Friday, August 26, 2011

Couponing for Two: Shopping at Walgreens

Walgreens is a national drug store chain, like CVS, that you find on most any corner in a major US city.  Other drug stores, like Walgreens and CVS include Rite Aid and Duane Reed, however we do not have either of these in Dallas, Texas so I am focusing on Walgreens and CVS.  This post will be about shopping and saving at Walgreens.

Before becoming focused on saving money, I thought of Walgreens as the place to get my photos developed, for cheap with their weekly photo deals.  However, that is where the savings would end because when I went into Walgreens to pick my photos up...I would buy a bunch of stuff I did not need, without coupons, without sales, and IF I got a Register Reward back, I did not know what to do with it so it so it sat in the bottom of my purse expiring.

I will admit, I am still learning but I have saved a lot in the process and look forward to saving more as I get more Walgreens experience.  One thing I am learning is how to READ their sales.  For example this week Walgreens had the Keebler brand of SOME cookies and SOME crackers on sale for 4/10.00.  Now that, right there, is a better price than the Walmart down the street where the Keebler Fudge Stripes, for example, are 2.68.  However, we are not stopping the savings with the sale price.  This week along with the sale price, you get 5.00 in Register Rewards back to use on a future transaction.  This has now dropped the price down to 4/5.00.  If you have coupons to pair up with this "deal" it will get even lower.  I got it down to 4/3.00 (with 1.00/2 Rice Krispies Treats and 1.00/2 Keebler Cookies coupons minus the 5.00 in Register Rewards Makes these 4/3.00 or .75 cents a box!!!!)  Now that beats Walmarts 2.18 a box (wyb 2 and after the 1.00 off coupons).  Please note that you must read the sales ad and buy the number it states to get these prices and the Register Rewards as Walgreens can be a bit pricey when you buy just one (on a 2 for $.$$ or 4 for $.$$ sale, the sale price is not divided by 2 if you just by one...and you will not get the Register Rewards unless you buy the number the ad states to buy). what about these Register Rewards?  Well, I think Collin from Hip 2 Save can explain it best, "Register Rewards (a.k.a. Catalina coupons) are manufacturer coupons that print out from a Catalina machine at the register after you have completed your transaction. The Register Rewards print out after you buy a participating product, which may be advertised in Walgreens weekly ad. There are also Register Reward deals that are not advertised in the weekly ads but are posted inside the store.

Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons. When you have a RR in hand to use, you can only use ONE RR per item purchased. For example: If you are purchasing three items, you can use up to a combination of three manufacturer coupons and/or RRs. If you attempt to use more than three, the register will beep. If you run into a situation where you have more manufacturer coupons/RRs to use than products, look for “filler” items to add to your purchase. Fillers are inexpensive items, and they allow you to apply more coupons at checkout. Great options for filler items include clearance merchandise, small candies, and pencils. Note: Walgreens store coupons do NOT count towards your coupon-to-item ratio. In other words, the register will not beep if you are using more Walgreens coupons than items.

If you purchase more than one of the same Register Reward participating item per transaction, you will only receive one Register Reward–NOT two! In order to get more than one RR coupon when purchasing more than one of the same qualifying items, request that each item be rung up on a separate transaction. However, you can purchase different Register Reward qualifying items in the same transaction, and you will receive one RR for each DIFFERENT qualifying Register Reward item purchased.

Another important thing to note is that Register Reward deals do NOT roll! This means that if your receive a $2RR for purchasing Huggies diapers, you cannot use this same RR to purchase another package of Huggies diapers and expect another $2RR to be generated.

You CAN use Register Rewards from a different deal to pay for another Register Reward deal–which means you can roll Register Rewards from different deals to help lower your out-of-pocket expense.
If a RR does not print, make sure that the Catalina machine is on (Note: You should see a blinking green light.) and that you bought EXACTLY the right variety of product that was supposed to generate the RR. If you still feel that you should have received a RR, you can have the cashier delete the transaction and ring your items up again OR you can leave the store and call the Catalina company directly. You can reach Catalina at 1-888-8coupon: Have your receipt in hand and state which items in your purchase should have triggered a RR. Catalina will review your transaction and will mail you a RR, within two to three weeks, if you should have received one."(from Hip2Save)

The hardest part to remember, but you must not forget, is to NOT use a Register Reward from Proctor and Gamble, for example, on another Proctor and Gamble "deal"...or a Colgate RR on another Colgate "deal".  You can use them...but you will NOT get another RR back...and well...then their goes the savings.  You have to have time to shop in Walgreens and lots and lots of patients.

Another thing to "get the hang of" at Walgreens is their STORE COUPONS.  These are either found in the weekly ads, in their monthly coupons books (both can be found at the front of the store), special "helpful" pamphlets, etc.  Keep your eyes peeled and do not be afraid to ask the pharmacy, beauty counter, or even the manager if they have any special coupons out.  They are there to help you and SHOULD be happy you are doing business in their store.  You are the customer, do not let them treat you any different just because you are using coupons (more on that in another post).

The STORE COUPONS can be "stacked" with your manufacture coupons.  This really helps the savings add up.  Just imagine if you can stack a store and a manufacture coupon on a sale item that also gives you back Register Rewards...oh goodness, I think I just got a hot flash.  For more info on this please see HIp2Save's Walgreens Store Guide (by the way, this is one of my MOST FAVORITE websites for couponing).

Now...would you like to see this in action?

Transaction one:
This was from last weeks sales cycle but when I went into Walgreens to get a Dallas Morning News Early Sunday Edition for some coupons, I saw they had restocked the Scope Mouthwash and wanted to pick some up.  (This is an example of when you must buy 2.  The Scope was 2/6.00 then you got back some Register Rewards.  I think it was 3.00 in Register Rewards.  I had a coupons for the Scope (.75/1, I had 2  which brought them down to 2/4.50, then I got back the RR)

Transaction 1
2 Scope Mouthwash (2/6.00 - 2  .75Qs and 3.00 RR)
1 DMN Sunday Paper 3.00
This transaction came to 7.50 but I had 5.00 in Register Rewards from earlier in the week, so it was 2.50 oop (out of pocket).

Transaction 2
2 Sugar Free Nips (2.19 BOGO sale, no coupon)
3 Mentos (clearance .75 a piece - 1.00/3 Coupon)
Gummie Bears (.70 on clearance)
2 Walgreens Brand Cold Med (1.29 on clearance but these do not expire until 2012 sometime)
Sandals (clearance 3.24 down from 12.99)
All of this came to 34.05 before the savings. After all the WAGS (Walgreens) savings, Coupons (but I only had 1 regular coupon) and Register Rewards (I used the one I got from the 3 - 3.00 RRs I got from a previous transaction that were about to expire) So this transaction came to 1.30 oop (out of pocket).

That entire trip was 3.80 oop....and I got a really comfy pair of Sandals and my DMN with lots of Coupons in it.  I also still have 3.00 in RR from the Scope "deal" not to mention I did not use all of the RR I had from the previous week.

Now on to the current week's sales cycle:

The above photo shows FOUR different Transactions that I did on Monday of this sale cycle.  I had to wait for Ms Dixie Lee to get done with her Spa Day so I needed to kill some time.  We will call them Transactions 3, 4, 5, and 6. Transaction 3 (at Beltline WAGS)
1 pack of Viva Paper Towels (5.99 on sale minus 1.00 WAGS Q and 1.00 Internet Printed Q = 3.99)
2 Crest Toothpaste (2/5.00 on sale minus 2 .75Qs and 3 RR = .50 cents for two tubes *great stock-up price if you can not find it free)
1 Colgate Sensitive Whitening (4.99 on sale minus 1.50Q and 4.00 RR = -.51 cents *here is your FREE toothpaste and even better it is a money maker...I do not use this toothpaste but I can easily donate...I can, however, use a .51 cents MM**)
Cold and Sinus Meds (2.29 on clearance...this is something I defiantly use and I needed a "filler"***)
The total oop for all of this was 3.37 cents because I had a 10.00 RR from last week.  I could have used a 3.00 RR to get my oop lower but I simply forgot. (remember I got 4 RR from Colgate and 3 RR from Proctor and Gamble - Crest so I am really UP 3.73)

Transaction 4 (still at Beltline WAGS)
I repeated Transaction 3 with the exception of adding the following:
2 Reese's PNB Cups (2/1.79)
1 Coke Zero (1.59 minus a .75 Q wyb 1 Coke and 1 Reese's product...I needed a "filler" item so I went ahead and bought 2 Reese's)
I used another 10.00 RR from last week and the 3.00 RR from my Scope "deal" from Transaction 1.  My oop on this transaction was .87 cents.  Even though I bought more, my oop was lower because I had more RR.  I did not use any of the RR I got from Transaction 3 because I was repeating the Colgate and the Crest deal in this transaction.  If I had used wither of those RR, another one would not have printed out...making the deal not so great on these products.  So in this transaction I got all of this and lunch (the coke and candy...LOL)

Not wanting to be a "shelf clearer" on some of these items, I headed over to a Walgreens closer to home.  The one I was at for the above Transaction was near Dixie Lee's groomer.

Transaction 5
Colgate Sensitive (4.99 minus 1.50 Q minus 4 RR = .51 cents MM)
Tape (.39 cents with WAGS in-store Q..a "filler" and something we needed)
Total oop .91 cents because I used a 3.00 RR from the Crest "deal". (but I got a 4.00 RR from the Colgate "deal", this is what we call "rolling" so I basically traded in the Proctor and Gamble / Crest RR of 3.00 for a 4.00 RR from Colgate PLUS got more toothpaste and tape.  Personally, I would rather have the Colgate RR to use later on than a Proctor and Gamble RR, the Colgate will be much easier to use since "Proctor and Gamble" has so many products and are harder to "roll".)

Transaction 6
Colgate Sensitive (yep more...we are "set" for toothpaste and I am donating what we do not need.  Remember, this is FREE and a money maker after all is said and done)
Skippy Peanut Butter (2.00 on sale with WAGS in store Q stacked with a manufacture q of 1.00 = 1.00, not a bad stock-up price)
Tape (again, we needed it and I think I needed a "filler" again)
This transaction came to .88 cents oop, that is less than the sale price of the peanut butter.  I used the other Crest / Proctor and Gamble 3.00 RR from the earlier transaction and a 1.00 RR from another product last week.  And remember I got back another 4.00 in RR from the Colgate "deal", yet again.

So for those 4 transaction, that took less than an hour (with travel time and another stop) I picked up a few things for my stockpile. some items to donate, and lunch (remember the coke and candy?) for only 6.03 oop (and could have been as low as 3.03, if I had remembered to use a 3.00 RR in Transaction 3).  I have 20.00 RR left from this days transaction and even some left from the previous week (the previous week's RRs were in larger denominations so they are a bit trickier to use).  One way I like to look at this is I would have paid almost 6.00 just for 1 of the Viva Paper Towels without coupons at Wal-Mart so all the other stuff is bonus.

And believe it or not...I was not done with Walgreens this week.

I had some time to kill before seeing my niece Cheer at her first football game so I stopped in at Walgreens to pick up some drinks and ice for the game.  Since I was there ...

I picked up:
More Colgate Sensitive (I have quiet a few coupons for this stuff)
Total oop .49 cents because I used a RR from last week.

Instead of pocketing that Colgate RR, I "rolled" it onto the following transaction:
1 AMP Energy Drink (on sale .99)
3 Vitamin Waters (3/4.00 with WAGS in ad coupon)
Sucker (.59 "filler")
oop.....   .58 cents because I used the 4.00 Colgate RR.  I did not expect anything to crank out of the catalina (where the register rewards come from) machine but I got a coupon for a free Gatoraid bar and a free Gatoraid drink.  The store was out so I will have to save that one for another time.

This last trip was unexpected but only took me all of 5 minutes run in / run out.  This is what I am working towards with Walgreens...a fast run in and get what I need and "roll" my RR so I am out of pocket very little.

After all of that, looking back at the pics, it does not seem like I got all that much.  LOL.  And really?  I didn't.  It just took a bit to explain it and not everything is pictured.  Once you get the hang of it, it will not take long at all to do your shopping.  And considering I was oop so little compared to the RR I got back and the products I got, I am ok with that.  Use the websites to help you pick your deals, organise your coupons and get to saving. (websites like A Full Cup, Cut Clip Save, Krazy Coupon Lady, and Hip2Save)

(notes:  **Money Maker or MM= when you buy an item that, after coupons, sales, and Register Rewards you are coming out ahead or making money.  You will not get CASH back but your RR will be more than the item cost you oop.  This is when you will pick something up you do not usually use and either give it a try or donate it to someone who can use it.  I will be giving lots of stuff to the Assisted Livings around here.  ***Fillers are very inexpensive items you add to a transaction to make it possible to use your manufacture coupons.  A Register Reward is considered a manufacture coupon.  You have to have more items than manufacture coupons in a transaction.  If you were to purchase 2 Scopes and 2 Skippy Peanut Butter in one transaction and then use a clipped coupon for each item then use a Register Reward you got from another transaction, you would need ONE filler item to make the items equal the number of coupons.  WAGS in-store coupons do not count toward this total.)

I hope all of this makes sense to you.  There are many videos and tutorials on the web.  Look at Hip2Save's videos, she has them for most every store.  The Walgreens info can be found here. 

Walgreens is very confusing but if you have the patients to learn the system you will save a lot of money.  You, most likely, will not use Walgreens to stock up on anything very fast...look at how many transactions it took for me to get all that toothpaste.  This week, I had plenty of down time where I was waiting for something...times where I had to fill up my time out of the house. Most weeks, I will go in on Sunday and maybe once more through out the week.  We have several Walgreens around here and running to Walgreens is like running to the corner store.  If there is a great deal on something and I have the time and coupons to make it work...I will go a few times and take advantage of it.  I do not like buying a lot of something at one time because I do not want to take up all of the stock or cashiers time.  Every time I think the store is not crowded and start my transactions, as soon as I am done with one there is a line behind me...and I am not THAT lady, ya know...that makes everyone wait and wait while I run through 5 transactions.  Plus, I keep thinking if I do that Walgreens will get tired of it and change their rules...and then it will be ALL my fault.. (this is just in my mind..I know it would not be ONLY because of me, right?)

I just counted up all of my Register Rewards that I can use next week...I have about 44.00 in Register Rewards.  I should not be oop ANYTHING.  I think I might get some photos developed, too.  Walgreens has a great sale coming up so I am sure I can find lots that I need...or maybe just a bunch of candy?  ha ha.

I hope this series is inspiring you to start clipping, rolling, and saving!!!!

Tiffany is another Walgreen's know I had one more in me...LOL

This was actually the Keebler "deal" I talked about at the first of this post.  I did NOT buy more Colgate, it is just in the photo because it was "there"...

Here is the transaction:
6 Dawns (.99 with in-ad coupon stacked with a manufacture coupon .50 = .49 cents each)
2 Keri lotions(5.99 on sale minus 2.00 manufacture coupon and then you get 5.00 in Register Rewards back = 2.00 Money Maker.  All of the Wags have been out of this and I had several coupons just wasteing away)
2 boxes Rice Krispie Treats(not shown) and 2 Keebler Cookies (see deal at top of post)
Sucker (.59 cents "filler")
I used a 10.00 RR (about to expire), a 5.00 RR, and a 3.00 RR (about to expire) and was oop 1.48 plus I got back 15 Register Rewards.  What...What???!!!???  LOL

Now I need to cool it with the toothpaste, dish soap, and junk food.  Well, maybe not the toothpaste as it is donatable and FREE but the junk food would not make it to the donation site....

1 comment:

  1. Look at you go! And thanks for explaining how Walgreens works. I usually work the CVS every week with coupons and their "extra care bucks". For a while, I was getting toothpaste and deodorants for next to nothing every week.

    If they're super cheap, I'll buy even the brands that I don't use and put them aside for when I hear of the organizations in our area collecting for the homeless or people who have burned out of their homes.

    I'm interested to see what you say about how couponers are sometimes treated in the stores. I overheard a clerk a while back going on and on about how ridiculous people who use coupons are and how we really never save any money. I mean, seriously...if she was paying attention, she could SEE that we save money. :)