CVS Pharmacy WIN!

Overview: There are several CVS programs/tools that I’ve become familiar with over the last few years of shopping with them. Over time, I’ve developed an eye for combining and stacking the benefits of all of them to obtain remarkable savings.

CVS Card: Like a grocery store discount card, the CVS Card allows CVS to track your purchases, but also entitles you to discounts. Such cards enrage privacy advocates, but I think that paying me (in the way of discounts) is fair compensation for using my purchase history as marketing material. The CVS Card comes in key-chain and credit-card sizes, and a telephone number can be tied to it as well (I did not provide mine). I believe only 2 CVS Cards are allowed per household, but different cards can be linked online so that they are treated as the same account (even with different card numbers) so that a household’s aggregate spending can be combined.

Extra Bucks: Tied to the use the use of a CVS card and awarded quarterly, these are usable like cash in CVS stores on most products (alcohol, tobacco, and prescriptions excluded). The main source of EBs is a percentage of your purchases, but additional EBs are awarded for filling new prescriptions (or transferring them from other pharmacies), and as after-the-fact discounts on items (buy X, get Y EBs). The EBs are printable online and also print on CVS receipts, so they’re easy to cash in once awarded. The trickiest thing about after-the-fact discount EBs is that they aren’t always awarded the same way: Some are awarded immediately after a purchase (printing on that receipt), others are held until the quarterly EB award. To be sure of when such EBs will be awarded, the yellow stickers on the shelf underneath the merchandise in question will indicate when the EBs for that purchase will be awarded. EBs do expire, but the expiry date is clearly visible on the EBs (either receipt-prints or online prints).

Circulars, Clip-Free Coupon Books, and In-Store Sales: Like grocery stores, CVS has a weekly circular (available online and in-store) with that week’s in-store sales listed, most discounts requiring a CVS card (but no coupon clipping). The clip-free coupon books (also available online and in-store) seem to appear every month or so in addition to the weekly circulars.

Marketing E-mails & CVS Website: Like most other on-line retailers (and make no mistake, CVS is an online retailer as well as brick-and-mortar), you can register on the website to receive weekly marketing e-mail. If you register a CVS Card online as well, you can review/print EBs, weekly circulars, clip-free coupons, and create/print shopping lists. I am on their e-mail marketing list, and I receive printable coupons via these e-mails (my favorites are the $2 off $10, $4 off $20, and $5 off $25, seeming to arrive every 4-to-6 weeks). Product-specific coupons arrive by e-mail as well, and I can’t remember receiving more than 1 e-mail in a given week (unless the second e-mail was one of my favorite coupons, that is!). NOTE: The in-store and online discounts are often different. Below is today’s in-store WIN, but I’ve accomplished the same sort of WIN with website orders, too.

CVS Website Edu-Quizes: This seems to happen roughly twice a year. You take a less-than-5-minute quiz on a health topic, and at the end you can print a $5 off $25 coupon. You don’t even have to answer the questions correctly! The last two quizzes were about the importance of refilling and taking prescriptions on time and about the flu shot.

In-Store Coupon Kiosks: Like the price-checkers at Target and Wal-Mart, these price-checkers will print coupons if you scan a CVS Card instead of a UPC. I scan mine on every single visit.

Today’s Extraordinary CVS WIN:

16.99 OptiFree Express Saline, 2-pk
            (in-store sale 14.99 + 2 Extra Bucks awarded immediately)

4.79 Gold Emblem Roasted Almonds (in-store sale 3/$10)
4.79 Gold Emblem Roasted Almonds (in-store sale 3/$10)
4.79 Gold Emblem Roasted Almonds (in-store sale 3/$10)
12.49 Maxwell House Coffee (in-store sale 6.77)
9.99 Ferreria Hair Color (in-store sale 7.99)
9.99 Ferreria Hair Color (in-store sale 7.99)
7.69 CVS-brand Acetominophen Arthritis (i.e. extended release) (in-store sale $5)
7.69 CVS-brand Acetominophen Arthritis (i.e. extended release) (in-store sale $5)
4.99 Repelle hair-color stain shield

Total, Non-Discount (off-the-street retail): $84.20

-2.00 Extra Bucks from Saline purchase, completed separately first
-2.00 2 off 10 Gold Emblem Nuts coupon printed from in-store kiosk
-2.00 2 off 10 pain reliever coupon printed from in-store kiosk
-2.50 Clip-free manufacturer’s coupon for Maxwell House coffee
-5.00 5 off 25 from online flu-Shot edu-quiz, computer-printed
-5.00 5 off 25 coupon from marketing e-mail, computer-printed
-9.00 Extra Bucks from previous purchases, printed on previous receipt

Discount Total, Extra Bucks, Kiosk/E-Mail/Edu-Quiz Coupons: $27.50

-2.00 Saline, CVS Card
-4.37 Nuts, CVS Card
-5.72 Coffee, CVS Card
-4.00 Haircolor, CVS Card
-5.38 Pain reliever, CVS Card

Discount Total, CVS-Card-Required In-Store Sales: $21.47

Total Spent on Today’s Discounted Purchase: $35.23

Total Savings: $48.97


Middle-aged, life-long Texan with a substantial chip on her shoulder.

Posted in shopping

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