School of Savings – CVS Shopping

CVS Terminology

Let’s start with some CVS terminology.  CVS’ rewards program is called ExtraCare Rewards and the membership card you use for this rewards program is your ExtraCare Card.  The rewards you earn are called ExtraBucks (EB) and they print on your receipt when you purchase select items.

ExtraCare Rewards

To get ready for your shopping trip, the very first thing you’ll need to do is get an ExtraCare Card if you don’t already have one.  You can sign up to become a member either in store or online.  It’s free to become a member and your card is the key to tracking your rewards and getting the great sale prices.  Next make sure you head to the CVS website and sign up for emails.  You’ll get a $4 off $20 purchase coupon just for doing so and you’ll also get lots of other coupons and bonus ExtraBucks along the way!


So what exactly are ExtraBucks?  These are like CVS cash that prints on your receipt when you purchase select items.  When you look at the CVS weekly ad you’ll see items highlighted that will trigger ExtraBucks when you purchase them.

In the example above from a past ad, when you purchase $12 of the select items shown, you get $6 in ExtraBucks.  That’s already a savings of 50%!  This means you would pay $12 at the register and then on your receipt you would get back $6 in ExtraBucks to use on one of your next shopping trips.  ExtraBucks do have an expiration date, so you’ll want to be sure to keep track of them and don’t forget you have them.  The best way to save the most is to combine coupons and ExtraBucks.

And remember, CVS also has store coupons, which can be used too to save even more!  CVS store coupons can be found online at the CVS website, rarely in newspaper inserts, and in stores.  To distinguish a store coupon from a manufacturer’s coupon online, look for the CVS logo on the image as in the coupon above.

Additional Ways to Save at CVS

There are also a few additional ways to save at CVS.  In addition to ExtraCare Bucks printing when you buy select items, you also get 2% cash back on every purchase and rewards for prescription purchases.  These rewards accrue and will print on your receipt quarterly.  Second, when you get to the store be sure to scan your card at the ExtraCare Coupon Center (aka Magic Coupon Machine) to see what surprise goodies you can get that day.  When you scan your card coupons will print.  These are CVS store coupons and many times you’ll even get a coupon that makes an item free!  Finally, CVS has a Green Bag Tag program to encourage consumers to be environmentally friendly.  You purchase a Green Bag Tag for $0.99 and attach it to any bag you would like to use when shopping at CVS.  Each time you shop make sure they scan your tag.  For every 4 times your tag is scanned you’ll get a $1 ExtraCare Buck!

CVS Coupon Policy

When heading out, as with other stores be sure to take a copy of the CVS coupon policy with you.  Some of the highlights are that CVS accepts one manufacturer (including internet printable coupons) and CVS store coupon per item, ExtraBucks and total purchase (ex: $4 off a $20 purchase) coupons can also be used, and you can use a Buy One Get One Free coupon with a Buy One Get One Free sale to get both items for free!

Let’s Start Shopping!

Ok, let’s review.  To shop at CVS…

  1. Become an ExtraCare Rewards member by getting an ExtraCare Card.
  2. Review and have with you a copy of the CVS coupon policy.
  3. Check out the weekly ad for deals or watch Saving by Design for CVS coupon matchups and deals which will have everything listed for you.
  4. When you arrive at the store head to the Magic Coupon Machine and scan your ExtraCare Card to get surprise coupons.
  5. When you are ready to check out hand over your ExtraCare Card, Green Bag Tag (if you have one), total purchase coupons (ex. $4 off $20 purchase), manufacturer’s coupons, and CVS store coupons in that order.  After you have your total then hand over any ExtraBucks you would like to use along with your cash.
  6. Thank your cashier and ENJOY YOUR GREAT SAVINGS! :)