Monday, February 16, 2009

Beginning Your Journey to Savings: Drug Stores- Walgreen's

Part 3
(to see the rest of this series click here)

We’ve already discussed how easy and fun it is to save money at CVS. Walgreen’s is another great place to save money. As I suggested before, you should probably pick just one store to concentrate on, then as you get comfortable with that one, add another.

Walgreen’s is slightly more complicated than CVS, but it can also be very rewarding. Walgreen’s tends to have more good food sales, and good free after rebate items that earn you money on a gift card.

  1. Register Rewards (RR)

These are similar to the CRT’s we discussed during the CVS instructions. They print from a machine near the register called a Catalina machine. They print out when you purchase required items and can be used on your next purchase. You can NOT use RR to repurchase the exact items that earned you the RR.

Register Rewards Example:

  • Recently Ragu Sauce and Skippy Peanut Butter were on sale for $1.99 each
  • The Register Reward’s deal was buy 8 get $10 RR
  • There are manufacturer coupons for $.75 of 2 Ragu and $.60 off Skippy
  • If you bought 6 Ragu and 2 Skippy’s and used 3 of the .75 coupons and 2 of the .60 coupons you would spend $12.47 on all 8 items and get back $10 in RR, meaning you really spent $.31 on each item! Great price!
  • $1.99 x 8 = 15.92- 2.25 (3 .75 coupons) – 1.20 (2 .60 coupons)= 12.47- $10 RR = $2.47 for 8 items

You could then take the above RR and use it on another deal that would produce RR. (Remember at Walgreen’s you can NOT use it again on the same items!)

  1. Easy Saver Rebates (ESR)

Every month, Walgreen’s puts out an Easy Saver Booklet which can be found near the front of the store with the regular sales ads. These booklets have a list of items that offer rebates for the month. While some people shy away from rebates because of the forms to fill and mail off, Walgreen’s really does make them “Easy!” Each month there are a few items that are completely free after rebate and others that can become free or money makers if you use coupons.

To submit your purchases for ESR, all you have to do is sign up on line and submit your receipts online. Wait until the end of the month to make sure there are no more rebates you want to apply for and submit to get your rebate sent to a gift card. You can request a check as well, to get the cash for it, but you’ll get a 10% bonus with the gift card and can use it the next month to purchase more free after rebate items!

The best part is, if you forget to submit for your items to be applied to your card at the end of the month, Walgreen’s will automatically do it for you as long as you already entered your receipts earlier in the month!

Here is an example of a good money maker ESR:

  • Zucol Cold Care Lozenges are on sale for $7.99
  • There is a February ESR for $7.99
  • This would be free without a coupon, but there is a $2 insert coupon and a $2 printable coupon that will MAKE you $2 on this item

$7.99- $2 = pay $5.99 Submit for rebate 5.99- 7.99= make $2!

I try to use RR or my gift card with previous ESR on it to make my out of pocket less.

Otherwise I’m spending about $6 and will get back the $8 (+ 10%) later on the gift card.

It’s not a bad idea to spend money out of pocket early on, but the goal is to keep using those rewards to purchase more items that give rewards so that you aren’t spending much actual cash!

  1. Easy Saver Coupons (ESQ or IVC- Instant Value Coupon)

In addition to the rebates in the Easy Saver Booklets, there are also Easy Saver Coupons. These are store coupons and can be combined with manufacturer coupons. They are usually coupons for $ off a certain item or items.

IVC example: (fake scenario, but similar to recent one!)

  • Garnier is on sale for $2.99
  • There is a $2 coupon in the Easy Saver Booklet
  • There is a manufacturer’s coupon for $1
  • Use both to get the item free (.01 overage isn’t usually counted as a money maker, since there will be more than .01 tax!)

$2.99- $2- $1 = -.01 = FREE

  1. Weekly In-Ad coupons

These are coupons you can tear out of the weekly ad, and they can also be combined with manufacturer’s coupons. They usually make a regular priced item a sale item, that you have to use a coupon to get the price. Sometimes cashier’s automatically scan their own ad for these coupons as you give them the items that have matches, but many times they don’t, so it is best to tear them out and give them to the cashier. If they do it themselves, hang onto them to use again later!

In-ad coupon example:

  • Progresso soup was recently on sale for 4/$5 with in-ad coupon
  • There are $1.10 manufacturer internet printable coupons
  • The in-ad coupon makes each can $1.25 and with the manufacturer’s coupon each can is $0.15!

$1.25- $1.10 = $0.15

  1. Transfer prescriptions

Walgreen’s often puts wrappers around their ads with a coupon for a $25 gift card when you transfer a prescription. This can be a money maker if you have a prescription that is under $25! You can then use the gift card to buy things that are free after rebate and will earn you money on your ESR gift card, or things that will get you RR to help you stretch your money even further!

Also stores like CVS and Kroger honor these coupons so always grab a few! After you transfer to Walgreen’s, use the same coupon later on (as long as it hasn’t expired!) to earn gift cards at CVS or Kroger! I have even had Walgreen’s send me a coupon in the mail saying they’re sorry I transferred away from their store, and they want me to come back!

  1. Email coupons

These haven’t been “spotted” for awhile, but if you sign up for emails they have been known to send out $5 off $25 purchase and similar coupons that can be used to lower your out of pocket even more on sale/rebate items!

Important Walgreen’s coupon policies/issues-

  • Your number of items must equal your number of coupons. It’s possible to have more coupons than items since you can combine store coupons and manufacturer’s coupons. This is kind of annoying since it means that you must buy something else as a “filler.” But very often you can find something very cheap to throw in to “cover” an extra coupon. After a holiday, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day, you could grab a small piece of candy that could only cost a few cents. Or throw in something that you need if you have a coupon that will give you an overage, such as milk or other necessities.

  • Buy One, Get One Free coupons (BOGO). Some stores will NOT allow you to use a BOGO coupon if the item is already on sale for BOGO. This would make both items free and is great if it works. I have never personally had success with this, but others have. It’s worth trying to do it, but just know it may not work. It IS legal, no matter what they say as the store is giving you one free and the manufacturer is giving you one free (the manufacturer will send Walgreen’s the money for the coupon when they turn it in!)

  • Order of coupons. Try to hand the cashier your manufacturer coupons first, then the Walgreen’s coupon. Sometimes they won’t work if you do it the other way around since the Walgreen’s coupon will make the overall price of the item less. When you use the manufacturer’s coupon first, you will sometimes receive overage for the item after the store coupon!

  • Your RR didn’t print. I have one store that frequently has a Catalina machine that isn’t working. I always ask first or if I know it’s currently having issues ask to be rung up at another register. Sometimes they might say it didn’t print because you used coupons, but that is NOT TRUE! Ask to return your items and repurchase at another register. Even if you used coupons they should be able to do this without even needing to use the coupons!

If this still doesn’t work you can contact the Catalina company directly by calling 1- (888) 322-3814 or go here and explain your problem.

Again, this is a very detailed list! Start out small, with by visiting my weekly Walgreen’s deals and picking out some things you would like to start with. The more you do it the more you’ll learn!

~Stacey of Daisy's Deals~

Please email me for questions, suggestions, and anything else at daisysdeals (at) hotmail (dot) com. As I begin this journey, please bear with me as I am still learning myself! If you see anything that you feel is inappropriate or against store/website policies please "politely" let me know.

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