WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Frugal living series: Saving with CVS ExtraBucks Rewards!

Posted May 1, 2014

CVS sign



CVS has some super deals and freebies every week using their ExtraCare Reward Program! Check out this new article in our Frugal Living Series for the ins and outs of shopping at CVS including their coupon policy, reward program and more!  For all the articles and videos from this series, click the link for Frugal Living - a step-by-step guide in the More On This section to the left.

CVS has multiple ways to save money every week using their ExtraCare rewards program which includes ExtraBucks Rewards (basically an instant rebate), the in-store coupon kiosk, e-mailed coupons, the Pharmacy & Health Rewards and more!





ExtraCare Reward Program

The first step to getting the ExtraBucks rewards is to sign up for an ExtraCare Rewards card.  You must have a CVS ExtraCare rewards card to earn ExtraBucks rewards and get sales prices and store coupons at CVS. You can sign up for a card at any CVS store at the register. For all the details on the Extrabucks program, head to their website.

The ExtraBucks rewards are also known as ECB’s or EB’s and you will often see these abbreviations on the blog when readers make comments.

There are multiple ways to earn ExtraBucks rewards:

1. Purchasing items that offer an Extrabucks reward: These rewards are basically instant rebates that print out in the form of a coupon at the end of your receipt when you make a qualifying transaction. You can see a picture of an ECB above. You will know when an item offers a reward because CVS will show the offer in the ad or on the store shelf (or both). You will also see a limit as to how many offers you can get that will issue the ExtraBucks Reward.  You can use these rewards on your next purchase immediately.  They do have an expiration date so make sure you use them before they expire.

Example: For instance, there is a sale on Colgate toothpaste for $2.99 in the ad. Next to the sale price, it shows that they are also offering a $2.00 Extrabucks reward on the Colgate. When you go to the register to buy the item, you will pay $2.99 for the toothpaste and then after you have paid, at the end of the receipt, you will find a coupon for $2.00 that can be used on a future purchase (excluding some things like prescrtipions, alcohol, tobacco, etc.). The coupon is called an Extrabucks reward (or ECB or EB).  If you see that in the ad, the offer indicates that there is a Limit 2, this means that you can buy 2 of the tubes of toothpaste and get a $2 reward for each one! When you buy qualifying multiples of the same item, the reward usually prints all on the same coupon. In this example, if you bought 2 tubes, and the limit was 2, you would get an ExtraBucks reward at the end of your receipt for $4.00 ($2 reward per tube).

The great thing is that you can also use manufacturer AND store coupons AND previously earned ExtraBucks rewards to get the total at the register down and you will still get the entire $2.00 Extrabucks reward coupon at the end of the receipt! For instance, let’s say I had a $1 manufacturer’s Colgate coupon from the Sunday newspaper AND a $1 CVS store coupon from the in-store coupon kiosk. I can use them both on the same tube of Colgate and end up paying .99 at the register. BUT I would still get back the ExtraBucks reward of $2.00, even though I only paid .99 for the product!  If I also had a .99 Extrabucks reward from purchasing something else the week before, I could also use that and end paying nothing at the register and I would still get the whole $2.00 ExtraBucks reward coupon! That's what we call a money-maker!

If you have a store coupon for $4 off a $20 purchase or one like that, you can also use it in conjunction with the other product specific coupons to get your out of pocket expense even lower.

2. Quarterly Extrabucks: Earn 2% back in ExtraBucks rewards from everyday purchases of participating items. Excludes things like alcohol, gift cards, money orders, tobacco products. Quarterly ExtraBucks are available Janury 1, April 1, July 1, October1 each year. You can print them from your account at or have them sent to your card. You then have 45 days to redeem them. There is nothing you need to do to get these Quarterly Rewards except register your CVS reward card at Once you have registered your card with your e-mail address, they will e-mail you to let you know when you Quarterly Rewards are available to print or send to your card.

3. Beauty Club Spending: Spend $50 on beauty products and earn $5 ExtraBucks reward. The $50 requirement is BEFORE coupons so you really don’t end up spending $50 to get the reward.

4. Pharmacy & Health Rewards: Receive a $5 Extrabucks reward when you earn 10 points through the pharmacy. There are many ways to earn points including filling prescriptions, connecting your prescriptions, signing up for refill reminders, getting a flu shot or vaccination, signing up for text alerts. You can see all the pharmacy program details at their website at

5. Birthday ExtraBucks: If you register your ExtraCare card online at and update your profile with your birthdate, they will e-mail a coupon to you on your birthday for a $3 ExtraBucks reward! The reward usually expires in about 11 days and can be used on your next purchase of just about anything in the store!

Way to get additional coupon savings:

Coupons from the in-store coupon kiosk: As soon as you go into a CVS store, go directly to the magical in-store coupon kiosk! If you don’t know where it is in the store, ask the cashier. Then scan your ExtraCare rewards card and it will give you coupons. The coupons print out on the right side of the machine, not from the front of the machine. These store coupons can be used with manufacturer’s coupons on the same product for extra savings! Sometimes, you may also get a coupon that does not have a specific brand name. For instance you may get a coupon that indicates, “Save $1 off any $4 deodorant purchase.” These coupons can be used to buy any brand(s) of deodorant! All the kiosk coupons have expiration dates.

Coupons on your receipt: You will also receive coupons on your receipt, especially if you did not print them out at the coupon kiosk.

Coupons from Print additional coupons from their website when you log into your ExtraCare account and click on My Savings & Rewards. These are also store coupons and can be used with manufacturer’s coupons. All the CVS printable coupons have expiration dates.

Coupons via e-mail: Make sure you sign up for CVS e-mails through their website. They send coupons often including 20% off coupons, $4 off $20 purchase coupons and more! The 20% coupons are usually only for regular priced items and can’t be used on sale items. The $4 off $20 or $3 off $15 coupons are usually valid on sale and regular priced items as well. Any restrictions will be noted in the fine print on the coupon.  In the past, when a customer first signed up for CVS e-mails, they were sent a $4 off $20 coupon. Hopefully you will get one as well if you are new to the CVS e-mails.

Tips for success at CVS:

I have found that CVS has the easiest rewards program to work. If you are just starting out with the drug store rewards, this is a good program to get your feet wet.

My goal is to spend as little as possible at the register each time, of course. In order to do that, I attempt to stack as many savings as I can including manufacturer’s coupons, store coupons for specific products, store coupons for % or $ off the total purchase, ExtraBucks earned in previous transactions and CVS gift cards.

There are 2 ways I get CVS gift cards for free:

Swagbucks: Swagbucks is a great rewards website that gives people free gift cards for the things they do online. You earn points (called Swag Bucks) for online activities (like doing an internet search, taking a survey or watching a video) and then you can cash them in for gift cards to places like CVS, Amazon, Starbucks and many more options! For all the information on how Swagbucks works, click on the Swag Code Alert link in the box above or go to the Swagbucks website. Make sure you use the sign-up bonus code SMARTSHOPPER to get extra Swag Bucks when you sign up!

Prescription Transfer Offers: CVS sometimes offers prescription transfer coupons that give you a $25 gift card when you transfer a prescription from another pharmacy (other than CVS) to the CVS Pharmacy. In addition, many CVS stores will honor prescription transfer coupons from competitors like Rite Aid. This technique is not for everyone so be sure to check with your pharmacy or doctor before transferring prescriptions.

Coupon Policy:

The CVS coupon policy can be found on their website at Here are a few important rules to remember:

* BOGO (buy one get one free) sales ring up as one product at full price and one product free. If you only buy one item in a BOGO sale, it will ring up at full price.

* You can use a coupon on each item in a BOGO sale! Love that policy!

* BOGO coupons can be combined with a BOGO sale. When this happens, both items are FREE and you just have to pay the sales tax! Also love that policy!

* You can “stack” store coupons from the in-store kiosk, register or their website with manufacturer coupons. They will accept one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per item.

* The coupon amount will be reduced if it exceeds the price of the product. For instance, you have a $3 coupon off of 1 product and the product is on sale for $2.50.  CVS will lower the amount of the coupon to $2.50 and you will get the product for free + tax.

* You can use multiple ExtraBucks coupons in a single transaction.

* You can use multiple dollar off coupons in a single transaction (like $4 off $20 coupons), as long as your total covers the minimum purchase required by both coupons. For instance, if you have a CVS coupon for $4 off a $20 purchase that they sent via e-mail and one for $3 off a $15 purchase that printed on the bottom of a recent receipt, your total before other coupons must be $35.

* CVS does accept printable coupons as long as they have a bar code.

To see the additional information from their coupon policy, head to their website.  

I have been using CVS ExtraBucks rewards to save tons of money for over a decade! Each Sunday, here on the Smart Shopper blog, I post the best deals so you can save plenty as well.  Please share any other tips for CVS shopping you may have! 



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  • uncfan7 May 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Just rereading this article and realizing that it looks like it automatically applies ExtraBucks rewards to your purchase right then, not your next purchase, is that correct?

  • uncfan7 May 5, 2014

    This is probably a dumb questions but how do I redeem the extrabucks on my next purchase? Just by giving my phone number/using my CVS card do they automatically apply or do I have to show my old receipts? Thanks!

  • privilegesrevoked May 2, 2014

    Holy Moly Observant! That Sparkle rain check was awesome LOL! Talk about rolling a deal :)
    That's one for the record books!

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper May 2, 2014

    observant - that is a great story about your mom's 6 yr old ECB! Great price on the paper towels!

  • observant May 1, 2014

    I enjoy the ability to put the email coupons/deals on the ECB card .
    Also the rain checks never expire
    I recently took a 6 year old rain check I found at my mother's to my store for a good laugh
    ( Sparkles 8 roll for $2.25) -
    They honored the rain check on 6 packages !
    I got them free after coupons & ECBs and I earned more ECBs for the next time I go .

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper May 1, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Very true. Great point, Juliemom! Thanks!

  • juliemom2 May 1, 2014

    Sometimes the kiosk will let you scan your card twice for even more coupons.