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Couponing At CVS !
In this article you will learn all about couponing at CVS ! CVS is one of the BEST places to start off when you first learn to coupon AND it will continue to be one of your favorite places to use coupons even when you are no longer a newbie!That’s because there is no shortage of deals at CVS! Between great weekly sales and ExtraBucks offers, to their personalized store coupons and awesome clearance deals, CVS offers something for all levels of couponers!
Before you start couponing at CVS, the very first thing you need to do is get an Extra Care Card. It’s simple and takes only a few minutes to sign up right at the store or you can sign up online. This FREE card is your ticket to take advantage of all the great sale prices and offers. All of your purchases will be tracked on this card. As we continue, you will learn why this step is CRUCIAL! If you have a card, you will also want to create an online account. Be sure to fill in your information including your e-mail address. You will want to opt in to receive offers and coupons (CVS frequently sends out exclusive E-mail coupons on a weekly basis, especially when you are new!) You will need to use your card on EVERY PURCHASE you make at CVS.
Now that you have your card, I have some New Coupon Vocabulary for you to learn! If you are brand new to coupons entirely and have found your way to this page, make sure you check out our Article: How To Coupon in A Week HERE before you attempt to shop.
CVS Couponer Lingo:
This is basically CVS money (except it does have an Expiration date – it will say on them when they expire.) They can be used to purchase just about everything in the store except alcohol, prescriptions, milk, lottery, taxes, money orders, gift cards, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, other fees, pseudophedrine, and deposits.
ECBs are earned by purchasing a specific product(s) from CVS. Offers that will produce ECBs can be found in the CVS weekly sales flyer. The ExtraBucks will print on the end of your receipt when you complete an Extra Care offer’s requirements. ECBs are linked to your Card which means nobody else can use them.
Magic Coupon Center (Aka Red Coupon Kiosk, The Coupon Machine, That thing Grandma is kissing below, etc)
Whatever you want to call it, you can’t miss it! It’s a big huge, RED machine located somewhere near the front of your local CVS store. This is you’re mecha for couponing at CVS. Every time you go to the store, be sure to scan your card (or enter your phone number) to print any CVS coupons that are available to you. Some will be ones advertised in the CVS flyer that everyone gets, other will be coupons specifically for you based on your buying habits. IMPORTANT: Scan your card (or enter your phone number) again after your coupons print. More coupons may print. Scan until the machine tells you that you do not have any more coupons available to you.
CRT (CASH REGISTER TAPE)
These are the coupons that print from the Magic Coupon Center. This term refers to any CVS coupons that print for you. The name originates from a time before the Magic Coupon Center was in existence and CVS coupons printed on the end of your receipt. Now we use this term to refer to all printed CVS coupons. Like ECBs, CRTs are linked to your Card and nobody else can use them. See, what did I tell you? It’s a MUST for couponing at CVS!
CVS Beauty Club
A special club you MUST sign up for. You will receive $5 in ECBs for EVERY $50 spent on qualifying “Beauty Items.” While the name implies it would only work on cosmetics & such, there is a much wider array of products that are included. Hair Care products and accessories (including Shampoo & Conditioner!), Skincare Products (Including Soap & Body Wash), Cosmetics, Nail Care, Hair appliances, and fragrance are all included in this program. The best part? The purchases track on the items price BEFORE any CVS coupons or other are applied! Sign Up Here For FREE!
CVS tracks your spending and 4 times a year you will receive 2% back of whatever you have spent in the form of ExtraBucks. The lower your Quarterly reward is, the better! Low is GOOD! That means you didn’t spend much out of your pocket during that quarter, even if you shopped a lot!
Extra Care Offers – The Two Different Types
Occasionally we see great sale prices or low clearance prices at CVS that pair with a coupon to make for a great deal, but the majority of great deals at CVS are a result of their Extra Care Offers. You can find these Offers weekly sales flyers. You will encounter two different types of offers; Buy a certain number of items to receive an ExtraBucks Reward or Spend a Certain amount on a certain brand or group of items to receive an ExtraBucks Reward. Here’s some examples you may encounter and how you can use your coupons for couponing at CVS to make for the best deal!
“Buy 1 X-Brand Toothpaste at $2.99 and Receive a $2 ExtraBucks Reward”
That’s like paying 99¢ for when you factor in the reward. If we had a manufacturer coupon for $1.00 your transaction would look like this:
Buy 1 Tube of X-Brand Toothpaste $2.99
– $1.00/1 MFR Coupon for it.
Pay OOP: $1.99 and receive $2 ECBs
Final Price: FREE (Plus a 1¢ money maker)
Buy $6.00 worth of X-Brand Toothpaste and Receive a $4.00 ExtraBucks Reward.
If it is $2.99 and you have that same $1.00/1 mfr coupon, you’re transaction will look like this.
Buy 2 X-Brand Toothpaste $2.99 each
– (2) $1.00/1 MFR Coupon for it.
Pay OOP: $3.98 and get back a $4.00 ECBs*
Final Price: FREE (Plus a 2¢ Money Maker)
*This is a perfect time to mention something we call the CVS 98% Rule. If you notice in the last example, we didn’t actually spend $6.00. This is because at CVS, you only need to spend at least 98% of whatever the offer requires in order to receive the ExtraBucks. In this case, you would need at least 98% of $6.00 ($5.88) and your reward will still print at checkout.
We ALWAYS factor the ExtraBucks earned at the end of the transaction in with the final price. It’s the only way to convey the savings effectively. YES when you first start you will need to pay money out of your pocket in order to earn the ECBs, but ideally, you want to be “rolling” your ECBs week after week. That just means that you can use any ECBs you may have earned previously to pay for your purchase and lower your out of pocket cost even further, with the intention that many of the items you are buying will earn you new ECBs to use on a future purchase. ECBs are typically good for just over a month.
ExtraBucks offers are limited to a certain number per card. The limit will be specified in the flyer (Limit 1, Limit 2, Limit 6, etc.). If the offer has a limit of more than 1 and you complete the requirement during one transaction, you will receive one big reward for that offer. For an example, if the offer is to receive $2 in ECBs for buying X-Brand Toothpaste and the offer has a Limit of 2. Then you would receive a $4 Reward if you bought 2. If the limit were 6 and you bought 6, you would receive a $12 Reward.
CVS ECB Tracking
All purchases are tracked with your CVS Card each week. They will reset the following week when a new sale begins. When you complete an Extra Care offer and receive ECBs, you will notice it will be listed on your receipt under the section, “This Week’s Extra Buck Offers.” It will describe the offer and state *Offer Limit Reached. This is also important to mention in terms of the offers that require you to spend a certain amount to earn these bucks. It will track what you do buy throughout the week. This means you do not need to purchase all the items within the same transaction. You just need to purchase them within the same sales week (sales run from Sunday to Saturday.).
This is important for a couple reasons. Let’s just say in the example above with the toothpaste (the one that requires you to spend $6), you get to the store and they only have 1 tube on the shelf. Having the offers tracked throughout the week will allow you to buy the one tube that’s available. It will then give you the opportunity to use the rest of the sales week to buy another tube. Once you complete the offer requirement, the ECBs will print on your receipt. This is also helpful if the CVS coupon limits how many you can use. If the coupon said you could only use one per transaction, this would allow you to purchase it in separate transactions. Therefore, complying with any restrictions, yet still meet the spending requirements.
CVS Store Coupons
As we mentioned before, CVS does a fantastic job at offering store coupons that can be used in addition to manufacturer coupons. These can vary greatly from person to person. You can only use “one item, brand, or category-specific CVS Pharmacy coupon and one manufacturer’s coupon per qualifying item unless prohibited by either coupon. CVS will honor manufacturer limitations listed on the coupon” per the CVS Coupon Policy.
Some CVS coupons will require you to spend a certain amount in order to save a certain dollar amount, e.g. Spend $30 save $6.00. If you had more than one coupon like this, you could use both as long as you spend $60 (Before Any Coupons are applied.)
Another type of coupon you may encounter are “Percent Off” coupons. These are a little trickier because they will ONLY work on items that are regular price (they also WILL NOT WORK on any items that offer some sort of BOGO sale (i.e. Buy one Get one FREE or Buy one Get one 50% off, etc.) They WILL work on regular price items that produce ExtraBucks. Imagine that $2.99 is the regular price of the toothpaste featured in the example above. If that were the case, then a percent off coupon could be applied. The weekly sales flyer will offer sale price on many of the featured items. So be cautious when using percent off coupons.
Last but not least, ALWAYS be in the habit of getting rainchecks. This is in the event that you cannot take advantage of a sale because the store does not have enough stock on hand. These are particularly awesome here because they NEVER EXPIRE! This will give you the opportunity to still take advantage of an offer once it is over and the store has enough stock to satisfy the requirement for the Extra Care offer or sale.
Putting it all together
It’s also important to review the CVS store Coupon Policy before shopping. You can view The Current CVS Coupon Policy HERE. It’s a great idea to print it and have on hand with you at the store. Every once in a while you may run into hiccups at the register. This can be resolved quickly if you have the policy readily available.
I know this may sound like A LOT to learn when it comes to couponing CVS, but practice makes perfect! I recommend starting with very small trips in the beginning. Once you feel you have a pretty good grasp on how their system works, you can take on more deals each week. It’s a lot simpler than it may sound at first and seeing is believing! Once you get the hang of it, you will LOVE all the GREAT deals you will get on tons of different items. Whether it be beauty and personal care products, to food and household items. There’s tons of deals for everyone! This store always remains a favorite among couponers. You will quickly realize why once you start shopping there and saving TONS of money! Good Luck & Happy Couponing!