Getting Free Stuff at Walgreens
This article shares tips from the 13th episode of Dealista, our podcast that'll help you get more for less.
We’ve loved getting free stuff from national pharmacy chain Walgreens for some time. (In fact, it was because of their past rebate program that I had been able to amass quite a lot of my free toiletry stash!) With their new rewards program, called Register Rewards, there is no longer any need to wait weeks or even months for a rebate check. You can get money towards your next purchase right in the checkout line! (And that means even more free stuff than before.) We teamed up with Clair from MummyDeals.org to provide you with the ins and outs of the new Walgreens program, and we’ll share some extra tips for paying next to nothing for everything from cleaning products, to food, to makeup!
Register Rewards Explained
During Walgreens' weekly promotions, Register Rewards are advertised as a great way to earn cash back on regular purchases. The rewards come in the form of a coupon that prints out of a Catalina machine next to the register when you complete your purchase. The coupons are good for a certain dollar amount off your next Walgreens purchase (in-store only) and give you about two weeks to spend them before they expire.
Like any good promotion, there are restrictions and rules to using these Register Rewards:
- You can only earn one Register Reward per promotion per transaction. (If you were to participate in a program that earns you $4.50 from the purchase of a tube of Colgate toothpaste, for example, you could NOT purchase 4 tubes and expect 4 coupons to print out. You would only get one, regardless of how many you bought.) You can, however, space them out over 4 separate purchases (preferably on separate visits), and get all four coupons for $4.50 on your next purchase.
- Register Rewards can’t be used for purchases of alcohol, stamps, and a few other excluded products. Check the back of the coupon for details.
- You can use your Register Rewards to buy other things that will generate Register Reward coupons, but not if they are the same product. (You can use your newly acquired $4.50 Register Reward to buy deodorant, but not to buy more Colgate.)
- You will always need to spend more than the value of the Register Reward. If your Reward is good for $4.50, but your purchase only comes up to $4.00, you’ll need to find an extra something to toss onto the checkout stand. (Gum, candy, or another small item works great.)
- You can roll those Rewards to create even more Rewards! While you can’t use that $4.50 Reward to buy more Colgate, you can use it to buy a deal on Chapstick that will generate a $2 reward and a pack of hairbands that will generate $2. Then toss in a $.50 filler, and you’re good to go! (You’ll have spent 50 cents out of pocket for both the Chapstick and hair products.) You can do this over and over again, as long as you alternate between product types.
- Walgreens cashiers consider Register Rewards to be coupons, and they don’t allow you to have more coupons than items purchased. To avoid any problems, you may need to add one of those filler items we discussed before to keep everything working smoothly.
Many frugal bloggers (like Clair) go out of their way to help their readers find the best Walgreens deals and match them with manufacturer’s coupons for an even better find. By checking sites like MummyDeals, you can often see what Sunday’s paper will have in store, as early as Thursday or Friday! Here are some additional tips for getting every last bit out of the money you spend at Walgreens:
- Each Walgreens has the right to institute their own coupon policies, so if you find that your closest store is not too fond of your frugal ways, consider another store. (There are usually several within a given area to choose from.)
- If your manufacturer’s coupon is worth more than the price of an item, Walgreens will usually still take it. You will have to let the cashier know to adjust the coupon value down to ensure that it is accepted.
- To be sure that you get all the savings from all your coupons, present the manufacturer’s coupons before the Walgreen’s store coupons (the ones found in their circular and monthly catalog). Do this at the end of transaction.
- Some shoppers have reported being able to use Register Rewards at competing stores like Jewel’s and Kroger, since they seem to have a very liberal coupon-matching policy. Ask to see what the local policy is at your competing store.
- Always be polite. This seems like a no-brainer, but acting entitled does nothing to help earn the respect of the Walgreens staff and the community in general. If you have any problems with getting a Register Reward to print, contact Catalina directly at 1-888-8COUPON (1-888-826-8766). They’ll get you taken care of!
Note: The author has no vested or affiliate interest in Wallgreens.
If you enjoyed these tips you can find more in our show's archive.