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how cvs works - frequently asked questions

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    the basics

  • how do i get started couponing at cvs?

  • what do the couponing abbreviations and acronyms mean?

  • extrabucks program

  • how do you earn extrabucks?

    extrabucks can be earned with the purchase of specific products, as advertised. buy the exact items advertised to receive extrabucks.

    you also earn 2% back on your out of pocket spending in extrabucks

  • can i use more than one cvs card?

  • can I do this deal more than once?

  • do have to spend the full amount required to earn extrabucks?
    what is the 98% rule?

  • my extrabucks expired! what can i do?

  • i lost my extrabucks (or crt)! can i reprint them?

  • couponing at cvs

  • where can i find the official cvs coupon policy?

    the official cvs coupon policy can be viewed and printed here.

    i suggest printing it and keeping it in your coupon organizer so you'll have it if you run into a problem at the store.

  • where can i get cvs coupons and how do they work?

    cvs/pharmacy extracare emails
    cvs sends emails to subscribers weekly that may include $/$$ or percent-off coupons. these coupons only work when used with the card for the same cvs account the coupon was issued to, and can only be used once.

    printable cvs coupons offers a selection of mostly manufacturer coupons, but there are usually a few store coupons mixed in as well. look for the cvs/pharmacy logo under the product images. these are limited to one of the same coupon per transaction.

    cash register tape (crt) coupons print at the cvs coupon center, on the end of your receipt, or from your account on they only work when used with the same cvs card they were issued to.

    crt's that are advertised in the weekly ads print for everyone and expire one week from the date they are printed. they cannot be printed from

    other personalized crt's usually expire two weeks from the date they are printed. these may be printed in store or from

  • why don't i receive the cvs coupons others get?

    generally, the more you shop at cvs the fewer coupon offers you will receive.
    you might think that loyal shoppers would/should be rewarded with more coupons, but cvs actually uses coupons to try to attract new or less frequent shoppers.

    people who fill prescriptions at cvs may be encouraged to continue to do so with more coupons.
    most of cvs revenue is made from prescriptions, so it makes sense for pharmacy customers to be the most important to them.

    some people get $/$$ coupons from cvs regularly for no apparent reason. certain cvs cards may just be lucky or unlucky.

    but according to cvs...
    "the coupons you received are based on your shopping habits and frequency of visits. some are supported by our suppliers.
    we have expanded the method of distribution for these offers, not only through the register but through e-mail, mail, local advertising and even through price checkers in some stores. cvs continually modifies these targeted offers to provide products and services our customers want most."
    - joseph e. battey, cvs/pharmacy extracare

  • Can I use 2 purchase-based cvs coupons in a transaction? (for example, a $10 off $50 purchase coupon and a $4 off $20 purchase coupon)

    the offical cvs coupon policy states that you may - as long as you spend the sum of the required purchase amounts. for example, a $10 off $50 coupon and a $4 off $20 coupon may be used together if your total is at least $70.

    however, most of the $$/$$ coupons state "limit of one purchase-based coupon, i.e. $4 off $20 purchase, per transaction."

    the registers have been reported to accept multiple purchase-based coupons as long as you spend the sum of the required amounts, however since the coupons state that only one may be used per transaction the cashier may not allow it, ymmv!

  • how is the amount deducted for a x% off CVS coupon calculated?

    x% off cvs coupons usually excludes sale items. the system will not apply the x% off coupon to any sale items in your transaction. this includes sale items that are bogo or bogo 50% off, or any sales that require you to buy 2 or more items, even if you are only buying one. sale items are not always marked, so you may want to double check at the price checker/coupon center to make sure your items are not on sale!

    x% off cvs coupons usually will apply to any items that are part of an extrabucks deal but not ringing up at a sale price!

    cvs coupons will decrease the amount your x% off coupon deducts.

    most extrabucks will not reduce the deduction for the 20% and 25% off cvs coupons. the exceptions are cvs sponsored (rather than manufacturer sponsored) extrabucks, such as those that are manually printed for rainchecks, extrabucks received for the cvs beauty club, & extrabucks earned by purchasing CVS brand items.

    to figure how much the x% off coupon will deduct, take the total of your items (not including tax), subtract any sale items, cvs coupons & cvs sponsored extrabucks, and multiply your new total by x%.

  • is there any way to tell what products a crt applies to?

    yes, there is!
    please follow these instructions from MauraFlorida:
    Log into your account.

    Enter the following URL in your browser's search bar:

    Replace the ###### in the URL with the five- or six-digit coupon number in the lower-left corner of the coupon printed from the "cvs coupon center" (example: CPN # 113775).
    Personalized coupons have six numbers. coupons printing for everyone have five numbers. NOTE: You have to print the CRT from the machine to get the CPN #. It does not appear when you clip to card or print from home.

    Click enter. Wait a minute. Scroll down.

    A list of all products the coupon applies to will appear on the screen.

  • can i coupon at self-checkout? what do i need to know?

  • how do i use devtools to preview next week's crts for my account?

  • does the store lose money when i use manufacturer coupons?

    no, the manufacturers reimburse retailers for coupons!
    in addition to the face value, the store usually receives an eight cent fee for accepting a manufacturer's coupon. this covers the cost of processing the coupon for redemption and then some. you can learn more about how manufacturer coupons work here.

  • miscellaneous

  • what is early activation?

    most cvs stores activate the next week's sales & extrabucks deals on saturday, but the time will vary. you can do a test by scanning one of the following week's sale items at the price checker/coupon center to see if it is ringing up on sale yet.

    during early activation, if an item is included in deals for both the current week and the upcoming week, the deal with the lower sale price will apply. (extrabucks are not taken into consideration.)

    for example, if an item is $5 and get $5 eb this week, but is on sale next week for $4 without any extrabucks, you would receive the $4 sale price and no extrabucks. so be cautious when shopping on saturday afternoon/evening!

    24 hour stores do not seem to start the new sale until midnight.

  • how do cvs rainchecks work?

  • what is cvs's return policy?

    returns with receipt are generally allowed within 60 days.

    returns without receipt require your license/id & will be refunded to a CVS/pharmacy Money Card.

    CVS/pharmacy Store Brands & Cosmetics are 100% guaranteed. Prepaid gift cards and money orders are not generally refundable. sales are final on clearance and discontinued items.

    "Officially CVS does not do exchanges. The register can only do a return and you make a new purchase. You will lose crt and coupon value. If you have a nice staff member, might be able to convince to do an even swap depending what it is but that’s very ymmv." - Ace

    you can view the offical cvs return policy here

    all returns/refund are subject to approval by a company called "The Retail Equation", which cvs uses to "detect and prevent potentially fraudulent Transactions and reduce policy abuse." The Retail Equation can ban you from returning anything to cvs "for a period of time." it is advisable to avoid returns if possible for this reason.

  • what happens if i need to return an item that i redeemed extrabucks to buy?

    for a refund on an item purchased with extrabucks, the amount used in extrabucks should be automatically reissued and print out on the return receipt.

    exceptions to this are beauty club extrabucks, survey extrabucks, and any manually printed extrabucks, which are not automatically refunded.

    unfortunately there is no indication to the cashier processing the return whether extrabucks will be refunded or not, until the return is completed and they print on the receipt!

  • can cvs reprint my receipt?

    it has been reported as of 04/2023, employees can reprint a receipt if it is within the last 20 or so transactions made on that register.

  • how do you get the cvs ads early?

    cvs stores usually receive the ads a week or two in advance. if you ask nicely, they may give you a copy! some stores will not give out ads early, but others are happy to! ymmv!

    if you are able to get an advance copy of a weekly ad not yet posted here, please consider sharing it with readers! you can upload your photos or scans here.

    the following week's cvs ad is available at starting on thursday before each sale week.

  • what region are the cvs ads posted for? why is my ad different?

    my final, high quality ad scans are usually from long island, ny. however, ad previews that have originated from other sites could be from anywhere.

    although most cvs deals are consistent across different regions, there can be some differences. i suggest always checking your local ad before shopping.