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Welcome to the tutorial all about CVS Purchase-Based Coupons!

CVS Percent-Off Coupons

First off, you must realize that every CVS store has the right to accept the percent-off coupon how they choose since it’s not explicitly covered in the official coupon policy. However, most stores will allow you to use it. When the coupon is scanned or if you sent it to your card, the computer will automatically apply the savings to all qualifying items in your transaction. If all of your items are sale price, then the computer will reject the coupon.

What You Can and Can’t Purchase with the Percent-off Coupon

The fine print is very tricky. Because it “excludes sale and promotional items,” you would think that means all ExtraBucks deals. This is true when ExtraBucks rewards are produced from sale-priced items. This is not true when they are produced from regular-priced items. An easy way of telling if an item is a sale is by looking at how it’s listed in the weekly ad. If a price is listed, then it’s a sale price. You can also look at the weekly match-ups. Full-priced items will have “online price,” or “regular price” written next to the item.

Percent-off coupons exclude: BOGO and BOGO-50% off, sale-priced items from the weekly ad, and most clearance items.

Percent-off coupons will apply to all regular-priced items, even if they produce extrabucks (minus specific items excluded in the fine print).

Using Other Coupons with the Percent-Off Coupon

The fine print says, “Savings applied to total qualifying purchase after other CVS coupons and discounts are applied.” You might think this means after all CVS coupons, including ExtraBucks. But that is not the case. It all depends on what each coupon scans as. Take a look at your last receipt. There are three types of coupons: “coupon” is a manufacturer coupon, “cvs mfr coupon” is a CVS manufacturer coupon, and the last one is “cvs coupon.”

The percent-off coupon will reduce when you these coupons:

  • Beauty Club Reward
  • Purchase-Based Coupons (e.g. $4/$20)
  • Manual- or Force-printed extrabucks
  • Expired extrabucks or other manual discounts
  • Any coupon that scans as a “cvs coupon”
  • Other percent-off coupons (if you’re using more than one)

Example: You have a 20% off CVS Coupon. Your subtotal is $20. You are expecting a savings of $4.00 (20% of $20.00). However, you use a $4/$20 and $5.00 Beauty Club Reward. The percent-off will be applied to $11.00 instead of $20.00. So, your percent-off coupon will only take off $2.20.

The following are taken off after the percent-off coupon, will not reduce the percent-off, and will result in bigger savings:

  • Manufacturer coupons
  • Extrabucks earned from weekly/monthly deals (that aren’t force-printed or manually entered)
  • Store coupons that scan as a “cvs mfr coupon”

It’s sometimes hard to predict how two types of coupons will scan: purchase-based coupons (e.g. $4 off $20 purchase) and some magic coupon machine coupons. Most of the time the purchase-based coupons with be “cvs coupons,” but it’s not always the case. Magic coupon machine coupons usually scan as a “cvs mfr coupon” for brand name items, (e.g. Nexxus, or Simple, or Revlon), but there are exceptions.

CVS Percent-off Coupon FAQs

How can I get this coupon? These are most often sent to your email. Therefore, you must connect your ExtraCare card to an email address at and “opt-in” to receive emails. They usually send them on Thursdays. Not everyone will get them every week. On a rare occasion you will find them on your receipt, from the magic coupon machine, in the weekly ad, or in special information booklets.

Is it better to print it or send it to your card? There are advantages and disadvantages to either method. In my opinion, sending it to your card is the best way to encourage the cashier to use it. If you send it to your card, you will get a CRT with the coupon information on it when you scan your card at the coupon machine. At checkout, it will prompt the cashier to ask you if you would like to use your coupon or not.

Printing it out at home gives you better control when and how it is applied. Nothing is more disappointing than forgetting you had it loaded, dropping in CVS for a soda and having it used up on that transaction, instead of the elaborate couponing trip you had planned for the next day!

Whichever way you choose, you should send it/print it the last day it’s valid (unless you want to use it sooner). The coupon expiration date is 4 days after you print it. So if you print it the last day, you’ll gain additional time to use it.

How many times can I use this coupon? Each coupon is one-time use only.

My store wouldn’t take the coupon because I had items earning ExtraBucks. What can I do? Ask them nicely to scan it and let the programmed register decide. Since it’s ultimately up to the store, you may be out of luck! However, don’t give up. Try another store! Or add something to your transaction that is regular price, like a $0.33 cent caramel. If the cashier/manager lets the coupon be scanned, they will see that the register automatically applies the percent-off to all qualifying items. Then they will either learn a lesson about the coupon or they will try to adjust it. If that happens I would void the transaction and try a different CVS. Hopefully, it doesn’t go that far; most cashiers will allow you to use any coupon as long as it doesn’t beep.

The percent-off coupon didn’t work! I was expecting it to take off $5, but it only took off $2. What happened? Make sure the other coupons you used were not any of the types that will reduce your total before the percent-off discount is applied (see above).

CVS “Purchase-Based” Coupons

CVS also issues coupons for an amount off a minimum purchase. These are called “purchase-based coupons.” For example: $4.00/$20.00 purchase, $5.00/$15.00 purchase, $3.00/$10.00 Shaving Items Purchase, $3.00/$15.00 Cosmetics Purchase. Coupons that state a specific category must be satisfied with only items in that category (beauty, oral care, shaving, vitamins, etc). Coupons that do not state a specific category can be used on a combination of any items. Sale items or items producing extrabucks are typically not excluded. Here are a few more tips and details about purchase-based coupons

  • The entire purchase amount required on the coupon must be met. For example, your total must be $20.00 or more for a $4.00/$20.00 Purchase coupon. The “98% rule” that we apply to meeting extrabucks thresholds does not apply to purchase-based coupons.
  • The CVS coupon purchase requirement only needs to be met before other manufacturer and CVS coupons.
  • You can combine multiple purchase-based coupons in one transaction as long as neither coupon specifically prohibits it (read the fine print) and each coupon is satisfied separately. For example, to use a $3.00/$15.00 Cosmetics Purchase coupon and a $4.00/$20.00 Purchase coupon, you must purchase at least $15.00 in cosmetics and $20.00 in additional products. That is, you must purchase $35.00 worth of items, $15.00 of which are cosmetics. This is specifically covered in the CVS Coupon policy.
  • When calculating your total spending toward a purchase-based coupon, keep in mind that the price you would pay at the register is the amount that counts toward the threshold. In other words, an item on sale for “buy one get one free” at a regular price of $9.99 each, only counts for $9.99 toward your spending requirement (the second/free item does not count).
  • Be sure to hand any purchase-based coupons over to the cashier first. Any other coupons will reduce your total and potentially put it under the required spending amount for the purchase-based coupon.