How to Maximize Your CVS Couponing
Guest post by Kimber
Do you ever see people’s CVS shopping trips and wonder how they do it? I used to! But thanks to MoneySavingMom.com, I’ve figured it out, so let’s walk through it together!
CVS has a program called Extra Care Bucks, or ECBs. These are coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt. They can be used on almost anything in the store, and they don’t expire for 4 weeks (and most stores will accept them after they’ve expired).
Check the weekly CVS ad to see which products will earn ECBs.
If your store is sold out, ask for a rain check! The cashier can easily modify prices and manually print your ECBs once the product is back in stock.
Enroll in the Beauty Club program
It’s easy – your store should have little red fliers by the register, and possibly in the cosmetics aisle. Just hand one to the cashier at to scan at checkout, and you’re enrolled — or sign up online.
You’ll get a coupon for 10% off any beauty purchase in the next few days, plus, CVS will send you 3 ECBs on your birthday. You’ll randomly get coupons e-mailed to you for being a Beauty Club Member, and my favorite part – every time you spend an accumulated $50 on beauty items, you will earn an extra 5 ECBs. That $50 is calculated before coupons!
I never spend $50 at once on make-up, but it is not unusual for me to get a make-up item for free (or almost free) every week or so. And almost monthly, I earn $5 from the beauty program. I love it!
Use the Pharmacy
Another way to earn Extra Bucks is to sign up for the Pharmacy and Health ExtraBucks Rewards program. Every time you (or any family member attached to your CVS card) fills a prescription, you earn a credit. Within a few days of earning 10 credits, you will earn $5 in Extra Bucks!
Don’t Forget the “Magic Coupon Machine”
There is still another easy way to save money at CVS – the large red price scanner (the “magic coupon machine”).
The first thing you should do when you walk into CVS is scan your card at this machine. Coupons will print. Keep scanning – usually a second, or even third, round of coupons will print – often high-value, and sometimes enough to make an item free.
If you don’t use your coupons immediately, save them until they expire. Sometimes coupons print for items that go on sale the next week!
Sign Up for CVS’s Emails
They differ for each person, but almost every week, I get a coupon e-mailed to me (usually a percent-off-your-next-purchase coupon or a $5-off-of-$30 coupon).
One word of caution, usually the “percent off” coupons only apply to non-sale items — so if my favorite mascara is on sale for $8.99, the 25% off coupon won’t apply. But if it’s normally $9.99 and I earn $8 ECBs for buying it, I can use the coupon – and I’ll end up “making money”, or getting back more than I spend! (Plus, the mascara would count towards my $50 Beauty Club limit!)
So how does this all work together?
Let me use a real example: last week’s shopping trip. This is how I walked out of CVS with more ECBs than I walked in with:
Last week, I received a random e-mail from CVS with $3 ECBs. To save ink, I clicked “send it to card”, meaning it was downloaded to my store card and it automatically came off at the register. And the week before, I had filled my 10th prescription, AND I had crossed the $50 threshold in my Beauty Club spending.
So I walked into CVS, scanned my card, and had $5 print off from the pharmacy, $5 print off from the Beauty Club, and $3 was waiting for me at the register. That’s $13 to spend, just for doing things I normally do! I kept scanning my card, and got a $4 off a $12 cosmetic purchase coupon.
- All laundry detergent ($3.99)
- my favorite eyeliner ($11.79)
- NYC products were buy one, get one half off, so I grabbed two bottles of their $.99 nail polish so I could use my $4 off of $12 cosmetics coupon.
When it was time to pay, my $3 ECB came off automatically. I used my $4 off $12 cosmetics coupon, a $1 off All coupon, my $5 from my prescriptions, and $4 from last week.
My remaining balance was 28 cents! And I still had my $5 Beauty Bucks leftover, PLUS $6 for buying Physician’s Formula eyeliner and $1 for buying All.
This kind of CVS trip doesn’t happen every time, and you shouldn’t expect it to. This was the perfect storm of coupons! But it’s an example, especially to beginners, that there are many great ways to utilize coupons at CVS.
It takes time to get the hang of it, but soon you’ll be shopping for free – and you’ll be sharing your great finds with the rest of us MoneySavingMom.com fans!
Kimber is a stay-at-home mom living in Texas. She loves playing with her two kids, going on dates with her husband, reading a good book, and shopping for her family (and for Operation Christmas Child)!
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