CVS Primer – March 15 thru 17

Please note: the ECB deal for the body wash expires on Tuesday, March 17th. So, this primer is only good until then.

A year ago I walked into CVS for the first time, quaking in my boots. I had read several different bloggers that talked about the great deals and steals they had nabbed there. Despite my research, I really had no idea what I was doing. I made quite a few mistakes before I got the hang of it.

Soon I found that my bathroom closet was filled with enough soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and facial cleanser to last me a year. Seriously. We’re still working our way through my first purchases. It’s been so nice not to run out of things that we use on a regular basis.

After a few months went by, I decided to teach my “starving college student” kid brothers “how to CVS.” I wrote up a primer with very minute instructions and emailed it to them. And you know what?

They. never. went.

Now that I live two blocks from them, they’ve still never done it. (Maybe it’s a chick thing?)

But, that’s okay. Maybe someone else is willing to take my unsolicited advice – and get thee to a CVS.

Here’s a step by step plan for the deals that are going this week, March 15-21st 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 Irish Spring Body Wash $4.99 (only good Sun, Mon, and Tues)
1 Colgate Max White Toothbrush or toothpaste $2.99

Your total should be $7.98 + tax.

You will pay out $7.98(+tax), but receive back on your register receipt coupons or “Extra Care Bucks” (ECBs) totalling $6.98. 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 $15 worth of Hershey’s candy. You can print out several coupons for Hershey’s here and here. For instance,
Buy 2 bags Hershey’s Bliss $7
Buy 3 bags Kisses @$1.88 each = $5.64
Buy 1 bag of mini eggs $2
Buy 2 caramel eggs $1

Your total will be $15.64 + tax
Minus (2) $1 Bliss coupons
Minus $1.50 off 3 Hershey coupon
Pay with the $7.98 in ECBs.
Pay the remaining $4.16 + tax.
Get back $5 in ECBs

This means that after the two transactions, you’ve shelled out $12.14 (+tax) out of pocket. You have 1 body wash, 1 toothpaste or toothbrush, a boatload of candy and still have $5 in ECBs to spend on future transactions. That is a great bargain! It took some time and some cash on hand, but you got a lot of 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 CHOCOLATE for very little money.

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

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!

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  1. Thankful Paul says:

    Hello! 🙂

  2. The Sensible Momma says:

    Great introductory post to CVS!

    I nominated you for an award- stop by my blog to pick it up!

  3. Chawksgirl4ever says:

    wah i dont have a CVS where i live!

  4. sagemanor says:

    I am like your brother…although female! I just can’t seem to do it!! But I MAY, maybe, print this out and follow the instructions!! Looks easy!! Maybe the bug will bite me soon too!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. topaztook says:

    When I first started learning to CVS, there was some sort of deal on Cascade dishwashing soap — a brand my husband is extremely loyal to, for whatever reason. We haven’t needed to buy any for almost two years. 🙂 It’s fun living off that initial stash.

  6. dancebythelight says:

    Thanks, so helpful! I did this today and got some other great deals with the coupons I had (buy 1 get 1 free vitamins plus I had a $1 off coupon, etc.). I think I’m on my way!

  7. I’m new to this so bear with me. I’ve never written on a blog before. I thought the deal in CVS for the 3ct scented oil candle was pretty good. Buy 4/$10, ECB $3 makes it 4/$7, use 2/$2 coupons and you get them for 4/$3. I don’t have a very good walgreens in my area though. I tried to get something for free last week using the Easy Saver coupon and a $4 coupon of mine and there was a 1 cent overage so they wouldnt let me do it. How do I get around that. my email is I appreciate all the help I can get

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