A CVS Primer for July

I never set foot in CVS prior to February of this year. But after seeing bloggers post pictures of their purchases (insert raised eyebrow) and reading all that Money Saving Mom had to say on the topic, I decided to give it a go. And I made plenty of mistakes. But, all in all, I can say that shopping at CVS has saved our family a ton of money and introduced us to products we might not have tried otherwise. For instance, FishPapa really likes Cranberry Grapefruit SoBe, but one can only get the diet variety here in KC. Thanks to a CVS sale on SoBe Lifewater, he has found a reasonable substitute.

If you haven’t tried out CVS’ Extra Care program, you might want to give it a go. If you use your brain and the math skills that God gave you, you, too, can save your family a chunk of change.

Here’s how:

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 and the current month’s Extra Care Book.

4. Look through the flyers for items that say “free after ECB’s.” 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 the July book, there aren’t too many “freebies,” but they are definitely items that most MOMS (or their daughters) will use. For example, purchase:

2 CVS Brand pantiliners @ $.99 each = $1.98
2 CVS Brand tampons @$1.49 each = $2.98

Your total should be $4.96 + tax.

You will pay out $4.96 (+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $4.96. You basically got those feminine products for free. The ECBs are good for about a month’s time. Don’t lose them!

Now, in many stores, there are scanning machines. If you scan your card, often it will spit out a coupon. A regular coupon that is generated is a $3 off $10 CVS brand purchase. So, hypothetically, if you got this coupon, you could do the following deal instead of the above scenario.


2 CVS Brand pantiliners @ $.99 each = $1.98
2 CVS Brand tampons @$1.49 each = $2.98
Choose $5.04 worth of CVS products to get your subtotal over $10.
Minus $3 coupon
Pay $7 + tax, receive back $4.96 in ECBs. It’s as if all the products you bought, really only cost you $2.04!

Now, if you spend your ECBs wisely, you will continue to save money on your pharmacy purchases.

Check out these primers:
June CVS Primer
May CVS Primer

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

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  1. Chinamama4 says:

    I just started playing the “CVS game” in June, and am doing great! Last week, I bought $40 in products, used $10 in manufacturer coupons, $10 in past ECBs, paid $20 out-of-pocket, and got $25 back in ECBs! Oh, yeah, and left with a bag of stuff we definitely needed (no fillers here)! After much eyebrow raising, I’m sold! Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. The deals are not too good this month, especially for the men, lol. I JUST went to CVS for the first time in a month to make a purchase before my ECB’s expired. I just haven’t been impressed lately.

  3. The Frugal Homemaker says:

    I know what you mean, Jen. This is my first July doing the Drugstore Game, and some of the more experienced folks have mentioned that it is because so many people are on vacation during the summer months that the deals aren’t as great.

  4. Aunt Lydia says:

    The good deals are all gone when I get there. I’ve tried different store and all the freebies are always out of stock.

  5. I, too, am new to this. And have a question: I logged onto and checked my account (it gave me a $4 off of $20 purchase coupon right off the bat!) and it says under ECB balances “41.29”…does that mean I have $41.29 to SPEND?? Is that right? I spent $51.00 and got $41.00 back??

    To steal a slogan from wicked McD’s, I’m lovin’ it!

  6. FishMama says:

    SB, I’m not sure. You would have known that when you got your receipt because the ECBs would print at the end. I’m thinking that that number is referring to how much you’ve spent in qualifying purchases this quarter. In addition to what you earn on your receipt, CVS gives you a certain percentage back in ECBs every quarter.

    Anybody else have an idea?

    I’ll have to go to the car to get my card and see….

  7. Christine says:

    THANKS sooo much for your site… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  8. Leah Belle says:

    i recently signed up for the Extra Care Card….got the $4/$20 q by email….can i print it more than once and use one each week i go to cvs?

  9. FishMama says:

    Leah Belle, I don’t think so. You’ll need to read the fine print, but I believe that it’s a one-time use.

    I am a stickler for following CVS’ guidelines. I appreciate their extending the good deals and don’t want to abuse it. There’s a fair amount of CVS abuse out there and lots of illegal coupon posting. So, please use wisdom.

  10. Just a mom says:

    I just signed up with CVS yesterday and did my first purchse. The receipt did not print off anything about the ECB’s I’ve received . . . should it have done that, or do I wait for a quarterly print out?

  11. FishMama says:

    Just a mom, if you purchased the right items and had them scan your card, the ECBs should have printed. Double check your receipt and call the Extra Care # on the back of your card. They should be able to help you. Good luck!

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