CVS 101

CVS offers great Extra Bucks deals, an amazing rain check policy, and even a magic coupon machine. How could you not want to shop here all the time?   Read on to learn how to stretch your dollars on all your purchases at CVS!

CVS Extracare Card

First, you’ll need to sign up for an Extracare card.  It’s easy to sign up for a CVS Extracare card either at the store or at  You may even be eligible for a $4 off $20 purchase coupon just for signing up online!  The card is completely free.  With every purchase you make at CVS, your cashier will scan your Extracare card, which will qualify you for all the discounted pricing and, most importantly, the Extrabucks offers!  You’ll also earn 2% back on all your CVS and purchases as well as a $1.00 Extrabuck for every two prescriptions you fill at CVS pharmacy.  You'll want to hold on to this card; if you lose it, you won’t be able to get some of the coupons I'll explain below.

Extra Care Bucks

Extra Bucks are very similar to Rite Aid +Up Rewards.  Extra Bucks are checkout coupons which print on the bottom of your receipt when you make a qualifying purchase.  Extra Bucks promotions are advertised in the store’s weekly ad and, of course, in the deals posted on this site.  Here’s an example of how I’ll write up an ECB deal:
Vicks NyQuil 12 oz $6.00
Buy 1, Receive $3.00 ECBs, Limit 2
Use $1.00/1 Vicks Product from PG 10/2
Total: $5.00, Receive $3.00 ECB's Making it $2.00!
This particular ECB deal required that we purchase NyQuil in order to earn a $3.00 ECB coupon at the bottom of our receipt.  To make the deal even better, we use a manufacturer coupon on our purchase.  After we pay for the Nyquil, we can look at our receipt and see the $3.00 Extra Bucks which we may use on a future purchase.


 Extra Bucks deals have limits, which are associated with your Extracare card.  In the above Nyquil example, the limit is two.  This means that we can only purchase two Nyquil Extra Bucks during the entire week’s sale.  Even if you shop at multiple stores, you will not be allowed more than two $3.00 Extra Bucks from Nyquil.

CVS often runs Extra Buck promos such as ”Spend $15 on participating candy, Receive $5 Extra Bucks.” It’s important to note that the $15 minimum purchase requirement is the subtotal reached before customer uses any coupons.  If you purchase 5 bags of candy at $3.00 each, you may use manufacturer coupons (and even previously received Extra Bucks) to reduce the amount you must pay, and you will still receive your $5.00 Extra Buck.  One cool thing about the Extra Bucks program being tied to your Extracare card is that if you purchase $7 of candy on Monday and then $8 of candy on Thursday, you will receive the Extra Buck at the bottom of Thursday’s receipt.  Your card tracks and totals your purchases for you.

Rolling Extra Bucks.   You may use Extra Bucks to pay for other items also participating in Extra Bucks promos, and your new Extra Bucks will still print.  However, there isn’t a huge need to do this.  You may also simply purchase all your items in one transaction, and every Extra Buck will print, one after the other, at the bottom of your receipt.   I like to take my long receipt home, cut it up, put it in my coupon binder, and use it the next week.

When redeeming Extra Bucks, be aware that if you redeem a $2.00 Extra Buck on a $0.99 order, you will forfeit the additional $1.01 value.  (Other drugstores’ registers will reject the reward coupon if its value exceeds the subtotal.  CVS computers will accept the coupon and adjust it down, so be careful that you don’t waste those hard earned bucks!)

Extracare Coupon Center

The Extracare Coupon Center, otherwise known as the Magic Coupon Machine, can be found inside your local CVS store.  Locate the machine at your store and make a habit of scanning your Extracare card every time you shop!  In fact, it’s even a good idea to scan your card more than once!   You will receive coupons from the machine just for doing so!  Each week we’ll post about the coupons that have been reported to be printing.  Coupons vary by customer, so you may get the coupons we told you about, or you may get something even better!

Rain Checks

CVS has the best rain check system of all the drugstores!  If you find that a product which was part of an Extra Buck promotion is out of stock, simply let your cashier know and he will write you up a rain check. The great part about CVS is that they will write the rain check for the sale price and write the code of the promotion so that your extra care bucks print out when that item is back in stock! And those rain checks never expire!!!
Irish Spring Body Wash $2.99
Buy 1, Receive $2.00 Extra Buck, Limit 1
If you found the above product out of stock, the customer service representative would write your rain check for only $0.99.   This means that you can save the rain check, and next time the product is back in stock, you can return to the store to purchase it for only $0.99.  CVS rain checks do not have expiration dates, and you can use manufacturer coupons in addition to your rain check on the purchase of the item(s).  If the product that is out of stock was part of a limited promo (in the case of the Irish Spring, the limit was one), the rain check will be written for the purchase of only one body wash.  You will not be able to use the rain check to buy multiple body washes for $0.99 each.