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CVS Pharmacy Coupons - Learn How to Get CVS for Free

free toiletries
CVS pharmacy coupons, as well as the CVS Drugstore Extra Care Bucks program, can help avid couponers get tons of CVS for free!

Learn how the program works, and why CVS stores should be your first stop every Sunday morning.

Both CVS stores as well as Walgreens drug stores have wonderful incentive programs (including CVS pharmacy coupons) to entice customers to shop.

And though both programs have their pluses and minuses, CVS stores do a much better job in training their employees on their program than their counterparts at Walgreens do.

With rare exception, my CVS drugstore shopping trips are positive and much fun!

Extra Care Bucks

The main CVS drugstore attraction is the Extra Care Bucks program.

This is an in-house rewards program that will give users a printout on their receipts that is good for nearly anything that CVS carries - thus, CVS for free.

(The restrictions are generally on tobacco products, prescription medications, alcohol, prepaid cards, giftcards, stamps, lottery tickets, and money orders. )

3 Ways to Earn ECB
  • Receive $1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions filled
  • Receive 2% back in ECBs for all purchases (quarterly)
  • Receive ECB for specific items purchased as part of weekly or monthly sales fliers
  • In addition, you can also receive CVS pharmacy coupons, in-store coupons, and even CVS for free item coupons that print with your cash register receipt. Your ECB (Extra Care Bucks) are tracked by your CVS card, so make sure you sign up for one and use it every single time you purchase anything.

    The cashiers there are excellent in reminding you to do so. Also, your husband can have his own card; it's limit one per person.

    Though there are three ways you can earn ECBs, by far the best way is to purchase items as part of the weekly or monthly sales fliers. Most weeks CVS drugstore offers items that are totally free with ECB. So, for example, if Glade Candles are on sale for $3.99 and they are free with ECB, you go in and purchase one candle, pay your $3.99, and are immediately given an ECB worth $3.99.

    You can use ECBs to purchase other items that will give you ECB. This is called "rolling". So, in the example above, if you happened to have an ECB worth $3.99, you would hand it to the cashier, and would get your candle for free PLUS receive a $3.99 ECB.

    Now, most of the "CVS for free" deals are limited to one card per week, but occasionally, there will be a limit of two, or five per card. In that case, you are able to use the $3.99 ECB you got from one candle, then turn around and purchase another candle (for free) and still get another $3.99 ECB.

    Pretty cool.

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    Back in the early days of ECB and CVS pharmacy coupons, there were no limits as to the amount of sale products and CVS for free one could purchase. So, if Sunsilk Shampoo were to give you a $2.99 ECB (making it free) you could buy as many as you could get your hands on.

    A few years into the program, however, they started imposing limits, generally between 1 and 5 (although occasionally there are still some unlimited deals out there.)
    cvs-pharmacy-coupons-02; october 2006 cvs for free This picture was taken during October of 2006.

    All the items you see in this picture (well, except my daughter of course) were purchased at CVS stores that month.

    There is over $3,000 worth of retail items in the picture.

    During that historic month, in which CVS Pharmacy offered 7 or 8 items totally free with ECB for the entire month, I managed not only to acquire all these items for a total out of pocket of less than $50, but also managed to end up with a surplus of ECB at the end of the month of over $500.

    We did all our Christmas shopping that year at CVS. And the items in the picture? They all went to a charity that helped homeless moms. Christmas was good for many families that year thanks to CVS.

    Using CVS Pharmacy Coupons
    In addition to Extra Care Bucks, you will most likely find some terrific CVS Pharmacy coupons throughout the store, or sent to you in a home mailer. If you are on their email list, they will email you CVS Pharmacy coupons every couple weeks.

    These CVS for free coupons are terrific! They are usually a coupon worth $4 off a $20 purchase, though they can also be a $2 off $10, $3 off $15, $5 off $25, $6 off $30 or $10 off $50.

    There are two important things to remember when using these types of CVS Pharmacy coupons:
  • Your total order is determined BEFORE you use any manufacturers coupons, so if you have a $20 purchase, and $12 worth of coupons, your total with those $12 worth of coupons and your $4 of $20 CVS Pharmacy coupon will be $4 out of pocket
  • You must present your CVS Pharmacy coupons (namely, the $4 off $20 type ones) FIRST to your cashier, at the end of your purchase, before your manufacturers take your total below the $20 mark. Otherwise the computer will not accept the coupon
  • Using Manufacturers Coupons
    You can use manufacturers coupons and CVS Pharmacy coupons on the same item. Some of the CVS Pharmacy coupons that print out with your ECB are on specific items. If you happen to have a manufacturers coupon for that item too, you can use both.

    It is important to note, however, that you will need to keep track of your coupon count.

    CVS stores registers are set up to only allow as many CVS Pharmacy coupons, Extra Care Bucks, and manufacturers coupons as items you have.

    So, for example, if you are purchasing a pack of diapers, a gallon of milk, and two bodywashes, you can only use a combination of 4 manufacturers coupons and ECB.

    But what if you had a coupon for the diapers, a coupon for each of the bodywashes, and two ECB that you wanted to use? Then, you would need what's called a "filler".

    A filler is simply a small, inexpensive item you toss into your order to bring the item count (number of items verses number of manufacturers coupons plus ECB) even. Good fillers: pencils, 30 cent caramels at the cash registers, 10-ct packs of tissues, candy bars.

    You can purchase as many filler items as you need. Also, CVS stores are good at taking two manufacturers coupons for a Buy One Get One Free sale. I have rarely run into trouble with using two manufacturer's coupons.

    Caveat: Understocked

    The one big CVS drugstore caveat I think I should mention: the stores are generally understocked on all the CVS for free and other sale items for the week. This can be a real drag, especially if you don't have the time to search at another CVS drugstore, or, you don't have another available.

    There are two methods to combat this problem: get there on Sunday morning when the store opens, or get a raincheck. CVS stores issue rainchecks on items that offer ECB. And your ECB can be printed when you eventually find the product a few days (or a few weeks) later.

    CVS Pharmacy Coupons

    We've talked about the CVS Pharmacy coupons that are in-store coupons, but now let's talk about the CVS Pharmacy coupons that are good at the pharmacy, specifically. Occasionally, a coupon will print on your receipt or you will find a coupon in the weekly flier or in a coupon booklet that offers users a $25 gift certificate for a new or transferred prescription to the CVS Pharmacy.

    These CVS coupons are like gold, especially if you frequently get prescriptions filled! It is a regular gift card, can be used on any item in the store without restrictions, and is absolutely free. Occasionally, some CVS stores will take pharmacy coupons from a competitor. Check your local store for details.
    What's the best deal you've gotten at CVS?

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    Related Pages

  • Grocery Coupon Online Classes
  • Store Coupons & Programs
  • Shopping at Target
  • Shopping at Walgreens
  • Shopping at HEB

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