Posted on July 10, 2009

Guest Post: How to Score Free Stuff from CVS!

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I get emails everyday from readers who want to know how I get free things from stores, especially drugstores. I am so excited to introduce this guest post! Karen, who blogs over at Frugal Rhode Island Mama is going to share with you how to get things free from CVS! Thanks, Karen!

Did you know that you can get a lot of stuff for FREE or almost FREE at CVS just about every week? Yup you can and I’m going to explain exactly how. Don’t worry it’s all legal. It just takes a little clipping, planning and shopping.

CVS is known for their wonderful Extra Care Bucks program and to participate all you need is an Extra Care Card which is FREE. You can apply for one at the store or online at Once you have your card you can use it every week to get great sales and FREE things. Here’s how the program works. Each week in the CVS ad you’ll see products on sale but not only are they on sale but you’ll also receive Extra Care Bucks when you purchase them. Your card works like clipless coupons and if you give them your card, you’ll get the sale price.

Extra Care Bucks (also known as ECB’s) print at the bottom of your receipt and are good for your next purchase. You will receive ECB’s for purchasing certain items or for spending a certain dollar amount. These deals will be listed in the weekly ads.

Here is an example of a sale with ECB’s – Tums 8ct, On Sale $2.99, Get $2.99 when you purchase 1 – If you purchase the Tums, you will spend $2.99 but then you’ll get an ECB worth $2.99 to use on your next purchase. There will be a limit anywhere from 1 – 5 items you can purchase to receive the ECB’s. If the limit is more than 1 you can now buy another pack and pay using your $2.99 ECB’s without taking any money out of your wallet. You can do this as many times as the limit and this is called Rolling your ECB’s.

Here is the best part. You can use Manufacturers coupons along with these sales. Yes you can! And sometimes when you use coupons you will get overage and make money on an item. Using the same example above lets say you have $1.00 coupon on any Tums.
Here is how it would work:
Tums, 8ct, On Sale $2.99, Get $2.99 ECB’s when you purchase 1
Buy (1) Tums, $2.99
Use (1) $1.00 coupon
Total You Pay: $1.99
Get Back $2.99 ECB’s
You make $1.00 in overage. Always nice when that happens.

CVS will also issue you store coupons from time to time and these will print at the bottom of your Cash Register Tape (CRT) and most stores now have a red scan box where you can either check the price of an item or scan your ECB Card and receive coupons. These coupons CAN BE used along with Manufacturers coupons. That means you can use 2 coupons on one item (1 Store Coupon and 1 Manufacturers Coupon). Using the Tums example again, you have $1.00 Manufacturer’s coupon for $1.00 off any Tums and a CVS Store Coupon (CRT) for $1.50 off any Tums. Plus you get $2.99 ECB’s when you purchase 1.

Here is how it would work:
Tums, 8ct, On Sale $2.99, Get $2.99 ECB’s when you purchase 1
Buy (1) Tums, $2.99
Use (1) $1.00 manufacturers coupon
Use (1) $1.50 CVS Store coupon (CRT)
Total You Pay: $ .49
Get Back $2.99 ECB’s You make $2.50 in overage!!!

Another type of CRT you may receive is $/$ coupons ($5 off $15 purchase). You can use these together with manufacturer’s coupons and CVS Store coupons (CRT) to save even more. This is called stacking. You can only use 1 $/$ coupon per transaction.

Another perk of always using your ECB card is you will also receive quarterly ECB’s which is 2% of your total spending during the previous quarter. These will print out at the register the first time you make a purchase in the new quarter. You also get $1.00 ECB for every 2 prescription you fill. These will be included in your quarterly ECB’s. To earn quarterly ECB’s you must present your Extra Care Card each time you shop. Even if you are not buying any sale items or any items that will give ECB’s.

If you follow these simple steps I can promise you that you will save and begin getting all the great CVS deals that you’ve heard of.

Karen is a SAHM to two girls and wife to an engineer. In her free time she blogs at Frugal RI Mama ( about saving money, using coupons, getting things free and making some extra money with online Surveys and Mystery Shopping.

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