Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Couponing at Walgreens

New to shopping at Walgreens stores?  Here is an explanation for you!

Walgreens is a great place to coupon, because they have a lot of stacking deals.  However, when people throw out terms like "Register Rewards" and "Balance Rewards Points," it can get a bit confusing!  Hopefully we can simplify it a bit for you here.  (See the Walgreens official coupon policy here.)

Before we begin, we want you to be aware that Walgreens sales go from Sunday through Saturday.

Rewards Program
The very first thing you'll want to do is sign up the Walgreens reward program, called Walgreens Balance Rewards.  You'll get a card that you can scan, or you can link it to your phone number and type that in every time you check out.  You card will allow you to get the sale prices, keep track of the points you earn (called Balance Reward points), and pay with those points. You can become a member in store at checkout, at the photo kiosks, by downloading the Walgreens App, or by joining online.

You earn Balance Rewards points in several ways.  Here are many of the ways to earn them:

As you can see, some are based on purchases and the others are based on healthy habits that you have.  If you have a device that tracks your health (like Fitbit), or you regularly monitor your weight, you can record that into your Walgreens app or online to earn points!  (In addition to earning points by connecting you health tracker device like Fitbit, you can also earn money!  Here's how.)

The weekly ads and signs in the store will tell you about special promotions (the "featured products") that are going on that week.


You can let these points add up and use them to pay for future purchases.  1,000 points is equivalent to $1, but the more points you have, the more they are worth.  For example, 40,000 points will actually be worth $50 instead of $40.

As you can see, it's best to save up your points!  They don't expire for three years, so you have plenty of time to save!  You can keep track of your points balance by using the Walgreens app, looking at your account online, or by looking at the bottom of your receipt.

The other thing that your card does (other than keep track of points) is let you load digital coupons to it (which can be found online or on the app).  Sometimes these coupons are manufacturer's coupons, and sometimes they are store coupons.  We will touch on that in the next section.

Store Coupons
Walgreens has a lot of store coupons that you can use.  And we mean A LOT!  It can get a bit confusing on how to find them, but we'll walk you through step-by-step.  Like we mentioned in the last section, the Walgreens app (or online) has digital coupons that you can load to your card.  Some are manufacturer's coupons and will look like this (you can see where it specifically says "manufacturer's coupon" above the expiration date):

The store digital coupons are the same ones that are in the weekly ad or in the Monthly Savings Book, which we will discuss now.  You can distinguish which kind they are the same way you do with the manufacturer's coupons:

In-ad Coupons.  Each Sunday, Walgreens has a new ad.  You can view a preview of this ad the day before (on Saturday).  Throughout the ad, there are in-ad store coupons.  Sometimes they are all located together, but other times they are just scattered throughout the ad in the category to which they pertain.  Here is an example of one:

Each individual coupon can only be used one time, but if you want to make a separate transaction the next day, just grab another ad on your way into the store.  If you load it to your card, it is a one-time use coupon.

Monthly Savings Book coupons.  At each cash register, there are booklets that come out at the beginning of each month.  The booklet is FULL of store coupons.  The nice thing about these coupons is that it only needs to be scanned one time, but it will apply to all of the items in your transaction.  This will come in handy when you stack coupons (which we will get to later in this post).

As you can see from these pictures, there really are a lot of coupons in them!  So many, in fact, that there is a table of contents at the front of each one.  Also, these can be loaded to your card, so you can see from home all of the available coupons and their terms and conditions (such as size limitations).

Health pamphlet coupons.  Throughout the store, usually in the medicine aisles, there are different pamphlets on health issues.  These will have several coupons in them that are typically good for a year.  Just make sure to double-check the expiration dates.  Since the coupons last so long, the pamphlets aren't changed out very regularly.

Bonus catalinas.  These catalinas are coupons that print out at the register for you to use later.  They may be for earning extra Balance Rewards points, discounts on products, or other special promotions.  These are random and vary person to person.  You are lucky to get one, basically!  Just make sure to read the fine print and check the expiration date.

Register Rewards (RR)
Register Rewards are one of the biggest ways to save money at Walgreens.  These are coupons (catalinas) that print at the register for a specific amount of money off of a future purchase.  They can be used to purchase most items at the store.  Walgreens offers weekly promotions (mentioned in the weekly ad), like this example below:

Sometimes you will receive them for purchasing a certain number of products, other times will be for purchasing a certain dollar amount (for example, get a $4 RR wyb $20 in Crest products).

Register Rewards are useful because they although they are considered manufacturer's coupons, they go off of the total cost of the purchase. This means can be stacked with manufacturer's coupons (see later in the article for VERY important information about stacking coupons).  Also, they do not require you to use them on specific items - you can use them on anything in the store!

Rolling Deals
Now that you know all about RR and Balance Rewards points, you are going to want to spend them!  You need to be careful about how you use them, however.  Sometimes if you use points or RR to pay, you won't get any more RR or points for that purchase.

You definitely cannot roll RR at all for the same product.  For example, let's say that if you buy two bottles of Crest mouthwash, you get $3 RR.  If you try to go back and get two more bottles and try to pay with the $3 RR you got for the last two bottles, another RR will NOT print out.  But if you want to buy three tubes of toothpaste and get a $2 RR, then you can pay for the toothpaste with the $3 RR and get the $2 RR anyway because they were NOT for the same product.

Here is a breakdown of what happens when you roll Balance Rewards Points and RR.

Also, please note that multiple RR do not print out.  If the deal is to buy two bottles of mouthwash for a $3 RR, then buying four bottles will NOT give you two $3 RR or a $6 RR.  You will only get the single $3 RR.  It is best to do them in separate transactions.

Stacking Deals
Because Walgreens offers so many store coupons, you can get some great prices when you stack deals and coupons!  They do not have an official coupon policy that limits the amount of like coupons you use (unless the coupon states otherwise), but if you have more than four or five of the same coupon that you want to use in one transaction, you should probably let the cashier know before you purchase.  Sometimes the store manager will limit coupons (and sometimes only on their shifts).  It's always best to ask before you ring everything up!

However, Walgreens does have a limit on the ratio of manufacturer's coupons to items.  Yes, you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon on the same item, but you cannot have your total number of coupons be more than the total number of items that you are purchasing.  Since RR are considered manufacturer's coupons, you may need a filler item. Usually you can pick something that doesn't cost much, like a candy bar at the register.

Here is an example: you want to buy five bottles of mouthwash and use five insert coupons (from the newspaper) on them.  You also want to pay with two different $3 RR that you got last week.  You will need to get the five bottles of mouthwash PLUS an additional two items (something cheap) so that you have just as many items as you do manufacturer's coupons.  One good way to find filler items is to go through the ad and find items that cost less than $1.

If there is a BOGO sale going on, then you can use coupons on both items as long as the second item is not free.  So if it is BOGO free, then you can only use coupons on the first item.  However, if it is BOGO 50% off, then you can use coupons on both items.

Digital coupons technically can stack with manufacturer's coupons.  However, there have been some hiccups with the system and coupons don't always come off the way they are supposed to.  If you choose to use digital coupons and stack them, pay close attention to receipt.  If you notice a problem, immediately tell the cashier or call the Walgreens customer service at 1 (800) 925-4733.

Lastly, if you are ordering multiples of one item, then it's very important that the cashier scans each one separately.  If they scan just one and then key in the quantity, then any coupons you have (especially the booklet coupons) will only attach to one item instead of all of them.

Walgreens is famous for it's amazing clearance sections, especially after a holiday.  It's always a good idea to stop and browse through clearance.  You may find things marked down so low, they cost less than the coupon you have for it!  Walgreens will only allow overage if you have filler items that can absorb the cost.  Even then, some managers will not allow overage to occur.

We like to save our points for after holidays when items get marked down to 90%, then get them for free by paying with the Balance Rewards points we have saved!  We've gotten a lot of our Christmas lights, Halloween costumes, and holiday decorations for almost nothing!

Their clearance section for ordinary products is usually pretty good, too.  You'll find a lot of items that you needed to purchase anyway.  So just make sure to stop through and browse - and always bring your coupon binder!  Usually regular clearance items are found on endcaps (the ends of the aisles), but you can also find them scattered throughout the store in their regular spots.  Holiday clearance items will be in the holiday section, typically.  They start marking them down 50%, then eventually get to 90% off of what's left after about a week or so.

We hope that this post was helpful for you!  Did we miss anything important?  Do you have any further questions for us?  Please let us know here, and ,ake sure you join our Facebook group to get updated with the latest deals as soon as they are posted, as well as see extra deals unique to the group!  Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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Please make sure to double-check store policy and coupon fine print before shopping. Please follow all coupon rules.