How To Roll ECBs at CVS

March 8, 2010 17:40 pm · 16 comments


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.

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