Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Walgreens Rewards

I LOVE Walgreens and the employees at the store I visit weekly can vouch for that. Walgreens works a little different from stores with Reward Cards. It has a more complicated rebate system, but once mastered you will be amazed by the amount of items you are able to receive cheaply. While there is not a rule to the right location to begin couponing with, many new couponers begin at Walgreen’s competitor store, CVS, because of its simplified program.

Walgreens has one two incentives for their customers:
1. Register Rewards (RRs)
2. Their Easy Saver Catalog (ESC) - A Rebate Program.

What are Register Rewards? A Register Reward (RR) is similar to CVS’s Extra Care Bucks. It is “monopoly money” for Walgreens. Weekly, Walgreens offers deals that give you back RRs. RRs print out on a machine called a Catalina machine (this machine sits beside the register when you buy your merchandise). Cashiers will hand you your RRs with your receipt at the end of your purchase. Most RRs are limited to one per purchase, so keep that in mind. Like ECBs, RRs have an expiration date, so pay close attention to them. You can use these RRs on ANY* item in the store (not on the same purchase for which you receive the RRs). Jackie, a reader, brings up a good point I have noted in the past. Give your register rewards BEFORE coupons at the end of a transaction.

What is the Easy Saver Rebate Catalog? The Easy Saver Rebate Catalog is a monthly catalog full of coupons and easy saver rebates (ESR). There is a rumor that this program will end soon but I will begin to discuss it anyways. In the back of the catalog are typically over 50 items for which you can get rebates. Some of the rebates are “free after rebates” (FAR). These FAR items can actually be MONEYMAKERS when combined with coupons. For example, if I have a rebate for a $5 tube of lipstick and I have a $2 coupon on that lipstick, I will pay $3 for the item. I will turn in my receipt, however, for $5 – the shelf price of the lipstick. This means, having spent only $3 on that lipstick, I am getting back $5 and thus making $2 – a MONEYMAKER. (Note – the store will make $2 off that lipstick because they turned in the coupon to the manufacturer to get their money back). If you want to make even more money, request that your rebate be returned on a Walgreens gift card. If you request your rebate on a Walgreens gift card, you get back an addition 10 percent. Again, I spent $3 on this lipstick but I am now getting back $5.50 on a gift card (with my additional 10 percent). I made $2.50 AND ended up with a tube of lipstick!!! I got paid to take lipstick.

What do I do with my Walgreens gift card? When you get your rebates on a gift card you make an additional 10 percent of ALL your rebate items. I use my gift card from the previous month to buy the next month’s rebate items. I am recycling my Walgreens money. I am not using cash in the store. Let’s say I received $40 worth of rebates in November; in December I would use that $44 gift card (remember your extra 10 percent) and buy December’s rebate items. In January, I will use December’s rebate money to buy my new rebate items for January…and the cycle continues.

How do I get my rebate? No one can explain the Easy Saver Rebate (ESR) program better than Walgreens. Pick up one of their Easy Saver Catalogs (ask the cashier – she/he will point it out to you) and read the content – found in the middle of the catalog.

Two helpful hints
1. Get it on a gift card for an additional 10 percent and then recycle your rebate money.
2. Enter your rebates online. I enter my receipts online as soon as I get home from the store so receipts are not lost or misplaced. Doing this online saves you postage, lost receipts, and makes the return on your rebate much quicker.

There is a rumor on the Web that Walgreens will be losing their Easy Saver Catalog in coming months and will move into the Rewards card program. I hope this is not the case because, even though it can be more challenging, I have been very pleased with the set up of their rebate/RR program.

*RRs cannot be used for alcohol, tobacco, prescriptions, and some other similar purchases.


Mick and Caitlin said...

Thank you so much for explaining this. I've just started couponing in the last five weeks, and although I have visited MANY couponing blogs and websites, none have explained the process so well! I saw you on Dr. Phil yesterday, which was a blessing because I don't usually watch the show. I will pass along your blog to my friends! God bless! Caitlin Crawford
PS - Is it ok if I link your blog to my own?

Jodi Ferris said...

I have a question. You said, "Give your register rewards BEFORE coupons at the end of a transaction."

I have never used WAGS RR, but is it different than CVS ECB? There I always give my coupons first, then pull off the ECB slip that is the closest to what I then owe them, so it is applied last.

Do you mean scanning the card beforehand? (Like CVS) Maybe once I give WAGS a try I will understand.

Brooklyne said...

HELLO!! I absolutely LOVE your blog!! I watched Dr. Phil yesterday (as I see many others have done) and now I'm clipping my coupons!!

I usually do most of my grocery shopping at Walmart b/c I live in a small town and that is the cheapest place. BUT, Walmart does offer competitor ad prices. So, I was wondering if you or possibly if someone who sees this would do me a HUGE favor?! I was wondering if someone could send me a Winn Dixie weekly ad. I see sooo many things in the online ad that my family uses and that are so cheap!

Please let me know if you, or someone you know would be willing to do this so I can save some extra money.

Thanks!! Brooklyne

Ace said...

I'm starting couponing today! I never, ever watch Dr. Phil and just happened to catch it yesterday. I'm so glad I did because I've been wanting to cut our grocery bill. Thank you!

tammyjh84 said...

My Walgreens will not give me my RR if I use a coupon to purchase that item. Is this a new policy?

P.S. Show you on Dr. Phil yesterday and found you website!!

Stephanie said...

Hi Ashley! I've been wanting to introduce myself. We shop at the same Walgreens store, and I keep wondering if we'll ever bump into each other. Just thought I'd say "Hi" and let you know my shared feelings about Walgreens. I love the store!! :)

I've been blogging for a while now. You can find me at: http://thecoupongame.blogspot.com

Jodi said...

Brooklyne--You are lucky they still do price-matching! They no longer do that here.

About the circular: Do you have a local Winn Dixie? If not, I am not sure they would price-match it b/c they usually only do those that have a circular in the area (store-specific), the idea being that you might stop by the other store instead, which would not be an issue of course, if the closest Winn Dixie is out of state, etc.

tammyjh84--If that's true (about the RR) then CVS is definitely preferable to WAGS, as it's the combination that usually makes it a really good deal. (IMO) You should find out their corporate policy on this b/c it doesn't seem right. After all, WAGS should be reimbursed by the manufacturer for the coupon value +$, so why would they care? If the issue is an overage, then they should adjust it.

2Grandmas2 said...

I ran across your blog on Dr. Phil, a show which I also watch rarely. Great blog, everything is so well explained. I look forward to exploring more entries, and I hope that I'll be able to use many.

the skint said...

This was such a helpful post. Thank you!

BTExpress said...

I saw you on Dr. Phil yeaterday which prompted me to your site. I must tell you that you have made a believer out of me and I am excited to start my couponing and saving those extra bucks. I am sure my local charities will love you for converting me into a couponer.

Thanks for sharing your with us and keep up the GREAt WORK!!!!

Andrea said...

I saw you on Dr. Phil too!! I used to coupon often then fell out of habit but you got me excited about getting into it again. Thanks!

xrayjenn said...

Sorry if this is a duplicate question...didn't see the answer anywhere...You can only get one RR back at a time? Or can I buy for example colgage AND right guard and get both RR as its listed in the ad? (buying different items, not multiple of same item) THANKS!

Frugal Coupon Mom - frugalcouponmom@gmail.com said...

xrayjenn, you are picking up quick. as long as the items are different you can get more than one RR! good job!

Erin said...

question. with the rebates, do you file after each shopping trip? or do you wait until the end of the month and then submit everything for the month togehter?

Frugal Coupon Living said...

Erin I file after EACH trip. I do not want to forget my rebates. I do not submit the final list until the end of the month. If you forget to submit, Walgreens does do it for you. I love that.

Erin said...

one more thing. =) with the rebates in the easy saver catalog...if you go multiple times for the free items, will you get reimbursed for each item, or can you only buy the free item once in the month? does that make sense?

Frugal Coupon Living said...

The flyer lets you know the limit. Most are limit 1...some are a higher limit. The FAR items are always 1. I wish you could do it multiple times!

Mal said...

that means, If I buy 2 right guard professional deo for 5.99 each and use $1/2 coupon I will get $11 in rebate?
Can I use my RR to buy mail in rebate items?
My husband works for Walgreens and we get employee discount. Are they going to deduct that discount from the rebate that I get back?

Thank you for your helpful tips.

Frugal Coupon Living said...

Mal you can use RRs on rebate items. I do not know about Walgreens discounts. I assume not. The right guard for the month of march as a limit of 1 so you can not get a rebate on both.
Take care!

Pixiedustbelly said...

When you are redeeming RRs, can you use more than one at once? Or is it only one per transaction?

Thanks for the help!

Frugal Coupon Living said...

Pixie, you can use more than 1 RR in a transaction. You CAN ONLY use the number of RRs and Coupons as you have items. If you have 5 items, you can use no more than 5 coupons and RRs combined. Happy shopping!

Ryan Close said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hittingtheslopes said...

i still don't understand why u should should give your RR's before your coupons?


Frugal Coupon Living said...

hitting the slopes, since this post walgreens has shifted their RRs. This does not seem to be the case any longer. I have not edited this post since a whole new arrangement will be in place in a couple weeks.

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent shopper of Walgreens but have never seen the RRs, is it possible that my store doesn't participate?

Thanks for your helpful tips!

Frugal Coupon Living said...

weiss- all stores should as it is advertized in their national flyer.

Anonymous said...

My Walgreens (Tampa) does not have the Easy saver program anymore. I am very upset over this as I seem to run out of time on the RR coupons. The expire so quickly (2 weeks usually) and the Easy saver just went on your gift car. So much easier. This is definitely going to impact my (less) spending at Walgreens. They were my only store, but now I guess I will play the drugstore game with CVS. :(

Frugal Coupon Living said...

Yes, Frugal 50s they are gone everywhere!