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Never too late: Why you shouldn't give up on expired coupons

$10 bill

Rummaging through a wad of crumpled receipts and shopping lists in my pocketbook last weekend I came upon a piece of paper that brought me up short. It was a CVS ExtraCare rewards coupon, and it had expired the day before.

Expired coupons are no big deal. I toss them out all the time. But this one was different: It was for $10 off any purchase, no strings attached.

That was too much to let slip away.

Some stores, like Bed Bath & Beyond, will honor their expired coupons. Maybe, I thought, CVS had the same policy. I headed to a store to find out.

It turns out that CVS doesn't redeem its outdated coupons. But with a "Well, we'll do it this time only," the manager took pity on me and gave me my $10 off.

That's a good way to build loyalty: Right now CVS is one of my favorite stores.

It's not the first time that I've come across big-money coupons ($5 or more) that I failed to collect on. On a couple of occasions when I've let manufacturers' "free product" coupons expire, I've called the customer service line, explained my sad situation, and received new coupons to replace the old.

Lesson 1: Just because a coupon is expired doesn't mean it's no good.

Lesson 2: I need to clean my desk, and pocketbook, more often.

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