Imagine it's Sunday morning, your prime time for drugstore couponing. CVS has been one of your go-tos, with fresh CVS weekly ads and deals always coming out on Sundays. But now, the CVS sales schedule has changed.
Reddit and the couponing community were buzzing in early December about a pretty big change coming to CVS. As of Sunday, Dec. 31, their normal weekly sales transformed into biweekly sales. That means CVS coupons and deals will last for two weeks instead of one.
But this change isn't just out of the blue. Some CVS stores had already been testing out these biweekly sales, which gave us a sneak peek of what was to come. For the rest of us, we were wondering if this change would affect our CVS shopping strategy.
One thing's clear — shopping at CVS has a whole new rhythm now. Here's everything we know.
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How are CVS sales changing?
The CVS move from a weekly sale pattern to a biweekly one means that promotions and deals will run for two weeks instead of just one (except for during major holidays, which we'll get into in a minute).
So why the change? Some people on Reddit think that CVS sales changing is a strategy to cut down on the number of hours employees have to spend switching out shelf tags each week. Others think it's to help streamline the costs involved with producing and shipping the sale tags themselves.
CVS switched to biweekly sales on Dec. 31, 2023.
CVS launched this change on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023 and we first saw it in the sneak peek on the Thursday prior to the sale week.
However, stores in Hawaii (plus Navarro Discount Pharmacy stores that are now owned by CVS) are not changing their schedules — they will continue to follow a weekly sale schedule even after Dec. 31.
TIP: Our KCL deal hunters noticed a pattern of deals repeating in the CVS weekly ad starting in 2023. This was our first hint at the upcoming change.
But CVS will stick to the weekly format for Valentine's Day, Halloween, and Christmas.
Great news if you're a serious CVS holiday shopper: there won't be any CVS sales changes during holidays like Valentine's Day, Halloween, and Christmas. CVS is planning to keep their weekly promotions during big holidays to encourage more trips to the store.
What does CVS changing their sales mean for shoppers?
Prior to the official new ad roll out on Dec. 31, certain stores had already tried out biweekly sales, which gave us a sneak peek into how the CVS promotions might work — and how our CVS couponing habits might change.
Now that the sales are biweekly, store employees will be updating all signage by 7 a.m. on Sunday. It'll be really important to pay attention to the "Good Thru" dates on sale tags — just in case employees missed a tag from the prior sale period.
This change also opens up a great opportunity to brush up on your CVS couponing skills. Check out our guide on How to Coupon at CVS for expert tips and tricks.
How will this new ad change affect ExtraBucks?
The shift to biweekly CVS ads made some couponers nervous, and for good reason. How would ExtraBucks be affected after the switch?
When the weekly ad was just for one week, the CVS deals had a limit of one ExtraBucks reward per member. Typically, the really good deals — like free toothpaste or mouthwash or other CVS deals under $1 — only allowed you to redeem them once during a sale period.
So with the sale period being lengthened to two weeks, we had to wonder if ExtraBucks will be affected, too. So far, we've noticed an addition to the fine print of a few ExtraBucks offers, like this (from the Dec. 31 - Jan. 13 sale ad):
CVS CarePass is getting a change in 2024, too.
We've heard that the (paid) CVS CarePass loyalty program is also getting a makeover in 2024.
Rumor has it that they'll be changing the name to ExtraCare Plus sometime this year, and members will only get free shipping on orders over $10 as of Jan. 3, 2024. This is a shift from the current CarePass benefit of free 1- to 2-day shipping with no minimum purchase.
Personally, I'm just relieved that the program isn't getting the ax like the CVS Beauty Club did. It's a small consolation, but hey, in the world of retail changes, we'll take the wins anywhere we can.
Is Walgreens also switching to biweekly sales?
The biweekly change coming to CVS sales has everyone wondering if Walgreens will follow suit. So far, Walgreens hasn't hinted at any signs of changing their sales strategy to match CVS's new approach.
But we all know that strategies in retail can change quickly as competitors respond to each other's moves. For now, it's a waiting game, with shoppers keeping a close eye on the unfolding CVS vs. Walgreens saga.