Walgreens and CVS Shopping Guide
In my opinion, you can score the best deals at drug stores on a weekly basis. A key component to that is the store cash and coupons that print when you purchase certain items each week. Walgreens has “Register Rewards,” CVS has “Extrabucks,” and Rite Aid has “Up Rewards.” There are no Rite Aid’s near me, so I will only discuss how to shop at Walgreens and CVS.
It can be extremely rewarding to shop at Walgreen’s but tricky to understand how to use Register Rewards (RR). You see, when a RR prints, it’s not treated like store cash, but like a manufacture’s coupon. It even states that on the RR itself. It’s a manufacture’s coupon but not for anything in particular. Tricky, huh? That means you must abide by the store’s coupon policy when redeeming them. Only one RR can be used per item in a transaction, just like a manufacture’s coupon. You also have to remember when you are redeeming RR on items you already have manufacture’s coupons for, you must add items aka “fillers” to your transaction. Here is a shopping scenario below that will make it easier to understand:
I have a $5.00 RR to redeem in this transaction
Buying 1 Venus Embrace Razor $9.00
-$4.00/1 manufacture’s coupon
(This is when you would need to add a filler item, so you can use the RR since a manufacture’s coupon has already been used on the razor)
add a $.10 pencil
- $5.00 RR
Pay $.10 + Tax
Now lets say there is a $4.00 RR attached to that Venus Embrace Razor when you purchase it. You can use the $5.00 RR to bring the balance down and still get the $4.00 RR to print as long as the $5.00 RR didn’t print from an item made by the same company. Confusing, I know. Basically, you can’t “double dip.” You can’t redeem a RR when buying the same promotional item and get the next RR to print. Because companies like P&G make SO many items, it can be frustrating making sure not to redeem a RR on P&G items that have a RR printing. Now there are times where you can do this and the system doesn’t stop it. This is called a “rolling” deal because you can roll the previous RR into the next deal to get the RR again. Don’t bet on this, though. It’s against their coupon policy, so I’m assuming a manager could confiscate the RR if it did print.
You can combine or “stack” RR’s with Walgreen’s store coupons. The Walgreen’s store coupon will apply to as many of the items you have in the transaction. For example, if you have 2 Venus Embrace Razors and there is $1/1 Walgreen’s coupon, it will scan once but take $2.00 off.
When a promotional item has a RR attached but is out-of-stock, you cannot get a “rain-check” for a RR but only for the sale price of the item. A rain-check is just a note extending the sale price of the item until it’s back in stock.
There is an expiration date on every RR that prints. Make sure you use them before the expiration date or they can be refused at the register.
You can redeem a RR on an item that is priced less than the RR. For example, if your item is $4.99, you can redeem the $5.00 RR but it will need to be manually adjusted down to the price of the item. Since it was just one penny in the above scenario, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Let’s say your item was $4.50, though. You don’t want to lose out on that $.50, so add an item worth $.50 to absorb the overage from the $5.00 RR.
CVS is personally my favorite drugstore! First of all, their extrabucks work just like CVS cash. If you have a $10.00 item and 2 $5.00 extrabucks, you can redeem both in one transaction on one item. Literally, it’s cash that can only be used at CVS. Easy enough.
CVS also frequently emails extracare card members store coupons for either a % off an entire purchase or a dollar amount off an entire purchase (above a certain amount). These can be stacked with manufacture’s coupons. However, if you had a CVS $5 off $25 purchase, you wouldn’t be able to combine another CVS $ off $ purchase coupon. For example, if you had a CVS $5 off $20 Zyrtec purchase to redeem and also a $5 off $25 purchase, you wouldn’t be able to combine those in a single transaction. You would, however, be able to use both if the CVS Zyrtec coupon only stated “$5 off Zyrtec.” Seriously, though, that’s the most confusing part about shopping at CVS. Not bad.
CVS has the tall red price scanner in their stores, but the scanner also prints daily CVS store coupons when you scan your extracare card. These can be stacked with manufacturer coupons.
Extrabucks expire, so keep an eye on the dates.
If your Extrabuck value exceeds the price of an item, it can be adjusted down to the price of the item. But just like I mentioned before, a penny is no big deal, but if you would be losing anything more than $.50, add a filler item to absorb that overage. Heck, I add a filler item if I will lose $.25!
Here are a list of items that are continually money makers, free, or extremely cheap with the use of coupons and either RR or extrabucks at Walgreens and CVS.
Feminine Hygiene Products
Oral Care Products
Dish washing Products
Cold and Flu Medicine