVS dollar off your total coupons, CVS item coupons, and manufacturer coupons. **You can use both a CVS store coupon AND a manufacturer coupon on each item! PLUS you can use a $/$$ coupon too!

Here is an example:

Let’s say Hershey products are on sale for $3 each, spend $20 and receive a $5 Extra Buck. You have a $5 off $20 CVS coupon, you have a bunch of $1 off Hershey candy coupons and lots of $1 off Hershey CVS coupons:

Buy 7 hershey Products x $3 = $21 (you met the $20 required to get your Extra bucks!)

Use $5 off $20 CVS coupon – $5

Use (7) $1/1 Hershey Manufacturer Coupon – $7

Use (7) $1/1 hershey CVS coupon – $7

Pay $2 out of pocket, and you will receive a $5 Extra Buck!! You just made a profit of $3!

Next, learn how to “roll” your ECB’s. What does this mean? Rolling means you will use your ECB’s to buy products that produce MORE ECB’s. Making your actual cash out of pocket minimal to NONE! Learning how to effectively roll your ECBs will save you the most money in the long run. Sometimes, you may have to purchase items you don’t really need, and in this case, you can donate it or have a garage sale!!

I suggest writing down your scenario before heading to the store. This will really help! Also, shopping on the first day of the sale really helps because the best deals usually sell out fast. Bring a calculator with you in case they are out of stock and you need to re-evaluate in the store. Have a backup plan.


You have 2 options. You can buy everything at once or you can break them into separate transactions. Its usually less out of pocket when you have multiple transactions (using the first set of ECB’s you earn, to purchase the next set of items–rolling!) However, there are times when you have to make one big purchase to get your total high enough to use a $/$$ coupon.

When you’re ready to check out, hand the cashier your Extra Care Card! Then it’s important that you present your coupons in exactly this order to maximize your savings – CVS dollar off transaction coupons, CVS store coupons/manufacturer coupons, and finally your ECBs. If you present your dollar off coupons after your manufacturer and store coupons, your total transaction amount may not be high enough to allow the system to accept the coupon.

Something to note about Extra Bucks. If your paying with extra bucks, you can’t get change. Your total must be equal to or higher than the amount of extra bucks your using. You can do this by picking up some “filler” items. Filler items are very cheap items. A pencil is a good example, or check your clearance section for some cheap items. Trial items are good fillers too!

Check your receipt to be sure all of your ECB’s prited correctly. If not, let the cashier know. If you did everything correct, the cashier can manually print your ECB’s for you.

Also, at the bottom of your receipt, it will show you the deals you have already done, and how many more deals you can still do. (some deals have a limit of 1 some have multiple, so keep your eye on that)

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have. The drugstores can be very hard to understand when your first starting out. I will do my best to answer all your questions!

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

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