Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Making the most of Walgreens!

Walgreens has a whole different system than CVS. They put out a catalog called the "Easy Saver Catalog." It is usually located right next to the flyers in the front of the store. You can also access it online at Walgreens website. I think the easiest way to understand Walgreens is to go through the catalog category by catagory.

1) The front of the catalog gives you the dates of the rebate period. This month's catalog says March 29- April 25. The catalogs often overlap for a few days a month.

2) The beginning of the catalog has store coupons in it. Since they are store coupons, these coupons can be used in conjunction with manufacturers coupons for the same item.

3) Next is the mail in rebate form. You can either fill out this form and mail it in, or you can fill out the form online. The online form is quick and easy and does not require you to send in your receipts, though it requires a number from your receipt. Also, after you've filled in the information online, if you forget to claim the rebate at the end of the month, they will send it to you automatically. Obviously, if you forget to mail in your form, they're not going to know to send you anything!
-At the end of the rebate, you will be asked if you want your rebate in the form of a check or gift card. If you are planning to shop at Walgreens regularly, choose the gift card because they will tack on an extra 10%. If you do this each time you submit rebates, you could build up a nice amount of free money!
-If you already have a gift card, you can choose to have your rebate added to this gift card. This way, you can use your gift card towards future deals/rebates and never spend money out of pocket at Walgreens again!
-It generally takes 4-6 weeks to receive your first rebate, then 2-3 weeks to have additional rebates added to your gift card if you choose this option.

4) Next in the Easy Saver Catalog is the list of rebates good for the rebate period.
- Each rebate offer is numbered to make it easier to fill out the form.
- There is a limit to each rebate offer. For instance, in this months catalog there is an offer "Buy $20 of any Garnier product, get $10 back by mail- rebate limit $10". Therefore, you could only do this offer once for the month.
- To take advantage of the rebate, you need to buy the quantity required of the particular item on the offer (pay attention to any size requirements or other specifics listed.) When you get home, fill out the rebate and they will send you the money in either a check or gift card as stated above.
- Each month there are usually a few "free-after-rebate" products as well as others for part of the money back.
- Generally, throughout the rebate period, the items in the various offers will go on sale for at least one week making these rebate offers even better. You can often stack manufacturer coupons with this sale and rebate to get them free. I would strongly recommend waiting for the items to go on sale before you take advantage of the rebate offers.

Thats about it for the Easy Saver Catalog. However, Walgreens also has other savings programs.

1) In-Ad coupons- Each week, the weekly flier has coupons in it. By using these coupons, you get the item advertised at the price listed on the coupon. For instance, with the in-ad coupon last week, you could get Russell Stover Chocolates for $3.99. Each coupon also has a limit. For this particular coupon, you can use it for 3 items. This also means that if you want to buy 3, you only need to use the one coupon. You do not need 3 of these coupons. However, you could not buy 6 and use 2 coupons. The register will only apply the price to 3 of the items no matter how many of these coupons you have. Any item past that limit is full price. Since this is also a store coupon, you can use it in conjunction with a manufacturer's coupon. You could 3 each in two different transactions with one coupon for each transaction and then get 6 at the coupon price.
2) Register Rewards-A register reward is a coupon that will print out at the register when you buy a particular item.
-These coupons can be used on any future transaction until it expires.
-Most Register Rewards can not be used on that particular item to produce another Register Reward for that item. For instance, this month you can buy Chapstick Natural or True Shimmer at $1.99 and get a $1.99 Register Reward. If you use this to buy another Chapstick again, you will not get another $1.99 Register Reward. Occasionally, these deals do roll over though. A few weeks ago, you could buy one Softsoap Body Wash and get a Register Reward for a free Softsoap Body Wash. You could use that Register Reward to buy another Softsoap Body Wash and another Register Reward would print out to get another one free. This only worked for a few days before Walgreens stopped that!
-You can use manufacturer coupons in conjunction with the Register Rewards.
-You can often find coupons to match up with Register Reward deals to make them free or almost free after coupons and register rewards.
-Unlike CVS, Register Rewards are not tied to a store card, so there is no limit as to how many times you can take advantage of a Register Reward deal.

A few notes about Walgreens:

1) You can only use as many coupons as you have items. Before you check out, make sure you count how many items you have and how many coupons you have. If you have a few too many coupons, buy a few very inexpensive items to make up the difference.

2) The order you hand your coupons to the cashier is very important. It should be as follows:
-Register Rewards
-Manufacturer's Coupons
-Store coupons

-If not done in this order, you may not get the deals you intend.
-I usually will hand them the Register Rewards first, let them enter them, then hand the manufacturer's coupons, let them enter them, then the store coupons instead of handing them all at once. I've had cashiers sort through them wrong if I give them all at once and then they don't work right.

3) If a coupon does not go through, the cashier can not push it through like most other stores. In this case, if you still don't want the item, just ask them to void it.

4) Walgreens often has items marked way down on clearance at the end of their back aisles. Be sure to check these as this is how you can really get some great deals and make some money! If you find an item marked down, you can still use a coupon on it, submit it for rebate or use it towards a register rewards deal. Last week I found a razor marked down to $2 and I had a $4 coupon for it, so I actually was paid $2 to get the razor free! Definitely familiarize yourself with the location of their clearance products!

5) Walgreens has in the past had online coupons for $5 off $25 for select days only (generally a weekend). This can really work to your advantage if your total is $25 before coupons. Make sure you hand this coupon to the cashier first, then the remainder of your coupons. It also would work well if your rebate items add up to more than $25.
Walgreens can seem very overwhelming at first. Take it in stride and after you do a few deals there, it will be old hat!
Leave me a comment and let me know if I missed anything! I'm still fairly new to Walgreens myself!

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