Does Anyone Really Save Money at CVS?

February 9, 2007 at 2:36 AM 11 comments

I’ve been trying to save money each week by clipping coupons from the Washington Post and searching the weekly circulars for deals. I shop primarily at Giant, Rite-Aid, and CVS, which are all within a mile of my home. A co-worker told me she saves a ton of money at CVS through their ECB program. ECB, stands for Extra Care Bucks, and it’s CVS’s form of a loyalty program. If you belong to the CVS Care program you will receive coupons for buying specially marked items listed in their sales circular. Two days after purchasing the item, you can log in to your CVS account online, and print out the ECB coupons.

So far the CVS program hasn’t saved me much money. First of all, the coupon isn’t available at the time of my purchase, so I’m forced to spend money today, in order to save money tomorrow. Second, I have to go home and wait for two days before I can print the coupon. Third, my local CVS will only take one coupon per visit. Most of the coupons are only $2 or $3, and it’s not worth my time to repeatedly drive to CVS just so that I can use all my coupons. Fourth, CVS usually requires it’s consumers to spend a certain amount of money in order to be able to save money. So for example, they’ll give you a $5 ECB if you purchase $20 worth of products. Fifth, the coupons appear to expire after two to three weeks.

So what am I missing? I know that I can use an ECB to purchase a product that will earn another ECB, but when all is said and done I still seem to be spending more money than I’m saving at CVS. Does anyone out there really save money by shopping at CVS?

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nathania Johnson  |  February 9, 2007 at 3:48 PM

    I used to live in Alexandria, VA. I used to shop at Target, and when possible, I went down to Walmart in the southern part of Alexandria (in Fairfax County).

    Those places saved me more money than CVS ever could.

    I also saved money by shopping at Harris Teeter as a VIC customer. They often had sales for VIC cards. And their HT brand of products is very good and affordable.

    I think, though, that many times it’s well planned shopping at different stores that saves the most money in a metro area like DC.

    Reply
  • 2. Anonymous  |  March 2, 2007 at 11:17 PM

    Try combining manufacturer’s coupons with CVS’s ECB’s. You are allowed to use one ECB and one manufacturer coupon per item.

    Reply
  • 3. Anonymous  |  March 5, 2008 at 3:19 AM

    I shop at CVS about 2-3 times a week and things have changed I think since last year, you can use more than 1 ECB per order and your ECB print out after your tranaction. So you get them right then and there. If you learn to roll your ECB you can really stack them up and never pay anything or little to nothing. check out http://www.afullcup.com

    Reply
  • 4. Anonymous  |  March 24, 2008 at 8:34 PM

    I only buy things with my EBC’s that will generate more ECB’s so that all I am doing is getting free product and recycling my ECB’s.

    Reply
    • 5. Trish  |  February 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      very smart, I like that. Where do you learn about the CDBs? Do you find them all on line as one person said in his post? or must you also have the circular? It really takes plotting and planning to beat these guys at their own game.

      Reply
  • 6. Joe  |  May 15, 2008 at 6:58 PM

    I know someone who’s been saving a LOT of money at CVS, using coupons and ECB. I’m just now starting to get into it.

    Here’s a good guide I found for how to save tons o’ money at CVS.
    http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=372293&t=772000

    Hope that helps.

    Reply
  • 7. JoeTaxpayer  |  June 14, 2008 at 1:26 PM

    There are a few things to do to be more successful. See the fliers in advance and plan. iheartcvs.com is a great place to view nearly a month in advance.
    Save coupons from the Sunday paper.
    Look for the free (after ECB).

    For example, last week, Bouty Paper Towels were on sale for $5 an 8 pack. Buying 4, you get $10 ECB. (Even at $5 each, that was good, a sale).

    Yesterday, I went in, bought 2 listerine mouthwash ($3.49 ea) and 2 two pack of toothbrushes, ($7 ea). Total $21. I used a $4 off $20 coupon from an old slip, the $10 from the Bounty, and two Sunday $1 coups for the mouthwash. So I paid about $5 out of pocket, but walk out with $21 in new ECBs for next trip, $11 more than I started with.

    Now, there’s a school party this week, and I promised to bring some candy. Tomorrow, there’s a deal to get back $5 on $10 worth of candy. Good for multiple offers. So $20 worth of candy will get me $10 in new ECB. I have another $4 off $20, so as a standalone deal, this is like paying $6 for $20 worth of candy already on sale.

    Each week, and each month, there are deals that fall into three categories for me and my family:
    Need: like TP or coffee
    Pantry item: Toothbrush or other item that may not get used for a few months.
    Giveaway: A glucose monitor or item that can be passed along to an elderly home or shelter.

    On a final note, the ECB prints same visit, so on more than one occasion, I’ve walked right back in for a second round. My CVSs here (MA) allow multiple sunday coupons, one per item, and as many ECBs as will pay for the balance. I have actually walked out paying zero, with more ECBs than I walked in with, and with stuff I’ll need within a couple months. (Of course you need to hand the coupons and ECBs over in proper order)
    Joe

    Reply
  • 8. Anonymous  |  August 21, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    NO, I really think CVS ecb is absolutley pointless, the way I see it is your basically giving your own money(what they consider ecb) to CVS until next time you shop there or your next purchase. so its still your money, which your not saving any, and it only ensures your shop there next time, and use the money YOU have given to them to "hold onto" so I dont see how people can think that their really saving money. when i coupon i want to save money right then, and in the long run. Again, I think it is so pointless to put your money in CVS's "bank" if you care to look at it that way, until next time you shop there.

    Reply
    • 9. Carmen Ramirez  |  July 4, 2016 at 5:57 PM

      I agree. On top of that, I need to say that CVS is more expensive than Publix here in FL.

      Reply
  • 10. Anonymous  |  September 27, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    CVS couponing is a racket to get you to spend more money at their store. I figured it out the first time I laid down $20 to get my coupons. Fool me once but not twice. I have never done that again.

    Reply
  • 11. Trish  |  February 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Naturally you aren’t saving money with CVS reward programs. Do you think retailers try and SAVE you money? They lay awake nights dreaming up ways to TAKE your money. Very few coupons actually save you money unless it is on a brand that you know you buy and won’t substitute generic brands.

    Reply

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