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Walgreens 101: Learning The Game

Posted By Tara Kuczykowski On June 4, 2009 @ 2:31 am In drugstores | 113 Comments

walgreens-register-rewards-101I've never formally written a post on how to play the "Drugstore Game" at Walgreens, so I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to their Register Rewards program.

In many ways, this program is very similar to the CVS ExtraCare program. When you purchase certain items and/or a certain dollar amount of items, a coupon will print out that is good on your next purchase at Walgreens.

Much like CVS, to maximize your savings the key is to combine a Register Rewards producing deal or a great sale price with a manufacturer's coupon and possibly even a store coupon. This allows you to purchase items at the lowest possible price so you can build your stockpile at a minimal cost.

However, there are some important differences that you need to be aware of to take advantage of the program to its fullest:

  • Walgreens does not require the use of a store loyalty card to earn Register Rewards, aka RRs.
  • You will only earn RRs once per deal per transaction. In other words, if Excedrin is producing $2 in RRs in a given week, you must purchase each bottle in a separate transaction to earn the Register Rewards. If you purchase 3 bottles in one transaction, you would only receive $2 in RRs.
  • RRs cannot be "rolled" on like transactions. Using the Excedrin example again, you could not purchase one bottle of Excedrin and use the RRs received to purchase a second bottle. The Register Rewards will not print out when the second transaction is completed. Instead to roll RRs, you need to alternate it with another deal. So if Pantene was producing $2 in RRs as well that week, you could purchase the Excedrin, use the Excedrin RRs to purchase your Pantene, and then turn around and use the Pantene RRs to purchase the Excedrin again and so on.
  • While Register Rewards are essentially cash, the Walgreens registers treat them as manufacturer coupons. The problem with this is that Walgreens only allow you to use as many manufacturer coupons as items on the transaction. This creates a need for "filler items" if you have a coupon for every item you're purchasing and wish to pay with a Register Reward. Filler items are inexpensive items that you add to an order so you have a non-coupon item that will allow your Register Rewards to be processed.
  • There is some debate about the best order to hand over your RRs and coupons at checkout. The method that I've found to work best personally is Register Rewards first, Walgreen's store coupons second, and manufacturer's coupons last. Feel free to change it up if it's not working well for you.

Finally, a word to the wise – treat your RRs like cash. They cannot be replaced if lost. Generally Register Rewards expire two weeks from when they are generated, so watch those expiration dates!

Ready to try your hand at shopping Walgreens? Check out the Walgreens Weekly Deals where I lay out the best deals for each week along with the coupons you need to maximize your savings.

Questions? Comments? Leave them all. I'd love to create an FAQs page to help guide readers through the process of learning to shop at Walgreens, so I welcome your input.


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