How to Roll with Walgreens Register Rewards

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So you’re new to shopping with Walgreens Register Rewards?  You’ve found a great store to quickly build your stockpile of health and beauty products, but it does come with some restrictions that a responsible couponer should know and abide by.First be sure to print a copy of the corporate Walgreens coupon policy found here. Review it so that you can be sure you’re following it’s guidelines.
Carry it with you in your coupon clutch or binder so that if you encounter a problem you are able to speak calmly with the manager and show that you are using coupons in accordance with the corporate policy.

Second, you need to sign up for a Walgreens Balance Rewards card.  The card is free and is the only way you will get the sale pricing and rewards that are advertised.  I recommend you sign up at the cosmetics counter and receive your card in person.  It only takes about 2 minutes.

Lastly, you need to familiarize yourself with the two main reward systems that Walgreens offers : Register Rewards and Balance Rewards (points)

Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons that will print when you purchase specifically targeted items.  They will be valid for 2 weeks and are typically good on your next purchase of any product excluding tobacco, alcohol, stamps and dairy.  Most of these items will be identified in the weekly ad to produce and Register Reward (RR), although some will be identified just by the sale tag on the shelf. There are a select few that will be unadvertised, but word tends to get around on the internet pretty quickly about them :-)  Because RRs are manufacturer coupons, their usage falls under all the requirements of the coupon policy.  Here’s a quick run down of the most important things:

  1. When using manufacturer coupons you cannot have more coupons than items in your transaction. You may have to buy a “filler” item in order to be able to use a coupon or register reward. This can be as cheap as a penny, it is just there so your coupon count will not exceed your items purchased count ( each manu Q has to physically attach to an item).
  2. In ad coupons are store coupons and don’t count toward this total. They will be applied to all items in your transaction that qualify for that coupon.
  3. You can use one store coupon and one manufacturer coupon for each item.
  4. Register Rewards are coupons awarded after your transaction has processed. These are manufacturer’s coupons and do count toward your coupons vs. item total.
  5. Register Rewards cannot be used to pay tax.
  6. You can use a RR to purchase  the same Register Reward item, but a new RR may not print.  Proctor & Gamble and Hershey’s are two companies that usually will not allow you to use a RR to pay for another of their company’s items and still receive any promised RRs.
  7. Just because you use a coupon on a RR item does not mean that RR won’t print. The coupon policy does not prohibit this. (don’t let an uneducated manager tell you so either- it’s often in their ad to use a coupon on a RR item)
  8. Often products will be advertised as free after Register Reward. Use a manufacturer coupon to purchase this product and “make
    money” by receiving a Register Reward back in a higher amount that you paid.
  9. The best way to hand the cashier your coupons is in this order: 1- manufacturer coupons and register rewards 2- store coupons.

Here is a sample of how to roll the rewards.  These deals were both available the same week in February 2011:
Motrin PM 20 ct. $3, get $3 RR
Buy 2 and use $6/2 from 1/9 SS  
Price after Q and RR = $3 moneymaker

Baby Magic Lotion or Hair & Body Wash $3, get $3 RR

1st Transaction
buy 2 Motrin PM @ 3 each = 6
use the $6/2 coupon from the 1/9 SmartSource coupon insert
your total will be $0.00, plus any applicable tax, and you’ll get a $3 RR

2nd Transaction
buy 1 Baby Magic Lotion or Hair & body Wash @ 3
use the $3 RR from your 1st transaction
your total will be $0.00, plus any applicable tax, and you’ll get a $3 RR

you could keep rolling back and forth between the two free products and only pay tax.  I recommend that you only do 2 transactions per store per visit though, as it’s just polite to other shoppers.

Now, what if the RRs aren’t the same value?  Here are 2 more RR producing items from the same week’s ad:

Aquaphor Lip Repair .35 oz $4.99, get $4 RR
use $1/1 Aquaphor printable
Price after Q and RR = FREE (.01 moneymaker)

NasoGel Drip-Free Gel Spray $4.99, get $5 RR
use $1/1 peelie
Price after Q and RR = $1.01 moneymaker

You already have a $3 RR from your earlier transactions and would like to use it to pay for the Aquaphor, but you want to use the $1/1 Aquaphor Q also right?  That’s 2 Qs to 1 items (rule # 1 says you can’t have more manufacturer Qs than items, so we need a filler)  This week there is an in ad coupon for hydrogen peroxide 3/$1 and that’s great to have on hand for nose bleeds and other stains, so we’ll use that.

Transaction 3
buy Aquaphor Lip Repair @ 4.99
buy 1 Hydrogen Peroxide @ .79
subtotal $5.78
use $1/1 Aquaphor
use $3 RR
use in ad Q for HP (takes off $.45)
new total: $1.33, get $4 RR back

Transaction 4
buy 1 NasoGel @ 4.99
buy 1 Hydrogen Peroxide @ .79
subtotal $5.78
use $1/1 NasoGel peelie
use $4 RR
use in ad Q for HP (takes off $.45)
new total: $.33, get $5 RR

again, I only recommend that you do 2 transactions per store, per visit.  If you want to continue at another store, or on another visit:

Transaction 5 
buy 1 Motrin PM @ 3
buy 1 Baby Magic @ 3
subtotal $6
use $5 RR
new total $1, get (2) $3 RRs

Transaction 6
buy 1 Aquaphor @ 4.99
buy 1 NasoGel @ 4.99
buy 2 Hydrogen Peroxide @ 1.00
subtotal: $9.98
use $1/1 Aquaphor
use $1/1 NasoGel peelie
use in ad Q for HP (takes off $.33)
use both $3 RRs
new total: $1.62, get a $4 RR and a $5 RR

you now have $9 in RRs to spend in Walgreens, over $36 in products that you can use or donate, and you’ve only spent $3.28 cash!

The newest rewards system at Walgreens is called Balance Rewards.  There are some nice things about this new system – mainly that the points don’t expire quickly, and that they are treated by the register as payment so they don’t need to “attach to an item” like a manufacturer Q does (i.e. RRs)

In a nutshell here are the key points to remember when using the Balance Rewards system:

  1. You can purchase multiple qualifying items in one transaction and still earn the advertised points for each one.
    1. If the ad says buy 1 get 1,000 points, then you can buy 3 in one transaction and you will receive 3,000 points.
    2. If the ad says buy 2 or more get 1,000 points, then you must buy 2 in one transaction to receive the 1,000 points.  But if you buy 4 you will still only receive 1,000 points since the ad states “2 or more”
    3. If the ad says buy $10 get 1,000 points, you can buy $30 (after store coupons, but before manu Qs) and you’ll receive 3,000 points.
    4. If the ad says buy $10 or more get 1,000 points, you’ll only receive 1,000 points no matter how many multiples of $10 you buy in the transaction.
  2. Points can be redeemed in 1,000 increments starting with 1,000 for $1.  (2k for $2, 3k for $3, 5k for $5, 10k for $10 and then 18k for $20)
    1. You may only redeem points one time in the transaction.  So you cannot redeem 5k for $5 and then 3k for $3 in the same transaction.  You could redeem 10k for $10, but you’d lose the $2 difference, so who really wants to do that???
  3. Because points are considered payment by the register, once you redeem points you will not be able to use any more coupons.  So be sure to redeem points just before you pay your balance.
  4. Points do not “roll”.  If you pay for a transaction with points you will not redeem any points for the transaction.  It’s best to “roll” between RRs and points.  Use RRs to pay for transactions where expect to earn points.  Then use the points to pay for items that will earn RRs.

It can take some time to get used to the systems at Walgreens, but it’s very worth the time to do so.  Try to only purchase 2 or 3 items each week until you learn the ropes.  Checking out at the cosmetics counter is a great idea because those cashiers usually are familiar enough with coupon usage to help you sort things out.  Plus it’s typically a shorter line!

If you are using coupons in accordance with the corporate policy, and a cashier says you are doing something wrong, politely ask to speak with a manager and show them the policy. If you are still denied your coupons, I would write down the names of the cashier and manager, leave all items at the register, go home and call corporate
with the information. There is a policy and if we follow it, it should be honored.

Each week I’ll be posting the best deals I see at Walgreens. Some items will be free, some will “make you money”, while some are simply a good deal and time to stock up. I’ll post my plans for how to get the most product while spending the least money out of pocket over on my Walgreens Scenarios site.  I usually post a simple beginner’s scenario that can be followed for a few weeks to help you get couponing with Walgreens Register Rewards under your belt.

Consider purchasing products in these scenarios to save money on your household budget. If an item will be free or a moneymaker you can always donate it to help others. If you’d like some help to get a scenario together for your first shopping trips I would be glad to help.  You can visit my personalized scenarios page for instructions.  Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or post to the facebook wall if you have questions! I am here to help.

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