Walgreens Shopping 101

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walgreens shopping 101Walgreens Shopping 101

Walgreens Shopping 101 is all about shopping at Walgreens and playing the Drugstore game. We combine sales, coupons, Balance Reward Points (BRPs), and Register Rewards (RRs) to save big!

Here is how to do it:

1. Get a Balance Rewards Card for yourself and your spouse, if you have one. You’ll need this to get the sale prices and Balance Rewards Points. (You can also earn points for prescriptions, immunizations, and healthy activity.)

2. Keep and read your weekly Walgreens ad insert from the Sunday paper or come to Become the Coupon Queen for the weekly deals.

3. Save your RRs. Balance Reward Points will be calculated and added to an account with your card.

4. During your first few trips to Walgreens, you will actually have to spend money to get and build your RR and Balance Reward Point stash. Don’t worry. Just wait and see what all that money is going to get you!

Register Rewards are Catalina coupons that print out at the register when you purchase specified products specified.

Here are a few things you need to understand about Register Rewards and to have successful WAGS shopping trips:

  • Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons that can be used to purchase anything in a Walgreens store except for items such as lotto, alcohol, cigarettes and a few other items. So, if you are purchasing an item for $5, and you are using a $3 RR, you will pay $2 out of pocket. RRs expire about two weeks after they are issued, so make sure to keep an eye on those expiration dates.
  • Your total has to be over the amount of the RR. So, you cannot use a $3 RR to buy three times that are $0.99 each because your total is not $3 before tax. In this case, your RR would beep at the register, and the cashier will not accept it. A good solution to this is to purchase a filler item. Filler items are very inexpensive items ($0.01-$0.25) that can be used to make sure your total before tax is equal to or more than your RR. Make sure to check out the clearance, seasonal, and candy sections for filler items. My WAGS always has taffy for $0.10 or tootsie rolls for $0.05. So you could by your three $0.99 items, plus one $0.05 filler and use your $3RR and pay just $0.02 plus tax.
  • You can only earn one of the same RR in a transaction. So, if you are to receive a RR when you buy one pack of diapers, you cannot purchase five packs diapers in one transaction and get five RRs back. You will only get one. To get around this, you can do five separate transactions. Make sure to be courteous and go to the end of the line for each transaction.
  • You cannot use a Register Reward earned from an item to purchase that same item and get another RR. Now, as I mentioned this, there are RARE rare circumstances that it is actually what we call “rolling RR”. For example, if you had already done the diaper transaction once, you cannot use the RR you earned to pay for your next diaper purchase. If you were to do that, your new RR would not print. You can, however, use a RR from another product to purchase the diapers that will produce the RR. So, for example, this week Dove Men’s Body Wash is $5.99 with a $6 RR making it FREE after the RR. You could purchase the diapers first, then purchase the Dove using your diaper RR to pay for the Dove. Then, you would earn a $6 RR. This concept is called rolling Register Rewards.
  • You can use multiple RRs in one transaction. For example, if you are buying a $25 item, you could purchase that with five $5 RRs as long as you added four filler items to satisfy the coupon-to-item ratio which I discuss below.
  • If your manufacturer’s coupon is worth more than the price of an item, Walgreens coupon policy states that the cashier is suppose to adjust it down. You will have to let the cashier know to adjust the coupon value down to ensure that it is accepted. I highly recommend that you keep a copy of the coupon policy with you. You can print it here.
  • 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).

Coupon-to-Item Ratio – This is the most important part of Walgreens Shopping.

At Walgreens you cannot have more manufacturer coupons (MQ) than you have items. Keep in mind that RRs are manufacturer coupons so they count towards this ratio. Walgreens store coupons (IVCs) are not manufacturer coupons, so they do not count towards this ratio. Again, use filler items to satisfy this coupon-to-item ratio. For the diaper example that I used above, if you did the diaper transaction first and wanted to use the diaper RR to pay for the Dove (which you are also using a manufacturer coupon on), you would need to add a filler item, because right now you would have one product (the Dove) and two coupons (the $3RR and the $1 MQ). Add one small filler item, and you will be good to go!


In addition to Register Rewards, Walgreens has a program called Balance Reward Points. You can register for the program here and find the terms and conditions here.

You can earn BRPs on purchases of select items, healthy activity, prescriptions and immunizations. Then, you can redeem your points for savings on future purchases.

When you redeem your Points, they will be converted into Redemption Dollars. Redemption Dollars can be used to lower your out of pocket cost in-store. They cannot be paid out in cash or used to purchase dairy products, alcohol, tobacco, stamps, phone/pre-paid/gift cards, money order/transfers, transportation passes, charitable donations, prescriptions, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products, immunizations, health tests or other healthcare items or services, Prescription Savings Club membership fee, or clinic services.

Keep in mind that you cannot earn points in a transaction where Redemption Dollars or store credit is used.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you can no longer use a coupon on a free item OR use a coupon that is valued at more than the price of the item (ie: You cannot use a $1/1 coupon on a $0.99 item.) – updated 9/2/14

Find the complete Walgreens coupon policy here and find the best Walgreens deals on Become a Coupon Queen.

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  1. susan rumble says:

    thank you for making sense of how RR work. cause i didn’t get it at first. i’ll have to shop there this week thanks again.

  2. Thank you so much for explaining this. I shopped at Walgreens yesterday and got alot of rewards, but wasn’t sure what to do with them. I should be able to get alot of stuff for free next week now that I know how to do it. Hayley

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