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Monday, October 31, 2011

CVS Shopping 101

If you are new to shopping at CVS, then you will want to read through this information.  It should answer most of your questions!

Extra Care Card
The CVS Extra Care card allows you to take advantage of their Extra Care Buck program as well as receive in store coupons via snail mail or email. You can obtain a CVS ExtraCare card from any store, just ask for it at the register. They will give you a short form to fill out, and then give you your card. You can also register for one online if you are willing to wait a week or two to get it in the mail.

After you have filled out the form at the store, be sure to go online and register your card with all your information or you can call CVS customer service (1-800-SHOP-CVS), and ask them to register your card so that you can see your account online. The advantage of seeing it online is you can check your spending there. You do not get ECBs when you shop online.

The ECB program is tied to your CVS card. If you forget your card at home, the cashier can manually enter in your phone number. The register then will pull up the information on the last card scanned that is associated with this phone number.

Extra Care Bucks Program
You can earn Extra Care Bucks ("ECBs") several different ways:

1. ECBs are earned through promotions, such as “Buy this product, receive $$ in ECB.” Sometimes the promotion says “buy $X of this product and get $Y in ECBs.” The required amount to receive the ECB is calculated before coupons. So, if you have to purchase $10 worth, you can do that and then have $10 of coupons and still get the ECB promised! You do not have to buy all the products for that particular promotion in the same transaction, unless specifically stated in that promotion. In fact, they can be bought anytime, at any store, as long as the purchase is made during the time period the promotion is valid. Your receipt will print at the bottom and keep track of how much you have toward a promotion.

2. At the end of each quarter, CVS rewards its customers by giving them 2% back of the total amount spent during the quarter. The 2% is calculated after coupons and is given in the form of an ECB. You will see at the bottom of your CVS receipt a total amount spent for the quarter. It will say “Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Spending is $ XX.XX”. Multiply this number by .02 and you’ll get an approximation of what you’re getting back. At the end of the quarter, you can print your Quarterly Rewards ECBs from, scan your card at the Red Machine (price scanner) and have them print there, or they will print at the bottom of your receipt with the first purchase you make in the new quarter.

3. $1 ECB is earned for every 2 prescriptions filled @ CVS. The $1 is reflected in your quarterly ECB total. Always scan that card at the pharmacy counter!

4. If you buy the green bag tag for $.99  and have the cashier scan it every time you use your reusable shopping bag, you'll receive $1 on every 4th scan.

5. If you join the CVS Beauty Club you'll receive $5 ECB on every $50 spent on qualifying beauty purchases and $3 ECB on your birthday! Follow this link to join and get more infomration:  Extra Care Beauty Club

Your ECBs will print immediately when you have earned it at the bottom of your register receipt (except for the quarterly spending.) Watch your receipt for an announcement of when the quarterly ECB will print. This is usually about 2 weeks after the quarter ends. Once they start printing, the ECB will print at the end like normal.

ECB coupons can be used to purchase nearly anything in the store. Please note that the excluded items are prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, and Gift Cards. In some areas, this also includes dairy.

ECB coupons expire 4 weeks from the date they are printed.

At many stores, the CVS sale prices for the following week are put into effect Saturday afternoon/evening. Although the sale price for an item may be in effect, your purchases will not count toward and ECB promotion if you go ahead and purchase it Saturday evening. If a “Buy $20 in Revlon products, and get $10 ECB” promotion” is supposed to start the following week, and you buy Revlon products Saturday night, you may well get the sale prices, but those purchases will not count toward the ECB promotion. Of course, YMMV!

When you are shopping for the monthly sales, many times the ECBs are not “turned on” right away on the first of the month. Always call customer service if this is the case when you make a purchase and ECBs do not print.

CRT Coupons
In addition to ECBs printing at the bottom of your receipt, you may receive CRT coupons. These can be very general such as $1 off any pain reliever, or these can be more specific such as $2 off of a $10 Tylenol purchase. You may also receive CVS coupons such as $4 off of your $20 purchase on your next CVS purchase. These can be used in addition to your ECBs. CRT coupons can also be combined with mfg coupons.

Both ECB and CRT coupons are specific to your CVS account, which means you cannot use them without your specific CVS card.

Most stores should now have the CRT coupon scanner in the front of their store (most stores have them located in the front). Make sure to scan your card every time you visit. You never know what's going to pop out. Also, continue scanning your card until the screen tells you no more coupons are available. 

Combining CVS Coupons and Mfg Coupons
CVS accepts manufacturer's coupons. CVS also issues store-specific coupons. You may receive CVS store-specific coupons via email, snail mail or at the bottom of your receipt (CRT coupon). In addition, you may sometimes find pre-printed coupons (or coupon booklets) in various places throughout the store. These are often found in the cosmetics department (beauty handbook) in the pharmacy department, or up by the front registers. If you can't find any at your store, it never hurts to ask an employee.

The CVS coupon policy allows for the use of one manufacturer and one CVS coupon on the same item. Sometimes it’s not clear if a coupon is a manufacturer coupon or a CVS coupon. CVS coupons start with a "4", have no redemption address and generally state "CVS pharmacy coupon" somewhere on the face of the coupon. Manufacturer coupons start with a "5" or a "9", has a redemption address and generally state "manufacturer coupon" somewhere on the face of the coupon. Keep in mind that some manufacturer coupons say "CVS pharmacy" somewhere on the face of the coupon, this in no way automatically makes it a CVS pharmacy coupon, it’s just a form of CVS advertisement.

Overage at CVS
CVS registers are programmed to not allow overage. If you buy 5 Colgate Toothpastes on sale for $1.25 each, and plan to use 5 $1.50/1 coupons, the first 4 will scan without a problem. However, the last coupon will beep, and the register will not accept the coupon. The register will display a message to the cashier stating that the coupon has “exceeded limit” and it will prompt the cashier to modify the coupon to the max value (which is included in the prompt). In this case, the last coupon will be modified to $0.25:

5 items @ $1.25 each = $6.25
- 4 coupons @ $1.50/1 = $6.00
Difference is = $0.25

Therefore, the register will not let the last coupon to exceed the $0.25 “balance.”

YMMV, but there are cashiers who will force the coupon through at full value anyway.

Using $/$$ CVS Coupons
When you receive a $/$$ CVS coupon, for example a $4/$20 CVS purchase your total must be $20 before your coupons.

You cannot stack these, meaning if your total is $22 and you have a $5 off of $15, you can't use a coupon to get your $22 down to $17 and then use another one to get your $17 down to $12.

Some stores/cashiers will let you use multiple $X off of $XX coupons IF your total is higher than the $XX combined. Example If you have (2) $5 off of $15 coupons, your total must be $30 or higher before coupons.

If you are able to use two $X off of $XX coupons, the barcodes must be different. You cannot use two of the same barcode coupons at the same time.

$X off $XX coupons can be used in conjuction with manufacturer coupons, store coupons and ECBs.

BOGO Sale on items qualifying for ECB
If an ECB promotion requires a certain number of items to be bought to qualify for the ECB reward, and there is a store BOGO promotion, both items will count toward the promotion. For example, if Oral-B toothbrushes are BOGO and there is currently a “Buy 3 Oral-B products and earn $5 ECB” promotion, you only have to buy 2 sets of the BOGO toothbrushes (4 total), instead of buying 3 sets (6 toothbrushes total).

If an ECB promotion requires a certain amount of money to be spent to qualify for the ECB reward, and the item is BOGO, the amount is calculated after the sale price, so the free item is not applied toward the promotion.

Let’s assume that Oral-B toothbrushes retail for $3 and they are BOGO while there is a “spend $10 in Oral-B products to earn $5 ECB” promotion. If you spend $3 and buy two, only $3 will apply toward the promotion (not $6), because the free item was a part of the sale. ECB are calculated after sale prices but before coupons.

Using coupons on a BOGO sale
On a BOGO Sale, you may use either:

·         2 $/1 Coupons
·         1 $/2 Coupon
·         1 B1G1 Coupon

In addition, during a B2G1 sale, you may "buy" 6 items, use 3 B1G1 coupons, and will ultimately only pay for 1 item.

All B1G1 sales can be limited by Management; however, you can always use the coupons listed above on that limit.

Using coupons on clearanced items
Coupons can be used on clearance items. However, if your store has to enter in clearance items manually (will show up on receipt as generic “taxable item“ rather than a specific item), they will have to enter the coupons manually as well because the register will not will not recognize an item to apply the coupon to, as the product was entered in a generic format.

Clearance items do NOT produce ECBs, even if the sale states "any" products. YMMV whether or not the cashier will print ECBs manually for clearance items.

Bag Tags
For those of you who "go green" during your shopping trip and bring your own reusable shopping bag be sure to pick up one of the CVS green bag tags. The initial cost is $.99 and these can be found usually around the registers.

Green Bag Tags can be scanned once per day (some areas give credit once per store per day) and for every fourth scan you will receive $1 ECB.

Green Bag Tags are not attached to a particular Extra Care card. Bag Tags are interchangeable - meaning that more than one person can share the same Bag Tag, multiple Bag Tags can be used on the same Extra Care account. It does not matter which physical Bag Tag is scanned, you will simply get one credit towards the $1 ECB for each daily scan.

Green Bag Tags do not have to be physically attached to a reusable shopping bag. Some prefer to attach to keys, wallets, etc. However, in order to scan and get the credit you must either bring your own bag or use no bag at all.

Here's more information on the program:

Go Green Buy the CVS Reusable Bag Tag CVS will Donate to National World Wildlife Fund

If you have any questions that are not covered here, please ask!

Thanks to AngieP at AFC for help with this information.