23 Money-Saving Tips You May Not Know About Shopping at CVS/Pharmacy
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Updated: June 7, 2018. Did you know that CVS Pharmacy is currently the largest pharmacy chain in the United States by number of locations (over 9,600 nationwide) and total prescription revenue?! Besides saving on prescriptions, you can actually score free toothpaste and deodorant, inexpensive diapers, and lots of other great deals by shopping the weekly sales at CVS. Check out these tips for ways to save BIG…
1. You must get a CVS ExtraCare Rewards Card.
The first step to take before you can even begin shopping at CVS Pharmacy is to either go to the store or online and fill out the Extra Care membership form. Once you become a member, you’ll get your very own Extra Care Card to take with you every time you shop.
The benefit of going in-store to apply is you get the card immediately. When you apply online, you’ll receive a temporary card that you can print immediately (your permanent card will arrive by mail in approximately two weeks).
By using your ExtraCare Rewards Card at checkout, you’ll earn ExtraBucks Rewards that print out on the bottom of your receipt whenever you make a qualifying purchase. You’ll also earn 2% back on your purchases (exclusions apply) that accumulate quarterly and print out at the bottom of your receipt, at the ExtraCare Coupon Center, OR through CVS.com in January, April, July, and October.
Note that if you don’t spend $50 in qualifying purchases or don’t otherwise reach a minimum of $1 in ExtraBucks Rewards by the end of an earning period, you won’t receive rewards and won’t have your earnings carried over. You must collect your quarterly ExtraBucks Rewards, rounded down to the nearest dollar, during the 45-day period following the earnings period.
2. Create an online account.
By signing up for a CVS.com account, you can attach your ExtraCare Card to your account and view your ExtraCare rewards, print ExtraBucks Rewards & coupons, and take advantage of online features.
You can also send certain offers straight to your ExtraCare card instead of printing out a coupon. The qualifying offers on your card will be automatically redeemed the next time you use your card at checkout. If you’d rather print a coupon to use in-store, just go to the ExtraCare page and click on the ExtraCare Rewards tab. Then click on the coupon description for your printable coupon.
Shopping online? You can redeem select ExtraBucks Rewards by clicking on the coupon description on the ExtraCare Rewards page to activate it. Apply it to your order by clicking on the “Use Coupons/ExtraCare Rewards” button in your shopping cart.
3. Sign up for email offers.
Whenever you sign up for email offers or check the box when creating an online account (check the Communication Settings in your online account), you’ll receive awesome CVS store coupons in your inbox. Usually every Thursday, CVS Pharmacy sends out email coupons like 25% off your purchase, $5 off your $30 purchase, etc. These coupons can be saved to your account or printed out.
Note that these coupons exclude sale and promotional items, clearance items, prescriptions, gift cards, alcohol, lottery, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, milk, and pseudoephedrine.
The best way to use your percent-off coupons is by pairing them with a manufacturer’s coupon on an item that is not a sale price but is part of an ExtraBucks Reward deal. So you should be able to use a 25% off email coupon along with manufacturer’s coupons toward a “Spend $30 on select Neutrogena = $10 ExtraBucks Reward” deal if the items are regularly priced at $9.29 to also get a $10 reward back.
4. Buy beauty products? Join the CVS Beauty Club.
When you sign up for the CVS Beauty Club, you’ll automatically receive a FREE $3 ExtraBucks Reward for every $30 you spend on qualifying beauty purchases! You’ll also receive a 10% off Beauty Shopping pass after enrollment, a $3 ExtraBuck on your Birthday, exclusive coupons, and more!
Your ExtraBucks Rewards will print on your receipt OR at the ExtraCare Coupon Center two days following your qualifying purchase. Or, if you prefer, sign in to your CVS.com account to print or send your rewards to your card. Note that qualifying Beauty purchases include items from the following categories: Cosmetics, Fragrances, Hair Accessories, Hair Appliances, Hair Care, Hair Color, Healthy Skin Care, and Skin Care (excludes items from Trial & Travel, gift cards, and prescriptions).
5. Become a CVS Advisor Panel member.
The CVS Advisor Panel is a group of CVS customers who volunteer to take surveys as well as offer their opinions and feedback – and they often get rewarded with ExtraBucks Rewards in return! Usually, if you qualify for the survey, you’ll get a higher reward (i.e. $15 EB) than if you don’t qualify (i.e. $2 EB).
To sign up, just take the brief registration survey and be sure to click the confirmation link in your email. Once you register, you’ll get future emails with links to online surveys!
6. Download the CVS mobile app and get rewarded.
Text “App” to CVS-APP (287-277) to download the FREE myCVS Mobile App on your smartphone (from iTunes or Google Play) so you can easily scan and save your CVS ExtraCare card at checkout, request a prescription refill, view the myWeekly Ad, access app-only deals, and more right from your mobile device.
Plus, you’ll get an ExtraBucks Rewards when you download the mobile app and link your ExtraCare card the first time! Your ExtraBucks Rewards will appear in the “My Deals & Rewards” section of your app once you link your card. Note that this offer is only available the first time you link your ExtraCare card to the app and does not include updates or re-installs.
7. Save BIG with Curbside Delivery.
With CVS Express Curbside, you can place a curbside pickup order on CVS.com/Express or right in the CVS Pharmacy app. Then, CVS will send you a text you when your order is ready for pickup – you just drive to your local CVS, park in the curbside spot, and they’ll bring the order right to your car! Easy!
Even sweeter, they often offer new curbside customers a $10 off $10 promo code OR $10 off $15 promo code via email (also listed at the top of their site here), valid only on your first curbside order! In fact, we previously posted a scenario where new members could score Huggies Diapers for $1.79!
Note that CVS Curbside may only available in select areas at this time. Use the Curbside Pickup store finder in the CVS Pharmacy app to check local availability before making a special trip to your store.
8. Scan your card at the red kiosk before shopping.
Before starting your shopping trip, scan your CVS card or enter your phone number at the red ExtraCare Coupon Center (usually at the front of the store) to see which CVS store coupons print that you can also combine with manufacturer’s coupons!
The Coupon Center will print coupons mentioned in the weekly ad, but it also prints out personalized coupons, as it knows which coupons to print based on what you typically buy at CVS.
Hip Tip: Check your receipt after making a purchase since sometimes you’ll receive other store coupons, too.
9. Check your myWeekly Ad online.
The CVS myWeekly Ad was created to highlight current sales on the products you purchase frequently, so it varies from person to person. Your personalized version of myWeekly Ad is based on your purchase history and is organized so you can easily find the things you actually use.
If you prefer, you can also view the full weekly ad scan online for the current week OR view a sneak peek of the upcoming week’s ad scan, which is released every Thursday. To see your myWeekly Ad sneak peek, just click the Sneak Peek button at the top (only available Thursday-Saturday for the previous week’s sale). Or go here and click the date drop-down to see the ad scan sneak peek.
NOTE – Select regions are becoming test markets and will only have one ad every two weeks, so your ad scan and deals may look completely different than other regions. Also, some stores roll over their ads on Saturday nights, so you could potentially shop 2 weeks of sales on Saturdays.
10. Stack those coupons.
One of the best things about shopping at CVS, in my opinion, is that they allow you to stack CVS coupons with manufacturer’s coupons on the same item – and you can print various CVS store coupons here! According to the official CVS coupon policy, you can stack multiple coupons as such:
- You can use TWO $3 off $15 coupons for purchases that are $30 or higher.
- You can use a $3 off $15 coupon and $5 ExtraBucks Rewards for a purchase of $15.
- You can stack a $1 off toothpaste manufacturer coupon and a $2 off toothpaste Coupon Center coupon for a $3 toothpaste item.
Hip Tip:– CVS store coupons often have a barcode that starts with the number “4” or “0”, state “CVS Pharmacy” at the top, and don’t include a remit address on the coupon, which is used to send to the manufacturer. Usually, these store coupons are also limited to one per customer.
11. Use the 98% rule with ExtraBucks Reward Deals.
Every week, CVS releases new promotions where you will earn ExtraBucks Rewards (which are almost like cash or store credit) for making a qualifying purchase. Although this may vary, you generally only need to reach 98% in order for the ExtraBucks to print. So if you’re supposed to spend $20 on select beverages to get a $5 ExtraBucks Reward, you actually only need to spend $19.60 to get the reward.
12. “Roll” your ExtraBucks Rewards.
Unlike some stores, CVS actually allows you to use your ExtraBucks Rewards to purchase other ExtraCare deals – and you’ll still get rewards back! In other words, if you received a $5 ExtraBucks Reward from buying makeup, you can turn around and “roll” that $5 reward to pay for a bottle of Crest Mouthwash (and use coupons, too) that’s on sale for $5, thereby generating another $3 ExtraBucks Reward.
If you have a friendly cashier, you can complete multiple transactions to use your ExtraBucks Rewards each time OR make one large purchase and use the rewards the following week.
Hip Tip: If you have multiple stores nearby and your CVS store only has two items on the shelf (and you need three in order to get your reward), buy two items at one store and one item at the other store and still receive the reward. CVS keeps track of your rewards at the bottom of your receipt.
13. Look for unadvertised ExtraBucks deals.
Occasionally, CVS has “hidden” deals that print out unadvertised ExtraBucks Rewards. For instance, this previous Scope Mouthwash was printing a $3 ExtraBuck, making for super cheap mouthwash!
14. Watch for yellow clearance tags.
Be sure to walk the aisles while shopping to look for the yellow 75% off clearance tags as you can pair the low prices with store and manufacturer coupons for possible free deals! (Keep in mind that most clearance items do not print an ExtraBuck Reward after purchasing or qualify for sales like Buy 2 Get 1 Free, even if it is a qualifying item in a sale.) Still, you can use coupons on these items!
In fact, I’ve been able to use CVS store coupons on the retail value of a product! So if a Beauty 360 product is on clearance for $2.99 (regularly $11.99) and you have a $3 off $12 Beauty 360 CVS coupon, you can buy 2 items and the register should accept the coupon based on the retail amount.
15. Shop the after-holiday clearance.
A great time to head to CVS Pharmacy is after the holidays where you can save 75-90% off. Be sure to follow Hip2Save as we often post reader clearance deals, including Christmas Clearance, Valentine’s Day Clearance, Halloween/Fall Decor Clearance, Summer Clearance, School Supply Clearance, and more!
16. Get the BEST freebies on Black Friday.
Seriously – one of the best days to shop at CVS is Black Friday! Each year, they offer TONS of freebies after ExtraBucks Rewards, such as batteries, candy, vegetables, makeup, razors, and more! Plus, you can almost always ask for a rain check if an item is out of stock at your store (exclusions apply).
Which brings me to…
17. Out of stock? Get a raincheck!
If the shelves are empty, ask for a raincheck as they never expire! Plus, if you have a CVS store coupon you want to use, the raincheck will extend the CVS store coupon’s expiration date!
When the raincheck item is back in stock, you must present the applicable CVS store coupon and your raincheck at the time of purchase. Store personnel will attach the CVS coupon. However, please note that manufacturer’s coupons cannot be extended past their expiration date.
18. Know the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
All CVS/Pharmacy Brand products (such as Gold Emblem, Just the Basics, etc) are 100% satisfaction guaranteed or you’ll get your money back. If you’re dissatisfied for ANY reason, you can return the product (opened or unopened) along with your receipt or invoice to any CVS/pharmacy store.
Plus, CVS offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on ANY beauty products! That means if you’re dissatisfied for ANY reason, you can return the beauty product (opened or unopened) along with your receipt or invoice to any CVS/pharmacy store to get 100% money back.
Due to health and safety concerns, select Healthcare items, Home Health, and Personal Care products cannot be returned even if they are not opened, and no refunds can be issued for such items.
19. Take advantage of free photo offers.
Several times a year, CVS Photo offers completely FREE 8×10 Photo Prints (like they did previously here and here) – and you can choose in-store pickup to bypass any shipping charges! Plus, they’ve also previously offered 10 FREE 4×6 Photo Prints in the Mobile App. Great time to print your photos!
20. Sign up for Pharmacy & Health Rewards.
With the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program, you can earn “credits” for your prescription purchases and refills, getting a flu shot, signing up for refill reminder emails, text notifications, and more (rewards cannot be earned for prescriptions purchased in Arkansas, New Jersey, or New York).
For every 10 credits you earn, you’ll score a $5 ExtraBucks Rewards issued approximately one week after every 10 credits have been earned. Your Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards can be used like FREE CVS money on most items throughout the store (excluding prescriptions, alcohol, gift cards, lottery, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, or tobacco products).
Hip Tip: If you or a family member has life-threatening allergies, CVS now offers the EpiPen Alternative 2-Pack. Recently, it appeared to be the lowest cash price on the market. If you have insurance, you may be able to save an extra $100 off with this co-pay / co-insurance Savings Card.
21. Fill prescriptions at Target and get rewarded.
Because CVS Health acquired Target’s Pharmacy back in 2015, you can now fill your CVS/Pharmacy needs at your local Target. The ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program gives you the option of a $5 Target merchandise coupon OR a $5 ExtraBucks Reward each time you earn 10 credits.
To choose a $5 Target store coupon, at least one prescription must be filled at the CVS Pharmacy inside Target. Once the reward is available (usually within a week after credits have been earned), you’ll need to pick it up in person at your local Target’s CVS Pharmacy counter.
Note that the $5 Target coupon is redeemable at Target stores only and excludes all alcohol, gift cards, prepaid cards, LEGO, Vitamix, Weber, Dyson, DSLR cameras and lenses, Google products, Apple, Bose, Sonos, GoPro, CVS Pharmacy items or products (including prescriptions), MinuteClinic, Target Optical, Portrait Studio, Target Mobile purchases, and certain other partner businesses.
22. Get free health screening every fall and earn $5 ECB (ExtraCare Bucks).
Every Fall, CVS Pharmacy offers FREE Health Screening events to measure body mass index, blood pressure, glucose, total cholesterol, and more. Plus, just for completing a health screening, you’ll receive a FREE Tote Bag and $5 CVS store coupon valid on CVS Pharmacy exclusive brand products.
23. Buy discounted CVS gift cards online.
Save by buying discounted CVS Pharmacy gift cards on Raise.com! You can also occasionally purchase discounted CVS retail gift cards on sites like eBay, Amazon, and even on the Swych App, but these deals often go fast and don’t last long.
Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.