Understanding Walgreens

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Walgreens is very different from CVS. You do NOT need a “membership card”.. but you have to really work the system to make it work. Here’s my attempt at explaining how I “work” the Walgreen’s store! It’s a little more confusing than CVS.

  • First you have to pick up the monthly Easy Saver Rebate (ESR)book at the front of the store. This rebate book has more than just rebates, it also has Store Coupons! We call these ESR q’s (Easy Saver Rebate coupons) These coupons are not rebates.. they are actual coupons to use on today’s purchase.
  • Take advantage of the rebates available. Especially FAR items (Free After Rebate) I’m not suggesting you buy something you don’t want… but when you start off, it’s nice to give yourself a fully loaded Walgreen’s Gift Card to work with.
  • Use the online rebate claim form here. AS soon as you get home from a Walgreen’s trip, enter your receipts online and save the form until the end of the month. When the month is over, and you know you won’t be purchasing anymore available rebate items, you can easily submit your rebate online. Select your payment to be loaded onto a Walgreen’s Gift Card… and Walgreen’s will ADD 10% to your card at the same time!!! It takes about 5 or 6 weeks to get your card the first time, but after that you can simply “refill” that card online and have your money available within days. There’s no stamps to buy and no envelopes to fill or forms to keep track of… it’s all very organized and user friendly!
  • Now, back to those ESR q’s These are Walgreen’s store coupons and can be combined with manufacturer coupons. You can also find more Walgreen’s store coupons in the weekly ad. You only need one Walgreen’s coupon per purchase. For instance, if I have a Walgreen’s coupon for $1 off Tylenol. I can purchase 2 boxes of Tylenol and give them 1 coupons… and $2 will be taken off at the end! Of course, the best situation is to also have a manufacturer coupon to stack onto that. 🙂
  • Count your items! You may be wondering why this is important, but Walgreen’s has a policy that you can’t have more items than you have coupons. They don’t mind you stacking.. but they have a clause that makes their register beep if you don’t plan ahead smartly! Here’s an example:

Buy 2 bottles of Tylenol for $3.99 each= $7.98

Give them 1 ESR Q for $1 off = -$2

Give them 2 Manufacturer qs for $1.50 off = -3

You have 2 items and 3 coupons!!! The machine will BEEP at you! So, what do you do? You need a “filler” item in this case. Before you go checkout, you need to check out the clearance rack or the “toy” area… you can often find items for .25 or even .10 over there that you can throw onto your purchase in order to use that 3rd q. The trick is to make sure you don’t grab a filler that was worth more than the value of your smallest coupon!

  • Combine coupons with rebates for even greater savings!
  • Did you read the CVS tips? Remember ECB’s? Well Walgreens has a similar program called Register Rewards. (RR’s) RR’s are like cash back to use on a later purchase. But they are not the same as ECB’s. There are pros and cons to the RR’s vs. the ECB’s at CVS.

Pros:

  1. No membership card keeping track means NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES YOU GET THE DEAL!

Cons:

  1. You can’t use an RR from one company to purchase the same exact items again. Meaning- if Scrubbing Bubbles has an RR deal… you can’t turn around and buy more Scrubbing Bubbles with that RR. BUT, what you CAN do is use those RR’s to buy another item that generates RR’s… and then turn around and use those to purchase more Scrubbing Bubbles… which then gives you more RR’s again. I call this “cycling” RR’s.
  2. These RR’s count as a “coupon” when it comes to the “count” I mentioned above.
  • Total combination deals usually end up as moneymakers. Be on the lookout for items that have a rebate, a Walgreen’s q and a manufacturer q.
  • Eventually, you will get to a point where you are only spending Gift Card money and RR’s and NEVER any cash!
  • Walgreens also has a very unique program that benefits us for 2 days a month. These are called “Double Dip Days” and they occur at the end of the month. This is when last month’s ESR book has not yet expired and this month’s ESR book is already out!  You might have to ask your cashier for a copy of the new book if you don’t see them out yet. During Double Dip Days you can sometimes find coupons for the same exact item in both books… and you can use them both in addition to your manufacturer q’s, rebates, and RR’s.
  • Educate yourself with Walgreen’s deals, just as you would with CVS deals. Hot Coupon World is very helpful.. especially in finding out what those double dip day deals are! I also look at WagstoRiches for scenarios or IheartWags .
  • Know your rules as you plan. Same as with CVS
  1. Buy One Get One Sales– You can use a coupon for the one you buy AND for the one that’s Free! For instance, if deodorant is on sale for $3 and BOGO, and you happen to have a coupon on that deodorant for $1.50 off. USE TWO of those coupons and both are now FREE!  Here’s the math for those that need to see it…. 1st one $3.00 + 2nd one 0.00= $3.00 Coupons 1st one -1.50 2nd one -1.50= -3.00  $3-$3=0
  2. Buy One Get One Coupons– You can use a Buy One Get One Coupon ON a Buy One Get One Sale and they will both be FREE! How? Walgreens rings up both items at regular price. Walgreens then deducts the 2nd one as part of their sale. You hand them the coupon, they look at the screen and see what you paid.. and they enter that price (as a negative amount)
  3. Understand why coupons are good for Walgreens. Stores EARN the value of your coupon PLUS 8 cents on every one they turn into the manufacture! They profit from our coupon use!!!
  4. Overage– if Walgreens has a sale on an item for $1 and you have a coupon for $1.50… you can use that “overage” to plan the rest of your purchase. You can’t get “money back”.. but you CAN add that into the cost of another item making that item cheaper. I’ve used overage to purchase items that are hard to find coupons for. Just make sure you stick to your # items = # coupons rule!
  5. Sometimes a Walgreen’s machine will beep and not allow overage. In this case, if your cashier doesn’t know his/her rules the might convince you either to buy it without the coupon or not at all. But.. one thing they CAN do is manually INCREASE the amount of the product for the price called for on the coupon. I once had an Excedrin coupon for $2 off, but the Excedrin was on sale for $1.99. My cashier simply adjusted the price of the Excedrin to $2 and no more register beeps. 🙂
  • Use the cosmetic counter to check out. The cosmetic counter cashier is usually trained more when it comes to taking coupons, because Walgreen’s prefers that we use that counter so we don’t slow down the main lines.
  • Be nice to your cashiers! Help them out by knowing your rules and having your coupons and items in order before you get to the register. And if you’re doing multiple transactions and there are people waiting in line… do your 1st transaction, then go to the end of the line to do the next one. Being frugal doesn’t mean we have to be rude and annoying to everyone around us! 🙂

Hopefully some of this will help you get started with Walgreens! Good luck and Happy Shopping!

Please, feel free to leave me questions here!

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4 Comments

Filed under Getting Started, Walgreens

4 responses to “Understanding Walgreens

  1. Wow, Deni, you have done your research. Well, we usually buy our diapers at Walgreens, they’re usually $1 cheaper than the grocery store, plus I often have a manufacturer’s coupon for an additional $1.

    I haven’t really been clipping coupons nor paying attention to the RR’s on my receipts. I’ll have to check out this rebate book, which I believe is also available monthly on their website:

    Easy Saver Catalog

    You can download this and last months, as well as tally sheets.

  2. p.s.
    Apparently, this url is a recurring link to printable coupon at Walgreens and promo code for walgreens.com. Current promotion is $5 OFF on $20 or more purchase, valid Nov 14 & Nov 15 only. But url is reuseable, they post new promotions with same url!

    Printable Coupon

    I signed up for their e-mail, so got that. Then I checked out RetailMeNot and found out that other people’s expired posts still worked!

  3. awakened1

    yes Gillian.. that rebate book online is the same as the one at the store.. that site would also be where you can “submit” your rebates. So much easier than wasting a stamp!!

    I also get those coupons in my email. 🙂

    I suggest making a new email for yourself that is only for signing up for coupons! Then go around to all the different stores, and even brand name items you like.. you’d be amazed at how many coupons fill your inbox!!!

    (but, don’t use your regular email, or you’ll also be amazed at the size of your spam box!!)

  4. Good advice, but too late…. I use my old e-mail with yahoo to subscribe to the freecycle groups, and there’s so much stuff in there that it’s hard to get any mail I actually want sorted out. So have been using my actual e-mail for coupons. I haven’t really had a problem with spam yet, nothing major. Unfortunately, my ISP doesn’t provide any spam filter… So spam is a problem there.

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