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All About CVS ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs)

by Tara Kuczykowski on June 15, 2008 · 50 comments


Let's talk about the ExtraCare Bucks themselves for a moment.
ECBs should be treated like cash with one caveat. You must use them before they expire, which is four weeks from the time they are generated. If you lose them or let them expire, you're basically out of luck. It's very rare for CVS to replace them or issue new ones. Trust me – I learned this the hard way.

ECBs can be used on just about anything in the store, not just CVS brand items. Items that you cannot purchase with ECBs are prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, stamps, gift cards, money orders, and prepaid debit cards, including prepaid phone cards.

When you purchase an item or items that generate ECBs, they will print when you complete all of the parameters of the deal. For example, if you have to purchase $20 worth of a product to earn ECBs, you can break your purchase up in any manner that you'd like. When you break the $20 threshold, your ECBs will print with your receipt for that transaction.

They will print in various amounts by offer. This is definitely something to keep in mind when grouping transactions, because if you purchase several of one item that generates ECBs, you may end up with a very large ECB that will be harder to roll over. Since you can use more than one ECB per purchase, you can more easily group them to pay for smaller transactions.

This brings me to another very important point to keep in mind. You will not receive change from ECBs. If you use a $5 ECB to purchase a $3 item, you will forfeit the rest. In fact, some stores won't even allow you to use them if you are more than a few cents below the value of the ECB. You can avoid this by adding "filler items" to your transaction, i.e., sample-size items, clearance items, candy bars, gum, or alternatively, you can use the balance towards something you really need, i.e., milk, diapers, cereal, etc. This is what makes the ExtraCare Program so valuable for those of us trying to stretch our budgets.

Are you new to CVSing? Read up on the CVS for Newbies basics!!!

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BostonNooch April 14, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I always used expired CVS coupons and ExtraCare Bucks. Last week I used a $4 off $20 from December 2008. Perhaps it is just the CVS' I go to (and they are located south of Boston) but it is worth a shot, I have heard from others they use expired ones as well. You might want to walk on the wold side and try it!

The Nooch

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2 BostonNooch April 14, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I always used expired CVS coupons and ExtraCare Bucks. Last week I used a $4 off $20 from December 2008. Perhaps it is just the CVS' I go to (and they are located south of Boston) but it is worth a shot, I have heard from others they use expired ones as well. You might want to walk on the wold side and try it!

The Nooch

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3 Melissa Jennings April 17, 2009 at 2:00 am

Mine recently let me use an expired CVS coupon. It was a $5.00 off a $15.00 purchase!

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4 Melissa Jennings April 16, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Mine recently let me use an expired CVS coupon. It was a $5.00 off a $15.00 purchase!

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5 cvs employee May 6, 2009 at 4:46 am

I work at CVS in Ohio, and my store will take the Extra care bucks up to 30 days after they expire. Check your store and see what their policy is. Most would take them, rather then loose customers.

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6 cvs employee May 6, 2009 at 12:46 am

I work at CVS in Ohio, and my store will take the Extra care bucks up to 30 days after they expire. Check your store and see what their policy is. Most would take them, rather then loose customers.

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7 nicole May 29, 2009 at 4:17 am

So glad you all wrote this - I had my "first batch" of ones from last month, totalling $26 and they expired. I was really bummed. But after reading your posts, I called my store and they took them! Wahoo! I am in San Diego.

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8 nicole May 29, 2009 at 12:17 am

So glad you all wrote this - I had my "first batch" of ones from last month, totalling $26 and they expired. I was really bummed. But after reading your posts, I called my store and they took them! Wahoo! I am in San Diego.

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9 Liz June 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm

If the limit is 2 on a certain item and you buy one then generates an ECB can you use the same ECB to get the second item and have it generate the last ECB since the limit is 2? Very curious

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10 Liz June 23, 2009 at 11:22 am

If the limit is 2 on a certain item and you buy one then generates an ECB can you use the same ECB to get the second item and have it generate the last ECB since the limit is 2? Very curious

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11 Tara Kuczykowski June 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Yep! You can roll ECBs at CVS in this manner.

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12 Tara Kuczykowski June 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Yep! You can roll ECBs at CVS in this manner.

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13 melissa August 31, 2009 at 2:26 am

I had bought a candle for 6.99 and get 6.99 ECB back, when I went back the next day and bought another candle w/that ECB I thought I would get back anothe 6.99 ECB back but I didnt. Cashier told me I would get it back later?

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14 cindy April 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

no you only get one per card and household, I don't know why she would tell you would get it back later.

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15 melissa August 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm

I had bought a candle for 6.99 and get 6.99 ECB back, when I went back the next day and bought another candle w/that ECB I thought I would get back anothe 6.99 ECB back but I didnt. Cashier told me I would get it back later?

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16 Meggy October 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

If I return something which I partially paid for with ECB's, wil they replace the ECB's, refund me cash for the value of the ECB's or only refund me what I paid OOP - and therefore loosing my ECB?
Thanks

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17 cindy April 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm

it depends on the store and the person, all the stores are not the same.

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18 Meggy October 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

If I return something which I partially paid for with ECB's, wil they replace the ECB's, refund me cash for the value of the ECB's or only refund me what I paid OOP - and therefore loosing my ECB?
Thanks

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19 Tara Kuczykowski October 4, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Meggy, this probably varies by store. They may reissue the ECBs, but most likely they will put the refund on a CVS gift card.

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20 Tara Kuczykowski October 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Meggy, this probably varies by store. They may reissue the ECBs, but most likely they will put the refund on a CVS gift card.

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21 Jennifer October 23, 2009 at 12:50 am

Okay so with the halloween candy buy $20 worth get $5 ECB, does it all have to be in the same purchase? I thought i didnt need anymore candy so i only bought $10 worth but now im thinking i may need more- or thats what my neighbors tell me :)

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22 Jennifer October 22, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Okay so with the halloween candy buy $20 worth get $5 ECB, does it all have to be in the same purchase? I thought i didnt need anymore candy so i only bought $10 worth but now im thinking i may need more- or thats what my neighbors tell me :)

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23 Tara Kuczykowski October 23, 2009 at 1:33 am

That's one of the benefits CVS has over the other drugstores. You can spread your purchases across several transactions to qualify for one ECBs deal. At the bottom of your receipt it should have an update on how much more you need to qualify.

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24 Tara Kuczykowski October 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm

That's one of the benefits CVS has over the other drugstores. You can spread your purchases across several transactions to qualify for one ECBs deal. At the bottom of your receipt it should have an update on how much more you need to qualify.

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25 Nikki Malloy March 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Just curious... where can you get $/$$ CVS coupons?

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26 Nikki Malloy March 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Just curious... where can you get $/$$ CVS coupons?

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27 cindy April 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

you get them every 3 mos. they pay you back 2% of what you spend at cvs. it's really the best deal I've ever seen from a drug store.

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28 Nancy April 15, 2010 at 6:24 am

Can I use the ECB's along with other manufactures coupon. Say I bought 2 items and have 2 manufactures coupons for those items, can I also use my ECB;s on the same order?

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29 Nancy April 15, 2010 at 2:24 am

Can I use the ECB's along with other manufactures coupon. Say I bought 2 items and have 2 manufactures coupons for those items, can I also use my ECB;s on the same order?

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30 cindy April 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

yes you can, just not the other cvs coupons, like say you buy a bottle of shampoo and you have a manufactures coupon plus you have a cvs shampoo coupon you can only use one or the other, they both will not work.

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31 Tara Kuczykowski April 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Nikki, there used to be a lot of $/$$ coupons released in the newspaper, but we don't see them very often anymore. Now typically cardholders will get them via email or they'll print at the end of their receipt.

Nancy, yes, you can use ECBs along with a manufacturer's coupon. The only thing you have to watch is keeping your total slightly above the amount of your ECBs because you won't get cash back from them. ECBs print with you receipt when you pay, so you can't used them on the transaction that you earn them in, but you can use them on a new transaction directly after you receive them.

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32 Tara Kuczykowski April 15, 2010 at 8:45 am

Nikki, there used to be a lot of $/$$ coupons released in the newspaper, but we don't see them very often anymore. Now typically cardholders will get them via email or they'll print at the end of their receipt.

Nancy, yes, you can use ECBs along with a manufacturer's coupon. The only thing you have to watch is keeping your total slightly above the amount of your ECBs because you won't get cash back from them. ECBs print with you receipt when you pay, so you can't used them on the transaction that you earn them in, but you can use them on a new transaction directly after you receive them.

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33 CVS Employee April 15, 2010 at 10:15 pm

We now have the coupon center where you can check prices and print out extra coupons that you would and would normally would not get on your receipt. Also a tip, when the xtra bucks come out every 3 months you can use the coupon center to print it out before your purchase. That way you dont have to wait.

Also to add to tara's earlier post. You can work it out where you can use manufactures and CVS coupons to make your purchase free or only pay for the tax. Example: if you have a 2 dollar coupon and the amount is $1.75 at the subtotal and $2.00 with tax, Then you can use the 2 dollar coupon but, we would only be able to ring in the coupon as the subtotal of $1.75. So you would loose the 25 cent from the coupon. So all that wold be left is the $.25 cents left since coupons cannot be used to pay for tax.

If you work it out right you can end up getting free items with coupons.

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34 CVS Employee April 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm

We now have the coupon center where you can check prices and print out extra coupons that you would and would normally would not get on your receipt. Also a tip, when the xtra bucks come out every 3 months you can use the coupon center to print it out before your purchase. That way you dont have to wait.

Also to add to tara's earlier post. You can work it out where you can use manufactures and CVS coupons to make your purchase free or only pay for the tax. Example: if you have a 2 dollar coupon and the amount is $1.75 at the subtotal and $2.00 with tax, Then you can use the 2 dollar coupon but, we would only be able to ring in the coupon as the subtotal of $1.75. So you would loose the 25 cent from the coupon. So all that wold be left is the $.25 cents left since coupons cannot be used to pay for tax.

If you work it out right you can end up getting free items with coupons.

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35 Sharon June 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm

newbie to the ECB but how do you redeem them? Do I go online and print something or do you tell the cashier to use the ECB? I don't usually bother with the ECB system and deals but find I have about $10 in ECB so might as well use them. Just not sure how to go fro, being on my card to physically presenting them to the cashier

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36 Sharon June 16, 2010 at 12:19 pm

newbie to the ECB but how do you redeem them? Do I go online and print something or do you tell the cashier to use the ECB? I don't usually bother with the ECB system and deals but find I have about $10 in ECB so might as well use them. Just not sure how to go fro, being on my card to physically presenting them to the cashier

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37 Sharon June 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I have the card but not an online account-just made an account at CVS homepage. My reciepts show me as having 9.78 in ECB but my account balance is zero when i just did it. What the heck?

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38 Sharon June 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

I have the card but not an online account-just made an account at CVS homepage. My reciepts show me as having 9.78 in ECB but my account balance is zero when i just did it. What the heck?

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39 catherine Nichols January 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I've had you extraCard card since it first came into existance...however my card is really worn and need to be replaced. please tell me how to replace mycard.

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40 CVS Employee January 18, 2011 at 6:41 pm

All you have to do is call 1-800-shop-cvs give them your old card # or if your phone number is current you can use that instead for them to look you up. That way you dont loose anything from your previous card. They also normally send coupons with your new card

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41 Rob April 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I was in CVS tonight on 4/12/11 for that $20/$10ECB going on with the cleaning products and air fresheners. I had 3 coupons for the $4/1 Freshmatic Kit but the cashier said i was only able to use one per CVS card. How do i group my $4 coupons for a better savings all at once??

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42 Nat December 2, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I used ECBs to purchase a lipstick, and paid $4 out of pocket. I would like to return it. Will they reissue/refund my ECBs or just the money I paid out of pocket?

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43 cindy April 6, 2014 at 4:10 pm

it really depends on the store and the person, they are suppose to return your money but as far as the ECBs they are not suppose to give it to you because you are not buying that item.

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44 james ryan January 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

How can I get an extracare bucks receipt with the bar code for last quarter? I don't have a printer with my computer.

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45 james ryan January 11, 2012 at 10:38 am

How do I get a barcode printout of my extracare bucks for last quarter. I don't have a printer with my computer.

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46 cindy April 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm

just call 1-800-shop-cvs and the will set it up so you can get them in the store.

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47 donna April 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

what is the cvs return policy for items that offer extra bucks? if i buy say a lipstick and receive $3.00 XB'S,then later i return it.

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48 jen December 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

Can you buy condoms with them?

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49 cindy April 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm

yes you can buy anything except booze, cigs, lottery, gift cards, RX, and things of that sort.

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50 Nadine January 8, 2013 at 12:32 am

I work at a cvs and I was wondering:

In order to qualify for a 'Spend $30, get $10 Ex$' do I have to purchase items that total $30 AFTER or BEFORE my employee discount?

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