Couponing 101 – How to Shop for FREE at CVS
I hope that you’ve enjoyed our Couponing 101 Series. Going forward, in between some of the other Couponing 101 subjects we’re going to highlight different stores and give you a “How to Guide” for that specific store. This week’s Couponing 101 store will be CVS.
New to CVS? Here’s all you need to know to start shopping for FREE at CVS
Before we even get started you want to make sure that you have an ExtraCare Card. Your ExtraCare Card is the Key to the Kingdom so if you don’t have an ExtraCare Card you will need to sign up for one. You can sign up ONLINE or in the store. I would suggest signing up in the store so that you have your card right away. Once you have your card you can start earning ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs)
Once you have your card, sign up for an ONLINE account.
ECBs are the rewards issued at CVS. They print like a coupon on your receipt and (with a couple exceptions) are like cash at CVS. Most ECBs expire 30 days from the date they are printed. A couple exceptions are Beauty Bucks and Pharmacy Rewards. These expire in 14 days.
So how do I receive ECBs?
Take a peek at the CVS store ad and look for items that offer ECBs. Keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of times you can receive a specific offer. It will be noted in the ad. If you purchase that item or items, you will receive the ECBs advertised. Some offers require you to buy a specific product and some will require you to spend a specific amount on a type or brand of product. If an offer required you to spend a specific $ amount, that amount is before any coupons are deducted.
CVS also offers unadvertised monthly offers. These work the same way as the in-ad items and often have higher limits (the number of time you can do the offer).
Before I start shopping, are there any other ways I can save money or earn ECBs at CVS?
“Magic Coupon Machine” – Be on the lookout for the red coupon kiosk in each store. In addition to allowing you to price check by scanning the bar code on a product, you are able to access CVS coupons connected to your ExtraCare Account. Simply scan your ExtraCare Card on each visit to see if there are any coupons available. As these are store coupons, in most cases you can stack with a manufacturers coupon for even more savings.
Just for You (JFY) Coupons – JFY Coupons are emailed to some email subscribers on Thursdays and will provide you with an in-store or online coupon offering a percentage or $$ off your purchase. Make sure you opt in to receive email offers and coupons when you set up your online account.
Quarterly ExtraCare Bucks – Issued 4 times per year on Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1 for 2% back on everyday in-store and online purchases. Includes ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes Rewards. You can use your Quarterly ExtraBucks Rewards on in-store and online purchases.
Beauty Club – Sign up HERE Your $5 ExtraBucks Rewards will be issued within 2 days after you spend $50 on qualifying (qualifying purchases include items from the following categories: Cosmetics, Fragrances, Hair Accessories, Hair Appliances, Hair Care, Hair Color, Healthy Skin Care and Skin Care) in-store and online beauty products. These purchases will track so you do not need to purchase everything in one transaction. Your Beauty Bucks tracking resets every year on January 1st. You can use your Beauty ExtraBucks Rewards on in-store and online purchases.
Pharmacy and Health Rewards – Sign up HERE – Fill 10 prescriptions, earn $5 Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards. Earn on immunizations, CVS.com activities and more, too. You can use your Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards on in-store and online purchases.
ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes – Sign up HERE – Part of Quarterly ExtraBucks Rewards, earn double ExtraBucks Rewards on 100+ diabetes-related products.
CVS App – Do you have a Smartphone? Download the CVS App and receive $3.00 ECB. You will now be able to receive “App Only” coupons and offers.
CVS Coupon Policy
Every store has their own coupon acceptance policies so it is best to print a copy and keep it with you for reference. Here is the complete CVS COUPON POLICY
Here are some of the highlights (last updated October 2015):
CVS/pharmacy does not accept expired coupons.
CVS/pharmacy will not accept third party manufacturers’ coupons with another retailer’s logo.
CVS/pharmacy only accepts ExtraBucks Rewards applicable to the ExtraCare card offered at time of purchase.
CVS/pharmacy does not currently accept coupon bar code images displayed on a Smartphone, iPhone, Droid etc.
The total value of the coupons may not exceed the value of the transaction.
CVS/pharmacy will accept manufacturer coupons for an item that is on sale.
CVS/pharmacy will not accept percent off coupons for an item that is on sale.
CVS/pharmacy does not provide cash back in exchange for any coupons.
CVS/pharmacy accepts one manufacturer coupon and applicable CVS/pharmacy coupon(s) per item, unless prohibited by either coupon offer.
The coupon amount will be reduced if it exceeds the value of the item after other discounts or coupons are applied. (For example, a $5.00 coupon for a $4.99 item will result in a $4.99 coupon value).
Management reserves the right to limit the quantity of items purchased.
CVS/pharmacy accepts multiple Dollar off Transaction coupons (e.g. $3 off $15) in one transaction if they apply o Ex. Customer may use two 3 off $15 coupons if they are purchasing over $30.00
Two coupons may be used on a Buy One, Get One Free promotion as long as it does not exceed the item total
Buy One, Get One Free promotions may be combined with Buy One, Get One Free Coupons.
CVS/pharmacy accepts internet/print at home coupons that include a barcode.
Now that I understand how The ExtraCare program works, how do I shop for FREE at CVS?
Make sure that you are following the weekly CVS Forum posts at HowtoShopforFree.net
Join our CVS Freebies and Deals Facebook Group
Now that you have found the best deals at CVS by using our Forum and Facebook Group, put your list together using our Printable Shopping List
Make your first purchase and earn some ECBs! Once you have earned ECBs, plan your next shopping trip. The key to shopping for FREE is to pay for your purchase with available ECBs while earning ECBs that you can use on your next shopping trip – this is also known as rolling your Bucks!
Once you get home, snap a picture and post your success on our CVS Freebies and Deals Facebook Group with a breakdown of how you did it. This will help out any Members that want to duplicate your success. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Who knows, maybe we’ll even front page your brag at HowtoShopforFree.net!