Spending Money to Save Money – Part Two


Couponing at CVS

Experienced Couponers may already know most of this information.  Then again, I consider myself decently experienced and I’m still learning new things quite often.  For those interested in couponing, I hope that this post helps to get you on your way to saving money.  In this economy, it’s a struggle to keep up at times.  However, with a little legwork, even the strictest of budgets can have room for those little extras that help keep up morale!  So, what’s next?

ExtraCare Rewards  from CVS

Follow the link to sign up for an ExtraCare account.  It’s easy to do.  You may already have one for prescriptions.  There are many benefits to having this card.  Especially if you already shop at CVS regularly or get your prescriptions there.  Personally, before I started couponing, I only went to CVS to pick up prescriptions.  Using the drive-thru, I rarely ever entered the store.  Things have definitely changed.

Ok, so right now, you may be thinking …their prices are higher.  Unfortunately, there is some truth to this.  But, not in all cases.  This is where some of that legwork comes in.  There are times, CVS is cheaper than anyone.  As long as you keep an eye on sales and match up with coupons (and you don’t always need coupons), you can really save.

Just incase you’re wondering or you don’t know your ExtraCare card or phone number are linked to your ExtraCare household account.  So when they say 1 per household, they mean it.

How Can You Save? 

By earning via spending, going green, checking your email, and keeping yourself beautiful.  Let’s not forget swiping your ExtraCare card in what we couponers call the, “Magic Coupon Machine”.

Magic Coupon Machine:

I chose this one first, because I know how excited I was to hear about this when I first started shopping at CVS.  So what is it?  It’s a red in-store kiosk which can be found in most stores.  It allows shoppers to scan their card before shopping.  What you’ll get is store coupons that you can use on items in the store.  I make a habit of scanning my card every time I go in the store, before grabbing the items I need.  It spits out at least one and sometimes up to three coupons per swipe per day.  Yep, you can scan it everyday.  Make sure you swipe your card until it says it has no more coupons for you today. 

These coupons won’t just be on CVS brand items.  They could be on any item in the store.  Now, the thing that makes these so great, they’re store coupons.  Which means you can use these coupons and use manufacturer coupons that you’ve printed or clipped from the paper.  This could make for SUPER deals, hence the idea that CVS can sometimes be cheaper than anyone.  The downside is that these coupons expire pretty fast.  Like in a week fast, usually.  All in all…it’s fun, saves money, and is pretty magical in my book.

Spend to Earn with ExtraBucks Rewards:

In all honesty, I didn’t even realize I was getting rewards for spending until recently.  Once you sign up, you’ll receive a rewards statement in your email, but I must’ve just skimmed over it.  Thinking that it was just letting me know how much I saved in the quarter.  Seeing how much I saved, must’ve been exciting enough.  *giggle*  Because I totally missed the bonus!

This is what I’ve learned since then:

Use your ExtraCare card every time you purchase* something and you will earn 2% back.  Including prescription** purchases.  Which accumulate and pay out on your receipt, at the ExtraCare Coupon Center or through CVS.com® in January, April, July and October.

Customers must shop during the 45-day distribution period to receive their 2% and prescription ExtraBucks® Rewards, which will be rounded down to the nearest $0.50. Members who do not spend $25 in qualifying purchases or who do not otherwise reach a minimum of $0.50 in ExtraBucks Rewards by the end of an earning period will not receive rewards and will not have earnings carried over.

My actual Current Balances when I log into my ExtraCare Rewards:

Description Current Balance End Date Reward Details
WINTER 2012 SPENDING: 180.18 03/15/2012 2% of your Winter 2012 Spend will be issued on April 1st. Rewards are redeemable in-store and online.
FALL 2011 SPENDING: 148.06 12/15/2011 2% of your Fall 2011 Spend will be issued on January 1st. Rewards are redeemable in-store and online.
BEAUTY CLUB SPENDING: 34.84 12/31/2012 Spend $50 on beauty products and earn $5 ExtraBucks

Another way you can earn ExtraBucks Rewards is by purchasing qualifying items which are usually specified in the weekly ads.  ExtraBucks Rewards will print out at the bottom of your receipt.  Not in Catalina form.

Sometimes, there are unadvertised deals as well.  This is where having your binder with you comes in handy.

You may be wondering how this works.  So, here’s an example of one simple transaction from the week of 2/26/2012:

Thermacare Lower Back and Hip Heat Wrap, 1 ct. $3.79

Buy 1, Receive $3.79 Extra Bucks, Limit 1

Pay $3.79, Receive $3.79 Extra Bucks

Mentos UP2U Gum, 14 ct. $1.00 Use $1.00/1 Mentos UP2U pack from SS 1/1 (exp 3/1) or $1.00/1 Mentos UP2U pack from SS 2/5 (exp 3/31) Free

Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief Toothbrush, 1 ct. or Toothpaste, 4 oz $4.99

Buy 1, Receive $4.00 Extra Bucks, Limit 2

Use $0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste, 4 oz or larger from SS 2/26 (exp 3/17) And use $1.00/1 Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste Excludes Trial Size from CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine, Winter Issue Pay $3.24, Receive $4.00 Extra Bucks

You pay:  $7.03 (plus tax) OOP (out-of-pocket) and take home $7.79 in Extra Bucks.  So you just made .76¢.  That still makes me chuckle!

Of course, you could use those ExtraBucks right away on another transaction.  I usually do this because like the Walgreens RR’s, ExtraBucks do expire in about a week, but sometimes they do last longer.  Or, you could take them home and wait for next week’s deals.  Not a bad plan either.  Just keep in mind they may expire.  If they do expire, then you haven’t saved much money.

If you read Spending Money to Save Money – Part One you need to know that there are similarities between Walgreens Register Rewards and CVS ExtraBucks.  There are also differences.  Some couponers feel CVS is a little easier.  Less rules do apply from what I’ve noticed.  The need for one more item than you have coupons isn’t necessary at CVS.  Also, as far as I know, ExtraBucks are only accepted at CVS.  Unlike Walgreens RR’s being accepted at Jewel-Osco.

For instance, Walgreens, from what I’ve experienced has always had a limit of 1 RR per transaction for an offer on a specific product.  The CVS limits vary by product.  A limit of 1 is more common, but it’s not a constant.  What this means is, if there is a limit of two (always check) you can buy two of an item and receive the ExtraBucks two times all in one transaction.


Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief Toothbrush, 1 ct. or Toothpaste, 4 oz $4.99

Buy 1, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks, **Limit 2 **

Use $0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste, 4 oz or larger from SS 2/26 (exp 3/17) And use $1.00/1 Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste Excludes Trial Size from CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine, Winter

Pay $3.24, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks

Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief Toothbrush, 1 ct. or Toothpaste, 4 oz $4.99

Buy 1, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks, **Limit 2 **

Use $0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste, 4 oz or larger from SS 2/26 (exp 3/17) And use $1.00/1 Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste Excludes Trial Size from CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine, Winter

Pay $3.24, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks

You pay:  $6.48 (plus tax) OOP and receive $8.00 in ExtraBucks.  You just made $1.52 in 1 transaction. 

Now lets say you want to do 2 transactions so that you can use your ExtraBucks to pay for other items immediately.  This works a lot like the Walgreens RR’s.  Except, you don’t NEED a filler you WANT a filler. 

Check out the following:

1st Transaction

Thermacare Lower Back and Hip Heat Wrap, 1 ct. $3.79

Buy 1, Receive $3.79 ExtraBucks, Limit 1

Pay $3.79 OOP (plus tax), Receive $3.79 ExtraBucks to use on your next transaction

2nd Transaction

Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief Toothbrush, 1 ct. or Toothpaste, 4 oz $4.99

Buy 1, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks, Limit 2

Use $0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste, 4 oz or larger from SS 2/26 (exp 3/17) And use $1.00/1 Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste Excludes Trial Size from CVS Reinventing Beauty Magazine, Winter

Pay $3.24, Receive $4.00 ExtraBucks

Also, any filler item.  Something you need or a quick snack.  Whatever you’d like.  The filler is to bridge the gap between $3.79 and $3.24 which is .55¢.  Why?  Because otherwise you’ll lose it.  CVS can’t give you actual money back nor will they give you back new ExtraBucks with the remaining amount.  You earned it, you might as well get your money’s worth.  So, in this scenario, finding an item for at least .55 would work well.  Continuing on with the scenario…

You pay:  $3.79 with your ExtraBucks (plus tax – OOP) and receive another $4.00 ExtraBucks for next time or your next transaction.


*   Excludes alcohol, gift cards, lottery, money orders, prescriptions, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, tobacco products or items reimbursed by a governmental program.

**  Excludes pharmacy items paid for in whole or in part by state and/or federal health care programs. This includes, for example, Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE. Not valid on prescriptions purchased in NJ or NY. In Louisiana, not valid on any prescription for a controlled dangerous substance. CVS/pharmacy may, at any time and for any reason, exclude prescriptions dispensed in other states, other types of prescriptions, or prescriptions paid for by other payers. ExtraBucks® Rewards on prescriptions limited to $50 per year per card. This rewards cap was adopted for all customers to ensure CVS/pharmacy complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding prescription drug purchases.

Going Green to Earn Some Green

This one is pretty simple.

At the register or online you can buy the Greenbagtag from CVS for .99¢. 

Next attach it to a reuseable bag.

Then scan it along with your ExtraCare card every time you make a purchase at CVS.

After every 4th visit, you will earn a $1.00 ExtraBuck. 

If you think about the value of a coupon, this $1.00 ExtraBuck makes a for a nice bonus.

Checking You Email for Money…I mean Coupons

When you’re signed up for an ExtraCare account and have provided a valid email, you can opt to receive newsletters.  These newsletters frequently include in-store coupons.  A common coupon to find is 20% off your entire purchase during a specific timeframe.

A little tip though.  Usually at the bottom it says this excludes sale items.  Well, that can throw a curve ball of gloom.  Once in a while, they do send coupons that don’t exclude those sale items.  Keeping us hooked is all too important I suppose.

If you were new to the idea of the CVS ExtraCare account, and you clicked on the link I provided at the beginning, you may have noticed the offer of a $4.00 off $20.00 coupon for new email subscribers.  That is a pretty good example of the type of coupons you’ll receive by email.

It’s definitely worth the little bit of extra effort to sign up.  Remember, you can always log in at the CVS site, to make sure you’re getting all of information on deals and check your balances for spending.

Keeping Yourself Beautiful and Making Money Doing it

ExtraCare Beauty Club is another reason you can learn to love CVS.  You can get started by signing up at the link provided.  The rest is simple.  Just check your email and swipe your ExtraCare card when making purchases of beauty products.  In fact, always swipe your ExtraCare card.  You’ll get coupons, tips, and new product information in your email.

How do you make money?  By earning it.  In pretty much every CVS ad there is a section dedicated to beauty product sales.  For every $50.00 spent on beauty, you earn $5.00 ExtraBucks.  Only if you’ve signed up for the Beauty Club.  This may seem like a lot, but there are often deals that make this cost less out-of-pocket than you might think.  Using coupons and matching up will get you there quickly.

See the following example:

 Physicians Formula Lash Boosting Eyeliner $11.29, Regular Price

Spend $10.00, Receive $7.00 Extra Bucks, Limit 1

Pay $11.29, Receive $7.00 Extra Bucks, Submit for Try Me Free Rebate (found on select products) $7.00 Moneymaker

On the example listed above, you’re actually MAKING money.  Not only that specific product deal, but now that $11.29 is added to your Beauty Club account.    In this coming week’s ad 3/4/2012  there is a rebate offer that looks pretty great!  This might be a great week to stock up.

Get to Shopping

All in all, CVS does offer less red tape in comparison to Walgreens.  It’s prices are a bit higher, but still competitive when using your ExtraCare card and using ExtraCare Rewards along with coupons.   I recommend you try it at least two or three times.  Get a feel for it.  In the end, I think you’ll enjoy shopping at CVS.

I also want to add a link to a website that answers quite a few questions about shopping at CVS.  It’s called Creative Couponing.  Always review the coupon policy to double check that something hasn’t changed.  I’ve linked that at the bottom of this post.

Happy Couponing!


CVS Coupon Policy