How would you like to get paid for shopping at CVS?
Yes, not only are we going to show you tons of easy ways to save money when shopping at your local CVS, but we’re also going to show you a simple and quick trick you can use to get paid in cash for shopping there.
CVS is the second largest pharmacy chain in America, ranking behind Walgreens.
The company originally started in 1963 as “Consumer Value Stores.” Today, CVS Health, the parent company, runs over 7800 stores including CVS Pharmacy, Longs Drugs, and Navarro Discount Pharmacies stores.
To compete with other drug stores, it has an awesome reward program known as ExtraCare that rewards shoppers for shopping at CVS. Plus, it lets you stack coupon savings and discounts onto this.
And if you can take advantage of all the saving opportunities that are available to you, you can save $100s, if not $1000s.
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What will I learn?
How to Save Money at CVS Stores & Online
Here are some of the best ways you can reduce your CVS bill.
1. Get your Rewards Card
Step one in saving money at CVS is to get yourself an ExtraCare rewards card.
You’ll enjoy 2% back on most of your purchases (some exceptions apply), $5 worth of ExtraCare Bucks (more on these later) when you fill 10 prescriptions, plus special offers and coupons.
2. Join the Extra Care Pharmacy and Health Rewards program
Visit cvs.com/extracare-cvs/rxrewards to sign up for a free ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Reward account.
With this program, you earn “Credits” for doing what you already do – filling your prescription, getting flu shots, setting up refill reminders, etc.
You earn $5 after every 10 refills. You can also do other things, such as signing up for emails or text alerts when your prescriptions need refilling, to count towards the 10 needed.
The money you earn here will be added to your Extra Care Rewards card.
It’s like getting free money for doing what you already do. It’d be stupid not to use it.
3. Get paid to shop at CVS (and other stores)
While we are talking about saving money, you should also be using the app from Checkout51.
It works in any store and gives you cash back on different groceries, such as milk and eggs.
You can see what qualifies for cash back at any time from the app, or from looking at the website.
4. Sign up for ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetes
Update: Seems like they did away with that program!
If you have diabetes, then CVS has a plan which will save you money.
It’s called ExtraCare Advantage for Diabetics.
It doubles up the ExtraBucks that you earn on diabetic supplies and also comes with a newsletter via email that tells you about extra savings.
5. Join the ExtraCare Beauty Club
Would you like to save 10% off beauty products?
If you sign up for the ExtraCare Beauty Club, you’ll get a pass that gives you 10% off, as well as $5 in ECBs for every $50 you spend in beauty, and even $3 in ECBs for your birthday.
You’ll get other perks as well, with offers for beauty freebies such as shampoo and sunscreen.
6. Join Veterans Advantage
If you or a loved one is an active member of the Armed Forces or a veteran, CVS has a program for you.
It’s known as the Veterans Advantage.
Here are the perks that come with this program:
- Receive 20% off your order plus free shipping with no minimum purchase from CVS.com
- Discounts fully combinable at CVS.com with CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Savings
- Save 365 days a year with no blackout dates
- Members receive $55,000 in member insurance and travel assistance services from AIG Travel Guard included at no additional cost.
7. Get free stuff with “Free after ExtraBucks”
Here’s a way to get lots of free stuff…
Every week, some items are offered as “Free after Extra Bucks”.
Simply pick these up, and use the ExtraBucks that you earn to buy the “Free after Extra Bucks” products that come up next week.
Rinse and repeat, and keep getting free goods.
8. Take advantage of CVS Weekly Ad & Online Circular
Before you shop, make sure you go to https://www.cvs.com/weeklyad and print out the special deals.
You can also find additional coupons in store at the coupon centers, and clip out manufacturers’ coupons.
9. Use ExtraCare Bucks strategically
Here’s why I think that CVS’s ExtraBucks is better than most reward programs – they have ExtraCare Bucks, or ECB’s, that can save you a lot more.
ECB’s printout on the bottom of your receipt, and range from $1 – $10.
You can use them as a gift card. They expire after a month, but you can use them anytime, even right away. That means you can check out in two transactions, and use the ECB’s from the first checkout towards the second checkout.
As mentioned above, you earn ECB’s when you fill prescriptions. But you can also get them up by buying items designated as “Extra Buck Offers”. These change every week. You can check them before going to the store by looking at the weekly ad, and plan your shopping around them.
The ideal state is to hand over a bunch of ECB’s every time you visit – and by careful selection of your purchases, get a whole bunch more to use next time.
10. Print coupons instantly in the store
Every time you walk into a CVS, you should head straight for the Extra Care Coupon Center. It’s the giant red machine that’s hard to miss.
The first thing to do is scan your ExtraBuck card in the machine, and see what comes out.
You will get a whole range of seemingly random coupons, such as $5 off a purchase of $15 or more in the personal care section.
They’re not actually random but related to what you have bought in the past and what CVS thinks you may buy in the future if you are given this incentive.
If it fits in with what you were going to buy, you can use the coupons straightaway, or you can save them for another visit.
Either way, they can be used together with any other discount offers you have.
By the way, when you’re shopping you can also use the Extra Care Coupon Center machine to scan the price of any item.
Remember when you’re checking out to get the cashier to scan your ExtraBuck card so that all your purchases count to more ECBs – you’ll get 2% back, credited every three months, on what you buy, excepting things like alcohol and stamps.
11. Get your prescriptions here
If you transfer your prescriptions from another pharmacy, CVS will often give you a free gift card.
Look for the offer to come around in the weekly newsletter, or ask at the pharmacy department.
12. Look for rebates
CVS often has “free-after-rebate” items, particularly in the shampoo aisle. You can find them by looking for identifying tags.
Make sure you get the goods while they are free.
13. Sign up for the Weekly Email
You shouldn’t just review the weekly CVS newsletter for offers – you need to sign up to get the weekly email too. It often has additional coupons to the ones that are in print.
Simply go online, and when you register your ExtraCare card, you will see an option to add your email address. You will then start receiving regular emails, offering up to 20% off your whole purchase.
You can use these coupons in addition to your ExtraCare Bucks and save a fortune.
14. Add your email
Or, if you didn’t sign up for emails when you registered your card online, you could always go to CVS.com/email and add the email alert so that you receive regular coupons.
15. Become a CVS Advisor
If you’re a regular MoneyPantry reader and newsletter subscriber, you know how often we talk about making extra money with paid surveys.
CVS has its own in-house survey panel where you can earn rewards for taking surveys about the company, its performance, stores, products, etc.
To join the CVS Advisor Panel, go to cvs.opinioninsight.com and sign up for a free account.
You get ExtraBucks every time you complete a survey. You won’t earn a lot, as you’ll only get a few surveys a year, but it will be worth something.
16. Buy gift cards at a discount
In case you don’t know, you can buy all sorts of gift cards from discount gift card sites such as Raise, for up to 90% less than the face value.
They have gift cards for many different stores. As for CVS gift cards, at the time of writing this post, I saw a few CVS gift cards with a 12% discount.
If you know you’re going shopping at CVS, simply prepare in advance by buying a discounted gift card to pay at the register, and save a few more dollars.
17. Print your own coupons
Update: You can now print coupons from the CVS Weekly Ad & Online Circular section, which I have linked to earlier.)
You can get coupons from CVSsavingscentral.com.
Simply print them out and take them to the store.
You will find all sorts of coupons, including manufacturer coupons such as Hershey’s and Scott, as well as CVS-specific ones.
18. Keep up supplies
Here’s a tip – never wait until you’re running out of something before you buy the replacement, especially in the toiletries department.
You should always be looking for big discounts on toiletries, and stocking up when the offers come around.
That’s what smart shoppers do!
19. Buy the store brands
Like many large chain stores, such as Rite Aid and Kroger, CVS has its own brand of goods.
Manufacturers spend a lot of money on advertising, which means they have to charge more for name-brand items.
In many cases, CVS gets its branded items from the same factories, but as they don’t have a large advertising overhead, they are usually cheaper than any of the name brands.
You can hope for savings of 20% – 30% on typical items, simply by buying CVS rather than the advertised brand.
Some of the most popular CVS Pharmacy store brand product lines include:
- Total Home, a wide range of high-quality, reliable products for everyday home care
- Just the Basics, a line of household essentials
- Makeup Academy, an exclusive beauty collection
- Essence of Beauty, a signature bath and body line
- Nuance Salma Hayek, a collection of beauty products developed by actress Salma Hayek
- Gold Emblem™, a line of great tasting snacks, beverages and groceries
- Gold Emblem Abound™, an array of healthy snack and grocery items
- radiance® PLATINUM, a premium brand of 100% preservative-free vitamins and supplements
- Caliber, a home and office supply collection
20. Stick to your list
You want to save money shopping. So make sure you only buy items that you need and don’t be taken in by displays of items designed to make you want other things.
It still works to make a list, whether written down or on your device, and think carefully before buying anything not on the list.
Stores often have loss leaders just to get customers in, and rely on people being tempted to put other things in their baskets.
Of course, this shouldn’t prevent you from stocking up on supplies of goods you would normally buy if there is a cheap deal this week.
21. Social Savings
Did you know you can now follow CVS on Twitter?
And it’s worthwhile, as you may get extra coupons and discounts that don’t happen on the website or in the weekly mailer.
Follow @cvspharmacy to get reminders of the best deals from each week’s selection, as well as other specials.
By following you are also eligible for monthly prizes of goods and gift cards.
22. Get a rain check
Any time CVS is out of the goods you want, you can ask the clerk for a rain check.
If you do this while the goods are on sale, they should honor the sale price when the goods come back in stock, even if the new delivery is back to full price.
23. Get the CVS app
The CVS app works on both Android and iPhone smartphones.
If you download it and connect it to your rewards card, you’ll get a $3 coupon straightaway.
Plus you’ll be able to carry your CVS coupons around in the smartphone, and also get some tasty extras, such as ExtraBucks, simply for staying connected.
24. Save on regular online purchases
Even if you normally buy your regular items on your store visit, you might want to consider buying them online using the CVS Ship & Save program.
This gives you free shipping and a discount of up to 20%, and you don’t have to haul the things home from the store.
The idea is it encourages you to schedule regular deliveries of consumables, but you can cancel deliveries anytime.
25. Use Deals of the Week
Look for the CVS weekly circular, which shows which items are deals for one week.
You’ll find both regular savings and ECB savings. The ECB ones will obviously save you more but don’t ignore the regular deals as some of these can be really good.
26. Deals of the Month
CVS also puts out a monthly book, listing ECB deals that are valid all month long. Some of these also get featured in the weekly circular.
You have to watch out for items where you can only buy a limited number. If you have read it in both the weekly and monthly publications, you are limited to what it says in either of them, and you can’t buy up to the limit in both.
27. Check out like a pro!
It’s important that you present your deals and coupons in the right order when you check out, in order to make sure you maximize your savings.
First, you have the dollar discount when you spend a certain amount, and this makes sure that you get full credit for the face value of what you’re buying.
Next, you should offer both CVS and manufacturer coupons.
Finally, you can use your ECB’s, provided the total is still high enough that it’s worth cashing them in.
Bonus: Join CVS CarePass
If you shop at CVS a lot, it may be worth it to join the CVS CarePass program, their equivalent to Amazon Prime membership.
For only $5 a month or $48 a year, you get to enjoy a bunch of benefits.
Here’s what you need to know about CVS CarePass:
Membership Benefits: CarePass members receive several exclusive benefits, including free one- to two-day shipping on eligible items from CVS.com with no minimum purchase required, access to 24/7 pharmacist helpline, and a 20% discount on eligible CVS Health brand products.
Monthly Rewards: CarePass members earn $10 in ExtraBucks Rewards every month, which can be used towards future CVS purchases. These rewards are automatically loaded to the member’s account and can be used both in-store and online.
Prescription Delivery: CarePass members have the option to get their eligible prescription medications delivered to their doorstep for free, saving them time and ensuring convenient access to their medications.
Special Offers and Discounts: CarePass members receive exclusive discounts and promotional offers on a wide range of products available at CVS Pharmacy. These discounts can be accessed through the CVS Pharmacy mobile app or by providing the CarePass member ID at checkout.
I don’t personally shop at CVS because there are no CVS stores in the U.K., but if I did, I think I’d sign up for it since the benefits easily pay for the $5 a month fee.
Save Money & Donate at the Same Time
Consider taking deals that amount to a win-win situation for both you and a worthy cause.
When you look through the CVS weekly flyer, there may be some things that you don’t need, but would help you get more ECB’s.
For instance, CVS often has a deal on glucose monitors, and you get $10 – $15 in ECB’s.
If you buy them and donate them to a local medical facility, you both win.
Saving Money at CVS Pharmacy Summary
I tried to cover as many CVS money-saving hacks and tricks as I could find. But I’m sure there are things I’ve missed.
Do you have a tip for saving money at CVS that wasn’t mentioned here?
If so, please leave a comment below and let us know how you save money when shopping at CVS.
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