Learn how to be a confident, savvy shopper at Walgreens while still following the store and coupon policies. If you are new to couponing you might want to wait to start shopping at drug stores, as it can be complicated – but if you are up for learning the ins and outs it can be a great way to get FREE toiletries, groceries and other important staples for your stockpile. The biggest tip is be patient, store stock is often low and demand is high.
First print out your own copy of the Walgreens Coupon Policy directly from their site and tuck it into your coupon binder or purse. We want you to be educated and confident shoppers! The Walgreens Coupon Policy is fairly new so I could imagine you may need to be patient as cashiers (and even managers sometimes) are not completely versed in the policy.
Here are some specific highlights from the Walgreens Coupon Policy (see actual policy for all specifics):
- Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) – “When items are featured in a Buy One, Get One Free promotion, up to two coupons can be used against the items being purchased, as long as the net price does not go below zero for the items being purchased.” Here is an example: Body wash is on sale for $2 and there is a BOGO sale going on. Instead of paying, $2 for two (2) body washes you can use two (2) coupons for $1/1 to get them free. You can also use a Buy One Get One Free coupon on a Buy One Get One Free sale to get both items FREE! The manufacturer is still paying for one item as promised on the coupon and Walgreens is still paying for an item as promised in the sale!
- Internet, printable coupons – Walgreens coupon policy says: “Walgreens accepts valid internet/print at home coupons.” A great source for printable coupon is coupons.com
- Walgreens does NOT take competitor coupons.
Walgreens issues store coupons are also called Instant Value Coupons or IVC. These are essentially store sales, but they require you to clip a coupon. Store coupons are funded by the store (not a manufacturer) so you can always combine a STORE coupon with a manufacturer coupon.
You can find Walgreens store coupons in their weekly ad and in monthly coupon books. You can find their monthly coupon books at the front of the store by the weekly ads. The cover changes every month, but they look something like this:
They also will issue random coupon books, such as a special edition book found by the pharmacy or you can buy $0.99 Childrens books filled with coupons sometimes too.
The best way to get items for FREE or for very little at Walgreens is through the use of Register Rewards (RR). Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons that print out at the end of your transaction. It spends like a gift card, but it prints on receipt-style paper from a catalina machine after you buy a participating item.
For example, if Walgreens ad says “Buy Colgate for $2.99 and we’ll give you a $1 back in Register Rewards,” this means after you buy the Colgate, a Register Reward for $1 will print out after your transaction. You can use the $1 RR that printed out for money off your next transaction.
You will only get ONE Register Reward per transaction, per advertised deal. So for example, if it’s “Buy Colgate for $2.99 and we’ll give you a $1 back in Register Rewards” if you bought TWO Colgates in one transaction, you’d only get ONE Register Reward. You’ll need to split them into separate transactions, if you want one for each one to print.
Stock is not guaranteed on Register Reward items
Walgreens makes no guarantees that qualifying Register Reward items will be in stock and they will not substitute an out of stock Register Reward item for another similar item. You will also not get cash back on a RR if you bought an item less than the value of it. Drug stores are known for having low stock, so don’t expect your whole shopping list to be there every time you go to the store for a deal.
If your Register Reward does not print – this could be for any number of reasons, but usually it’s because the Walgreens catalina machine is not working or is not turned on. If your RR doesn’t print, first make sure you bought the right item, and if so, call the Catalina Company at 1-888-8coupon to get a replacement mailed to you. Have your receipt handy so you can tell them which RR did not print out.
Register Rewards expire so special attention to the expiration date.
COUPON TO ITEM RATIO RULE
This is a funny quark about shopping at Walgreens. I’ve never seen this policy or requirement at any other store, but it’s an important part to shopping at Walgreens.
The Walgreens Coupon Policy requires “the number of manufacturer coupons, including Register Rewards manufacturer coupons, may not exceed the number of items in the transaction.” This means that the number of manufacturer coupons you are using needs to equal the number of items you have. Remember that Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons, so the rule still applies if you are using a RR in a transaction. Here’s an example:
If you have four (4) manufacturer coupons and one (1) Register Reward (FIVE total coupons) you have to purchase at least FIVE items in that transaction. A lot of times couponers will use a filler item to have enough items in their transaction – a filler item is generally a super cheap item, like a $0.10 pencil or a $0.33 candy. This is illustrated here:
# of manufacturer coupons = # of items
To get the best deal, you should always hand over the manufacturer coupons FIRST, Walgreens Store Coupons SECOND and any Register Rewards LAST. This will maximize your savings. The reason you give manufacturer coupons first is to avoid the register from beeping from overage (when the coupons are more than the price of the product). It does say in the Walgreens Coupon Policy that they will not give you overage on your coupons, so your cashier may adjust the price of your coupon down. Finally, Register Rewards are like cash, so you wouldn’t pay the cashier first and then hand over your coupons. You want your coupons to come off first before you pay.
- Manufacturer coupon
- Walgreens store coupon
- Register Rewards
Another great way to save at Walgreens is to take advantage of mail-in rebates. Sometimes Walgreens will offer rebates when you buy a specific item. These print at the register after you buy the qualifying product. You fill out the form, mail it in and wait for a check.
Other Tips on How to Make Your Trip to Walgreens Successful:
- Some Walgreens will special order for you! But, you cannot special order products that are special sale items, like those that trigger Register Rewards. Each store gets an allotted amount of product for those sales and are ordered months in advance. But for all other products you find for a good price, try giving Walgreens a call for a special order! It never hurts to ask.
- Ask them about shipment dates. Call your local Walgreens and asked when they get their shipments in. That might give you a second wind for all the products that were wiped out on Sunday (yes, they generally sell out the first day of the sale).
- Don’t forget to check clearance! These make great filler items and you can find some treasures.You can also use a coupon on clearance items.
- Problems? Call Walgreens Customer Service at 1-800-WALGREENS or go through the Walgreens Contact Us page if you would rather email.
Here is one last thought: Always, ALWAYS be nice! Walgreens can be confusing and frustrating at times, but don’t take it out on your cashiers. If you have a smile on your face and a good attitude it will get you further than a frown and with a bad attitude. This applies to all stores, all deals, all transactions.
Contact me if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer questions and update this post.