How to shop at CVS


Here are the basics of shopping at CVS, one of my favorite stores for great bargains.  If you walk into the store without a plan, you could end up spending a lot of money.  However, if you walk into the store with some help from us, you could walk out with your bags and your wallet full.

Here are some basic tips to get you started.  You’ll probably want to return to this page often, until you get the hang of it.


 First, I hope you have a CVS near you.  If you are unsure, you can check here.

Second,  you will need an ExtraCare Card.  If you don’t have one, sign up for one next time you are in the store.  You will be able to use it right away.  Make sure you have it EVERY time you go to the store (put it on your keychain), and have the cashier scan it at the beginning of each transaction.

CVS also sells a green bag tag for .99.  This is a tag that you put on your keychain and it gets scanned when you make your purchases and use your own bag. (or don’t use a bag, or stick the item in your purse etc. )  For every 4 scans (it can only be scanned once per day) you will receive an ECB.  So you will actually earn money and help the environment at the same time! 

Look for CVS coupons in CVS fliers and other advertising, and are listed on GS


Your ExtraCare Card will get you sale prices, coupons, and ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs)

ECBs are ‘reward bucks’ that you earn on special advertised deals each week.  They print on the bottom of your receipt, and are good on most future purchases at CVS Just use these like cash at CVS.  Remember, though, that they do not cover tax, and that they typically expire in a month. 

With ECB deals, you can frequently get items for free or even make money on the deal!  Here is an example:

Crest toothpaste $2.99 get $2.99 ECBs (limit 1)

That means when you buy that Crest toothpaste for $2.99 you will get $2.99 back in ECBs on the bottom of your receipt.  These deals typically have a limit of 1 or 2, so you can only do the deal the amount of times the limit states.  So, it is like getting it for free.

Now, how do I make this a moneymaker? 

Well, if I have a coupon for $1 off Crest toothpaste and I give that to the cashier when making my purchase, I now paid $1.99 for the toothpaste, but I still get back $2.99 in ECBs.  So I made $1 in ECB on this purchase.

Special CVS Coupons

You can sign up here for email alerts from CVS.  When you do, you will receive a one-time-use $4/$20 (save $4 with $20 purchase) coupon to use in store.  When doing so, make sure your purchases total $20 before coupons.   Then give the cashier  the $4/$20 coupon first.  Then you can hand them any other coupons for items in your transaction.   

CVS also has a Red Coupon Machine (I walked by it many times before realizing it was even there.  Maybe you have too).  Every time you go into CVS make sure you scan your card TWO TIMES at this machine.  Sometimes you will get 2 rounds of coupons. Sometimes just 1. 

Coupon Policies

We called CVS corporate directly to confirm their coupon policies.  The very nice associate told us that they do not have a policy that they give out, but it is in staff training manuals.  I confirmed with her all of the information below.  If you have a problem with your CVS adhereing to these statements, my recommendation is to walk away from the purchase and call corporate. 

CVS coupons can be ‘stacked’ (combined) with manufacturer coupons.  That means if the Coupon Machine spits out a Crest toothpaste $1 off coupon, you could use that on the toothpaste deal above, along with your manufacturer’s coupon, and now pay .99 for the toothpaste… and you still get the $2.99 ECBs, making it an even better moneymaker.

If you have a $4/20 or other $x/$xx purchase coupon, you may only use 1 per transaction.

If CVS is having a Buy one Get one(BOGO) free sale and you have a BOGO manufacturer’s coupon, you may use that coupon with the sale and get both items for free.  You will pay the tax on the item if applicable.

CVS does a wonderful job giving rain checks, including the ECB rewards. 

CVS will take internet coupons, but if the coupon does not scan they reserve the right to not accept the coupon.

CVS does not price match, nor do they take competitor’s coupons.

Go for it!

In the beginning, start small!  Try not to overwhelm yourself and do every single deal.  More deals will come.

Make sure you gather your list, coupons, and previous ECBs before hand.  On your list include the item, the price, your coupons to use, and the amount of ECBs to are to receive, so you can double-check as you go.

Good luck, and remember we are here to help.

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16 Responses to How to shop at CVS

  1. pell grant says:

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    • Keith & Steph says:

      Thanks so much!!! Like us on facebook and subscribe to our emails so you can keep updated with the latest. Let us know if there is a particular deal or store you would like to see featured!! Thanks for the compliment!!! It means a lot!

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  12. Ava Gacser says:

    Hi Steph,

    I am so glad I attended your couponing class at the Franklin Library on Wednesday! Today I went to CVS armed with manufacturers coupons and $9 worth of Extra Bucks. I got the Crest mouthwash for free and a raincheck for the Oral B Glide dental floss, so I will get that free too when it comes in. I made other purchases – several of which offered ExtraBucks rewards – and wound up taking $18 off my order! Then I also received $11 more in ExtraBucks! So basically I paid $12.25 for an order that would have cost me $38.75+tax. I’m so thrilled! Thanks for the helpful tips and I hope you’ll bring your advanced couponing class to the library soon!

    • Keith & Steph says:

      Ava, thank you so much for telling me all that!!! I am soooo glad that you came and liked it !!! You did great at CVS! You should be proud of yourself!!! I think I will be doing an advanced coupon class in mid to late June at the library. I am doing an advanced free class at Zarephath (exit 12 off of 287) (near Manville) this Tuesday, April 12th. There is still room if you are interested. Seriously, because of sales like that at CVS, I don’t think I will ever pay for toothpaste or mouthwash or floss again! Glad to have you here!!

  13. Brenda says:

    Steph, I plan to use a $4 off $20 purchase for the first time at CVS this week. You said give that coupon first, so after my order has finished ringing give that? And then hand the coupons over after? I just want to be sure I understand clearly, thanks 🙂 Also, did you ever get the email I sent with the binder pics?

    • Keith & Steph says:

      ok, brenda- yes, have your order ring up…needs to hit $20. After it is all rung up, give the $4/20 coupon. Then give your other coupons, then, give your ECBs if you have any, then give cash. Does that help? Good luck! I used to get those coupons all the time. I miss them.
      ah, yes, i think i did thanks….i have to do something with them still!! thanks so much!

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