Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Walgreens Explained with Scenarios this Week ending 1/16/10

This post is for those of you who are wondering how to shop Walgreens (Katie . . . and others). Walgreens is more complicated than Rite Aid or CVS, in my opinion.

Some things to remember about Walgreens:

1. Walgreens uses Register Rewards. Register Rewards are coupons that print at the register when you buy qualifying products. Register Rewards can be used almost like cash to purchase more items at Walgreens. Register Rewards are good only for about 2 weeks from the time they are printed. If your purchase total is $2.98 before taxes, you will not be able to use your $3 RR on it. You must add something to your purchase to bring your pre-tax total equal to or above $3 in order to be able to use a $3 RR.

2. There is no limit on how many items (that produce a RR) you can buy. However, the RR will only print once per transaction. So if purchasing contact solution produces a $7 RR, you will not get 2 $7 RRs if you purchase 2 contact solutions in the same transaction, but only 1. If you purchase 2 contact solutions in 2 separate transactions, the RR will print once per transaction, netting you $14 in RRs.

3. Register Rewards cannot be rolled on like items. In other words, in the example above with the contact solution, you could not use the $7 RR from the first transaction to pay for the contact solution in the second transaction. You would either need to pay OOP for the second transaction or use a RR earned on a different purchase. You also could not use a RR earned on Huggies diapers to pay for Huggies wipes and expect another RR to print. Even though the items purchased are different, the manufacturer is the same and therefore the additional RR will not print.

4. You can stack 1 manufacturer’s coupon, 1 Walgreens’ in-ad coupon, and 1 Walgreens’ booklet coupon all on the same item.

5. Walgreens has a rule that you cannot use more manufacturers’ coupons than items you are purchasing. So for example: You want to buy 1 contact solution and 1 Huggies diaper package = 2 items. You have 1 manufacturer’s coupon for each and you have 1 Walgreens’ coupon for each. You are going to pay with cash. This transaction will work fine, since you are purchasing 2 items and have only 2 manufacturer’s coupons. But let’s say that you want to use 1 RR to pay for the items. RRs count as a manufacturer’s coupon. Now you have 2 items and you are using 3 manufacturer’s coupons on them. When you try to do this, the register will beep at you and you will be unable to use your 3rd manufacturer’s coupon/RR. To be able to use your RR on this transaction, you will need to add a filler item. (You can use more than 1 RR on a transaction, and in our example using 2 RRs you would then need 2 filler items.)

6. Filler items are items that you add to your purchase to be able to use all your manufacturer’s coupons and RRs. On the above purchase you would need to add 1 filler item (something really cheap) to bring the number of items you are purchasing up to three. You could then use the 2 manufacturers’ coupons and 1 RR (= three manufacturers’ coupons) on your transaction. It is okay to use a Walgreens’ coupon on your filler item as these do not count toward your manufacturers’ coupon total.

7. Coupon order is very important at Walgreens. If you hand your coupons to the cashier in the wrong order it can cause certain coupons not to scan, and therefore be rejected. The basic rule to remember is to hand over any $/$$ coupons first, then all manufactures’ coupons, followed by Walgreens’ coupons, and finally Register Rewards.

Now that you understand all that . . . and have it memorized : ) let’s look at what can be bought at Walgreens this week for very little money OOP.

I’m going to break down each transaction so that you can see exactly what coupons to use and in what order. I still write up a list like this for me to take to the store. Without it, too much can happen to distract oneself and I would end up paying a lot more OOP than necessary.

Once again, my personal goal is to spend as little money as possible OOP. Therefore, all my scenarios will reflect this. It’s kind of like a game to see how much I can get for how little.

Purchase #1 (I’m assuming that you currently have no Register Rewards and that you need to earn some to get started at Walgreens.)

**Unless otherwise indicated, all deals are weekly deals.

Purchase #1a (This is the better purchase to get started – if you have the coupons. If you don’t want the meters, they can be donated to missionaries, nursing homes, or those you know with diabetes. My doctor even told me to use one to monitor my blood sugar at the end of my pregnancy.)

1 Bayer Contour meter $14.99 (UPC 3 0193 715101 9) (earn a $5 RR – monthly deal)
1 Bayer Breeze meter $14.99 (UPC 3 0193 144001 0) (earn a $5 RR – monthly deal) (and earn a $3 RR wyb 2 participating Bayer products – monthly deal)
Total: $29.98
Total items: 2

Then use the following coupons in order:
2 $30/1 Bayer meter (10/25/RP)
Total manuf. coupons: 2

Total OOP $0 + tax (and move onto Purchase #2)
Earn $5 RR for Bayer Contour
Earn $5 RR for Bayer Breeze
Earn $3 RR for purchasing 2 participating Bayer products
(Thanks Common Sense with Money for this senario.)

Purchase #1b (If you don’t have the coupons for the above purchase, you can use this one instead. You’ll have to pay OOP and won’t earn nearly as many RRs, but it will get you started.)

1 Thermacare neck and arm heatwrap (pg. 8) 1 ct. $2.49/1 (earn a $2.50 RR)
Total: $2.49
Total items: 1

Then use the following coupons in order:
$1/1 Thermacare (Printable)
Total manuf. coupons: 1

Total OOP $1.49 plus taxes
Earn $2.50 RR for Thermacare

Purchase #2

1 Colgate Maxfresh or Maxwhite toothpaste 6 oz. or toothbrush $2.99/1 (earn a $2 RR)
1 Russell Stover valentine candy $0.39/1
(2 Lysol toilet cleaner $2.89/2 - only purchase if you have the $3 RR from Bayer)
Total: $3.38 (or $6.27)
Total items: 2 (or 4)

Then use the following coupons in order:
$0.75/1 Colgate toothpaste (1/3/SS; Printable)
(2 $1/1 Lysol toilet cleaner 1/3/SS - if purchasing toilet cleaner)
$0.39/1 Russell Stover Walgreens in-ad coupon
$2.50/1 Thermacare RR from Purchase# 1b (or $3 Bayer RR from Purchase# 1a)
Total manuf. coupons: 2 (or 4)

Total OOP $0.13 + tax (or $0.02 + tax if using $3 RR)
Earn $2 RR for Colgate

Purchase #3

2 Neosporin lip health products 2/$8 (earn $3.00 RR wyb 2 - monthly deal)
2 Oust B1G1
Total: ?
Total items: 4

Then use the following coupons in order:
2 $3/1 Neosporin lip health printables (IE Printable; FF Printable)
B1G1 Oust (1/3/SS)
$2 Colgate RR from Transaction 2
Total manuf. coupons: 4

Total OOP $0 + tax
Earn $3 RR for Neosporin

Total OOP cost for all transactions: $1.62 + tax
(or OOP cost of $0.02 + tax if doing Purchase #1a)

Leftover: $3 RR for Neosporin (and if doing Purchase #1 - 2 $5 RRs for Bayer)
***As soon as you get in your car, or you get home, pull out the leftover RRs and write what you received them for on the RR. Do this so that you don't forget and try to use them on a like item. Sometimes the RR will clearly say what it was from and sometimes it will not. I try to always add my own clarifying note.)***

At the end of the day, I will have paid between $0.02 and $1.62 + tax OOP and received merchandise with a sale value of at least $17.87 to $48.25.


  1. Hi,

    I am new to your blog and couponing like this. Would you be able to explain some of your abbrevations like SCR?


  2. Debbie,

    SCR stands for Single Check Rebate. Rite Aid offers a SCR on a variety of products each week. When you buy one of those products you can enter your receipt online (You must sign up online at Rite Aid.) Then at the end of every month (You can request your check before the end of the month, but you would not be able to request another one even if you purchase more qualifying products. Hence the name "Single Check Rebate," as you are only allowed to request 1 check per month.) you can request your check from Rite Aid for your rebates. Rite Aid will send you a check that you can redeem in store or take directly to your bank and deposit it into your account.

    Other abbreviations that I use:
    MFC - Manufacturer's Coupon.
    OOP - Out of Pocket
    IP - Internet Printable
    RA VV - Rite Aid Video Values
    RR - Register Rewards (at Walgreens)
    RP - Red Plum (A coupon insert that either comes in your Sunday paper or in the mail.)
    P&G - Procter & Gamble (A coupon insert that either comes in your Sunday paper or in the mail.)
    SS - Smart Source (A coupon insert that comes in your Sunday paper.)
    GM - General Mills Everyday Saver (A coupon insert that comes in your Sunday paper.)

    ** Note: Not all these inserts will be in the paper or in the mail every week.**

    I hope that this helps.

  3. Hey Erin,

    I was reading your blog about Walgreens and I didn't understand on purchase 1a what you meant by 2 $30/1 Bayer meter (10/25/RP). I gather that it is a coupon is in Red Plum but I don't know why I would need a coupon to get them 2 for $30 when they are $14.99. I'm sure I'm just really confused. Unfortunately I haven't been keeping past coupon inserts so I'll have to do that for the future so that I can participate in these. I had only been cutting out coupons of products I use. I never realized you could shop like this! -Kristin

  4. Kristin,
    That is just my shorthand saying use 2 (coupons) for $30 off of 1 Bayer meter which are found in the Red Plum coupon insert that came out in the Sunday paper dated 10/25/09. They were on sale for $14.99 that week. The coupon was for $30 off of 1 - so that would make it FREE!! And since you are purchasing 2 Bayer meters, you would need 2 coupons (each coupon can only be used on one item) - therefore 2 FREE Bayer meters. I hope that is not too confusing. Let me know if I need to clarify myself more.

    When I get my coupon inserts, I label the outside of the insert with the date of the Sunday paper it came in. Then I file them away. That way, I can go back and clip any coupons I need as I need them.

    (I know I was rambling a bit . . . I can hear my son, Josiah, crying in the background - woke up from his nap - so my mind is not focusing real well.)