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If a sale is your happy place and a coupon your golden ticket, then you probably already know the stores with the best couponing policies and all about reading the coupon fine print. But have you ever wondered if you can use a coupon the day it expires?
It’s a fair question. Coupons aren’t necessarily valid for super long, and if you’re dealing with a short time frame, you may find yourself too busy to even use it before it expires. That’s why it’s super important to know if a coupon is still valid the day it expires.
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Here’s what to know about using a coupon on the day it expires.
Coupons are usually still valid on the day it expires, which means you can, in fact, use a coupon on the day of its expiration.
However, there is a difference between using in-store coupons versus digital promo codes. According to Orlando Sentinel, in-store coupons stay valid until the end of the business day on the day of the coupon’s expiration date.
So if a coupon is valid between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10, you basically have until the store closes on Dec. 10.
But with digital coupons, the rules are a little different considering that online stores don’t really close up shop. You can shop online at 3 o’clock in the morning or 8 o’clock at night.
However, most digital coupons are valid until midnight the day of the expiration date. So to use the same example, a digital coupon that’s valid between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10 can theoretically be used at any point in that time frame until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 10, when it officially expires. After that, the coupon code becomes invalid.
TIP: Check the digital coupon or the retailer’s coupon policy for the applicable time zone for when a coupon expires, as they vary. For example, Best Buy, Ulta, and Kohl’s digital coupons fall under the Central time zone, whereas Walgreens digital coupons expire at 11:59 p.m. local time.
Why do coupons have expiration dates?
If you’re wondering why coupons have expiration dates, it’s the same reason that sales (including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week) are fleeting, too. If coupons were valid indefinitely, it wouldn’t really be a “special” offer, would it?
Of course, The Krazy Coupon Lady would love, love, love it if coupons never expired, but sadly, not every store can be Bed Bath & Beyond. Although unfortunately, Bed Bath & Beyond put the kibosh on their official 3-day grace period policy back in 2020; still, plenty of shoppers have shared that their expired BB&B coupons were accepted.
News-Daily also offers a bit of insight to why coupons have expiration dates, postulating that expiration dates motivate shoppers to descend quickly, as it’s a kind of incentive to shop. Alternatively, if a coupon were to have no expiration date, a shopper may be more likely to sit on it for a while. The thinking is that if it never expires, there’s no need to rush. And if there’s no need to rush, there’s no guarantee of a purchase.
Stores want you to spend money, so if you’re not, then that’s bad for business.
Additionally, stores may run coupons on items that have just been introduced to shelves (or metaphorical online “shelves”) but for even shorter time periods than usual. That’s because at the end of the day, coupons are just a tactic to move products faster and motivate shoppers to buy. After all, who wants to miss out on a limited-time offer?
Is the expiration date the last date to use a coupon?
The expiration date (which refers to when a coupon becomes invalid) is the last date to use a coupon. These time frames can vary from store to store or even product to product. As mentioned above, items new to the market may be eligible for sale with coupons but likely for a shorter amount of time.
Related: New to couponing and fear it might be too much work? We can show you how to start couponing, even when you have zero time.
Can I use a Chipotle coupon on the day it expires?
There’s extensive internet documentation that rather definitively suggests Chipotle is a stickler when it comes to expired coupons. The fast-food burrito brand even tweeted about their strict policy in 2014. But what about on the day it expires? Does that work at Chipotle, or will they refuse the coupon?
As far as KCL knows, coupons expire at the end of a business day, and that’s the general standard. That likely includes Chipotle, too. So technically, you have until the Mexican food joint closes.
That being said, management at each Chipotle is different. It’s unclear from their website if there’s a specific policy against accepting a coupon on its expiration date.
Does Walmart take coupons the day they expire?
Being the popular widespread retailer that it is, it’s hard to imagine Walmart would not operate by the industry standard. Walmart should take coupons on the day they expire up until their doors close for the night.
Most Walmarts close around 9 p.m. on weeknights, which theoretically means you have until then to cash in your coupon. (According to USA Today, Walmarts typically close at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 6 p.m. on Sundays.)
While Walmart has an official policy that states they do not accept expired coupons, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence to debunk this.
If you’re one of the lucky ones, the barcode on your Walmart coupon might just register a kind of grace period. Shoppers have reported it to be anywhere from a few days to up to a month. So the best way to find out is to try your luck!
Learn how to start saving thousands of dollars with our quick start guide to couponing.
Can you use a CVS coupon on the day it expires?
According to the FAQ, “Coupons expire at 11:59 p.m. your store’s local time when redeeming in store, or at 11:59 p.m. ET when redeeming online.”
Again, this is pretty much the industry standard — except that CVS adds that they accept in-store coupons as late as 11:59 p.m. Since many CVS locations are open that late — or even 24 hours — that makes sense.
However, if your local CVS closes well before midnight, we’d have to take an educated guess that a coupon would expire the second those doors close.
Find out which other stores accept expired coupons.