- Personal Finance
The Drugstore Game: Saving Money at Walgreens
Shopping at Walgreens makes it easy to maximize the power of your spending dollars! Walgreens have great sales, they have stackable coupons, and they give money-back coupons called Register Rewards for you to spend on future purchases.
Register Rewards—An Explanation
To maximize savings at Walgreens, it’s essential to understand the Register Reward. Register Rewards, or RRs, are coupons Walgreens gives for you to use on future purchases. You can earn these for buying specific products advertised each week (check the weekly circulars or a price match-up blog each week). For example, Walgreens might offer a sale of Kellogg’s cereal for two boxes for $5, plus give you a $2 RR at the register if you buy the two, essentially making the cereal $3, provided you us the RR on a future purchase (an unused RR is like wasting money).
Technicalities Regarding Register Rewards
Only one RR deal per item will be given in a transaction. What that means is if you wanted to take advantage of the Kellogg’s cereal deal (example mentioned above) to stock up on cereal, you could only get one $2 RR per transaction, even if you bought 10 boxes of cereal, so if you want to stock up, you would have to do multiple transactions; you would have to buy your 10 boxes of cereal in 5 separate transactions. You would then get 5 RRs for $2.
Another technicality regarding RRs is that you can’t use them to buy the same product and get another RR back. So if you buy two boxes of cereal and get $2 RR, you can’t use that $2 RR towards the purchase of two more boxes of cereal and get another $2 RR. If you do decide to use the $2 cereal RR toward more cereal, you can spend it, but you just won’t get another RR. However, you can use an RR from another product. If you have a $5 RR from another product, let’s say vitamins, you can use that on the cereal, which makes the two boxes of cereal free, plus you get $2 RR back.
Rolling Register Rewards
The process of rolling rewards is using the rewards on one item to get another item free (or almost free), and then using the RRs from that item to buy something else and continue the cycle. For example, if you purchased vitamins for $5 and got back $5 RR, you could then roll those rewards to buy dishwasher detergent for $5 and get back $5 RR. You could save the RRs for another time, or you could repeat the cycle.
Coupons Accepted at Walgreens
To save even more than you can with just Register Rewards, use coupons, too. There four types of coupons you can use at Walgreens.
Type One: Register Rewards—Expire 2 weeks from date issued, if used in conjunction with the same item it was issued for, you will not get more RRs. These ring up as manufacturer’s coupons.
Type Two: Monthly Store Coupons—Found near the front of the store by the weekly circular, this booklet is full of coupons good for the current calendar month. These ring up as manufacturer’s coupons, but can be used in addition to manufacturer’s coupons.
Type Three: Manufacturer’s Coupon—Found in Sunday newspaper inserts and online
Type Four: Weekly Circular Coupons—Found in the weekly circular, each of which has several coupons. These are store coupons.
Stacking Coupons at Walgreens
Walgreens allows you to stack coupons, meaning you can use multiple coupons on the same item. You can use, in theory, one of each type of coupon on one item, provided you had that many coupons for an item. The typical situation for stacking coupons would be a monthly store coupon or a weekly circular coupon stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon and maybe an RR thrown in. For example, today I purchased four Crest Pro-Health mouthwashes at $4.99 each, for a total of $19.96. I also used four $2 manufacturer’s coupons, which dropped the total to $11.96. I stacked a $2 monthly store coupon (one coupon will work for all four items, and it rings up as one $8 manufacturer’s coupon). This brought the total down to $3.96. I also used a $3 RR from a purchase made last week. This brought the total to $.96.
Coupon Technicalities and Filler Items
Although Walgreens lets you stack coupons, you can only have as many manufacturer’s coupons as you have items (this includes Register Rewards and monthly store coupons). So if you have four items, but after stacking coupons, you have six coupons, like the mouthwash example above (4 manufacturer’s coupons, 1 monthly store coupon, and 1 register reward), you will have to find two more items to purchase. These are often referred to as filler items. They are usually cheap items that cost less than the coupon savings amount you receive. For example, if I didn’t buy two filler items, I would have to use two fewer coupons, meaning there would be at least $4 I wouldn’t have been able to get off my purchase price. I bought two pencils at $.39 cents each, so for $.78, I was able to save that extra $4, for a net savings of $3.22, all because I purchased two more items.
Things to Remember
· Walgreens has no limit on how many RR items you can purchase. If there’s a cereal deal for two for $5 with a $2 RR, you could buy 20 boxes of cereal if you wanted (provided they have that many in stock). However, you need to do a separate transaction for each deal.
· If you are doing multiple transactions, be sure to be polite! Don’t completely hog a line. I find that usually the register in the beauty section is the best place to do multiple transactions. If you are using several coupons, please have them ready, and have all of your items organized. This will help your transaction go as quickly as possible and help keep others from getting grumpy with you.
It's Free, But I Don't Need It. Do I Buy It Anyway?
Yes! If I can get an item for free, I get it, even if I don't need it. Why? Because someone else needs it, and as an avid couponer, I'm in a unique position to get it for him/her. I supply many of my relatives (six families) with almost all of their health and beauty and cleaning supplies. I also donate hundreds of dollars of items (free to me!) to the homeless shelter. This allows me to help others without creating a financial burden on myself.
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