The Drugstore Game part 1: Walgreens

The most beneficial but also sometimes the most frustrating stores to shop are the drugstores. Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS are excellent sources of cheap, free or better than free merchandise that you purchase all the time. Once you learn the stores and have an understanding of how the program works it gets easier to understand and shopping there becomes fun. In this series we will give details of the three drugstores we shop at and their programs so you can get a good idea of how they work before you venture out to try your hand at it.


Walgreens system has no loyalty card that you have to sign up for to get their rewards. They print out what they call Register Rewards (RR),which are catalina coupons that print out to use on your next purchase. Again you can find their ads in the local Sunday paper or at the front of the store. Also available at the front of the store are their monthly coupon booklets. 

Walgreens allows coupon “stacking”, or using a manufacturer coupon in addition to their in-ad or store coupons. (One thing to note: store coupons usually have limits stated specifically on the coupon, so be sure to watch for those so you don’t over spend.) Once the cashier scans the store coupon it will take off the amount for all of the like items purchased so you don’t have to use multiple store coupons. 

Ex. I have 4 boxes of Nice raisins regularly priced at 1.00 each.  There is an in-ad coupon for Nice raisins for .50 each, limit 4. When I bring them to the cashier I need them to scan the in-ad coupon 1 time for the discount to be taken off all 4 boxes. Any more boxes that you purchase in that transaction will ring up at regular price.

The trick to Walgreens is making sure that you have the same amount of coupons that you have items (including RR). If you want to use a register reward but have already used a coupon on all the items in your transaction then you need to purchase a filler item, such as a .25 piece of candy. Just remember: 1 product for every manufacturer coupon and RR and you’ll be golden

Ex.        Crest toothpaste 2.99, use manufacturer coupon for  1.00 off 1, + 1.00 RR from previous transaction, you would then need a filler item (whether it’s a small candy or 1 box of Nice raisins for .50) to balance out the coupon-to-product-ratio.

(Fred Meyer does accept all catalina coupons so you can use your RR at Fred Meyer as well.) 

The other trick to Walgreens is that if you are buying two of the same item and you are expecting a register reward on each item you need to purchase them in separate transactions.  Also make sure that you don’t use your register reward from the 1st transaction to offset your balance from the second transaction. I recommend  staggering your purchases if you run into this problem (see example below) or just save that RR for another time.

Ex. Crest toothpaste 2.99, use 1.00 off coupon = 1.99     Get 2.00 RR

Dove body wash 3.99, use 1.00 off coupon = 2.99     (+filler item)  Use 2.00 RR from prev. transaction Get 1.00 RR

Crest toothpaste 2.99, use 1.00 off coupon = 1.99   (+filler item) Use 1.00 RR from prev. transaction Get 2.00 RR

There is also an order to the way coupons need to be presented to the cashier in order to maximize your savings. You should be in the habit of presenting the manufacturer coupon before the in-ad coupon.  This is usually a bigger issue with Buy One Get One Free coupons, or BOGO’s, but it’s a good habit to have.


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