Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Walgreens Basics

Getting Deals at Walgreens

Instant Value Coupons
The weekly Walgreens ad (which can be found at the front of the store) has coupons in it. Usually the coupons are for a certain price (rather than a certain amount of money off the price). Each coupon has a limit of how many of the item you can get for that price. The neat thing about these is that they are store coupons. They can be "stacked" with a manufacturer coupon, as well. Combining the savings of a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon will often get you free or cheap items (or even earn you money).

Register Rewards
Register Rewards (RRs) are coupons that print at the register for a certain amount of money off your next transaction. The ad will tell you what item or combination of items will earn you RRs. Often, the amount of the RRs depends on the quantity of the items you buy. It usually is a much better deal to buy in the highest quantity. You can use RRs like cash on your next purchase. They usually expire 2 weeks from when they were awarded.

For example, recently there was a RRs deal with some Unilever products: Buy 8 qualifying items and get $10 RRs, buy 6 and get $6 RRs, buy 4 and get $2 RRs. Among the participating items is Skippy peanut butter on sale for $1.99. That's not a fabulous price by itself (though much better than ridiculous regular prices at drugstores), but if you factor in the RRs, it becomes a great deal. I bought 8 jars of peanut butter for $16 and got a $10 RRs. I will use the $10 RRs like cash to get another good deal, rather than spend it on a normal-priced item, so it was like I paid $6 for 8 jars, or $.75 a jar. The cashier gave me a funny look and asked me if I really liked peanut butter or if I was making something special. I couldn't think of anything witty, so I just told him the truth: peanut butter is a great food storage item, so I stock up when it's a good price.

Note: You can use RRs to pay for purchases that will earn you more RRs, as long as the RRs you are using as payment originated from a different RR deal. For example I could use the $10 RR to pay for $10 worth of Robitussin (which will earn me $5 RRs), but if I use it to pay for another 8 jars of Skippy (or any other products in the Unilever deal), I wouldn't get the $10 RR again. You can alternate between two deals, but you can't keep rolling the RRs into the same deal.

EasySaver Catalog: Coupons
Each month there is a new EasySaver catalog available at the front of the store with the ad. It's a small, but thick little booklet that has coupons and rebates. The coupons in the EasySaver catalog are similar to the in-ad Instant Value coupons, only they are valid all month long and they are usually for a certain amount off (like a normal coupon). They can also be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Sometimes using a store and a manufacturer coupon together will exceed the price of the item. The excess is called “overage.” This money will go toward other items in your transaction! A few EasySaver coupons seem to be highlighted each week in the ad. The items will usually be on sale one of the weeks in the month, making it an even better deal.

For example, there was an EasySaver coupon for $1.50 off Sure deodorant in the November catalog. One week in November, Sure was on sale for $1.99, making the deodorant $.49 with the coupon. There was also a manufacturer coupon available for $1.00 off Sure. I stacked that coupon with the EasySaver coupon and got free deodorant plus I made $.50. The overage helped pay for the rest of my purchase.

EasySaver Catalog: Rebates
EasySaver rebates are the friendliest and least risky kind of rebates out there. You can do them online, so there isn't even the cost of a stamp involved. Plus, if you opt to have your rebate put on a Walgreens gift card (rather than just receive a check, which is also a valid option), you will get a 10% bonus added to your rebate amount. Once you get your gift card, you can have future rebates added to the same card, so you don’t even have to wait for it to come in the mail. There are 30+ rebates available every month, including at least one "free-after-rebate" item. The catalog has a quick list of all the rebates for the month, as well as a detailed description of each one, along with a picture. Like the EasySaver coupons, the weekly ad usually highlights a few rebates each week by putting the items at a sale price that makes the rebate go even further. Most rebates have a limit of one, but occasionally you can earn the same rebate more than once.

For example, in January there was a $5 rebate for getting a printer ink cartridge filled. I think the normal price is around $10, but one week's ad had an ink refill on sale for $5, making it free after you get your $5 rebate (or earn $.50 if you choose to get your rebate on a Walgreens gift card).

Other Notes
I have heard from some people that Walgreens will only accept as many coupons as you have items. This means that if you are using 2 coupons for one item, you need another item that doesn't have a coupon (or one coupon that covers 2 items). Any RRs that you are using also count as a coupon. The easiest way around the possible problem is just to count your items and coupons before you get to the register. If you need to, you can grab a box of pudding or some $.30 knee highs. It has never been an issue for me.

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