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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Basics: Walgreens

Now that I've done the CVS Basics and this week's CVS deals, I'm going to move on to Walgreens. Let's start with the basics.

If you haven't read the CVS Basics post yet, click on the link above and read it. Why? Because Walgreens is very similar to CVS. Here are the only differences:

  1. CVS uses ECBs (extra care bucks) and Walgreens uses "register rewards" (RR). They are the exact same thing. You pay a certain price for the item, and you get a certain amount of ECBs or RR. So with Walgreens, the Walgreens cash that you're getting back is called RR.
  2. CVS uses the extra care card, and tracks everything through that. Unlike CVS, Walgreens does not use a card. The deals are only limited per transaction, rather than per card. There is no card linked to any of it. You simply go in, find the deals, and check out.
  3. At CVS, the ECBs print out at the bottom of the receipt. At Walgreens, the RR print out separately as a "catalina coupon." This is important, because a lot of times the cashier will forget to give you your RR at the end of your transaction. Always wait for your RR to print after the cashier gives you your receipt.
  4. At CVS, all sale priced items are simply advertised in the circular. As long as you have your card, you get that sale price. At Walgreens, most sale priced items are simply advertised, but others are advertised as "in-ad coupons." That means in order to get the sale price, you have to cut out that in-ad coupon and have them scan it for you to get the sale price. When I post Walgreens deals, I will be sure to let you know if a sale item requires the in-ad coupon. Sounds confusing now, but you'll understand later. I promise. (Best thing to do is grab a Walgreens circular for this week at the front of your store of go here to view it...just like you do with CVS. It will all make more sense once you look at the ad)
  5. This final difference is the reason I like CVS so much better than Walgreens. Most of my shopping is done at CVS, but I will hit a few deals here and there that are unbeatable at Walgreens from time to time. The coupon policy at Walgreens is very strict. And it comes down to one rule that makes it impossible to walk out with bags full of freebies like you can at CVS:
  • You must have as many items as you do coupons. I always try to have at least one more item than I do coupons. This doesn't seem like a very deal-breaking policy, but it is. This policy includes all manufacturer, store, in-ad, and RR coupons.
  • So, take that same body wash example I talked about in my CVS basics post, where the item was $4.99, and we used a manufacturer's coupon, a store coupon, and ECBs on one item to get it for 99 cents, and then get $4.99 back on top of that. You can't do that at Walgreens. For example, say you wanted to use a manufacturer's coupon, an in-ad coupon, and some RR that you have to buy that $4.99 body wash (that you will be getting $4.99 back in RR for). You only have 1 item, but you have 3 coupons, so you will have to throw in at least 2 more items. If it were me playing it safe, I would add in 3 more items, so that I have 4 items and 3 coupons. Well, that defeats the entire purpose! I'm not paying so little anymore for that body wash! See what I mean?
  • There are small items up front that you can throw in as "fillers" to keep the price low, but it still adds up, especially when you're only buying a couple of items. I usually throw in the Walgreens caramel chews. They're about 30 cents a piece. That's the cheapest item I can find.
  • So that is the only obstacle when it comes to Walgreens. Other than that, the coupons and deals work very much the same as CVS.
If you have any questions about Walgreens, please comment or e-mail me! I'm here to help you! I will be posting the Walgreens weekly deals tomorrow some time, so stay tuned for that! In the future, I will have these CVS and Walgreens deals up by Saturday or Sunday. I'm late this week, because I just started my blog on Sunday, and I'm trying to play catch up to get it all rolling!



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