Do you hear of people getting bags of products for pennies at CVS and you want to as well? Follow these step-by-step instructions and you’ll be a-m-a-z-e-d at how far your money goes at CVS.
Your turn: What other tips and tricks have you learned to get fabulous deals at CVS?
Get an ExtraCare Card
Go to CVS’s website and sign up for an ExtraCare card. You can also sign up in the store. It’s free, and you’ll need the card because:
Sale prices. You only get certain sale prices with the card.
Email offers. You’ll get lots of email offers. I got my card in May this year and I have already received several emails with $4 and $5 off coupons. Generally you will get a coupon right away as a thank you for signing up.
Coupon spitter-outer. Each time you go to CVS, you can scan your card at the CSO (“coupon spitter-outer”). It’s a blue machine labeled “price scanner” where you can scan your card on each visit and it spits out a CVS-issued coupon. Usually they are for CVS brand items, but you may also get great dollar-off coupons – my best was a $10 off a $30 purchase coupon.
Extra Care Bucks. Each week, the card will allow you to earn Extra Bucks (ECBs, or Extra Care Bucks) when you buy certain products. The Extra Care Bucks are a store credit that you can spend like work for your next CVS purchase (but they don’t give change back if you spend less than the value of the Extra Care Bucks). They print out on your receipt at the end of your transaction.
Join the Advisor Panel
Join the CVS Advisor Panel and you’ll get high-value Extra Care Bucks for taking an occasional market research-type survey. Hear what other readers think about the program in the comment section of this article.
Study the sales flyers
You can usually get a heads-up on CVS sales weeks in advance by checking out the forums at sites like A Full Cup, Slickdeals or Hot Coupon World. The key to a super successful CVS strategy is to only buy the items that generate Extra Care Bucks or items that are at a rock-bottom sale price.
Find your coupon match-ups
Pocket Your Dollars has weekly shopping lists you can use to see which coupons can make the advertised sales at CVS even better. The forums mentioned above often have discussions about the sales happening one and even two weeks from now, if you are the type to plan ahead.
“Roll” your Extra Care Bucks
Here’s how you walk out with bags of stuff for just a few dollars. You can do multiple transactions at CVS and pay for them using Extra Care Bucks that printed out from the previous transaction (aka “rolling your Extra Care Bucks”). For example, one week you might get $10 in Extra Care Bucks if you buy $20 worth of certain products. You can purchase those items, then use that $10 Extra Care buck to pay for items you ring up in a separate transaction that day or on a future visit. If the items you buy in your second transaction or future visit items also generate Extra Care Bucks, them you’ll get those too, even if you pay with Extra Care Bucks.
Stacking deals means you use CVS coupons + manufacturer coupons + Extra Care Bucks to reduce your total spending. In the example above, you don’t actually have to pay $20 for the items to get the Extra Care Bucks. You could use a CVS-issued $4 off a $20 purchase coupon (if you have one from a CVS email or from the coupon spitter-outer), plus use manufacturer-issued coupons on the products, and pay with Extra Care Bucks you may have from a previous purchase. The $20 requirement, in the example we’re using, must be reached before any coupons or Extra Care Bucks are applied. To maximize your savings, hand your coupons to the cashier in the following order:
— CVS $X/XX dollar off coupons (so the discount is applied to your total before other coupons)
— Manufacturer-issued coupons
— Extra Care Bucks
You will need to spend a bit out of pocket initially to earn Extra Care Bucks. My first few CVS trips I was spending $15-20, and thought it wasn’t worth it. But the day I walked out with $47 worth of merchandise after paying only $.97 I knew CVS would be a great place to save money!
Thanks to Pocket Your Dollars’ reader Sarah for laying this out for all of us!