CVS 101

        Tip Resource

See CVS Official Coupon Policy:

The CVS rewards program is called Extra Care Bucks or ECBs they come in the form of a coupon at the end of your receipt. They are the ‘reward’ for purchasing certain items specified in the weekly ad each week. ECBs are used like cash at CVS and can be used to purchase nearly anything in the store or online (excluding prescriptions, alcohol, Gift Cards, lottery, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards and tobacco products, as printed on the ECB.) They do not apply to tax on the transaction.

ECBs expire 30 days from printing and treat them as carefully as cash.

Earn 2% cash back in the form of Extra Care Bucks on every purchase in-store and online. Every three months these Extra Bucks will print out at the end of your receipt. If you are a really great CVS shopper–which means you spend very little out of pocket–this amount won’t be too much

Earn 1 ECB for every two prescriptions purchased in-store or online.

ECBs are linked to your card.

You can use as many ECBs as you want to get your total down to zero.

Get an Extra Care Bucks Card.   Ask a cashier for a card/application, or order HERE online (but expect 2-3 weeks before receiving)  This card has to be scanned at each purchase to earn ECBs (or give your phone number attached to the card)

Once you have a card subscribe to their emails for additional discounts. Go HERE

CVS accepts manufacturer’s coupons, including IP (internet printable) coupons. CVS also issues their own store coupons via email and printed out at the end of your receipt (these are referred to as CRT’s – cash register tape)

The required purchase amount to receive the ECB is always calculated before coupons. The goal for extreme couponers is to get the final amount, after all applied discounts and coupons, as low as possible.

A deal looks like this:
Revlon Nail at $4.99, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 6)
Use $2/1 coupon from the 5/8 SS
=Free+ overage after MFQ & ECBs

And it means: You can earn ECBs from Revlon 6 times. The 6 purchases do not have to be in each transaction. I would buy one Revlon Nail at $4.99, use the $2/1 coupon found in Smart Source newspaper insert from 5/8. My cost OOP would be $2.99 and I’d get $4.99 ECBs. Loving referred to as a MM (Money Maker)

This means to purchase new ECB deals and using ECBs to pay for it.
It can be used toward any deal, but for this example we will ‘repeat and rinse’ the transaction above. Do it again in a new transaction, but use the $4.99 ECB that just printed to ‘pay’ for the next transaction. Find a $2 item you need in the store, say bread and add it to the next transaction, to absorb the overage.

It would look like this: Buy Revlon for $4.99 use $2/1 from 5/8 SS; add $2 bread, total is now $4.99. Use the $4.99 ECB from deal #1 to pay for this one AND get another $4.99 ECB!

Revlon for $4.99
-$2/1 5/8 SS
+$2 bread
Pay using $4.99 ecb from first transaction. Now, you are rolling.

Use a CVS store coupon with your manufacturer coupon to maximize your savings. Some will print out at the end of your receipt, after your ECBs.

Watch for $3 off $15 purchase coupons in your email.  (sometimes they are $4/$20, $5/25 etc)  There is a really cool coupon guide located here.

CVS coupon policy allows for the use of one manufacturer and one CVS coupon on each item. ECB are not counted as coupons in this respect, you may use as many of these as you like.

Once you’re ready to checkout, put your coupons in this order: $3 off $15 store coupon (if you have it) then any other money-off store coupon, CVS store product coupons, manufacturer coupons and finally Extra Care Bucks.

Buy One, Get One Free Coupons:   Sales tax must be paid for any Buy One, Get One Free coupon offer, if required by applicable state laws. Two coupons may be used on a Buy One, Get One Free promotion as long as it does not exceed the item total
o Ex. Suave Shampoo is on sale for $2.00 Buy One, Get One Free and the customer is purchasing two shampoos; customer may use two coupons for $1.00 each and pay the applicable tax. Buy One, Get One Free promotions may be combined with Buy One, Get One Free Coupons. Customers are responsible for paying applicable tax
o Ex. Suave Shampoo is on sale for $2.00 BOGO and customer has a MFG coupon for Suave BOGO. Customer will receive both items for free but will need to pay any applicable tax.

Read about CVS program on their corporate website HERE.

Official Coupon Policy:  Print and keep with you — CVS Coupon Policy updated 2/2012

Leave a Comment

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather June 9, 2011 at

I found your blog, I too have been a more careful couponer since the birth of my child. I just wanted to point out that CVS allow more than one CVS cards to be registered to the same address, you just need more than one email address. I have one for myself and one for my partner. This allows you to take advantage of some of the deals that are limited to one one per savings card.
Thanks for the other pointers!


Victor June 17, 2011 at

Wow this was so helpful ! Now I know how to shop the correct way at cvs. Thanks!


Mary July 28, 2011 at

Hi there, a quick question for you regarding ecb rolling..I was under the impression that if you had an ecb print from one item (say the revelon as the ex. from your above post) and you were going to buy multiples of the same item..that you couldn’t use your ecb on another item from the same item/manufacterer and have the new ecb print (or roll) for the next item of the same item/manufacterer..or in this case, is the bread a filler item allowing the new ecb to print?? Also.. I was under the impression that you cant buy mult’s of the same item in one transaction and get mult. ecb’s to print (you would only get one ecb for the above scenario) I hope my questions make sense, thank you!


Bernadette Perdue October 7, 2011 at

Hi Jen, Is this a typo on your revlon example? You stated it’s 4.99 w/ ecb of $4.00….but then you went on receiving $4.99 in the end. I’m confuse…where did the $0.99 came from? If I understood it righ, I think you meant to say money maker of .99?? Thanks, Bernadette


br April 4, 2012 at

as to cvs official coupon policy – its at

– I had an allergra $7 coupon and the regular price of it there
was 6.99 – they said could not use the coupon on that size (5 pills)
but must get a larger size (I have friends who at another cvs this restriction
was not done.

they clarified to say that if coupon had said “save up to $7” they would have taken it, but it did not, just said $7 on any size allegra.

I’d think that the any size would allow the 5 count, but they said above comments.

—> could this situation be this rule from the policy ?
first section 7th bullet – the total value of the coupon cannot exceed ….

yet other parts of the policy, like for sale items and multiple items, seem to say its ok that price of item is less than coupon max amount.

What do you think ?


Jennifer Freeman April 4, 2012 at

Their own ad shows the coupon being used and getting the item for FREE!! What more could they possible want? Did you happen to point it out in the ad? Also, while standing there call the corporate office and they will immediately get on making sure the staff is following their coupon policies.

You used the coupon correctly. CVS will reduce the coupon to the value of the item (ie $7 coupon reduced to $6.99) You had a cashier or store that doesn’t understand their own coupon policy.
Another CVS store would certainly take it or even another cashier who understands their policy would have.



heada January 19, 2019 at

I recently bought a loreal mascara online and a loreal eye shadow instore. the two items totaled 19.98. i was told i couldnot earn extra bucks for purchases that were instore and online