CVS 101: How to Save Money at CVS

How to Save at CVS

At CVS you can save big with their Extra Care Bucks Promotions.  These are rewards you earn when you buy select products during the promotional period.  The Extra Care Bucks (ECB) will print at the bottom of your receipt and you can use them on your next purchase.

Also at CVS you can stack CVS Coupons with manufacturer coupons for even more savings.  You can get CVS Coupons from the coupon center located in the store or they will print at the bottom of your receipt.

Here are some tips to help you save at CVS:

  • Scan your Extra Care Cards at the Coupon Center
  • Sign up for CVS emails to get extra savings and coupons
  • Stack CVS coupons with manufacturer coupons for extra savings
  • Check the clearance section for deals up to 75% off
  • Don’t be an Extrabucks Money Trasher.  If you loose your ECBs, you can print them online at
  • Roll your ECBs from one transaction to another to pay the least amount out of pocket each time.

Here is a breakdown of the transaction that was done in the video above:


3 Cases 7-up $10.00 total
1 Starburst $2.50
1 Aussie Hairspray $3.33
1 Aussie Shampoo $3.33
2 Hershey Air Delight Bars $1.19 each
2 Oral-B Toothbrush $2.99 each
1 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor $9.99 each
-$4/$20 CVS Coupon
-(3)$1/1 7-Up Coupons
-(1)$2/1 Starburst CVS Coupon
-(1)$3 off Aussie Coupon
-(2)Free Hershey Air Delight CVS Coupons
-(1)BOGO Free Oral B Coupon
-(1)$4/1 Gillette Fusion Coupon
-$10 ECB
-$1 ECB
Tax: $1.58
Paid: $7.03


$3 ECB (Soda)
$1 ECB (Aussie)
$2 ECB (Oral-B)
$4 ECB (Gillette)
Total: $9 in ECBs for my next transaction

Total Saved: $42.34

A big thank you to CVS Florham Park, NJ and CVS for allowing me to film.

The links in the post above may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.
  • Bonnie

    Thanks Cindy!

    How many transactions will they let you do in one visit? I’m planning on rolling the ECB’s to get the diaper deals.

    • Cindy

      Well you can do however many you want but you should go to the end of the line if there are other customers waiting. We don’t want others to give us couponers a bad name 😉

      • Bonnie

        Yes, I totally don’t want to make people wait! Thanks! I don’t like to be annoying and taking up time, but if I can roll the ECBs and save out of pocket money AND not have to make as many trips back, then I’ll do it!

        • Bonnie

          Do you think they’d let me scan the bag tag each time too? Or is that pushing it? :0)

          • You have to HAVE an empty bag for each transaction, or at least one to put stuff in so they aren’t giving you a bag.

          • jill

            The green bag tag can only be scanned once per day. 🙂

          • Robin

            what’s a bagtag?

        • Jil

          I go through the line several times instead of splitting the items and asking the cashier to ring them separately. In other words, I go through the store and get item A, get in line and pay for it. Then I go back into the store and get item B, get in line again and pay for that and so on. Doesn’t hold up the lines that way and I rarely do it. I usually save my ECB’s for use on the next sales week but in the event that I do roll ECB’s in one visit this seems to be a cashier and fellow customer friendly way to handle it. Good luck!

    • Cindy, I love your living rich with coupons reusuable bag! Id love to promote what you do for all of us! Where do you sell them and how can we get one? 😀

      • Veronica

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    • Veronica

      If you need extra cash on the side from 50-300 bucks a day for doing easy work on your computer from home for few hours daily then this may interest you…

  • Dee2

    Great video, Cindy. One of the things I learned when I first started couponing is that you can keep scanning your card at the machine until it tells you that you don’t have any more coupons. Sometimes it only gives me one round. Sometimes I get three rounds of coupons!

  • Jessica B

    I thought it was actually called the magic coupon machine!! hahah I was just telling someone about it and they didn’t believe me it was called that. oppps.

  • Jennifer K.

    Love love love the video! It was almost as fun as being in the store with you! 🙂

    Hope we get to see more like it in the coming weeks!

  • Kendall

    So does the $4 off $20 work for the pre-coupon price of your total? I’ve never understood that, I’ve always thought you had to spend over $20 out of pocket before getting the $4 off! Such a great deal.

    • Cindy

      Yep pre-coupon price.

  • Cindy,

    That was incredible. I hope I can get there.


  • Anonymous

    can you use manufacture coupons and ECB like at rite aid??

    • Cindy

      Yes, I used manufacturer coupons, ECBs, store coupons and a $4/$20 in one transaction.

  • Lovingmynewhobby

    great video..too bad my CVS isnt as big and spacy as yours is..and my CVS doesnt have the magic coupon machine? I was wondering how can I find out which CVS’ have those machines?

    • Melissa

      They should all have them or be getting them soon. Sometimes they’re hard to find.

    • Cindy

      Hmm, all CVS stores should have them by now.

      • hanna

        If you go to, there is a search area which store has magic coupon machine.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much!!! That was soooo helpful!!!!!

  • Tala

    where did you get &-up coupons? please?

  • Tala

    7 up – sorry

    • Johanna

      They were on the boxes (peelies)

  • Jennifer S.

    Great video! Thanks for sharing!

  • jen

    I am loving your videos, please keep them coming!!! I also love your shopping bag, how can I get them?

  • Abigail

    GREAT VIDEO!!! This is perfect for a beginner. Your video is a lot more easier for me to understand how to save big, rather than reading lol. I’m super new to the coupon world and still learning how to be awesome at this like you guys 🙂 I’ll get there slowly but surely 😉

  • hanna

    I have a question about Cindy’s bag.
    It had this site logo on it.
    Cindy, do you sell them?? How can I get it??

  • Maddy

    Very awesome video…. I didn’t even look at those 7up 🙁 today… I will go tomorrow to look if they have the peelies.. Great trip…. 😀

  • Maddy

    BTW, Cindy I love your reusable bags! I love the orange and white!!! 😀

  • herqponess

    fabulous video….couldn’t be made any more clear….thanks for all of your hard work

  • Stacey

    Love the video!! Awesome deals. Thank you for what you do. You are the best 😉

  • Paola

    Hello my dear living rich with coupons sisters I’m new in all of this , an I really want to thank you Cindy for the wonderful site that you have and for teching us how to save money let me tell you all that last night I went to Rite Aid and bought $ 54.96 worth of stuff for 9.97 , I just cant belive my self I made such a good purchase for so little money. I just wanted to say Thank you to all of you cindy and participants of the forum too.
    Also I wanted to find out about that bagtag??? Where do you get one I’m allways using my own green bags for the shopping and I wasn’t aware of this tag at CVS. Thank you!!

    • Nick

      Paola, they seem to be in a different place at each store– I’ve seen them by the entry door, by the cashier, in the back next to pharmacy, and next to gift cards depending on the store. Those are some places you can look, if you can’t find them an employee can get one for you.

    • kate

      also, i’ve occasionally gotten coupons by scanning my card at the red extracare card kiosk for a free green bag tag (originally $0.99 i think). ALWAYS scan your card once you enter the store!! =)

  • Nick

    The $4 off $20 and $5 off $25 coupons that you get in email have always been the best way to save huge money at CVS

    Only problem is I seem to be getting them much less often then I used to! Last year I got them basically every other week– this year I’ve only gotten maybe once a month or less. Anybody have any possible explanation for this? They aren’t showing up in my spam folder either.

    Anyway, great video on CVS!– I believe it’s by far the easiest national chain at which to coupon. I keep track of my CVS spending and in 2011 I’ve spent about $75 out of pocket on almost $550 worth of items– 86% savings, and I still have $14 in unused extrabucks! So if you’re new, pay attention to this great website and you will save!

    • Wendy

      Hi Nick
      Yes I’ve noticed the same thing
      I called corporate to ask them why this was happening and was told it was based on my purchases and that I had not bought much lately . I did point out for weeks I had gotten hardly any thing out of the magic coupon machine that I could use, mostly candy coupons which I have no need for. and for a long time no coupons at all
      One week we had no sales in my area
      Anyway to make a long story short I was told if I spent more I would get more coupons At which time I said if I got more coupons I would make more purchases
      One thing happened I was not happy about. I had a trip planned using a rare $4.00 off $20.00 coupon,.but realizes it had expired the day before, spoke to corporate who refused to reissue it

  • Jay

    You paid for a razor? You must not have RiteAids in the area 😉

    • Cindy

      LOL yes I did….but the video was more about how to do the deals and save money at CVS. I wasn’t as concerned with getting something for completely free as I was with showing how to do the deals and how to roll your ECBs.

  • laurie

    that was an awesome video, cindy! your site just keeps getting better and better 🙂

  • chris

    is the 7-up deal publicized?
    I went to the store today but didnt see sale tag sign.
    Can I mix it with sunkist 12pk instead of getting all 7-ups

    I’m in nJ

  • Samantha

    Thanks Cindy for all the time you take to update your site/blog. Everytime I come to it, there are always new things for me to read and new deals to find. I have become avid with the CVS ECB’s over the last few weeks, following the blogs/deals, getting my transactions and coupons in order only to walk into the store and NOTHING that is on sale or offers ECB’s be there. We go on Sundays when the sales start and Tuesdays when their trucks come in (we have 2 stores near us) and even make more trips during the week and rarely get anything. Yes, we get rainchecks, but then wait 2-3 weeks before the items come in. I am wondering if anyone else is having this issue? I live in Jacksonville, Fl.

  • Maria

    Just made a mistake. Got the Garnier (spelling?) items and thought I had spent $15 to get the ECB of $5. When the receipt printed out I had only spent like $14.38. If I go back in tomorrow and get another item, will it add to the items I have already gotten and reward me with the ECB’s?

  • Vanessa

    Where did you find coupon for gillette razor???

  • Michele B.

    Loved the video – it really helped me to visualize the process. Please do more! I also loved your LRWC bag….where can we get them?


  • Donna

    I was at CVS yesterday and when I checked out the cashier gave me back my two $2.50/2 Cover Girl coupons and told me that I couldn’t use them on clearance items. I told her I have always been able to use coupons on clearance items in the past and ask if there was a change in the policy? She said no, I can’t use them!
    I just sent them an email about this and will let you know what their response is.

  • Trude

    Wow….i learned alot…i use CVS every now and then…but think this is too will become my new hangout….i have never used the coupon machine…and didnt know about the little tag for the reusable bags….so thanks so much for the information…

  • Kellie weil

    Hi, I am totally new to couponing and was wondering what bag tag is?

  • Vicki Reed

    Cindy, 1st I love your site, it has helped me a lot. What do you do with coupon codes? I don’t understand that part?
    Also I noticed on my receipt from CVS that I spent so much toward the $30.00 for the gas card. So if I spent say $3.99 of the $30.00 does that keep accumulating or do I loose it after the week is up?

  • marjorie

    so if you use your ECB’s to pay , what if say the trans, is less than the ECB”S? do you get that back in change? or is it rolled into another ECB?

    • Janelle S

      They adjust the ECB down to the price of the purchase……you don’t get any cash back…..My CVS won’t let an ECB pay for tax either, I was at self checkout and the ECB beeped because it was paying the sales tax….HTH

      • Sanj

        But if any ecb is not used will they atleast give me balance ECbs on the receipt ..?? Or I have lost the unused part..??

  • Mary Jane

    Cindy, that was a great video. I didn’t know about the bag tags at CVS. I’m going to look for it next time I’m in the store. BTW I love your bag, which I received when I attended your coupon seminar in Minotola this past Tuesday. Your site is the first thing I go to each day. Keep up the great work and thanks for all you do.

    • Cindy

      Hey Mary Jane. So glad you attended the workshop! Happy Savings!

  • Rose

    I have been signed up for CVS emails for years, I’m talking before they even had the ECB program. I NEVER get coupons, never! I often go back and refresh my account just to make sure it’s working. I get ALL their other emails, but never a coupon. I actually spoke to them several times and I get the same answer, they tell me it’s random. The only coupon I ever got was the very first one for signing up of $4 off $20. Since then, nothing. 🙁 I just contacted them again the other day and here’s their response:

    Dear Rose,

    Thank you for contacting us regarding email coupon offerings. Free Coupon Offers may be emailed to members based on shopping habits and frequency of visits. We do not have a set time/frequency when coupons are emailed. Some are supported by our suppliers and are based upon their level of sponsorship at the time.

    If you would like to discuss this matter further please contact us at 1-800-746-7287 , option 2.

    CVS Customer Relations

    The thing is I have phoned them before too and get the same answer. The CS I had on the phone said mostly it was random and she couldn’t really do anything about it. I won’t even go into other problems I’ve had with that store, although I’m never nasty with them about anything.

    I did, however, get a $3 off $15 CVS coupon once out of the coupon machine, and that’s the closest to a CVS money off coupon I ever got. I hardly ever shop there anymore, so I can see if it’s based on shopping habits, but there was a time I went every week, sometimes several times a week and it made no difference whatsoever in email coupons.

    Some say they often get money off coupons in their email. It’s so frustrating to hear that when I get none. Is there anything else I can do or say to them?

  • Traci

    Thank you for this great video. We have not been taking advantage of all the great deals out there especially at CVS.

  • Amanda

    That video was great!!! I went to CVS yesterday for diapers…not expecting anything and after I purchased them the cashier handed me back $1.50 in ECB…I asked why and the receipt showed for summer spending…so I was super surprised

  • Marcia

    First off i wanted to say great video! second I lost my CVS card a long time ago and always just use my phone number. But now that they have the coupon machine I’m wondering if you have to have a card or can you just punch in your phone number. Can I ask for a replacement card or do I have to sign up for another one. Does anyone know. THANKS!!!

  • Cindy,

    Thank you so much for the details on saving with coupons!! I am a beginner and was truly confused and overwhelmed on how to get started. I found your site and educated myself on MFG and store coupons and was able to save $34 on my FIRST visit to CVS!!! Thanks again, and keep the advice coming! 🙂


  • Keli Foster

    Awesome! Thanks for showing what to look for, etc. 🙂

  • Cathy

    Hi! Beginner here, how are extra carebucks redeemed? Do they automatically go towards your next purchase? Thanks!

    • Janelle S

      They print out at the end of your reciept and you use them like you would a Catalina from another store…..They don’t automatically go toward your next purchase……HTH

  • Pedro

    So if i wanted to split the example video u gave into three or for trans to use the ECB’s then they would let me do that?

  • Danielle

    Quick question, (and yes im new to couponing) 😉
    In the CVS coupon policy section it states “-CVS will not accept manufacturer coupons for an item that is on sale.” and “-CVS will not accept percent off coupons for sale and promotional items”.

    So my questions are: In your video you used a coupon on an item that was in the sale/clearance section? how were you able to use it?
    also can you not use mfg coupons on any item thats on sale?? like even the items in the store add? that makes it impossible to stack!
    and last but not least (lol) what are percent off coupons?

    thank yall so much 🙂

    • Jessica

      I have never heard of that first policy. I always use mfr coupons for items that are on sale. It has NEVER been an issue.

      Percent off coupons are coupons you get from CVS. They will usually print from the coupon machine or at the bottom of your receipt. These will usually be 20% or 30% off your next purchase. You can not use these on anything that is on sale so I rarely use these. You can use these with mfr coupons though, so I guess you could get some good deals with them.

    • Pedro

      Hi Danielle
      when I first read it I thought the same thing but it says WILL accept

      •CVS/pharmacy will accept manufacturer coupons for an item that is on sale.
      • CVS/pharmacy will not accept percent off coupons for sale and promotional

      And for percent off they mean like 20% off an item not cents (50 cents off)

      Hope this info helped 🙂

  • Can coupons printed off (which say maunfacturer’s coupon) be used in conjunction with those cut from sunday inserts?

  • Tianna Norberg

    I just wanted to say thank you for the informational video and for the clarity in explaining. Couponing has slowly begun to take over my life. I thought just gathering up and collecting the coupons would have been the most challenging for me. I am now faced with staying orgainized and learning the ropes all the different store policies. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that the information I’m reading gets blocked and I can’t understand or even remember the specifics of a certain store. Your video got threw my block Thanks A Bunch!

  • Tianna Norberg

    One more thing I just wated to add, since I’ve started couponing I have searched online for coupon helping sites. I have found that yours and very few select others are some of the best. The organization, neatness, videos and lack of spam ads rates an A in my book. Keep up the good work and thank you so much.

    • Cindy

      Thanks you so much Tianna. I work hard all all 4 of the points you coverage so I appreciate you letting me know.

  • K

    Hi Does anyone know where I can find cvs coupons?I’m kinda new to this

  • Sanj

    Two questions …
    If I have ECbs … Do I have to use it all
    In one transaction .. Or I will get the balance ECbs back ..??

    2.) the buy $30 and get $10 gift card … Suppose I buy stuf over 30(ex $35) … I do get my $10 card … But I have seen on my receipts that it often shows me that I need XYZ (ex: 25$ more) amount towards my $30 … Does this keep rolling ..?? Or does it end every week ..?? Sorry this is a complicated question .. Dunno of I framed it right … But ur responses will be appreciated 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Sometime they keep on rolling.

  • alina

    Hi, cindy
    So im so glad I saw this video! I always shop at cvs, now im wondering where can I get coupons for those boost or ensure my father drinks them all the time because that is all he can eat. if you could help me start getting these for a better price that would be great!

    • Kabby

      There are printable for theses products…did you check the coupon database under the “coupons” tab…as well as some from inserts that will expire 3/25. Good luck.


    Cindy, this week both my local CVS’s magic coupon machines were out of paper so i did not get anything out of them when I was there. I was disappointed. Do you think the manager would be able to tweak the machine for me to make up for it next visit? Or is that asking too much?

  • bri

    This week it says spend 15$ of Dove and get a 5$ ECB. I thought the 15$ was reg price not sale price but it counted only the sale prices. Is that correct?

  • Suzan

    Having read the thread on the topic of the magic scanner machine at CVS I am wondering if those machines are still be used. The thread of conversation is dated awhile back and my CVS as of this date does not have a machine. Am I missing out on neat sales with my CVS not having one?

    • adriene

      yes, they are in all 3 cvs stores I go to. they are red and are usually at beginning of an aisle when you walk in the door (it might say price chec on it) If you can’t find it, ask someone who works there

  • I have lost my CVS card. Can it be replaced? If so, is there any way to get my CVS coupons with out it? Thanks.

  • Thank you for posting a video. Seeing how savings are done is a plus as appose to just reading how.

  • Arielle L.

    Just a post for all reading: I am an employee at CVS, so if there are any questions that Cindy can’t answer, just send them my way.

  • Ari

    Truly inspirational, I think I am going to start doing this myself!! Great Vid and Tips.

  • Amanda

    Yes I am also curious about what the bagtag scans are?

  • Amanda

    Do u have to buy a bagtag for each individual bag you bring in? Or can they scan the same bagtag for all your bags. Like if I purchase one bagtag and bring in 5 reusable bags, do I need to have 5 bagtags or can the one be scanned 5 times? And can we bring inany kind of reusuable bags or only ones ppurchased at CVS?

    • Anonymous

      They no longer have green bag tags at CVS. They ended this program earlier this year.

    • Anonymous

      cvs discontinued the green bag tag program just this past spring

  • Danielle

    Hi Cindy, I have been couponing for a while but just stumbled across this video! The CVS’s that I’ve been to do not have those bag tags. Do you know if they still carry them or just vary by location?

    • rita

      the bag tags were discontinued

      • Danielle

        Thank you!

  • WomenWhoLovePowerfully

    What confuses me most is when you say that an item is really only $___ but you’re counting the Extra Care Bucks. Can you use ECB’s on your current transaction? I keep thinking I got it but I don’t think I do!?! Thanks for your help! Tameaka

    • Denise Uzunis

      If you have ECB’s from a previous transaction you can use them, but the ECB that you are earning you will only be able to use on your next transaction, hth!

      • WomenWhoLovePowerfully

        Thank you! Tameaka

  • Susan Szabo

    Cvs has so disappointed me in the last 2 years. I used to be a die hard shopper there but very low stock and high prices have stopped me from this store. Photo and Pharmacy are the only reasons that I go to CVS.

    • Kim

      I’ve found out local Wal-Mart to have better photo prints than CVS. You might want to try and see if yours does. May save you a trip to CVS, which does have higher prices than other stores locally. Anyhow, if you order a lot of prints, my vote is for Walmart.

  • Meemaw

    What does in mean on phone app $1.00 to unlock $10ecb’s for household items,and dish detergent is considered as house hold items right?