Of course I had to hit the post Easter sales yesterday and I had a $3 Register Reward from Walgreens burning a hole in my pocket.
If you missed last week’s trip it is here– but basically I purchased a Colgate toothpaste and got a $3.50 RR. I then used that reward to purchase the Skintimates Shaving Cream. I kept that RR for this week- although I could have kept switching back and forth between rewards.
The Walgreens system seems complicated but it comes down to a few basic things:
1. You need 1 item for every coupon you use. Coupons are considered any manufacturer coupon AND register reward. In ad coupons or coupons from the rebate book do not count. So you can not purchase a Colgate toothbrush this week, use a manufacturer coupon and use a register reward. That would be considered one item and 2 coupons and the register will not accept it. If the coupon was an in ad coupon and a register reward it would be just fine.
2. Fillers. Fillers are an item you do not use a coupon on. In the scenario above you need a filler so that you have 2 items and can use 2 coupons. Fillers can be something super inexpensive like a .10 pencil or a rebate item or candy or whatever you like. Fillers can also be used to bring your total up to use a register reward. If you have a register reward for $3.00- your BEFORE TAX total needs to be at least $3.00. If you have item for $2.99 the register will not allow you to use a $3 reward- you need a filler to get above the $3 mark.
3. Rolling. You can go back and forth between rewards but you can not roll the same item. For example, you can not buy a Colgate toothbrush and use that reward to pay for the next toothbrush. The register will accept the first register reward but it will not print another one. So you will have lost money. Instead you need to go back and forth between rewards. If you want 5 toothbrushes, you might consider buying one and using the reward to get the free shaving cream, then using that reward to get another toothbrush etc.. etc…
4. Buying multiples of an item. If I did want to purchase 5 toothbrushes, I would need at least 5 transactions. If an item is free after reward you can only buy one at a time. If you buy 5, you will pay for all five out of pocket and only receive one reward. That is why you often see people with multiple transactions at Walgreens. If there is a long line and you have a number of transactions you may consider doing two and then stepping aside. I also like to find the photo center or beauty counter as I am less likely to hold up the line in those areas.
5. The register wins. Most stores allow cashiers to override the register. So if you are at Target buying an item and using a coupon and for some reason the register beeps, the cashier can just push it through. At Walgreens, for the most part, if the register beeps (or rejects your coupon) you are out of luck. If it does beep it is likely a mistake such as two manufacturer coupons (as I discussed in tip #1) or your before tax total wasn’t high enough (as mentioned in tip #2) or you simply grabbed the wrong item. I have never had a cashier override a register beep.
The system is fairly straightforward once you get these basics down. This is unique to Walgreens and one reason I am excited to see CVS coming. One other important note on the register rewards is that you need to pay very close attention to the expiration dates. Once they expire they are useless so be very careful you don’t waste your money!
So here is how I rolled my reward from last week:
Coffeemate Creamer $1.50- used $1/1 manufacturer coupon= .50
Scunci Hair Bands $2- received a $2 register reward
Hershey’s Kisses (1 bag on clearance) $1.25
Total $3.92- used $3 register reward from last week. Spent .92 out of pocket.
(Note: The Scunchi or Hershey’s could have served as a filler since I didn’t use coupons on either. I added the bag of chocolate to get my pretax total over $3 to use the register reward.)
3 bags Hershey’s Kisses $1.25/each= $3.75- used $2 register reward and paid $1.75 cash
This is my favorite way to roll Register Rewards as I put both rewards into the chocolate, which is a rebate item. I will have spent $.92+ $1.75= $2.67 and I will get $5.00 back in rebates. Since I am putting the rebate back on my gift card, Walgreens will give me an extra 10% so I will have made a profit of $2.83 to buy chocolate!
I would much rather have a gift card as I don’t have to worry about all the things I outlined above and I get an extra 10%. Walgreens has decided to stop the rebate program as of next month though, so I plan to use my gift cards on the great rebates this month and see what happens.
One other tip with rolling register rewards- you can always look for rebate items outside of the Walgreens program. SAMY Essencia haircare, Organix Shampoo/Conditioner, some cereals etc.. all have manufacturer rebates. If nothing else you can purchase those items with your Register Rewards and submit for the rebate and get a check from the manufacturer.
Also, the Johnson’s bath wash was a quick trip to Target. I used a $1/1 MQ and a $1/1 Target coupon I received in the mail. I paid .37 with tax.
Please feel free to ask any Walgreens questions you might have below! It might seem like too much trouble to bother with, but it really is very simple once you give it a try.