CVS for Beginners, April 12 – 18

If you’re new to the whole get-great-deals-at-CVS-thing, it can be a little confusing. ECBs? What are those? And what in the world do you do with them?

Here’s a step by step plan for the deals that are going this week, April 12 -18th at CVS.

1. Go to CVS.

2. Sign up for an Extra Care card if you don’t already have one.

3. Pick up a weekly ad. Check the dates to make sure it’s the right one.

4. Look through the flyers for items that say “free after ECB’s” or those that give back ECBs. Are any of these items that you or someone in your family will use? If so, choose two to three items to start. When you get to the checkstand, make sure you use your Extra Care card and have them run it before they run the items. Don’t forget to double check the ad with the items to make sure you got the right brand, style, and size of the item on sale.

In this week’s ad, there aren’t too many “freebies,” but let’s go with what’s there.


1 Softsoap scrub Body Wash $4.99
1 Colgate sensitive Toothbrush $3.99

Your total should be $8.98 + tax.

You will pay out $8.98(+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $8.98. One will be for $4.99 and the other for $3.99. You basically got those products for “free.”

The ECBs are good for about a month’s time. Don’t lose them!

Now, if you spend your ECBs wisely, you will continue to save money on your pharmacy purchases. If there are other items on sale that you need or will use eventually, purchase those. If you have manufacturers coupons, so much the better. Try to buy things that you have to have or items that generate more ECBs. This is called “rolling your ECBs.”

Now, you could do the following:

Buy another Colgate sensitive Toothbrush $3.99 (there’s a limit of two)

Your total will be $3.99 + tax
Pay with the $3.99 ECB coupon.
Pay the remaining tax.
Get back another $3.99 in ECBs

This means that after the two transactions, you’ve shelled out $8.98 (+tax) out of pocket. You have 1 body wash, and 2 toothbrushes, and still have $8.98 in ECBs to spend on future transactions. That is a great bargain! It took some time and some cash on hand, but you got those items for FREE!

It takes a little practice (and a lot of math) to get the swing of things, but after a few tries, you’ll be gathering all you need in toiletries, OTC meds, and other drugstore items for very little money.

Check out these past primers to get an idea of how the CVS system works:

March 15 Primer
Will You Learn to CVS in February?
How to CVS with Big Store Coupons
May CVS Primer
June CVS Primer
July Primer
MOM Deals and a CVS Primer

The deals are no longer good, but they may help you understand how the ECB system works. Happy Shopping!

Money Saving Mom regularly reports the weekly deals at CVS, so be sure to check out her site!

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. This is the best explanation of this that I’ve ever seen anyone do…good job! And thanks!

  2. I think I have a coupon for that body wash too. What a great deal that will be. Thanks!

  3. Katie @ goodLife {eats} says:

    I think we are supposed to get a CVS soon. Can’t wait to save like this!

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts