Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Extra Care Bucks tips

Are you confused about how to use Extra Care Bucks at CVS? Or do you use them, but feel like you're not getting the most out of them as you can?

Here are some tips for making the most of the Extra Care Bucks (ECB) you earn at CVS.  Next week, I'll cover tips for Register Rewards at Walgreens.

Keeping your ECBs:

  • Make sure to cut off the ECBs from your receipt.  Don't throw out the receipt - you're throwing away money!
  • Keep your ECBs  in your wallet, so that you don't forget to bring them when you go to the store.
  • Check the expiration dates of your ECBs.  Generally, ECBs expire within four weeks; however, sometimes they expire earlier, like when you get your bonus ECBs based on your purchases (see below).
  • Make sure you use your ECBs before they expire.  If there's absolutely nothing I want to buy one week, but the expiration date occurs before the next sale, I will usually purchase toilet paper.  Who doesn't need more toilet paper?
 Managing the ECB amounts:
  • Keep in mind the amount of the ECBs you have when you plan your trip.  Unlike money, you can't get change from your ECBs.  CVS will round down any ECBs you might have (see this trip for an illustration of that).
  • If you buy two or more items that you receive ECBs for, you'll get one larger ECB rather than two small ones.  
  • To keep the amounts of the ECBs small, split your items into multiple transactions.  For instance, check out this trip, where I bought two toothpastes for $3.79 and received an ECB for $7.58.  Had I split those into two transactions, I would have received two $3.79 ECBs instead.
  • You can roll ECBs between transactions.  So, for the previous example, I could have paid $3.79 plus tax for one toothpaste and received a $3.79 ECB.  Then, for the second transaction, I could have paid with the the $3.79 ECB I had just received, pay tax in cash, and receive another $3.79 ECB afterward.
  • Keeping the size of your ECBs is key, because then you have more flexibility in using ECBs to cover all, or almost all, of the cost of your trip.
Getting more ECBs:
  • Purchase a CVS green bag tag and tie it to a reusable bag.  Each time you go to CVS and make a purchase, make sure your cashier scans your green bag tag.  For every four times it's scanned, you'll receive a $1 ECB.  (Keep in mind you can only have it scanned once per day.)
  • Once a quarter or so, you'll receive ECBs based on the purchases you've made at CVS.  The date when the next earnings ECBs will come is on your receipt.  You can get these ECBs from the coupon printer once the date passes, or on your receipt at your next purchase.
  • Sign up at CVS's website with your ECB card number and your email.  Occasionally you may receive coupons via email.  They might be for an amount off a total purchase, like $4 off your next purchase of $20 or more.  Or sometimes, you can receive a coupon for a free product.
  • Sign up to be a CVS Advisor.  You'll occasionally receive surveys through email.  If you're quick enough to do the survey before they have enough responses, you might get free ECBs for participating.
Hope this helps you shop even more effectively at CVS!

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Michelle February 23, 2011 at 12:07 AM  

Thanks. I have just recently started trying to save money at CVS. Sometimes it seems very complicated.

Mom2fur February 23, 2011 at 8:18 AM  

I've never actually tried this, but a teller at CVS told me they'll take coupons up to a week after the expiration date. It's worth asking, at least! But I love your idea to use it for something like toilet paper instead of losing it. I've actually done this for eggs, another necessity!

Heather K February 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

Thank you!!!! I have been trying to figure out all these drug store programs this series will help me a lot.

Holly February 28, 2011 at 2:21 PM  

We've just started getting CVS in our metro area, and unfortunately none are near me. Hopefully soon!
Thanks for linking up!

Shandi Sequoia,  July 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM  

Wow. Great info. I didn't know they would send me coupons, and now I can keep an eye out for them:)

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