CVS is a great place to save money on health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, paper goods, and even some grocery items. If you focus on just purchasing the items that are “deals”, and avoid anything at regular price- you can truly score some HUGE savings! So here's how to save money by shopping at CVS!
On Monday mornings when I make my weekly trip to the grocery store, I also like to make a stop at CVS to “work my CVS deals” for the week. That's because over time I have learned to master the “art of shopping at CVS”- taking advantage of extra bucks offers, rolling my deals so as to minimize the outlay of cash, and making sure to cash in on my quarterly rewards. In this post I'll show you what I do…
Save Money by Shopping at CVS: It All Starts with the Extra Care Card!
Head over to your local CVS and ask to sign up for the ExtraCare Card right at the register (it costs nothing!), or you can apply for the card online. In order to secure the advertised sale price of an item, you will need to allow them to swipe your card while you are checking out.
The benefit to CVS is that it allows them to study purchasing trends such as what makes up a typical “market basket”, but the benefit to you is that it is your passport to saving $!
Learn How to Earn and Use ECBs
Now part of the Extra Care rewards program is that it allows you to “earn” rewards Extra Care Bucks or ECBs.
Sometimes CVS promotions involve buying a certain amount of a product and then in return, you earn Extra Care Bucks. ECBs print at the bottom of your sale receipt- and they are only good for a certain amount of time (usually 2-3 weeks).
And ECBs are like cash- you lose that part of the receipt and your reward is gone for good- so be sure to hang on to them carefully and spend them before they expire!
ECB’s can not be used on alcohol, tobacco, or on prescriptions, but they can be used on pretty much everything else in the store. You also earn back 2% quarterly on everything that you spend. (Nice!)
Now what I like to do is to check out at the cash register twice. The first time I will purchase any item that is going to earn me some ECBs. I close out and pay for that order. And then I have them ring up my second transaction and I use my ECBs to pay for my purchases.
I find that using the ECBs I earn right away ensures that I definitely use them!
Save Money by Shopping at CVS: Sign up for the Additional Extra Care Programs Too!
CVS has two additional programs that you can sign up for separately (and they are free, so why wouldn't you?). The first is the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program which allows you to earn $5 in ECBs for every 10 prescriptions filled at CVS, or at Target (CVS pharmacy purchased the Target pharmacy biz as well!)
The second program is the ExtraCare Beauty Bucks program which earns you $3 in ECBs for every $30 you spend on beauty products, as well as a birthday bonus and other incentives.
Stop at the Coupon Kiosk When You Walk In
Near the front entrance of every CVS is a coupon kiosk- a scanner machine where you can scan your Extra Care Card and coupons will print out for you to use in the store. These coupons are CVS coupons which can be combined with manufacturer's coupons for an even better deal!
Also- if you've reached the end of a sales quarter- your 2% sales reward will print here as well.
Use a Deal Blog to Find the Weekly Match-Ups
My all-time favorite deal blog is Cindy Livesey's “Living Rich with Coupons“, where Cindy's team does all of the work for you!
Her team has studied the weekly sales flyer for CVS and matched up the sales price with available printed and online coupons and tells you what the week's best deals are! Here's an example:
Cindy explains that the deal at CVS is to spend $10 on Maybelline Cosmetics and earn $3 back in ECBs. She then shares with you various coupons that are available right now, and where you can find them (RP are newspaper insert coupons, she provides the date of when they were delivered, and which coupon flier they are (R= Red Plum).
And the best part is where Cindy constructs a possible deal scenario for you- in this case, to buy one mascara and one lip color, use 2 coupons- pay $6.98 and get $3.00 back.
Cindy makes it so easy for you to take advantage of the deals available at CVS! All you have to do is to read and follow her instructions on the products that you want to buy!
Save Money by Shopping at CVS by Limiting Your Purchases to Just the Deals!
Generally speaking, CVS is not a discount store- so if you start adding regularly priced products to your shopping cart while you are in the store, you start to erode your overall savings strategy. Stick to what's on sale!
Stick to Brands and Products Your Love
Executing a deal to buy 6 Sally Hansen nail polishes at $1.00 each (which is a great price) is a waste of $6.00 if you'll never use the product!
Don't just buy something because it is a great deal if it isn't something you would ever use.
Rather Watch Than Read?
Looking for more great ways to save money?
- 3 Quick Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store Every Week!
- Free Printable Grocery List (to help you figure out the lowest possible price to pay per item!)
- How to Save Money While Shopping at Target
- Some Unique Ways to Save Money While Raising Kids!
- How to Save Money on Hair Cuts
- 5 Things to Do Before You Complete an Online Purchase
Do you shop the deals at CVS? Have I inspired you to try? Please leave a comment below!