CVS Programs and Policies 

CVS drugstores have amazing deals, but you've got to learn to work with their system.

First let's take a look at their sales and coupon policy:

  • Sales Week
CVS sales run Sunday to Saturday. The new ad technically begins at 12:01 am, but most stores put in their ad prices on Saturday evening. That means if you have a 24 hour location, you may be able to get your Sunday deals late Saturday night (I would wait until 10 pm or later to stop by).

  • Coupon policy
  1. Printable coupons are accepted. Must have clear expiration, bar-code, and redemption information.
  2. Competitor coupons are not accepted. This may vary by store, so check with your local manager.
  3. You may use one manufacturer coupon and one CVS store coupon per item.
  4. No overages - if your coupon value is higher than the item price your coupon will cause the register to beep and will need to be adjusted by the cashier.

  • Buy One Get One
Buy one get one rings up full price on the first item and free on the second. Therefore you can only use one manufacturer coupon on BOGO items.

  • Loyalty Card
You will need a CVS loyalty card to take advantage of sales and earn Extra Care Bucks. Pick it up at the cashier's station.

  • Store Coupons
CVS store coupons can be printed in store at the kiosk (look for a tall, skinny scanner near the front). Sometimes it spits out coupons for cash off purchases off $15 or $20 dollars! You can also get store coupons through email by signing up at

Extra Care Bucks (ECB) Program

Here's where CVS can be a great place to shop. Last year I saved, according to my last CVS receipt, $497 on purchases. I didn't keep track, but I'm pretty sure I only spent about $30 there over the course of the year. That's a pretty good savings ration if I do say so myself. How did I do it? With Extra Care Bucks and coupons.

Extra Care Bucks, or ECBs, are like cash back for purchases. When you purchase an eligible item with your CVS loyalty card you will be given a slip with an ECB amount. Present the ECB slip on your next purchase and you'll be given that amount off your transaction. Some things to know -
  • Treat your ECB slips like cash - if you lose them you can't get them back.
  • You can't get change from an ECB - if your ECB is $2, and your total is $1.50, grab a pack of gum as a filler
  • You can't pay tax with ECBs, so make sure you hit the right total pre-tax. However, tax will be deducted if your total equals your ECB.
  • ECBs expire - don't forget to use them!
  • You can use coupons on your purchase before presenting your ECBs - remember, they're just like cash
  • You can get rain-checks for ECB items, just make sure the cashier notes the sale price and that you are to get ECBs back. Rain-checks never expire!

Let's see an example of how this works -

This week CVS is advertising Herbal Essence shampoo or conditioner as an ECB deal. In their ad it will look like this:

Herbal Essence shampoo or conditioner
you pay 2.99 - 2.00 extra bucks rewards = .99 after extra bucks
It's like getting it for .99!

You pay 2.99 at the register (plus tax, of course) and the register will print out a slip for $2.00 in Extra Care Bucks. When you return you use the $2 slip on another purchase.

Got that? You've got to put down the money up front, but you'll get the money back on future purchases.

Let's take it a step further now - you have a coupon for a featured ECB item. Let's use the shampoo again as an example. You have a manufacturer coupon for $2.00 off.

So $2.99 - $2.00 coupon = .99
You pay $1.06 with tax and receive 1.99 in ECBs.

You've just been paid to take the shampoo!

But if I don't have a coupon, how does that make for great deals? Well, if you then take your $2 in ECBs, and use them to purchase another ECB eligible item, you can "roll over" your rewards endless times and get tons of products for very little out-of-pocket cost.

Let's say you check the ad next week and see that they have Right Guard deodorant as an ECB deal, and this time it's a "free" deal (yes, they do this). The ad looks like this:

Right Guard deodorant
you pay 1.99 -  1.99 extra car bucks rewards = FREE after extra bucks
It's like getting it for FREE!

Remember you have $2 in ECBs already. Your pre-tax total needs to equal $2 or more, so you grab a .25 cent candy at the checkout. Your total is 2.24 + tax. You present your $2 ECB from your last visit, pay the difference, and receive another ECB for $1.99. You walk away with deodorant and some candy for change!

What's even better is that CVS will let you do more than one transaction in a visit. You can walk in with $2 in ECB, but an item slightly over that, get new ECBs, then do another and another. Sure, it takes an extra minute to do separate payments,but you may walk out with a lot of products without spending much at all.

There are limits on the number of reward you can receive for each sale item, so read the ad carefully. Some items may be a limit of 1, others may have a limit of 5.

You earn ECBs in other ways too:

  • Earn 2% on all purchases in-store or online
  • Earn 1 ECB for every prescription purchase
  • Pick up the reusable bag tag (near the cashier stand), and earn 1 ECB every 4th visit with your reusable bag - in other words, just make sure it's scanned and every now-and-then you'll get an extra as a bonus

You can register you card at to monitor and print earned ECBs from home


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