CVS 101

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CVS 101
I have been mentioning CVS deals for well over a year now but I have yet to explain how couponing at CVS works.  So here is my attempt to make sense of using coupons at CVS.

To start off you will want to locate a few local CVS stores (you can do that HERE).  I say a few because some stores are more heavily shopped than others and sale items will be gone quickly.  Next you will want to apply for a CVS Extra Care Card.  You can do that online or in-store.  You must scan your card before making your purchase or you will not get the deals.  Without the card you will not be able to take advantage of ECB deals.  The card also gives you 2% back in the form of ECBs.

Upon entering CVS you will always want to scan your card at the coupon kiosk, this will print exclusive coupons just for you and your Extra Care Card.  Sometimes you can scan your card more than one time so scan it until it says you have no more offers.

After getting your card it’s time to make your first transaction.  Start out with just a few items, keep it simple.  Couponing at CVS can be a work in progress.  Each week you can scan the ad and usually find one or two items that will be free after ECB’s.  You will have to pay something out of pocket but you will receive ECB’s for that purchase.  ECB’s are Extra Care Bucks – this is basically a Catalina coupon that is triggered when certain items are purchased.  These can be used as cash on your next purchase and must be used in full at that time; you will not get the difference back if you do not spend it all.

Rolling your ECBs
This is where the CVS challenge begins.  The goal is to spend the least amount of money Out Of Pocket and earn more ECBs by paying for your purchase with older ECBs.  Even better is when you can combine coupons with a deal and actually “make money” on a purchase.

For Example
Crest or Oral-B pro-health, 3D white vivid, clinical gum protection paste, multi-protection, Scope outlast rinse or satin floss $3.29 = $3.29 ECB (limit 2)                                                                 
 $1/1 from the 2/27 PG
OOP = $2.29
Get back $3.29 Ecb
Final Price = FREE + $1 Moneymaker

There is typically a limit on how many items per card you can purchase and earn ECBs on, that info will be stated in the ad.  Weekly deals can be found in the Weekly Ad while month long deals are advertised in the ECB booklet that can be found in-store. 

You will want to keep your eyes open for CVS Store Coupons which can be stacked with Manufacturer’s Coupons.  These will print at the Coupon Kiosk, at the bottom of your check and can also be found HERE.  CVS will also frequently offer B1G1 FREE sales, you can combine these sales with B1G1 FREE manufacturer’s coupons and get 2 free items. 

After a few weeks of carefully selecting some simple ECB deals you can start working on more complicated scenarios and multiple transactions.    As your transactions become larger and more complicated you will have to stay very organized.  I like to give them my CVS coupons first, then the manufacturer's coupon and finally the ECB.  Ultimately you will have to pay very little if nothing at all out of pocket for your purchase.  There have been occasions when I have made a purchase that I do not necessarily need in order to get the ECB, this is fine to do but have a recipient of the item in mind. Add it to your donation pile or give it to a friend or neighbor.

This should get you started, it takes some time to get use to but you can really save BIG money once you get going.

If you have not done so already, go HERE and sign up for CVS email updates and CVS will send you a $4/$20 coupon.