Walgreens

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Walgreens is a favorite for many frugal shoppers because they frequently offer deals for free or inexpensive items.  They offer the Balance Rewards Card and Register Rewards which work like a rebate that you use can use on future purchases.

Using Coupons

Here is Walgreens official coupon policy.

Highlights:

  • They will accept one manufacturer coupon and applicable Walgreens coupon(s) for the purchase of a single item, unless prohibited by either coupon offer.  Hint: Remember to hand the cashier your manufacturer coupons first, followed by store coupons (especially important for buy one, get one free coupons.)
  • They do not accept competitor coupons.
  • If a value of the coupon exceeds the price of an item, Walgreens can adjust the value of the coupon down.  They will not give cash back on the difference.
  • For BOGO promotions, up to two coupons can be used against the items being purchased, as long as the net price does not go below zero for the items being purchased.
  • Walgreens coupons – Usually, you only need 1 Walgreens coupon, and the register will automatically apply that coupon to all of the matching items.  Additionally, you generally do not need to tear the coupon out of the ad.  You can just show the cashier the coupon so they can scan it.
Walgreens Balance Rewards Card

Walgreens began a new Balance Rewards Card which you can sign up for in store or online.  You can earn points by purchasing specified items in stores or online, filling a prescription, and by making healthy choices, such as getting an immunization or participating in Walk with Walgreens.  There are also exclusive benefits for AARP members.  The earning structure is basically 10 points for every $1 you spend.

Points Earned / Reward

5,000 pts = $5
10,000 pts = $10
18,000 pts = $20
30,000 pts = $35
40,000 pts = $50

Points do not expire as long as you shop with Walgreens once every 6 months and redeem your points within 3 years.  You can not earn Balance Rewards if you are using your Rewards to purchase an item.  At this time, Register Rewards will continue to be part of Walgreens program.

Register Rewards

Walgreens offers a Register Rewards (RR) program which prints a catalina (Checkout coupon) at the register after you complete your purchase.  For example, when you see in the ad $2 Register Reward with purchase, that means when you purchase that particular item, you will get a little coupon after you pay that is good for $2 off your next purchase.  This can be a bit tricky and so there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.

  • You will need one item for every coupon you use.  This includes Register Rewards.  So if you want to purchase one bottle of shampoo, you cannot use a manufacturer coupon + Register Rewards to pay for it.  You will need to purchase 2 or more items to use both the manufacturer coupon and the Register Reward.  The register will beep at you.
  • Fillers are small items that you use to help complete your purchase.  In the above situation, you could purchase 1 bottle of shampoo and a little piece of candy at the register, and pay for both with a manufacturer coupon and Register Reward.  Two items and two coupons – this works and you have a little piece of candy to enjoy on the drive home.
  • Another reason you would use a filler is to bring your total up to use a Register Reward.   For example, if you have a Register Reward for $2.00, your before tax total needs to be at least $2.00.  If you have item for $1.99, the register will not allow you to use a $2 reward- you will need a filler to get above the $2 mark.
  • They usually expire 2 weeks from the date printed.
  • You can purchase several different items in one transaction and receive each of the Register Rewards, however, if you want to purchase multiple items that are of the same promotion and receive the register rewards, you will need to do separate transactions.  Additionally, you will not receive another Register Reward if you use a Register Reward to pay for that item that is from the same company.  For example, if you use Register Reward that you received for purchasing Suave shampoo, you cannot use that to pay for Suave conditioner and receive another Register Reward.
How to maximize your savings – You can separate your purchases into several different transactions, alternating between items.
Here is an example:
Transaction #1: Purchase Shampoo for $1.99, Receive $1.00 Register Reward.  Pay $1.99 + tax.
Transaction #2: Purchase Toothpaste for $1.50, Receive $1.00 Register Reward.  Pay with $1.00 Register Reward from first transaction, + $.50 + tax.
Final Out of Pocket Expense: $2.49 + tax, plus you have $1.00 Register Reward to use on next purchase.
Another option is to use the Register Rewards week to week, just make sure to use them before the expiration date!

Lastly, I would recommend giving the cashier your coupons in the following order: manufacturer coupons first, in-ad coupons second, and then finally Register Rewards last.  This way, if something does not go as planned, you can save your Register Rewards for another purchase, or know if you need a filler item.

Start slowly, maybe with one item at a time, in order to become comfortable with Walgreens and Register Rewards.  Eventually, you will be on your way to paying little out of pocket for items!