Learning how to coupon at CVS is tricky at first, but trust us, it’s one of THE best drugstores for couponing. If you know how to shop smart and find the best CVS coupons, then it’s easy to score tons of household items for cheap or even free. Personally, I think CVS is the easiest and most new-couponer friendly of the drugstores.
The thing is, you can’t go in without an understanding of how CVS couponing really works — or without being a regular CVS customer. The more you shop at CVS, the more you’ll save at CVS. And that doesn’t mean spending all your hard-earned cash.
I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to coupon at CVS, including how to start earning ExtraBucks (which is like CVS store credit), where to find CVS coupons, how to stack coupons, and what to expect when you get to the register.
(Psst! Don’t forget to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app to get the latest CVS coupons.)
1. The CVS weekly ad is where you’ll find the current CVS coupons and deals.
The CVS weekly ad is where you’ll find all the coupons and deals that run from Sunday to Saturday. The Krazy Coupon Lady also publishes the best CVS deals each Saturday before they go live.
But here’s the catch: you gotta be an ExtraCare cardholder to take advantage of any of the weekly ad deals. Which is why the first thing you gotta do to become a CVS couponing pro is …
Related: We can direct you to all the best CVS deals under $1!
2. Sign up for CVS ExtraCare Rewards and start earning ExtraBucks.
Before you buy anything at CVS, you need to make sure you have a free CVS ExtraCare account. ExtraCare is the CVS loyalty rewards program, and it’s how you start earning ExtraBucks (basically store credit) — one of the best things about shopping at CVS.
You can sign up for a CVS ExtraCare account online or through the CVS Pharmacy app. If you have an ExtraCare card already, make sure to create and link your digital account via your email and phone number. Having your phone number and email linked will get you exclusive coupons and makes it super easy to check out if you don’t have the barcode.
ExtraBucks are like CVS Cash (aka store credit) that you can use on future purchases. You will find ExtraBucks printed at the bottom of your CVS receipt. You can spend them on your next transaction or save them up (just make sure you keep an eye on the expiration date).
You can continually earn ExtraBucks in four ways:
- Each week in the CVS weekly ad there will be deals to earn ExtraBucks by using your CVS ExtraCare card. Some are threshold spends — like “Spend $15, Earn $3 ExtraBucks” — and sometimes they’re quantity based, as in “Buy 2, Get $2 in ExtraBucks.”
- You earn 2% every time you shop. This 2% comes to you immediately. You can either use it in another transaction or you’ll get the reward quarterly. But you’ll need to earn at least $1 in order for your reward to generate.
- Earn 2% quarterly on CVS purchases made through Instacart and Shipt when you link your CVS ExtraCare account. Rewards should show up within 48 hours. These rewards will bank with your in-store and online quarterly rewards mentioned in tip #2.
- Special offers — including ExtraBucks promotions — could be sent to your inbox. Not all require a purchase to earn them (though, of course, you have to make a purchase to use them).
TIP: If you save up your ExtraBucks, you’ll only have 30 days from when you received them to access and use them.
3. Make sure to download the CVS Pharmacy app.
Just like linking your email, phone number, and ExtraCare card account will save you a couple of headaches — and ultimately help you keep cash in your pocket — syncing up your CVS Pharmacy app is also critical to becoming an expert CVS couponer.
When you download and use the CVS app, you can scan your digital ExtraCare card in the app at checkout (keep those key chains light, y’all), access just-for-you coupons and ExtraBucks, and check out the CVS weekly ad deals — all from your smartphone.
TIP: In the past, CVS has given folks $5 in ExtraBucks just for downloading the app. Keep your eyes peeled for similar incentives!
4. Make the ExtraCare Coupon Center your first stop inside a CVS store.
Remember, you can either scan your ExtraCare card, scan your CVS app, or enter your phone number at the kiosk. When you do, out will print bonus coupons and offers from CVS.
If you skip this step, you’re missing out on some serious potential savings since the coupons are often a surprise and based on your previous shopping history.
TIP: Keep scanning your card until you see a message indicating that you’ve printed all of your coupons for the day.
5. Join CVS CarePass: pay $5 monthly, but get a $10 reward every month.
Unlike other CVS rewards programs that are free to join, a CVS CarePass membership will cost you $5 a month or $48 a year ($4 a month). But it pays you back more than it costs. Trust me, if you love shopping at CVS, it’ll be worth every penny.
CVS will frequently offer the first month free for new members to join CVS CarePass. CVS most recently offered a join-for-free in January 2023. Even though you’re joining for free on a promo, you’ll still receive the $10 ExtraBucks. Yay for free CVS money!
Here’s why you should consider a CVS CarePass membership:
- When you join CarePass in store or online, you’ll instantly receive a $10 reward to use toward a purchase either in store or online at CVS.com. As long as you’re a CarePass member, you’ll receive a $10 reward every month loaded directly to your ExtraCare card. If you choose to do the yearly membership, you’ll profit $6 in rewards each month instead of $5.
- With your membership, you can save 20% on CVS brand products in store and online at CVS.com, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, as well as personal care items.
TIP: CarePass membership will also get you free 1- to 2-day delivery on qualifying prescriptions and most CVS.com purchases with no minimum purchase required.
6. CVS accepts manufacturer coupons, in-app coupons … ALL the coupons.
Here’s a breakdown of the coupons CVS accepts:
Paper and digital manufacturer coupons
CVS accepts manufacturer coupons from the Sunday paper, from print-at-home websites, or manufacturer coupons you load to your ExtraCare account in the CVS app. There’s a limit of one manufacturer coupon per item purchased.
TIP: A manufacturer coupon is marked with the words “Manufacturer’s coupon” or the letters MFR (digital coupons).
CVS app-only digital store coupons
In addition to manufacturer coupons, you’ll also find CVS store coupons in the CVS app. Once you link your ExtraCare card, click “See Deals & Rewards,” then scroll through the offers and click “Send to Card” for any CVS digital coupons you want to redeem.
TIP: Most of the store coupons drop on Sundays, and you typically have all week plus the following Sunday to use them.
CVS email and text coupons
CVS emails and texts bonus store coupons every Thursday, though not every subscriber gets an offer every week, and the coupons may vary by customer. In order to receive these offers, you’ll need to subscribe to email or text notifications once you’re logged in to your CVS account. When you get a coupon, just click the coupon link in the email or text and digitally send it to your CVS card. These coupons will not show up in your app until you digitally send them to your card.
CVS ExtraCare Coupon Center coupons
Coupons and offers print directly from the ExtraCare Coupon Center (red coupon kiosk) inside every CVS store. To get these offers, every time you go into CVS scan your card, enter your phone number, or scan your ExtraCare Card barcode found in the CVS app.
These coupons vary by customer. Some are personalized and based on what you already buy, while others are manufacturer coupons, and some are store coupons.
7. Load your ExtraBucks to your loyalty card so you can lose that receipt.
In addition to sending coupons to your ExtraCare card from CVS.com or the CVS Pharmacy mobile app, you can also send your ExtraBucks to your card as well. In the CVS app, go to “Account,” then “Digital Receipt Preferences,” then toggle on “Digital Receipts.” Next time you shop at CVS, watch the pin pad for the option to send your ExtraBucks to your card instead of printing!
TIP: ExtraBucks can take up to 48 hours to show up in the CVS app, but you can redeem them immediately.
8. The CVS coupon policy allows multiple coupons in a BOGO deal, which is super rare!
CVS tends to update their coupon policy every so often to the point that there are employees who don’t always understand it. Bookmark the CVS coupon policy and check it out every now and then.
Save your Buy One Get One (BOGO) coupons for a BOGO sale at CVS and get two items for free.
CVS is one of the only national retailers still allowing the use of two manufacturer coupons on the purchase of two items in a Buy 1, Get 1 free sale. The CVS Coupon policy clearly states rules around BOGO Free offers. Here’s an example:
- Love Beauty and Planet shampoo is on a CVS BOGO sale, and the customer hands over a manufacturer coupon for BOGO Love Beauty and Planet. The customer will receive both items for free but will need to pay any applicable tax.
Or use two $1 off coupons if they’re running a BOGO sale.
Most retailers only allow one manufacturer coupon as part of a BOGO sale. CVS allows two, even if the sale is Buy 1, Get 1 Free.
- Suave shampoo is on sale for $2, Buy 1, Get 1 Free (BOGO), and the customer purchases two shampoos; the customer may use two coupons for $1 each, getting both for free but will pay the applicable tax.
TIP: If you think your coupons weren’t applied correctly or the coupon policy wasn’t followed, you can always ask for a manager.
9. Know the CVS 98% rule to maximize your savings.
When you participate in a spend promotion (for example: Spend $20, receive $5 ExtraBucks), you’ll need to reach 98% of the CVS spend requirement in order for you to receive the ExtraBucks. This is called the CVS 98% rule. You can see in the image above that we spent $19.76 and it still triggered the $5 ExtraBucks reward when it was advertised as spend $20.
You’ll also need to reach the spending requirement before any coupons are applied. This rule changes when you shop online, as the spending requirement must be met after all coupons are applied. To make things easier, CVS will track your purchases throughout the week and count them towards the promotion.
10. Stack manufacturer and CVS store coupons to save more.
Stack manufacturer coupons and CVS store coupons on one item at CVS. Plus, you can use ExtraBucks to buy that item as well.
You can only use one manufacturer coupon per item, but CVS allows multiple store coupons per transaction as long as none explicitly state otherwise, even more than one of the same type of CVS coupons, including:
- Two $3 off $15 coupons for purchases that are $30 or higher.
- $3 off $15 coupon and $5 ExtraBucks Rewards for a purchase of $15.
- $1 off toothpaste manufacturer coupon and a $2 off toothpaste Coupon Center coupon for a $3 toothpaste item.
The key to stacking coupons at CVS is to make sure you’re meeting the threshold for each one. If you have two threshold coupons that each require you to hit $15, you’ll have to reach $30 to use both. We wrote a crash course in stacking coupons at CVS!
11. Manufacturer coupons can be used on clearance items; CVS store coupons can’t.
CVS allows you to use manufacturer coupons on clearance items — and clearance items will even earn you ExtraBucks during an ExtraCare promotion, as long as nothing specifically states otherwise. Unfortunately, CVS coupons can’t be used on clearance items.
12. CVS doesn’t pay overage; not one penny.
You won’t get money back if you use a coupon that exceeds the item’s value, but you can still use the coupon.
If you use a $2 coupon for an item that is $1.99, CVS adjusts the coupon value to the $1.99 price. You don’t get the penny back, but heck, you get the item for free.
The same thing happens to your ExtraBucks too. You can’t use a $5 ExtraBuck reward when your total is $4 and get $1 back. You can use it, but you’re gonna lose that $1.
13. Use your entire ExtraBucks amount at once or you lose it.
ExtraBucks must be redeemed all at once. That means if you want to buy a $3 product with ExtraBucks, but you only have $5 ExtraBucks in the bank, you’ll be forfeiting $2.
This is why the ExtraBucks strategy matters. It seems complicated at first, but it’s really not. You want to always be earning more ExtraBucks on a transaction than the ExtraBucks you’re spending to keep ExtraBucks in the bank.
For example, you can split your shopping trip up into two transactions to get the most bang for your buck. Buy the one that’ll earn the most ExtraBucks first, then use them to buy your other item in a separate transaction, and boom! You’re getting things for free and accruing ExtraBucks for future purchases.
14. Be prepared to pay sales tax at CVS, even if your coupon makes your item free.
As with most retailers, at CVS you’ll be responsible for sales tax on the pre-coupon price of an item when you use manufacturer coupons. But when you use CVS coupons, you’ll only pay sales tax on the after-coupon price.
Fun fact: sales tax is calculated on the discounted price of the item (after the manufacturer coupon is applied) in the following states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
During a recent transaction, I was able to get Colgate toothpaste free by stacking a manufacturer coupon and a CVS store coupon. I just paid a few cents in sales tax. Worth it.
15. The order you present your manufacturer and CVS coupons in doesn’t matter.
Although you can present your coupons in any order, the order the register applies them is:
- Manufacturer coupons
- CVS dollar-off coupons
- CVS percent-off coupons
TIP: Percent-off coupons from the coupon center or CVS emails will only discount regular price products.
16. There’s a limit on each ExtraBucks promotion.
ExtraBucks promos are limited to one, two, or four per ExtraCare account. So let’s say Listerine is Buy 2, receive $4 ExtraBucks, limit two. You can do the deal twice, even in the same transaction, and you’ll earn $8 ExtraBucks total. Then you’re done.
FYI: While ExtraBucks can be stacked with store and manufacturer coupons, they can’t be used on clearance items.
17. ExtraBucks do expire, usually after about a month.
The time limits for ExtraBucks vary but should be defined wherever you are seeing them (paper receipt, through your app, in your inbox, etc). Usually, they expire about 30 days after their issue date.
18. Once you earn a few ExtraBucks, start rolling to get products for free.
Yes! You can earn ExtraBucks even when you’re using ExtraBucks to pay for a transaction.
This is called rolling ExtraBucks, and it’s great. Like I said, once you’re in the CVS wheel of saving, it’s hard to stop!
19. Use the KCL app to get the latest CVS deals, freebies, and coupons.
Set CVS as one of your favorite stores in the free Krazy Coupon Lady app, and browse dozens of deals each week. Every deal tells you where to find, print, or load the coupon so you can save time and money.
And set deal alerts by brand. Toggle on alerts for your favorite brands — Dove, Huggies, or Tide — and we’ll send you a push notification every time we publish a hot new deal or freebie!
Top Deal Alerts for CVS:
- Oral Care: Crest or Colgate
- Laundry Detergent: All or Tide
- Makeup: Maybelline or Neutrogena
- Hair Care: Pantene
- Deodorant: Sure, Brut, Mitchum, or Speed Stick
Related: Here’s how to save up to 80% on razors at CVS.
20. Save even more at CVS with rebate apps.
You’re leaving money on the table until you start working with rebate apps that give you money back on certain items. The best part about all of the rebate apps is that you can scan every receipt with each app.
Let’s take a quick look at these rebate apps and how they can help you coupon at CVS:
CVS Ibotta Deals
With Ibotta you will manually add any offers you shopped for at CVS, then take pictures of your receipt from your app within seven days of the transaction.
You might also have to scan barcodes of specific products. Once Ibotta is satisfied that you made the necessary purchases, your account is credited. Get $20 and cash out.
Sign up with this Ibotta link to receive up to $20 in bonuses.
CVS Fetch Rewards Deals
Fetch Rewards is similar to Ibotta in that you scan receipts, but you don’t have to add offers beforehand or scan specific barcodes.
Fetch will also give you points for every receipt, even if you don’t purchase any of the promotional items, and you’ll have a solid 14 days to scan.
Cash out with as little as $3 earned in the form of a gift card to various retailers, including CVS!
CVS Checkout 51 Deals
Checkout 51 will also have you scan your receipt to verify offers. Offers go live on Thursdays and expire the following Wednesday, so make sure to submit your receipts within that time frame.
Once you have $20, you can cash out.
Check out this deal using Ibotta and Fetch:
21. When an ExtraBucks promo item is out of stock, lock in the price with a rain check.
A rain check is a ticket CVS gives that will allow you to get the sale price on an item when it’s back in stock.
CVS rain checks don’t expire, which means you can stack them with a better coupon at a later date. Basically, you should hang on to that rain check until a stackable coupon comes along for an even better deal.
22. CVS doesn’t price match or price adjust.
If you’re looking to score a lower price at CVS by price matching a competitor, unfortunately it’s not happening. CVS will not price match in store or online. No matter what. They also do not honor price adjusting if you purchase a product and later it becomes cheaper.
The CVS Couponing Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
CPN = Coupon
CRT = Cash Register Tape
ECB = ExtraBucks
EXP = Expires
MFR = Manufacturer Coupon
CVS offers you plenty of ways to save, so take advantage and put some money back in your wallet.