Friday, January 27, 2017

Couponing at CVS

New to shopping at CVS?  Here is an explanation for you!

CVS is a great place to coupon, because they have a lot of stacking deals.  However, when people throw out terms like "ECB" and "CRT," it can get a bit confusing!  Hopefully we can simplify it a bit for you here.

Before we begin, we want you to be aware that CVS sales run from Sunday through Saturday.

Rewards Program
The first thing that you will want to do is sign up for CVS's rewards program, called the CVS Extra Care card.  You can sign up online or at the store, and you may even get an extra coupon just for signing up!  You'll scan your card each time you checkout to be able to get sale prices, digital coupons, get CRTs, and keep track of Extra Care Bucks.

Another bonus for the Extra Care card is that every time you shop online or in store, you will get 2% back from your purchase in Extra Care Bucks!  These can add up quickly, especially when you are couponing.  You can also load digital coupons to your card as well that can be applied to your purchases.  (More about this later in the post.)

Extra Care Bucks (or Extra Bucks)
Extra Care Bucks (EB or ECB) are earned through special promotions (for example, buy $50 in beauty products and get $10 in beauty product EBs).  You do not need to purchase the entire $50 in one transaction; instead, they will keep track via your rewards card.  On each receipt, they will print out where you stand with the current EB promotions going on and tell you your balance ($17.50 purchased, $50 needed).  There are also limits to the number of times you can do a promotion, and that will also be monitored with your card. Once you reach the promotion amount, your EB will print off at the bottom of your receipt.  Save this and treat it as if it were cash.  You will be able to use it on a future transaction.

One nice thing about CVS and the EB promotions is the "98%" rule.  Once you reach at least 98% of the amount, your EB will print.  This is especially nice for transactions that end in $.99!  For example, if the promotion is to spend $20 to earn $5 in EB, you could buy two products for $9.99 each, paying $19.98, and still get your $5 EB.

Unlike Walgreens, EBs will roll, even on the same transaction.  So if you earn EBs for purchasing toothpaste, and you want to do the deal again, you can use those EBs to help pay for the second transaction of toothpaste and you will still get EBs printed again! Or, since the promotion limits are NOT “per transaction,” you can buy all of your items in one transaction, and every EB will print, one after the other, at the bottom of your receipt!

CVS Beauty Club
Another great way to earn EBs is to sign up for the ExtraCare Beauty Club. For every $50 you spend on qualifying beauty items (pre-coupon), you will earn a $5 EB! You’ll also receive $3 in EBs on your birthday (if you add your birthday to your online profile).

Qualifying Beauty purchases include items from the following categories: Cosmetics, Ethnic Hair Care, Fragrances, Hair Accessories, Hair Appliances, Hair Care, Hair Color, Hosiery, Healthy Skin Care and Skin Care. Excludes items from Trial & Travel, gift cards and prescriptions. Some items known to not count include: razors, shaving cream, deodorant, some men’s body wash, and sunscreen.

Somewhere in your CVS store is a machine called the Extracare Coupon Center.  It may also be referred to as the red box (not to be confused with Redbox, the movie rental machine) or as the Magic Coupon Machine.  Here is a short video on how it works:

This machine is a price scanner and a store coupon printer rolled into one!  When you scan your Extracare card, out come coupons!  These coupons are commonly referred to as CRTs in the couponing world.  CRT stands for Cash Register Tape - it's a fancy way of saying "receipt."

You can scan your card multiple times and you might get multiple CRTs to print out!  The types of coupons vary from week to week and person to person, but they generally are about the same.  When breakdowns are posted for CVS, you will see common CRTs listed as part of the breakdown.  These can be stacked with ECBs (also known as EBs) and manufacturer's coupons for even more savings!  So get in the habit of scanning your card multiple times each time you go to CVS.  You may get a commonly-printed CRT, or you may even get something better!

In-App Coupons
You can download the CVS app and link it to your Extracare card for even more savings.  There are coupons that you can find ONLY in your app!  These are store coupons that are one-time use and expires at the end of the sales week (so you'll need to keep checking back to see the new ones).  Since they are store coupons, you can stack them with the other deals and manufacturer's coupons.

You find them in the app under "My Deals and Rewards."  You choose the ones you want by clicking "Send to card."  Then when you check out and scan your card, they will automatically come off!  These coupons are similar to the CRTs.

More EBs
Here are a few more ways you can earn EBs at CVS and stock up on savings!

Prescriptions: Every time you fill a prescription, you get a credit (or 3 credits for 90-day prescriptions).  When you get 10 credits, you will get $5 in EBs!

2% back on purchases: At the beginning of the post, we mentioned that you get 2% back on purchases in the form of EBs.  These accumulate and pay out on your receipt, at the ExtraCare Coupon Center or through® in January, April, July and October. To redeem, present rewards coupon and associated ExtraCare card to cashier on a subsequent transaction. Your rewards coupon will expire if not redeemed as designated on the coupon. Customers must shop during the 45-day distribution period to receive their 2%, which will be rounded down to the nearest $.50. If you don't spend $25 in qualifying purchases or otherwise reach a minimum of $.50 in EBs by the end of an earning period, you won't receive rewards or have earnings carried over.

Emails: Check your inbox often for other ways to earn EBs!

myWeeklyad: You can see each week's ad three days early, allowing you to plan your shopping experience.  Also, because the ad is linked to your card, you can filter it so that you see the deals on items that you purchase most frequently!

Digital receipts:  Have your receipts (and accompanying EBs and other coupons) sent to you digitally, along with extra offers!  You can also send any deals associated with the receipt to your card so you don't lose them!

Free Items
One of the BEST things about CVS is that you can use coupons on items in a BOGO free sale!  So if you buy two bottles of Suave shampoo and they are BOGO free, you can use TWO $.50/1 Suave coupons!  This can lead to some amazing savings!

We hope that this post was helpful for you!  Did we miss anything important?  Do you have any further questions for us?  Please let us know here, and ,ake sure you join our Facebook group to get updated with the latest deals as soon as they are posted, as well as see extra deals unique to the group!  Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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Please make sure to double-check store policy and coupon fine print before shopping. Please follow all coupon rules.