Shopping at Walgreens with coupons can be a real experience! Walgreens deals have so many twists and turns that you sometimes need a bit of a navigator. Let me be that because I can tell you, the Walgreens coupon policy is just not enough. So let’s get started!
Walgreens has several different programs in place and you need to know about each one before learning to combine them. Let’s start with our components:
Walgreens Balance Rewards Card – This is a Walgreens loyalty card that gives you access to “members only” discounts and deals. You’ll earn points for prescriptions that you purchase as well as have access to members only offers and paperless coupons. Having the Walgreens Balance Rewards Card is also the only way to earn Balance Rewards points.
Walgreens Balance Rewards Points – (also referred to as “points” in the vast majority of my posts) These are rewards that you can earn on participating points purchases. You will see these deals listed in the ad, you may find unadvertised deals on the shelves in your store (which are almost always national deals, just not in the weekly ad) and you will get 500 points for each prescription or immunization filled/received at Walgreens. Once you earn points, active Balance Rewards Card members will have 36 months to use them before they expire. Should your card go inactive for six consecutive months (you don’t shop there or choose not to use your card), any points earned will be forfeited.
While earning points is straightforward, spending them is a little bit more complicated. Here is the breakdown for when you spend your points:
1,000 points = $1
2,000 points = $2
3,000 points = $3
5,000 points = $5
10,000 points = $10
18,000 points = $20
30,000 points = $35
40,000 points = $50
You will have to spend your points in those increments, but you see that the more points you accumulate, the more they are worth.
You may use your points on any future purchase with the following exclusions: dairy; alcohol; tobacco; stamps; phone/pre-paid/gift cards; money order/transfers; transportation passes; charitable donations; prescriptions; pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products; immunizations, health tests or other healthcare items or services; Prescription Savings Club membership fee; clinic services.
In the occasional weekly ad circular you will see a Balance Rewards in-ad coupon. These are typically Buy $30, Get 5,000 points or Buy $25, Get 5,000 points. To be clear, you need to make your threshold purchase (either $30 or $25) BEFORE manufacturer’s coupons, but AFTER any Walgreens coupon. If you are only using manufacturer’s coupons, make sure that you meet the threshold, use your Balance Rewards in-ad coupon FIRST and then follow with any manufacturer’s coupons to make the most of your savings. If you are using Walgreens AND manufacturer’s coupons, they will ask for the Walgreens coupons first, use your Balance Rewards in-ad coupon next and then finish with your manufacturer’s coupons.
The other very important thing to know and remember about Walgreens Balance Rewards Points is that you CANNOT redeem points in order to buy another item that rewards you with points. You will see on your receipt that the points were not awarded. It is always better to pay for any items that yield points with a current Register Reward if you have one.
Register Rewards – (referred to as RR in most of my posts) Register Rewards are manufacturer’s coupons that print out of the Catalina machine next to the register during qualifying purchases. We had heard at one time that Walgreens was doing away with Register Rewards, but for now they appear to be here to stay – at least for awhile.
Register Rewards have a cash value and are good on almost any future purchase (excluding liquor, etc. – this may vary by specific Register Reward), but you MUST keep in mind that this is a manufacturer’s coupon. Per coupon policies at any store, you may only use one manufacturer’s coupon per item with any given purchase. If you are already using a coupon for an item, you will need to add ANOTHER item to your transaction in order to use your Register Reward. If there is truly nothing else that you need to purchase, I recommend adding a pencil, a caramel (usually $.33 at the register) or another cheap option to your order so that you can use your Register Reward to save. Register Rewards are valid for two weeks from the date of purchase.
One very important thing to remember about Register Rewards is that you CANNOT use a Register Reward given by a specific brand to purchase another item from that specific brand if it’s yielding Register Rewards. You will not receive the new Register Reward. This is a VERY confusing concept, so let me use some examples.
For instance, you have a Register Reward from a purchase of a Colgate Toothbrush. You cannot use that Register Reward to purchase another Colgate item (whether it be toothbrush, rinse, toothbrush or even Speed Stick or Softsoap – all under the same brand umbrella) and get an additional Register Reward. To be clear, you CAN use the Register Reward and it WILL deduct the amount of money from that purchase, but you will not get the next Register Reward that you are expecting.
What you CAN do is this example: Use your Colgate Register Reward to buy Crest (or Nature Made Vitamins or Kraft Singles or anything else that isn’t a Colgate brand) and receive new Register Rewards from that participating purchase. You can then take THAT Register Reward and use it to purchase more Colgate, which will then give you another Register Reward.
Walgreens In-ad coupons – These are coupons that you will find in the actual Walgreens ad circular each week. These coupons typically expire on the same day that the circular ends and will get you a better deal than the stated Walgreens shelf price. Most of these coupons have stated limits and they sometimes require you to purchase two or three of the same item in order to get the coupon price. (You may see “2/$5 or $2.99 each”) Walgreens In-Ad coupons may be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons or Walgreens Monthly Savings Booklet coupons for better savings.
Walgreens Monthly Savings Booklet – These are monthly booklets full of Instant Value Coupons released by Walgreens. These are typically store coupons and they can be stacked with manufacturer’s coupons or any other Walgreens store or in-ad coupon. One of these coupons will give you savings on multiples of the same items, so (for example) you could purchase three bags of Mars Candy, use a single $1 Mars Candy coupon from the savings booklet and it will reduce your total by $3 at the register. You’ll find these at the front of the store, next to the weekly ad circulars.
Walgreens Diabetes or specialized coupon booklets – These are coupon booklets that are typically found in the pharmacy or in the aisle. They look like magazines or pamphlets and contain either manufacturer’s or Walgreens store coupons. To find these booklets (which usually expire by season), look on the pharmacy counter, in magazine containers on the wall, on the pharmacy end tables or in in containers in the aisle most applicable (i.e. baby coupon booklets, wellness coupon booklets, etc.)
Here are a few ideas of how you could work some deals (these are NOT current deals, just here to give you an idea of how to work your transactions:
Buy 3 Crest Pro-Health Rinse 16.9 oz 3/$9
Use 3 $1.10 Crest Rinse coupon from 1/31 SS
Pay $5.70 plus tax, Get 5,000 points
Final Price: $.70
Buy 1 Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic Chewables 24 ct $10
Use 5,000 points from previous transaction
Pay $5 plus tax, Get $10 RR
Final Price: Free
Buy 1 i-Cool For Menopause Relief $10
Use $10 RR from previous transaction
Pay $0 plus tax, Get $10 RR
Final Price: Free
Buy 1 Colgate Toothpaste $3.50
Buy 2 Speed Stick Deodorant 2/$6
Buy 3 Stride or Trident Gum $2
Use $1 Colgate Toothpaste from 1/15 SS
Use $.50/2 Speed Stick from 2/6 SS
Also use $10 RR from previous transaction
Pay $0 plus tax, Get $2.50 RR from Colgate, $4 RR from Speed Stick and 1,000 points from Stride/Trident
Final Price: $2.50
Ready to shop?? Take a look at my Walgreens deal section and let the savings begin!