Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to work Walgreens

Hey everyone. I thought I'd do a series of blog posts on how to get the best deals at our local stores. I thought I'd start with Walgreens. Walgreens has some really great deals and if you know how to do it, you can get some great deals there, just the same as CVS. It does however, take a little more "know-how".

The way you profit at Walgreens is by using Register Rewards. These are similar to Extra Bucks (CVS) but they don't print on your receipt. Instead, they print out on a Catalina machine that sits next to the register. This is the same machine that prints out the coupons that you get at Bilo from time to time. Just like CVS, the way to get free stuff at Walgreens is to buy items that create RR (Register Rewards) and then use those RRs to buy other items. Essentially, you are buying the items you NEED (with your RRs) while getting items you may or may not need (Donation??) for Free! Walgreens does not have anywhere near the amount of deals that CVS has but from time to time, you do see a completely free item using register rewards.

 Most stores use a store loyalty card (Extra Care, Ingles Advantage, Bilo Bonus Card, etc.) however, Walgreens does not have one of these. This has it's advantages, but it also has some disadvantages. The advantage is that there is no way for them to limit how many times you can do the deal. In the sales paper, you will see limits listed for most RR items but those are limits PER TRANSACTION. If an item says limit 1, you could only buy 1 in a single transaction, but you could do multiple transactions and get more of that item. Walgreens is a bit hard to deal with and if you try to do more than one transaction at one store, they may give you some grief about it, but let's face it, there is a Walgreens on EVERY corner around here, so if you are willing to go to different stores or just go to the same store every day, you can do any number of deals over and over again. As far as coupon etiquette goes, I personally, try to limit my deals to 2 at the MOST, because if I really want that item, then someone else really does too so I wouldn't want to wipe the item out at every store!

Here's how you would work Walgreens. For example, let's say they have Colgate Toothpaste on sale for 2.00 with 2.00 back in RR (making it free). If you had a 1.00 coupon for Colgate Toothpaste, you would hand them the toothpaste and your coupon and would pay 1.00 at the register. They would then hand you 2.00 back in register rewards so your PROFIT would be 1.00! You could then take those 2.00 in RRs and go buy another item that you need, such as deodorant and get that item for free or almost. If you don't need the Toothpaste, then donate it to a good cause. You have essentially bought an item you NEEDED and would have bought anyway and gotten another item you may or may not have needed for FREE! Basically, buy an item, turn it into RRs, then use your RRs to buy what you REALLY need.

I mentioned before that having no store loyalty card has some disadvantages. One of the major disadvantages is that Walgreens has no choice but to make it really hard to "roll" your RRs. After all, since they can't track what you are buying, they have to have SOME way to limit you or you could buy the same item over and over again and use RRs each time to buy it. You could basically wipe out their ENTIRE stock and you would only pay for it the first time. If they had a loyalty card, it would be easy to limit the number you buy, just like they do at CVS. Since they don't, the way they limit you is this- You cannot use the RRs you earned for buying Colgate toothpaste, to buy MORE Colgate Toothpaste.  The only way you can "roll" your RRs is to buy two different items with RRs, and then use the RRs for the first item to pay for the second item and use the RRs for the second item to pay for the first. I don't personally do this, but if you wanted to, you could.

There is one VERY important thing to remember about Walgreens and this is the downfall of MANY failed attempts at Walgreens. You HAVE to have the same # of items in your transaction as the # of coupons you have in your hand. For example, this week Dawn Dish liquid is on sale for .99 using the in-ad coupon that is in the Walgreens sales paper. If I were to go into Walgreens with my in-ad coupon and a .25 coupon that I had cut out of my newpaper insert, it would not work EVEN though one is a store coupon and one is a manufacturers coupon and it's perfectly "legal" to do this. The only way around this is to use "filler" items. Usually at the register, there are .10 caramels or other candies that you can buy to make both coupons work. You would buy your Dawn and a piece of candy and then you would be able to use both coupons. If you had 1.00 in register rewards that you wanted to use to pay for it, you would have to buy ANOTHER piece of candy to be able to use them. Remember, for each piece of paper in your hand, you have to have an item in the transaction, no matter WHAT the piece of paper is! I have also read on another web site, that some people go online and order a single digital photo and send the order to the store they plan on going to. I think photos are about .19 each so they would make an EXCELLENT filler item and it's not fattening, and it's something you need! Just remember that if you need more than one filler item, you need to do your single photo orders in multiple orders. You can't just order 5 photos at once because that would only give you ONE filler item.

I hope this helps some of you out, who have been scared to take on Walgreens. It is a little more difficult to operate than CVS, but in the end, you can still get some GREAT deals if you are willing to put a little more thought into it. If anyone has any questions, just leave a comment under this post and I'll try to answer them for you.


Search my blog here.

Blog Archive

Visit Swag Bucks