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Huge Money Savings at CVS Drugstore

Updated on November 26, 2017

Get the Card!

To begin saving the big bucks at CVS, you need to have the Extra Care Card. This is a brief one-time process you'll go through to sign up for the card. The card entitles you to

  • sale prices
  • Extra bucks deals - Extra bucks are printed at the end of your receipt.  They are like "CVS money."  You can spend them on anything in CVS except prescription drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes.
  • a percentage back at the end of each quarter, also printed as Extra bucks once each quarter.
  • personalized coupons to be printed each time you go into the store, printed at the Extra Care kiosk located somewhere near the front of the store.

That's the new style card on the left, and the older version on the right.
That's the new style card on the left, and the older version on the right. | Source
M&M's Deal
M&M's Deal | Source
Physicians Formula Deal
Physicians Formula Deal | Source

Grab a copy of the CVS ad and your coupons

The CVS ad comes out in Sunday's paper. You can also pick it up at your local CVS. Many of the coupon websites, such as Hot Coupon World posts the ads up to several weeks before they come out.

As you are looking through the ad, take notice of the yellow bubbles. Those signify deals that you receive "extra bucks" on. Here's an example: The Herbal Essences shampoos, conditioners, and stylers are on sale. You pay 2/$5.97 with card. You receive "extra bucks" back, $2 on the purchase of 2. Just say you happen to like that shampoo, and you have the Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon that was in the December 26th Sunday Paper. Here's how it would look:

They will scan your Extra Care Card

They will ring up 2 @ 5.97.

They will scan the coupon and enter the amount of 2.99

You will pay 2.98 + sales tax

You will receive $2 back in Extra bucks

Those $2 extra bucks can be used towards another deal.

The M&M's are also on sale for 5/$5 with card. You're thinking those would be nice in those cookies you have to make for the kids' classes. CVS is offering an extra buck if you buy 2 bags. You just happen to have that coupon from January 23rd's paper for $1.50 off 2 M&M's bags.

They scan your card again.

They ring up your M&M's 2/$5.

They scan your coupon for $1.50 off, so the total is down to $3.50

They scan those extra bucks you just got back from your shampoo deal, bringing the total down to $1.50.

You pay, and they give you $1 extra buck.

You just spent $4.50 at CVS, and you bought about $12 worth of stuff, and you are leaving with an extra buck in your pocket. This scenario may not apply to you if you don't use that type of shampoo or eat M&M's, but if that is just one little scenario, taken out of one Sunday's ad, just imagine all the deals and bargains you can find.

It can get tricky discerning what you need and what you can get for really cheap. Be careful of that, because that can lead you to spend more money when you don't need to.

Okay, back to our scenario - was $4.50 too much for you to spend on those things? Well, what if I told you that you can get it for free?

Get Loads of FREE stuff at CVS

There is a great way to get free stuff at CVS.  You still have to bother with the above scenarios - using coupons and extra bucks if you want LOADS of free stuff, but you don't if you just want a little bit of stuff for free.

Do you have any prescriptions that you need filled?  CVS will honor other drugstore/mass merchandiser's coupons for "Free gift card with purchase of prescription."  You see these in Target's ads about every-other-week.  If you think getting a free $10 is good at Target, think of how far it will stretch at CVS if you work the deals.  Kmart also has those coupons, and their's are usually available anytime in their stores at the pharmacy department.

Stretching a Gift Card

If you get your free gift cards by using CVS' pharmacy, and then do your extra buck work, you can stretch a gift card beyond belief.  

I had a challenge one year - my uncle gave me a $20 gift card to CVS and challenged me to get as much as I could with it.  I ended up recording over $405.00, with some still left.  I just stopped keeping track.  Here is what I was able to get with a $20 and some strategic planning:

4 btls. Pert Plus Shampoo
1 pk. Mach 3 Razors
2 btls. Covergirl Smoothers Foundation
1 pk. Instant Energy Drink
2 bxs. M&M Premiums
4 bts. Covergirl TruBlend Foundation
2 bts. Children's Advil
1 Oral B Advantage Tooth Brush
1 Bandaid Comfort Strips 80 ct
1 Revlon Blush
1 Reese's PB Cup 8 pk
5 Johnson & Johnson Bath Buddies Soap
2 Johnson & Johnson Baby Bath
2 Johnson & Johnson Baby Lotion
1 Tylenol Sinus & Congestion 24 pk
1 L'oreal Hydra Vive Conditioner
1 L'oreal Hydra Vive Shampoo
4 1lb pks. Twizzlers
14 bottles Sally Hansen Nail Polish
2 pks CVS Supreme Diapers
2 bxs. CVS Cotton Swabs 375 ct
1 Febreze Fabric Refresher
1 Febreze Air Effects
1 Febreze Noticeables Starter Kit
3 bottles of Dawn
2 cans Pringles
4 CVS Makeup remover cloths
2 pks CVS Tampons
2 pks CVS Pantiliners
50 Bags of Life Savers Candy
1 24pk of bottled water
2 Coppertone Sunblock Sticks

Now granted, CVS used to have a lot more "free after extra bucks" deals than they do now, but even if you just got HALF this much on your gift cards, that is AMAZING!

Money Makers

Some of the best deals at CVS are "money makers." I call it that when I get back more in extra bucks than I spend out-of-pocket.

Here's an example out of this week's CVS ad:

Spend $10 on Physicians Formula Cosmetics, get $7 extra bucks back.

Buy the bronzer for $10.99, use my $5 off any bronzer coupon, pay $5.99 and receive $7 extra bucks.

Register online for deeper discounts!

When you register your card online and attach it to an email address, CVS will send you coupons. A lot of coupons. They usually have short expiration dates, but are worth $3 off a $10 purchase, or $4 off a $20 purchase. Sometimes they will send out a 20% off your entire shopping visit coupon. And all that is before any other coupon is applied. These coupons are typically good as a one-time usage. Here is an example:

You pick up to buy the Herbal Essences products we talked about earlier, the M&M's, and the Physicians Formula. This time, you get them all in one transaction, so it looks like this:

Shampoo 2/$5.97

M&M's 2/5.00

Bronzer 10.99

= $21.96

Minus your $4 off a $20 purchase


Minus your manufacturer coupons

- B1G1free shampoo coupon 2.99

-$1.50 off 2 M&M's

-$5 off bronzer

=8.47 AND receive $10 in extra bucks

See where these particular coupons can really help with your savings? It's like CVS is paying you $1.53 to walk into their store and take out shampoo, candies, and makeup.

Please remember this is just an example scenario that I pulled from the Jan 30-Feb 5 2011 sales ad and may not be an exact scenario for you.

Scan your card at the kiosk!

Most CVS stores have the kiosk now.  Just ask a cashier if you don't see it near the front.   When you do see it, scan your Extra Care Card and coupons will print out for you.  They are usually great coupons, and can be used right alongside of manufacturer's coupons.

Your quarterly extra bucks will print out there as well.  You can also scan items to check their prices at the kiosk.

Join the beauty club!
Join the beauty club! | Source

The Beauty Club

Once you've gotten your card they will probably ask you if you would like to join the "beauty club."  You do!  You do!  When you join, you will receive a 10% off shopping pass for beauty products that is good for three days, and you will also earn $5 in extra bucks for every $50 you spend on beauty products.  What qualifies as beauty products?  Check out their long list!  (This comes right from the CVS ad)

  • Cosmetics
  • Ethnic Hair Care
  • Fragrances
  • Hair Accessories
  • Hair Appliances
  • Hair Care
  • Hair Color
  • Healthy Skin Care
  • Hosiery
  • Skin Care
  • Sun Care
It excludes items from Beauty 360, from trial & travel, gift cards, and prescriptions.
So if you joined the beauty club, and did the scenario above, you would already have $16.96 towards your first $5 reward. 

Enjoy CVS!

See how it all adds up and just seems to build one thing on another.  If you did the entire scenario that I mentioned before, you would have simply paid for your prescription out of pocket and received a $10 gift card to pay for your $8.47 purchase, and leave out of there with all that stuff, PLUS $1.53 on a gift card, PLUS $10 extra bucks, PLUS $16.96 toward your $5 reward, PLUS a 10% off coupon to spend on beauty products during the next three days.

Enjoy CVS!  


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    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      The extracare bucks expire after a month, but usually can be used anyway. If you do let them expire, you can ask the cashier to "push" them through. If your cashier won't do it, try either another cashier on another day or call customer service. When I've called customer service about this before, they told me to have the manager "push" the extracare bucks through.

      It's amazing the difference from store to store. There is one near me where the ladies there are so sweet and helpful, but there is one a little further down (a much busier one) where they are kind of mean and gruff and don't like to help you with your expired extracare bucks.

      And you could save on diapers. Right now they have a great deal on Pampers - buy 1 big box of Pampers and 2 packs of wipes for $25, get $5 extra bucks back. You can use coupons to sweeten the deal!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      This is amazing. I think you've just made a CVS shopper out of me. I think I could probably do something with diaper coupons there. In another state I tried doing CVS but the extra care bucks always expired before I went back to use them, and I wasn't able to use them until my next purchase. Am I misunderstanding the CVS system? (I did read every word of your article.) Thanks, love your writing!

    • imatellmuva profile image

      imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      I know that's right, less for you equals more for me!! I honestly thought I was the only one who could stretch a gift card til it cracked! I've got a few things to learn from YOU!!!!

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 6 years ago

      You caught me. I'm your long-lost twin who has put spyware on your phone.

      I *heart* CVS - went today to pick up some medicine for my youngest and ended up with a cart full for the same price as the medicine. Also hit the "scratch & dents" at the local grocer's today - got 3 cases of canned food for $7.30.

      I try to talk everyone into shopping CVS, and it amazes me that people say it's not worth their time! I say if you got more money than time, throw some my way!

    • imatellmuva profile image

      imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      You have got to be kidding me!!!!!! I was talking about CVS tonight too...goodgugadamugada...cheapsk8chick...did you put spyware on my phone????!!!! My mother's disabled and the nurse was over tonight, so the nurse asked me if I clipped coupons, I told her I am a living, breathing coupon! I also told her that you can get great deals at stores like CVS; that you can get the same things that you might buy at the grocery store and other retailers!! Are you my twin...were we seperated at birth???!!!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Thank you very much for the information. I have a CVS card , and I always enjoy the rewards I get from it from CVS. God Bless You Dear Heart. Great Hub.

    • Jalapeno10 profile image

      Jalapeno10 6 years ago

      Very informative. :)