Couponing 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.
The thing is, you can’t go in without understanding how CVS couponing really works — or without being a regular CVS customer. You know the old adage that you gotta spend money to make money? Well, to start saving at CVS, you gotta start shopping regularly at CVS. But in this case, you don’t need to spend a ton to save a ton.
I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about saving money at CVS, including how to start earning ExtraBucks (which is basically free money!), 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 Sunday to Saturday (though a little birdie told us CVS will still honor weekly ad deals on the following Sunday). KrazyCouponLady.com also publishes the best CVS weekly ad deals each Saturday before they go live.
But here’s the catch: You gotta be an ExtraCare card holder 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…
2. Sign up for an ExtraCare account 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.
ExtraBucks are basically store credit that you can use on future purchases (1 ExtraBuck = $1). You can earn ExtraBucks three ways:
- 2% of your quarterly purchases will be added to your ExtraCare card every four months in the form of ExtraBucks (April 1, July 1, October 1, January 1). You need to spend at least $50 per quarter to earn these types of ExtraBucks.
- You will find ExtraBucks printed at the bottom of a CVS receipt. Save these.
- 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).
Sometimes ExtraBucks are threshold spends — like spend $15, earn $3 ExtraBucks — and sometimes they are quantity based, as in “Buy 2, Get $2 in ExtraBucks.”
PRO TIP: ExtraBucks accumulate. So, if an ExtraBucks promotion is: “Spend $15 on this participating item and receive $3 Extrabucks,” you can spend $9 on Monday and $6 on Wednesday, and your ExtraBucks will print after your Wednesday purchase.
3. Then sign up for the CVS Beauty Club to get even more perks.
Beauty Clubbers will get a one-time coupon for 10% off their first purchase. After that, you’ll earn $3 ExtraBucks after spending $30 and $5 after spending $50 (doesn’t have to be all at once) on beauty products, including makeup, skincare, haircare, and perfume.
Other Beauty Club perks include a birthday gift — usually a few ExtraBucks — and emails with special coupons and tips for beauty products.
4. Make sure to download the CVS Pharmacy app (seriously).
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 keychains light, ya’ll), access just-for-you coupons and ExtraBucks, and check out the CVS weekly ad deals all from your smartphone.
PRO TIP: In the past, CVS has given folks $5 in ExtraBucks just for downloading the app. Keep your eyes peeled for similar incentives!
5. Join CarePass and save 20% off CVS brand products and 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). Trust me, if you love shopping at CVS it’ll be worth every penny. Here’s why:
- When you join CarePass in store or online you will 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.
- With your membership, you can save 20% off 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 one-to two-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 like TheKrazyCouponLady.com, or manufacturer coupons you load to your ExtraCare account in the CVS app. There is 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 coupon 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 coupons
CVS emails 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 notifications once you’re logged in to your CVS account.
When you get a coupon, just print the email and give it to the cashier during checkout or click the coupon link (if available) in the email and digitally send it to your CVS 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. 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!
8. 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 then you are skipping 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.
9. Read the CVS coupon policy so you don’t miss out on any savings.
CVS changes their coupon policy often, even store associates aren’t aware of all the changes. To help prevent from making a couponing error at the register that’ll cost you, it’s important that you bookmark the CVS coupon policy and check it out every now and then.
TIP: If you think your coupons weren’t applied correctly, or the coupon policy wasn’t followed, you can always ask for a manager.
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.
11. 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. CVS Coupon Policy clearly states rules around BOGO Free offers:
- 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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: CT, MA, MO, PA, TX.
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.
16. The order you present your manufacturer and CVS coupons 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.
17. Definitely sign up for CVS emails to get even more ExtraBucks and perks.
When you sign up for CVS emails, you’ll get even more CVS coupons and ways to earn ExtraBucks sent to your account.
For example, I got a $2 ExtraBucks promo recently — no purchase necessary! — just for being signed up for the CVS newsletter. Pretty great.
18. 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 2. You can do the deal twice, even in the same transaction, and will 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.
RELATED: The CVS 98% Rule Explained
19. 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.
PRO TIP: CVS reissued any unused ExtraBucks from March 15 – April 30, 2020 due to COVID. Though that timeframe has passed, it’s possible they could make similar exceptions again.
20. 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!
21. ExtraBucks must be redeemed all at once.
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.
22. Load ExtraBucks to your loyalty card so you can lose your 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!
PRO TIP: ExtraBucks can take up to 48 hours to show up in the CVS app, but you can redeem them immediately.
23. 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:
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.
- Welcome Bonus #1: Receive a $10 Welcome Bonus for redeeming an in-store offer (Any Brand and Any Item offers excluded)
- Welcome Bonus #2: Receive a $5 Welcome Bonus for redeeming a mobile shopping offer.
- Welcome Bonus #3: A secondary $5 Welcome Bonus for redeeming an in-store or mobile shopping offer.
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!
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.
The easiest way to use SavingStar is to link your CVS card to the app itself. This way you don’t have to scan your receipt. You still can, though, if that’s your thing!
Once you’ve accumulated $20 you can cash out via Paypal or have the money put in your bank.
RELATED: Your Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps
24. When an ExtraBucks promo item is out of stock, lock the price in with a rain check.
CVS rain checks don’t expire, which means you can stack it with a better coupon at a later date. Basically, you should hang on to that raincheck until a stackable coupon comes along for an even better deal.
The CVS Couponing Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
CPN = Coupon
CRT = Cash Register Tape
ECB = ExtraBucks
EXP = Expires
MFR = Manufacturer Coupon
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