The Extra Bucks are basically coupons. Each “buck” is equivalent to $1. In order to participate, you will need an ExtraCare card, which you should have anyway in order to get sale prices at CVS. If you don’t have one, you can get one here.
There are several ways to earn Extra Bucks.
1) You get 2 percent back for all your total purchases (excludes alcohol, tobacco, lottery, gift cards, money orders, postage stamps, pre-paid cards, prescriptions, and special order Home Health Care items, including footwear).
2) You get one Extra Buck for every two prescriptions you buy
For these two types of purchases, Bucks are awarded every three months. CVS will track how much you’ve spent for the three-month period and then give you the Extra Bucks at the end of the quarter.
You can also earn additional bucks every week with special promotions on specific products. If you check out your Sunday circular from CVS, you will usually find several items that have Extra Bucks savings noted next to them. Usually it’s something like “Earn 2 Extra Bucks.” Sometimes the ad even goes through the math to show you what the final cost will be after the Extra Bucks.
So, let’s say Head & Shoulders is on sale this week for $3.99. Then, there’s a note in the flieer saying that you can earn two Extra Bucks if you buy Head & Shoulders. Here’s what would happen:
1) You’d go to the store and buy Head & Shoulders for $3.99. You’d make sure the cashier scans your ExtraCare card when you do. (If you happened to have a manufacturer’s coupon as well, you could use that, too, for additional savings.)
2) You would earn two Extra Bucks for buying Head & Shoulders. Usually, the Bucks will be available 24 or 48 hours after the purchase. Once that time has elapsed, you can access your Extra Bucks online, print them out at home and use them on your next purchase. Or, the next time you buy something at CVS, the Extra Bucks print out at the bottom of your receipt.[An update on this policy, posted April 17, 2007: In April 2007, CVS eliminated this two-day waiting period. ExtraCare Bucks now print out immediately when you make the qualifying purchase, and the company is planning to install kiosks where you can print out your Bucks in stores.]
3) So, deducting the $2 in Extra Bucks, your final cost would be $1.99. It’s a great way to save, but it’s kind of like delayed gratification. If you can get in the habit of always buying the items that qualify for Extra Bucks, you can get in a cycle where you pretty much always have some to redeem.
I really like this program because once you’ve earned them, you can use Extra Bucks on anything. It’s like a dollar bill. You can also use several Extra Bucks coupons all at once, adding to your savings.
You should note that Extra Bucks do expire, so you need to pay attention to the expiration dates.
In late 2009, CVS added one more way to earn Extra Bucks. Customers can purchase a Green Bag Tag for 99 cents in stores. Then they can attach that tag (which has a bar code) to their reusable shopping bag and have the cashier scan the tag each time they shop. For every four times the tag is scanned, the shopper gets $1 in Extra Bucks.
Last update: March 29, 2010