Alana Vandagriff | 

THIS Is How to Coupon at CVS

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Learning to coupon at CVS might seem tricky at first, but it's worth it. You can score loads of household goodies for super cheap or even free once you get the hang of it. Count on us to round up the best CVS digital coupons this week and the best CVS deals under $1 to make your shopping a breeze. And lucky for you, CVS is one of the most beginner-friendly drugstores out there.

You can't dive in without knowing the ropes of CVS couponing, though. And the more you shop at CVS, the more you'll save — especially since CVS likes to send out 40% off coupons to frequent shoppers. But it's not about spending a ton of money; it's about shopping smarter.

In this guide, we'll teach you everything you need to know about how to coupon at CVS. We'll cover how to start earning ExtraBucks (which is basically free CVS money), where to find CVS coupons, how to stack coupons at CVS, and what to expect when you're at the register. Whether you're a beginner or need a refresher, we've got all the tips and tricks for you. Ready to start saving big? Let's do this!

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

How to Coupon at CVS for Beginners:

If you’re already familiar with couponing at CVS, you can skip to tip #10 to learn our expert tips!

a list of tips for CVS couponing for beginners

1. Get familiar with the CVS Weekly Ad — it's your gateway to current coupons and deals.

A woman looking at the CVS weekly ad inside CVS

The CVS weekly ad rotates weekly and bi-weekly — depending on your store and if there’s a holiday. Before you do any shopping, double-check your local ad online to verify available deals. Some deals can be regional. But here’s the catch: you gotta be an ExtraCare cardholder to take advantage of any of the deals.

2. Sign up for CVS ExtraCare Rewards to get the deals and start earning ExtraBucks.

In order to get any of the sale prices, you’ll need to be a CVS ExtraCare Rewards member. You can sign up for a CVS ExtraCare account online or through the CVS Pharmacy app. If you already have an ExtraCare card, create and link your digital account with your email and phone number. Having your phone number and email linked will get you exclusive coupons and make it 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 earn ExtraBucks in four ways:

  • From the ad. Each week in the CVS weekly ad, you’ll see deals that earn you ExtraBucks. Some deals are threshold spends — like “Spend $15, Earn $3 ExtraBucks” — and sometimes they’re quantity based, as in “Buy 2, Get $2 in ExtraBucks.”

  • Everytime you shop. You earn 2% every time you shop at CVS. 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 ExtraBucks for your reward to generate.

  • Quarterly. 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 above.

  • Special promotions. Check your inbox for special offers — including ExtraBucks promotions — from CVS. Not all require a purchase (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. Download the CVS Pharmacy app to help you coupon.

cvs-pharmacy-iphone-screenshot-model-kcl

When you download and use the CVS coupons 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.

Plus, you can add your ExtraBucks to your app, so no more worrying about losing that receipt. Simply scan the ExtraBucks in your CVS app, and they'll appear within 48 hours. And the best part? Even though they take 48 hours to show up, you can start redeeming them right away!

TIP: In the past, CVS has given out $5 in ExtraBucks just for downloading the app. Keep your eyes peeled for similar incentives!

4. Stop at the ExtraCare Coupon Center everytime you're inside a CVS store.

A woman holding a piece of paper with store coupons printed on it as the paper is dispensing out of a kiosk in CVS.

If you skip this step, you're passing up the chance for some major savings. That's because the coupons are often unexpected and tailored to your past shopping habits. This magical Red Coupon Machine prints coupons from your account using either your phone number or by scanning your CVS Card. These coupons are customized to your shopping patterns. So, if you're buying a lot of diapers at CVS, you'll likely get more diaper coupons than someone else.

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 ExtraCare Plus: pay $5 monthly, but get a $10 reward every month.

The CVS loyalty program has two tiers — the free tier called CVS ExtraCare and a paid tier known as CVS ExtraCare Plus. Unlike the free CVS ExtraCare program (free to join), a CVS ExtraCare Plus membership will cost you $5 a month, or $48 a year if you pay for 12 months upfront ($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 ExtraCare Plus. Even though you’re joining for free on a promo, you’ll still receive the $10 ExtraBucks. Yay for free CVS money!

Why it might make sense to sign up for CVS ExtraCare Plus membership:

  • When you join ExtraCare Plus 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 an ExtraCare Plus 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: ExtraCare Plus membership will also get you free same-day delivery, same-day Rx delivery, and shipping on orders over $10.

6. Use manufacturer coupons, in-app coupons … ALL the coupons.

There’s a whole long list of coupons you can use at CVS: paper and digital manufacturer coupons, digital store coupons from the CVS app (or from email or text), and paper coupons from the CVS ExtraCare Coupon Center coupons. And the order you present your manufacturer and CVS coupons at checkout doesn’t matter.

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).

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, you can find digital coupons from either the home page and click “ExtraCare savings” or click the menu tab on the bottom right and click “Deals & Rewards”. You can 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.

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. 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.

Keep an eye out for emails from CVS because they have been known to send out 40% off coupons if you're a frequent shopper.

CVS ExtraCare Coupon Center coupons

Coupons and offers print directly from the ExtraCare Coupon Center (the red coupon kiosk) inside every CVS store. To get these offers, just scan your card, enter your phone number, or scan your ExtraCare Card barcode found in the CVS app.

These printed coupons will vary by customer. Some are personalized and based on what you already buy, while others are manufacturer coupons or store coupons.

Keep in mind: Percent-off coupons from the coupon center or CVS emails will only give you a discount on regular-price products, not sale or clearance items.

7. Remember there's a limit on each ExtraBucks promotion (and they have an expiration date).

Each sale ad will mention how many times you can earn ExtraBucks for that particular week. For example, in the ad, you’ll see “ExtraBucks Rewards Limit of 2 per household per week with card.”

This is why the ExtraBucks strategy matters. It seems complicated at first, but it’s really not. Basically, you always want to 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 item that’ll earn the most ExtraBucks first, then use those ExtraBucks to buy your other item in a separate transaction, and boom! You’re getting things for free and accruing ExtraBucks for future purchases.

Once you earn ExtraBucks, you can start rolling them. We’ll learn more about that in tip #15.

8. Lock in the price of an out-of-stock ExtraBucks promo item with a rain check.

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.

9. Remember that CVS doesn't pay overage — not one penny.

cvs-wet-n-wild-freebie-receipt

If you use a $2 coupon for an item that costs $1.99, CVS adjusts the coupon value down to the $1.99 price. You don’t get the extra penny back, but heck, you do get the item for free.

The same thing happens to your ExtraBucks. You can’t expect to use a $5 ExtraBucks reward when your total is $4 and get $1 back. Of course you can apply it, but you’re gonna lose that $1.

How to Coupon at CVS for Advanced Couponers:

Three tips for advanced couponing at CVS

10. Go ahead and use multiple coupons in a BOGO deal — it's allowed (and super rare)!

CVS is one of the only national retailers who still allows 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 are two example scenarios:

  • Scenario #1: Love Beauty and Planet shampoo is on a Buy 1, Get 1 Free (BOGO) sale, and you hand over a manufacturer coupon for BOGO Love Beauty and Planet. You will get both items for free, but you’ll need to pay any applicable tax.

  • Scenario #2: Suave shampoo is on sale for $2 each, and there's a BOGO sale, so you purchase two shampoos. You may use two coupons for $1 each, getting both for free, but you’ll pay the applicable tax.

TIP: If you think your coupons weren’t applied correctly or the coupon policy wasn’t followed, you can always kindly ask to speak to a manager.

11. Know the CVS 98% rule to maximize your savings.

A chart explaining the CVS 98 percent rule, which says you only need to spend $9.80 to meet a $10 minimum purchase threshold.

When you participate in a spend promotion (for example: Spend $20, receive $5 ExtraBucks), you’ll only need to reach 98% of the CVS spend requirement in order for you to receive the ExtraBucks. This is called the CVS 98% rule.

This rule works for threshold coupons, too. I had a coupon for $8 off a $30 L'Oréal skincare purchase. My total (before coupons) was $29.48, and the coupon still worked! Plus, I scored a $10 ExtraBucks reward for spending $30.

Just remember, you need to reach the spending requirement before applying any coupons. But here's a heads up: when you shop online, the rules change a bit. You need to meet the spending requirement after all coupons are applied. To make your life easier, CVS keeps track of your purchases throughout the week and counts them toward the promotion.

12. Stack manufacturer and CVS store coupons to save more.

A person is holding a CVS coupon while another person is cutting out coupons from a newspaper coupon insert with scissors.

Even though you can only use one manufacturer coupon per item, CVS allows multiple store coupons per transaction as long as none explicitly states otherwise. This means that you can use more than one of the same type of CVS coupon, like:

  • 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 coupon. If you have two threshold coupons that each require you to hit $15, you’ll have to reach $30 to use both.

Colgate coupon stacking example at CVS, where you combine a digital coupon with a manufacturer coupon to earn ExtraBucks.

13. Use manufacturer coupons on clearance items.

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 store coupons can’t be used on clearance items, so don’t bother trying.

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 for free by stacking a manufacturer coupon and a CVS store coupon. I just paid a few cents in sales tax. Worth it.

15. Once you earn a few ExtraBucks, start rolling them to get products for free.

This technique is known as rolling ExtraBucks — paying for a transaction using your ExtraBucks while you earn additional ExtraBucks. Once you're on the CVS savings train, it's tough to get off! CVS shoppers can still earn ExtraBucks when they pay with ExtraBucks, too. Rolling your ExtraBucks is the smartest way to use them, keeping your overall out-of-pocket cost super low. Just rinse and repeat. 

16. Know that 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.

17. Use the KCL app to get the latest CVS deals, freebies, and coupons.

Set CVS as one of your favorite stores in our 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 you can set deal alerts by brand, too. 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:

18. Upload your CVS receipts to rebate apps like Ibotta, Fetch, and Checkout51.

The ibotta app held next to an Ivory deodorant.

Let’s take a quick look at these rebate apps and how they can help you coupon at CVS.

CVS Ibotta Deals

Once you download the Ibotta app, you will manually add any offers you shopped for at CVS, then take pictures of your receipt from your Ibotta 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 gets credited. When you reach at least $20 in your account, you can cash out!

CVS Fetch Rewards Deals

Fetch Rewards is similar to Ibotta in that you scan receipts, but you don’t have to add the offers before you shop, and you don't need to scan specific barcodes.

Fetch gives you points for every receipt you upload (even if you don’t purchase any of the promotional items), and you’ll have a solid 14 days to scan your receipts.

Cash out with as little as $3 earned in the form of a gift card to various retailers, including CVS! Here's an example of a deal using Ibotta and Fetch:

Kotex rebate stacking example at CVS using Fetch and Ibotta

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.

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