The Walgreens system seems complicated but it comes down to a few basic things:
1. Register Reward. This is the term Walgreens uses for it’s catalina program. A catalina is a coupon that prints at the cash register- it can be for products or it can be for a dollar amount off your next transaction. So when I say $2 Register Reward- that means when you purchase that particular item you will get a little coupon after you pay that is good for $2 off your next purchase.
2. You need 1 item for every coupon you use. Coupons are considered any manufacturer coupon or a register reward. So you can not purchase a Colgate toothbrush, 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.
3. 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 1 coupon and one Register Reward. Fillers can be something super inexpensive like a .10 pencil 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 register rewards but you can not roll the same item. For example, you can not buy a Colgate toothbrush and use that register reward to pay for the next Colgate 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-say a shaving cream, then using that reward to get another toothbrush etc.. etc… This can be a little confusing because it is not just the item but the company. So if Colgate toothbrushes have a register reward and Colgate toothpaste has a Register Reward you can’t go back and forth because it is the same company. You would want to buy a toothpaste, then something else, then a toothbrush etc..
5. 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.
6. If you have a list of several different items that each have a Register Reward you can buy them all at once and you will get each Register Reward. You might want to split up the transaction so that you can spend the least amount out of pocket.For example, if I wanted to buy the following:
Colgate Toothpaste $2.00- with $1 Register Reward
Aveeno Lip Balm $2.00 with $2 Register Reward
Reach Dental Floss $1.99 with $1 Register Reward
I could pay for all three at once- but I would spend $5.98 out of pocket. I would get $4 in Register Rewards for my next purchase.If I split up the transactions and bought:
1st transaction: Aveeno- pay $2 and get $2 Register Reward
2nd transaction: Use $2 Register Reward to pay for Colgate- pay 0 get $1 Register Reward
3rd transaction: Use $1 Register to partially pay for Reach- spend .99 and get another $1 Register Reward
So in that scenario I have only spent $2.99 total and have $1 for next time.
6. 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 #2) or your before tax total wasn’t high enough to use a Register Reward (as mentioned in tip #3) 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. 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!
These Rewards can not be added to a gift card- there is a very specific list of items you can not use them for- gift cards, lottery tickets, postage, alcohol, cigarettes etc..
If you find yourself with a lot of Register Rewards and nothing to buy I like to look for rebate items. Items that offer a mail in rebate on something you can pay for with your Register Rewards- submit the rebate and then you get the full value of the item back.
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