How to Coupon at Walgreens

Like us on Facebook

Walgreens (aka “Wags”) can be a little intimidating to a new couponer. It can be more complicated to coupon in than other stores because there are several reward systems. At the same time, once you learn the rules, it can be a fun, challenging, and rewarding place to coupon.

Now, I do have a soft spot for Walgreens, because it was the first store that I learned how to coupon in. I didn’t know it at the time, but it wasn’t the easiest way to learn couponing. However, once I learned and mastered its rules, all the other stores seemed very easy in comparison.

My goal with this guide (and video) is to explain the different aspects of coupon rules at Walgreens. Hopefully, after reading (or watching) this guide, you’ll have a much better understanding of Walgreens. And with some practice, I primise, it’ll become easier. 🙂

Let’s Dive In!

Lesson 1: Reward Systems at Walgreens:

There are two reward systems at Walgreens:

  • Register Rewards (aka “RR”)
  • Balance Rewards (aka “Points”)

Let’s cover each one in detail:

1. RR (Register Rewards)

Walgreens Register Reward

Register Rewards (RR) is the older of the two reward systems. You do not need a membership card to participate. They are dollar off coupons that prints on receipt paper. The coupon isn’t tied to a specific product so it can be used on any future transaction.

It looks like a Catalina, which is a coupon that prints on receipt paper and given to you by the cashier with your receipt. In fact, it is a manufacturers coupon operated by the Catalina company rather than Walgreens. If an RR doesn’t print, you contact the Catalina company to get it re-issued. You can do this by calling 1-888-8-COUPON (888-826-8766) or filing a claim here online.

RRs, like a Catalina coupon, have an expiration date of 14 days from the day it was printed.

2. Points (Balance Rewards)

The points, or formally known as Balance Rewards System, are associated with your account. You can earn points and redeem them to pay for future transactions.

To start earnings points, you must sign up as a Balance Rewards member. It is free and easy to do. You can sign up online here, in stores, or through the Walgreens mobile app.

To earn points, you simply enter your phone number at checkout. You can, also, use the physical card or the barcode for your card on the mobile app. I recommend associating a phone number to your account for quick access.

While RRs has a 14 day expiration, points last much longer. They expire 3 years after they are earned and you must shop at least once every 6 months to keep your points.

Every 1000 points is roughly equivalent to $1. You can redeem points at pre-determined dollar levels. You can redeem at $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $10, $20, $35, $50. The higher the level, the better value for your points. For example, you need only 40K points to redeem $50, instead of 50K points. Every 1000 points, is worth $1.25 instead of $1.00.

You can see how many points you’ve earned on a transaction by looking at the bottom of your receipt. You can, also, see your total point balance at the bottom of your receipt. You can access your point balance and point history by logging into your account on or from the Walgreens mobile app.

Lesson 2: Reward System Rules:

Now we get to the meat of couponing at Walgreens! 🙂 This is the parts that tends to confuse people so go through it a few times if you need to. Once you become familiar with these rules, I promise you it will become easy, just like learning how to drive.

Rule #1: Limit 1 RR Per Offer Per Transaction

Walgreens RR Rewards
(Photo: Example tags for Register Reward offers)

There is a limit of 1 RR printed per offer per transaction. For example, if toothpaste has a RR on it and you buy two toothpastes in a transaction, then it will only print one RR.

The Solution: If you want to buy multiples, you would split the products into multiple transactions. For example, if you wanted two toothpastes, then you would purchase them in two transactions to receive two RRs.

However, if you are buying other offers that are producing RRs, then you can purchase them in the same transaction. For example, if you want to purchase toothpaste and a can of soup that have separate RR offers, then you can buy one toothpaste and one soup in the same transaction and have two RRs printed.

Rule #2: Do Not Use RR to Pay for the Same Item That Produced the RR

If you use the RR to pay for the same item that produced that RR, no new RR will be printed. For example, if you buy a toothpaste that is producing a RR in the first transaction, then you can’t use it to pay for another toothpaste in the next transaction because the RR won’t print.

The Solution: You spend the RR on other items besides the item that earned the RR on. You can use it on other RR promotions, on promotions producing points, and on clearances. For example, if a can of soup is $1.00 and is printing $1.00 RR and toothpaste is $1.00 and printing $1.00 RR, then you can buy the toothpaste in transaction one and earn a $1.00 RR. Once you receive the $1.00 RR from transaction one, then you can pay for soup in the next transaction and still get the $1 RR from the can of soup.

There is an exception to this rule. Every few months, some RR promotions will print RR even if you use RR from that item to buy the same item. This is what we refer to as “Rolling”. When you hear couponers say “this is rolling”, that’s what they mean. We can never predict when this happens. Usually people discover it by accident or by testing but, to be safe, stick to the rule.

Rule #3: Do Not Use Points When You Earn Points

Walgreens Points Gum
(Photo: Example tags for point rewards)

If you redeem points to pay for a transaction, you cannot also earn points in that transaction. This, also, applies to point boosters and special promotions to earn bonus points.

Solution: If you know you are earning points in a transaction, do not spend points in that transaction.

Rule #4: No Limit on Points Earned

While RR has a limit of one print per transaction, there are no explicit limits on how many points you can earn. For example, if shampoo is producing 1000 points for every bottle I buy, I’m not limited to buying one bottle per transaction. You can buy two bottles in one transaction and earn 2000 points.

However, the store may limit how many points you can earn on a particular item. It depends upon the store.

Rule #5: Number of Coupons Must Not Exceed the Total Number of Items

Walgreens Coupon Item Ratio

The total number of manufacturer coupon cannot exceed the total number of items in a transaction. I call this the “Coupon to Item Ratio”. Walgreens coupons do not count towards this limit. Example, if you have two items in a transaction, then you cannot use more than two manufacturer coupons. You can, however, stack Walgreens coupons with the manufacturer coupon.

RRs are considered manufacturer coupons. If you are buying two items and you have two manufacturer coupons on those item and one RR, that counts as three coupons. You will need to add one more item to meet the Coupon-to-Item Ratio, if you want to use the RR.

The item or items that you add on to your transaction, in order to meet your Coupon-to-Item Ratio, are called “Fillers.

Walgreens Filler Examples

Fillers are items that you do not have manufacturer coupons for. Good filler items are:

  • Cheap items you find in stores; Example: Candy by cashier, pencils, etc.
  • Clearance items; Example: Post holiday clearance
  • Inexpensive sale items you don’t have coupons for from weekly ad; Example: Tomato sauce for $0.50, milk, or cheap eggs (they have them on sale for around $1 periodically)

Rule #6: Coupon Value Cannot Exceed the Cost of Item

As of the coupon policy update in 2014, Walgreens is no longer accepting coupons that’s value exceeds the price of an item. For example, you can’t use a $1.00 coupon on an item that is $0.99. The cashiers used to be able to adjust the coupon value down to $0.99 but now you can no longer use that coupon, even if it’s just a penny over.

Rule #7: No Coupon on Free Item

In a Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale, you can no longer use a coupon on the Free item. So in a Buy 1 Get 1 Free situation, you can only use one coupon.

Similarly, you cannot use a bogo coupon on a bogo sale. They want you to pay for at least one item. If you want to use a bogo coupon during a bogo sale, you could buy 4 items and use one bogo coupon during the sale.

Rule #8: All In One Transaction to Earn Reward

Walgreens Umbrella Sale example

They are umbrella promotions, such as P&G promotions, that require you to spend a certain amount of money to earn a reward. To get the reward, you must purchase everything in one transaction because your purchases aren’t tracked (like at CVS and Rite Aid).

Also, you must buy over the minimum at Walgreens. If the minimum purchase is $20, you have to spend $20 or more on the products that are a part of the promotion.

Rule #9: Only Need One Walgreens Coupon

Walgreens Coupon Example

Walgreens coupons are special coupons because you only need one, even if you are buying multiple items that the coupon applies to. Walgreens coupons are also known as IVCs – Instant Value Coupon or Instant Value Code – because the cashier can enter the code instead of scanning the barcode.

With IVC coupons, you only need one and it will automatically apply to all the applicable items in your transaction. For example, if you have a $1.00 off Walgreens coupon on one box of kleenex and you buy 3 boxes, then only one Walgreens coupon need to be scanned.

Often, I don’t even clip the coupons. I just hand it over to the cashier to be scanned.

Here are some places to find Walgreens Coupons:

  • Inside Weekly Ad
  • Monthly Coupon Booklet – found at the front of the store. You can access the monthly booklet also from the mobile app. Under Weekly Ads > This Month’s Savings Book
  • In-Store Category Coupon booklets – Walgreens Diabetes or Vitamins. Note: Sometimes the coupons within these booklets are manufacturers coupons and sometime they are Walgreens coupons

Additionally, you can stack multiple Walgreens coupons on the same applicable item. For example, if there’s a coupon in the weekly ad and another in the monthly coupon booklet, you are allowed to stack them.

Rule of Thumbs:

  • Use points to pay for rewards that generate RR
  • Use RR on deals that generate points

Tips & Notes:

  • If you don’t go to Walgreens every week, it’s a good idea to spend the RR before you leave the store, just in case you forget to spend it.
  • If you plan to do multiple transactions that may hold up the line, ask to be checkout at Cosmetics.
  • Until 12/31/2017, you get 10 points for every $1 spent at Walgreens. Details here.

Go here to check out the latest Walgreens Deals. 🙂

Are you a visual learner? Click here to watch videos of my explaining past Walgreens deals.

Speak Your Mind


Back to top