How To Roll ECBs at CVS

Several of you have asked me in the past on How to Roll ECBs at CVS and I promised you a step-by-step walk through. Well, I finally made it to CVS on one of the weeks where there was a good “rolling scenario” to show you how to do this. If you have the right coupons and stock in the store, you can do this same transaction through Saturday, March 13th, 2010.

First of all, if you haven’t already, make sure that you sign-up for a CVS card. It’s your key to savings. You can sign-up online but I usually recommend that people do it in store as you get your cards instantly. The thing to know about CVS is the term “ECB” which stands for “Extra Care Bucks.” These are what I like to call “paper cash” that you can use in your store on your next purchase after you earn them. So while some things may say “Free after ECBs,” you must remember that the initial money will come out of your pocket. Eventually you’ll have some ECBs to “roll” and that out-of-pocket expense will become less if you keep rolling them.

Now the first thing you are going to do is check out your newspaper to see what you have that’s a good deal that week. The big thing to look for is FREE after ECBs in the ad. Those are the ones that not only can you get for FREE but are potential “money-makers” if you happen to have a coupon that you can use on it.

I see right away in my ad this week that the Oral B Cross Action Toothbrushes are on sale for $4 with $4 ECBs. At this point, I can search my coupons to see if I have one, if I clip them or I can also check a blog, such as Common Sense with Money, that types up the weekly deals. When I do check Mercedes’ site, I find out that there’s one for $.75 off in the 2/21PG.

OK, now you are saying, what is a 2/21PG? Well this is how you read those: In the February 21st newspaper, there was a Procter and Gamble insert. That’s where you’ll find it. Now if you haven’t grabbed that paper in the past for those inserts, you are either out of luck or you’ll have to find somewhere that has the coupon, such as eBay or Collectable Coupons where you can pay for their coupon clipping service. I took a picture of the insert and the coupon for you to see:

Now comes a little planning and a little luck that they’ll be in stock at the store! If you are just going to pick up the toothbrush, there’s no planning there aside from clipping your coupon. But if you want to “roll” your ECBs while you are there, here’s where you need to think for a minute.

The first transaction is easy. I’m going to just buy the toothbrush which is $4. It will take off $.75 for the coupon, costing me just $3.25 plus tax. My total ends up being $3.53 for my area. This is what my receipt looked like:

At the very bottom of that receipt were my ECBs for $4. I quickly ripped those off and did a second transaction to “roll them.” I got lucky and the store was empty so I just checked out twice in a row.

Here where the “rolling” gets tricky. I can’t just go and buy another toothbrush because my coupon will take off the $.75 leaving my total below $4 and the ECBs are for $4. So I must find a “filler item.” This just has to be something small. I recommend picking something you actually need–or have been wanting. I saw earlier in the morning that I still had a $1 Off Starbucks Frappuccino Printable Coupon. When I checked in the store, they were $1.99, making them only $.99 after coupon. This was exactly what I need as a filler. This is what my receipt looked like:

The toothbrush was $4, minus another $.75 off coupon. The Starbucks was $1.99, minus my $1 off Starbucks Frappuccino printable coupon. Both items came to $4.24 plus tax making it $4.55. Now don’t forget, I earned $4 ECBs from my first purchase that I used. So my end total? $.55 out-of-pocket. And I earned these:

Yes, another $4 in ECBs. Now this particular deal has a limit of 2 per card, so I can’t do this same transaction again. But I do have $4 in ECBs to spend on another trip, which I’ll save for next week.

So, let’s review what my expenses looked like. In my first transaction, I paid $3.53 and in my second transaction, I paid $.55. This makes my total out-of-pocket expenses as $4.08. But I also have $4 in ECBs for another purchase. Isn’t that amazing? This is when you’ll hear bloggers say “It’s like spending $.08 for two toothbrushes and a StarBucks Frappuccino!” :)

This is the key to really keeping to your budget and getting the household items that you need. Anyone who has been a “CVSer” for any time at all will give you this advice—never pay cash for a toothbrush! And from the transactions above, you can see why! There are several deals throughout the year where they are either free or $.99 after ECBs. And there is almost always a coupon available that will either turn it into a “money-maker” or help you get it for free. (So definitely save those toothbrush coupons!)

Now since I already have a plethora of toothbrushes, I am going to donate these—and then treat myself to a Starbucks Frappuccino for my good deed. Sound like a good deal for $.08 doesn’t it? :)

I hope this has helped illustrate to some of you how to “roll” ECBs. Happy Shopping!

Disclaimer: These transaction pictures and posting are copyrighted and cannot be shared without written permission from Coupon Geek.

Thank you for stopping by Coupon Geek! I value my readers and their advice, tips and comments. Please remember that Coupon Geek is a positive, family-friendly and upbeat site when leaving your comments.


  1. candy says

    I have a question maybe you know or can help me. Do you or do you know how to make money on blogging or how to get started I love reading the coupon and free stuff blogs and as I was doing so I seen something about making money at home b posting blogs on such or other things. I have tried a few sites but they have ended up being a scam like most work at home things for moms. I have 5 kids ages 1 to 13 Iam sure you know how crazy it is at home and how hard it is to find a job and pay for daycare or one you can trust.

    Can you help me or know someone that can?


  2. says

    AWESOME POST Jaycie!

    I love how you walked us throught the process completely! This is a very good example for a beginner at CVS!


  3. lSA says

    Thank you for breaking it down, I have one question if you don’t mind? How did you know that there was a limit of 2 times that you could do that on the same item? Thank again, Lsa

  4. coupongeek says


    It states it in the ad. Also the bloggers will post it when they right up their weekly deals.

    Hope this helps! :)


  5. says

    What I don’t understand, is why would you go through all that trouble if you don’t need the toothbrushes, doesn’t it take up a lot of time? I love getting things that I need and will use at great prices, and for free, but I’m concerned about buying things, and encouraging other people to buy things, that they don’t need. Isn’t this a problem?

  6. coupongeek says

    I ran the deal to show people how to roll ECBs. It didn’t take all but 10 minutes or less since I’ve been doing this for years and know how it all works. The CVS store was right by the other store I needed to go to–so no gas money wasted.

    Why did I buy them if I didn’t need them? #1 – To teach other people how to save money so those that needed toothbrushes could get them for free. I needed the example for my posting. and #2 – Like I said in the posting, I am donating them to the needy. They need toothbrushes just like they need food. I’m doing my part in supporting those in need.

    I was not encouraging them to buy them if they didn’t need them but rather telling them how to do it if they did need them. Or if they also wanted to help out the needy and donate them. Food banks and women’s shelter rarely get these things donated to them and yet there is a need for them.


  7. says

    Jaycie ~ you rock!! I love your idea for donating things… and I have already started my donation pile for Toys for Tots for next year. Last year, we made fun little stockings for the group home kids…and something that EVERY kid needs is a toothbrush… so I love that this is something that I can add to my “give” boxes. They are already starting to replenish after we emptied them with all the holiday giving events. Thanks for all you do!!

  8. says


    That is precisely why I play the CVS game!! I found that I quickly filled my own stockpile needs (why not keep several toothbrushes on hand? I like free a whole lot better NOW then $4 each later when we need them!)…. but still enjoyed the thrill of figuring out the deals.

    In my pre-mommy days I ran 2different group homes and I can tell you how crippling the supply budget was. I’ve chosen to take what I can get for free or very cheap and donate it to a local home for teens. I understand the restraints of their budget, I also understand a teenagers desperate wish for their OWN things… Not always generic. So I’m thrilled to pass along what I can.

    When I dropped off my last load of supplies they were all so grateful. The residential manager told me they had seen an actual change in their budget expenses since I began helping them out.

    I don’t find it wasteful or worrisome at all.

    Thanks for doing such a great job laying out the how-to’s for everyone!!

  9. New2this says

    Thanks for posting this article. I took advantage of the $4 ECB in a different way. I had a BOGO coupon for that toothbrush so I only paid $4 for the one toothbrush, received the other for free and earned $8 ECB which I then redeemed for a Zhu Zhu pet (which was on sale for $7.99). So I ended up getting a Zhu Zhu pet and two toothbrushes for only $4! My daughter will be so happy Easter morning!

  10. Randi says

    I thank you for pointing out ways to donate without hurting your own families budget. I know many people who say that they would donate, but they are stuggling to meet their families needs. By kind people like you opening their eyes with these savings strategies they are able to help others while helping themselves – A WIN WIN!
    My mom runs a recovery home for abused women, and I can tell you that some of those women have never even had a new toothbrush, let alone a nice name brand, new toothbrush.
    Thank you for helping to spread the love in coupon world! :)

  11. Lori says

    Hi, I was wondering if it would be okay to print your posting on rolling at CVS and share the example with a couple of my friends that are new to drugstores and their procedures. It is a great example.

  12. coupongeek says


    Check out my Blog DIY Series under Blog Series in my header. You might find what you need there.


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