Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Explore Savings at Walgreens... for Beginners

Are you a frequent shopper at Walgreen's? I definitely am. I will make approximately 10-12 trips per month to my local Walgreen's stores in order to take advantage of the many sales, rebates and deals I can get my hands on. Walgreen's is no ordinary drugstore, it has many different rebate & reward programs you can participate in and save a ton of money.

Walgreen's Easysaver Catalog: Walgreen's produces this booklet monthly (it actually starts before the month begins, example the November 2008 booklet started Oct 24th). The Easysaver booklet is found online & in Walgreen's stores (near the weekly fliers). The Easysaver catalog has 2 parts to it: Easysaver Coupons & Easysaver Rebates.

Easysaver Coupons are Walgreen's coupons that you can clip out and use all month long. Since they are Walgreen's coupons, they can be stacked (used in conjunction) with manufacturers coupons as well as the 7 day Coupons (Walgreen's coupons located in the weekly flier). These coupons are also called Instant Value Coupons or IVC. Only one coupon is needed when purchasing multiple of the same item. For example you have a $1.00 Easysaver coupon for Crest toothpaste and you are buying (2) toothpastes, the coupon will deduct $1.00 twice (or as many as you purchase) and there is no need to clip additional Easysaver Coupons for the same product.

Easysaver Rebates are listed in the second half of the catalog. Listed first are the Free after Rebate Items (Walgreen's usually has some of these every month) and then the additional rebate items offered for that month. Each rebate has a Rebate # and listed below are the specific details of the rebate item, amount of rebate $ offered and maximum quantity you can qualify for. Walgreen's rebate program is a traditional rebate program meaning that one must lay out the money to purchase the item, submit for the rebate and then receive the money back (via check or gift card- your choice).

Register Rewards are coupons printed from a Catalina machine (pictured above) after you make a qualifying purchase. These coupons are as good as cash and can be used on your next purchase (or transaction). The Catalina machine may also print out additional Catalina coupons such as; save $4 on Rezunit air freshener that can be used any time until it expires.Register Rewards expire 2 weeks from the date it was printed. Register Reward deals (advertised weekly) are usually limited to one per person, however since there is no Walgreen's card the transaction is not linked to you, so you can purchase multiple of the same item in different transactions and get the register reward each time. Register Rewards do have some rules and regulations in order to receive and use the rewards.

:::Register Rewards received from one offer cannot be rolled over and used to pay for the same offer in another transaction (or for another offer from the same manufacturer like P&G etc). For example Oral B Toothbrush recently was priced at $4.50 and you get a $4.50 Register Reward when you check out. A second toothbrush cannot be purchased and paid with the $4.50 Register Rewards that you received from the previous transaction (the computer knows what deal it came from and it will not work).

:::You will not get the Register Rewards if you have more coupons than the amount of items purchased. If you are using a Register Reward to pay for your purchase, it counts as (1) coupon, Easysaver and Manufacturer coupons for the same item count as (1) coupon (both coupons count as one), also if you are using a $5/$20 Walgreen's coupon- that will count as (1) coupon as well. Always count your items before checkout and if you have more coupons than items, look for some cheap items to add to your purchase so that the Register Rewards will print out.

:::If you think you purchased the right items and the Register Rewards did not print then you can call the Catalina company at (888) 322-3814 and you will have to wait about 6-8 weeks to get the rewards in the mail.

Submitting Easysaver Rebates can be done by mail or online. The deadline for submitting the rebates is found in the Easysaver booklet or online. Rebates can be redeemed for a check or for a Walgreen's gift card. If you chose the gift card option, you will get an additional 10% added to the card. For example you are submitting for $20 worth of rebates and choose the Walgreen's gift card you will get an additional $2 for a total of $22.

:::Submit Rebates by Mail: The form for the Easysaver Rebates is located in the center of the Easysaver Booklet. If this is your first time simply fill out the form and mail it to Walgreen's with your receipts and items circled. On the form you must choose how you want to get the money by check or gift card. It will take approximately 4-6 weeks for you to get your check or gift card. If you already have a Walgreen's gift card from a previous rebate, you can have the rebate amount loaded on the gift card (must write the card # on the rebate form). Once the money is loaded on the card you will get a postcard stating the amount of money added to your gift card. This process only takes about 3 weeks.

:::Submit Rebates Online: Its easier and faster than doing it by mail. Create an account and enter some numbers from the receipt. Within a week or two you will get an email notifying you of the items that were posted to your rebate. When the month is over you will need to request your rebate check or gift card online.

So now that the basic rebates and savings programs were discussed, learn how to start saving even more money and get things for free, nearly free or profit from your Walgreen's purchases. Here are some tips I compiled to get you on the way to big savings!

  • Use coupons for Free after Rebate Items. Since you are laying out the money anyways for the Free after Rebate item, why not lay out less money and get more money back? For example: Nivea for Men Body Wash is on sale $4.99 and get $4.99 back. Use a recent $1.00 Coupon and pay $4.00 and get $5.00 back. Opt for the gift card redemption and get an additional $0.50 (10% more). That's a profit of $1.50. My belief is that we really won't get rich from the $1 or $2 we get, but if deals like this and others are done often enough, it can actually pay for the items we need to buy each week, like milk etc without having to lay out any money from our pockets.

  • Combine Coupons with Rebate Items that are on sale and make the item Free. Even if the item is not listed as Free with Rebate, it may be free or a moneymaker if you use a manufacturer coupon. For example, Lysol Neutra Air is on sale for $5.99 and a $3.00 Rebate is offered. Use $5.00 manufacturer coupon and pay only $0.99 for the item and get back $3.00. That equals to a net profit of $2.00 for buying the product. FYI: even if you really don't NEED the product, buy it (and give it away to friends & family) just so you can profit $2.00 from the item.

  • Stack Coupons to get items for free or nearly free. Stack Walgreen's coupons from the weekly flier& Easysaver booklet with traditional manufacturers coupons to get amazing savings. Sources for manufacturers coupons include coupons from newspaper inserts, printable coupons found online (see sidebar and printable coupon list) and more. (Check your individual store policy regarding Internet printable coupons.)

  • Use coupons with items that are Free after Register Rewards. For example Tylenol is priced at $3.00 and get $3.00 RR back. Use a $1.00 (or more) coupon and pay only $2.00 and get $3.00 back. That's immediate profit of $1.00. Similarly, if Excedrin is priced at $3.00 and get $2.00 RR back, use a $1.00 coupon and pay $2.00 and get $2.00 back= Free.

  • Stack Buy One Get One Free Coupons with a B1G1 Free sale. For example, Schick razors were recently B1G1 Free, so buy (2) and use your B1G1 Free coupon and get both for free. (This works and is 100% legal). In addition to that you may also use another coupon for the second item (that works with the theory of 1 coupon per item). So for example you also have a $2.00 coupon for razors that are already on sale B1G1 Free, you can use the B1G1 Free coupon and the $2.00 Coupon and make $2.00 profit. Note: Walgreen's will never physically pay you $2.00 (or any sum of money) for any transaction, however if you are buying other items that you will submit for rebate later on- your out of pocket will be less money because of the $2.00 profit you made on the razors. Keep in mind that if the Easysaver booklet has additional Walgreen's coupons they can be used as well and you could profit even more.

  • Stack Rebates to make big Profit. This does not occur very often, however when it does the profit is usually large. Many times items will be free after rebate, whether its 100% free with rebate from Walgreen's or becomes free when you combine rebate+ coupon. Now, many manufacturers also offer their own free after rebate coupons. They can be found in the weekly coupon inserts, in products and online. So here's the plan, buy the item at Walgreen's, submit for the rebate online (you must submit online, so you can send the original receipt back to the manufacturer), get the rebate from Walgreen's, submit for a manufacturers rebate by mail and get your money back from the manufacturer. Stacking up rebates can produce great profits = to amount the item cost + value of coupons used.

  • Get rainchecks for rebate items if they are not in stock. This tip is useful for any sale or rebate item in any store.

  • Subscribe to Walgreen's to get additional coupons emailed to you. Lately Walgreen's has been very generous with the save $5 off $20 coupon etc. Every few weeks they will email you a coupon similar to that. The coupon will usually come on Thursday and will be valid for a 2 day sale period, most often Friday & Saturday.

  • Roll Register Rewards & Gift Cards and never spend a dime anymore at Walgreen's. If you learn this system well (it takes lots of practice) you can be like myself and many others that hold true to the above statement. To start this cycle you will need to purchase rebate items with coupons and use all the above techniques to do your shopping. Later you will submit for rebates & get a Walgreen's gift card (with an additional bonus 10%). That gift card will be used for the following month's rebate & register reward items so that you are not laying out anymore money. The following month's gift card will do the same and so on.

  • Take full advantage of Double Dipping Days. Double Dipping Days (not a term officially used by Walgreen's) are the days when (2) Easysaver Booklets overlap. These are always the last 2 days of the previous month's booklet and the first two days of the upcoming month's booklet. They will occur the last Friday & Saturday of the month (not the fiscal month but the end of the month for the October booklet will be the 26th- not the 31st). These days are very special because you can use Easysaver coupons from both booklets & qualify for rebates from both booklets. (FYI: lately we also have been getting a $/$$ coupon as well). This means you can stack even more coupons for one item. Say Pert Shampoo is on sale for $4.00, and there is a $1.00 ESR (Easysaver) Coupon in Oct booklet and a $2.00 ESR Coupon in Nov booklet, and a Walgreen's rebate in Oct for $3.00 and you use a $2.00 traditional manufacturer coupon. You will spend - $1.00 OOP ($4.00- $2.00 -$1.00- $2.00= - $1.00) and submit for a rebate and get back $3.00, that is a total profit of $4.00. Remember you can use (2) Easysaver coupons from different months on the same item as well as manufacturer coupons too.

  • Combine all the tips in your transaction (if possible) and reap great benefits. Using all these tips every time you shop can really make your trips very worthwhile. Follow my weekly post on the Walgreen's deals for the week and get started to savings today!

  • Study the order of coupons and have the register always accept them! Many people have stories about why the register did not accept their coupon, register reward etc. The machines are programmed a certain way and we need to work with that. That being said, if you want to succeed then submit your coupons in the following order. (just my advice)
  1. $/$$ Walgreen's Coupon (such as $5/$20, $10/$40 etc)
  2. Register Rewards (such as a $10 RR, $4 RR etc)

  3. Manufacturers Coupons (traditional and printable)

  4. Walgreen's Coupons (from Easysaver or in flyer coupons)

  5. Use Gift Card for any out of pocket left (if there is any)

Personal Tips:
:::Pick up multiple copies of the Easysaver Catalog so you can plan your trip at home including cutting out all the coupons you plan on using and writing a shopping list.

:::If you are new to Walgreen's savings, then pick one deal from the weekly advertised deals or from my weekly Walgreen's Deals Blog post. Try doing the one deal with appropriate coupons etc, submit for the rebate and eventually when you get the hang of it, increase your shopping list with just another deal or two. Soon enough you will be in my shoes and will be sharing your savings advice with others.

:::Profiting $2.00 here & $4.00 there will not make you rich. But keep in mind that at the same time you are getting free products that you need. Also, if these kind of transactions (the profitable ones) are done often enough you will end up with a nice amount per month and you can actually purchase some food, milk and household food for FREE with that money.


Serena said...

Are the Catalina machines a regional thing? I've never seen one at any Houston-area store.

A Mom with Money Saving Ideas said...

Yes, they are. Look at your weekly walgreen's ad and notice that when they state "Buy Tide or Gain...Get $1 Register rewards back" (this week's ad 11/2-11/8). The register reward comes out of a catalina machine.

Teddi14 said...

I use this all the time! Love it.


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