CVS Shopping 101

CVS has quickly become one of my favorite stores in which to shop!   Their system is quick and easy to learn.    I first learned how to shop Walgreens Register Rewards system and, after learning that, CVS was a piece of cake.

However, if CVS is your first Drug Store to learn to shop at…don’t be afraid.   It may seem like a lot of things to take in at first, but it really is easy and soon you’ll have it all down like you have been shopping there your entire life.

ExtraCare Card

First things first, when you begin shopping at CVS you will need to sign up for their ExtraCare Card.  You can do that online or in your local CVS store.

If you sign up for your card in your local CVS, you will need to go to, register, and attach your card online.   I love having my card registered because I can get online to see how many ECB’s I have {without having to pull them all out}, when they expire, their value, and which purchased item they are from.

You will use this card during each transaction.   You are only allowed 1 card per household/family.

Price Scanner

This is a magical machine.   Scan your card every time you walk into CVS to see what coupons this machine will give you.   I regularly receive $10/$50 CVS Coupons plus other coupons such as $1/1 Pantene Item that can be stacked with Manufacturer Coupons.
Every now and then it will spit out an ECB or two as well!

ExtraCare Buck {or ECB}

ExtraCare Bucks are ‘coupons’ that will print at the end of your receipt.   You will need to clip them and keep track of them to use on future purchases to help cut your out of pocket cost.    Most ECB Deals will have a limit such as

You will know which items to purchase in order to receive the ECB either by looking up our CVS Weekly Coupon Match Ups or by browsing the CVS Circular.   CVS sales run from Sunday-Saturday.

ECBs can be adjusted – say your subtotal comes down to $8.92 and you want to use 9 ECBs.   The cashier can adjust the ECB down to 8.92.   However, if you are using 10 ECB I would purchase another filler item to absorb the overage otherwise you are wasting $1.08.   It may not seem like much, but it adds up to a large amount if you do this often!

Every ECB you receive are tied to your card – you cannot give them away to someone else to use with their card…it will not work.

Stacking Coupons

You can use the CVS Coupons from the Price Scanner or the CVS website.   Just make sure to pay attention to which coupons are CVS and which are manufacturers coupons when printing from their site online.

You are allowed to stack 1 CVS and 1 Manufacturer Coupons at CVS per item.   This is awesome because you can save so much more this way!

For instance, let’s say that Pantene Hair Care is on sale for $6.97 for 2.  And you’ll receive 2 ECB when you purchase 2.

Buy 2 Pantene Hair Care Products = 6.97
Use the $1/1 Pantene CVS Coupon {from Scanner I mentioned above}
PLUS  $1 / 2 Pantene Man. Coupon
= Pay $4.97 out of pocket

You will receive 2 ECB to use towards your next transaction.  If you already have 2 ECB you could use that during checkout to print down your OOP cost to $2.97.

There are a ton of different ways to incorporate CVS and Manufacturer Coupons.  Trust me, it won’t be long before you get the hang of it!

Expire Coupons

Now that you know about stacking coupons at CVS, you should also know that some CVS Stores will except CVS Expired Coupons  {not to be confused with manufacturer coupons…only CVS store coupons}.

My CVS will except CVS Expired Coupons for only a certain amount of time – I’ve only ever had one expire and it was only expired by 3 days.    Some cashiers may tell you no, but don’t be afraid to either ask them to check with their manager or just ask for the manager yourself.       Make sure to be pleasant when you ask and let them know you have heard of other CVS Stores excepting expired CVS Coupons.   After all, it never hurts to ask!

Rain Checks

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked into CVS only to be greeted by empty shelves.   When this happens you can ask one of the cashiers to give you a Rain Check – it is a slip that you can bring back at a later date in order to get in on the deal.      They can only be used once.

Don’t be afraid to ask for as many Rain Checks as you need {of items that are out of stock}.   I have asked for up to 5 before.

When you go back to the store and plan to use a rain check, make sure to tell the Cashier up front that you have Rain Check{s} you will be using.

Rain Checks are awesome because you will most likely be able to make the exact purchase you are wanting with a Rain Check because all items will be in stock when you return rather than having to just take whatever sales items are left during the sales week.

I love Rain Checks because they never expire.   You can use them six months later when a coupon pops up to go along with the item!

That is shopping at CVS in a nutshell.   Did I miss anything?  If so, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

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