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Couponing 101: CVS

Amanda Arnold-Drinnon • Feb 27, 2014 at 9:39 AM

This will be the first of a two part series about couponing and saving at drug stores.

It may sound odd that drug stores are a great place for couponing, but they offer many ways to stack discounts. The initial price may not appear to be a good deal, but once you begin stacking you can easily score cheap to free products.

CVS and Walgreens offer amazing deals. Today we will look closely at CVS.

CVS Extracare Card

CVS’s reward/loyalty program is called ExtraCare. First, sign up for an ExtraCare card. You can register at the store or on CVS.com.

Occasionally, CVS offers a discount coupon for registering. Remember to use your couponing E-mail so that you will receive coupons and free product offers. When you check out at the register, the cashier will scan the ExtraCare card. This will qualify you for all the discounted pricing and the ExtraBucks offers. Then, you will use any paper or mobile coupons. If you receive ExtraBucks (see below) you can use them on your next transaction. You’ll also earn 2 percent back on all your CVS and CVS.com purchases. If you do not have an account, you will pay full price!


CVS accepts printable and manufacturer coupons. You can also stack CVS coupons with manufacturer coupons. This can offer amazing deals because you get to use two coupons on one product. CVS coupons are available at http://www.CVS.com, in-ad, and at the “magic” coupon machine in stores.

CVS’s coupon policy is available at: http://www.cvs.com/bizcontent/general/help/coupon-policy.pdf

Extracare Coupon Center

The ExtraCare Coupon Center (also referred to as the “magic” coupon machine) is located inside any CVS store, usually near the front. Scan your ExtraCare card before you shop, and it will print daily coupons. It’s a good idea to scan your card more than once because it will usually print more coupons. Coupons vary by customer, so it doesn’t hurt to have more than one Extracare account (one for you and one for other adult members in your house).


ExtraBucks are like CVS’s own brand of money. ExtraBucks are checkout coupons which print on the bottom of the receipt when you make a qualifying purchase. ExtraBucks promotions are advertised in the CVS weekly advertisement. You earn ExtraBucks for making qualifying purchases. The ExtraBucks can be used on your next transaction.

ExtraBucks deals have limits. Even if you shop at multiple stores, you will not be allowed more than the printed limit in the ad because the transactions are triggered by your card.

CVS often runs ExtraBucks deals like “Spend $30 on Pantene, Receive $5 ExtraBucks.” The $15 minimum purchase requirement is the subtotal reached BEFORE the customer uses any coupons. If you purchase 6 bottles of Pantene at two for $5, you may use manufacturer coupons (and previously received Extra Bucks) to reduce the amount you pay, and you will still receive your $5 ExtraBucks. For example, if you had three buy one get one free coupons for shampoo it would work like this:

Buy 6 shampoos

Scan Card

6 X 2.50= $30 so I will get $5 ExtraBucks back

Use 3 Buy one get free coupons

Pay $15, get $5 back

6 bottles of shampoo for $10 +tax or $1.67 per bottle

These will go in the stockpile and you won’t have to buy shampoo for a while. If you are worried that you will forget to use the ExtraBucks, do another transaction before you leave the store. Buy some of the weekly items that you always buy (milk, eggs, bread) with the ExtraBucks. This way instead of just spending the money on milk and bread, you will get some shampoo too. It’s like money recycling…using the same $5 more than once.

Many couponers roll ExtraBucks from week to week. ExtraBucks can be used to pay for other items also participating in ExtraBucks promos, and your new ExtraBucks will still print. This allows you to lower your out-of-pocket by rolling your ExtraBucks and doing multiple transactions. Who knew you could save money just by dividing your purchase into multiple transactions?!?

When you redeem ExtraBucks, make sure that you use the full amount or you will forfeit some of it. For example, if you use a $2 ExtraBucks coupon on a $0.99 pack of gum, you will forfeit the additional $1.01 value. CVS will accept the coupon, but they will adjust it down.

Rain Checks

CVS has an amazing rain check system. If a product that is part of an ExtraBucks promotion is out of stock, customer service will write a rain check for the deal.

CVS Beauty Club

CVS can be a great place to stock up on beauty supplies. You can earn awesome rewards for things that you are already purchasing. For every $50 that you spend on qualifying items (pre-coupon), you will earn $5 ExtraBucks, which can be applied to future CVS store purchases. These do not have to be used on beauty items. Remember, the purchases are tracked on your card so you do not have to spend $50 at once. It can be over weeks or even months.

To join the CVS Beauty Club, simply sign up for FREE at http://www.cvs.com/promo/promoLandingTemplate.jsp?promoLandingId=join-beautyclub. Link the registration to your existing ExtraCare account, or sign up at your local CVS with an enrollment certificate.

Qualifying purchases include items from the following categories:

• Cosmetics

• Hair Care, Accessories, Appliances, and Color

• Fragrances

• Hosiery

• Skin Care

Other Discounts

CVS also works with several other discount programs that will stack with the coupons, ExtraBucks, and so on. Included are:

• SavingStar (http://www.savingstar.com)

• Ibotta (http://www.ibotta.com)

Don’t forget rebates. Rebate requirement totals are calculated BEFORE coupons and other discounts. Rebates are stackable with every coupon/discount available.

Remember, the bloggers usually put out the upcoming deals at CVS a couple of days before the weekend edition of the paper comes out AND they do all of the coupon matching for you. Here is a link to this week’s printable CVS deals from http://www.couponingtodisney.com: http://www.couponingtodisney.com/cvs-223-31-6-1-2-free/

Next week the series will continue with tips for saving at Walgreens. Please send all questions, comments, and/or tips to aarnold@timesnews.net. I look forward to hearing from you!

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