I’ve had some discussions with folks lately, and we all agree there’s a lot to remember when you’re coupon shopping, especially when you’re trying to keep track of all the store policies. So hopefully this series of lessons for shopping at Walgreens and CVS will help us all out. I’m sure I’ll be back to reference it a few times!
For our first lesson, I thought we could look at coupons at Walgreens. Does order matter? What kinds of store coupons does Walgreens provide? How do store coupons combine with MFC?
Walgreens Store Coupons
Walgreens has three types of store coupons:
- Instant Value Coupons (IVC) – coupons in the weekly Walgreens circulars
- EasySaver Coupons (ESC) – coupons in the monthly EasySaver Catalog
- Register Rewards (RR) – coupons that print from the special coupon printing machine for buying certain items that are on special
The easiest store coupons are probably the IVC and ESC. These can be combined with manufacturer coupons. They often have a limit printed on them, but I have never found this to be enforced. The explanation I received regarding that limit was that they would not sell you less than that number. That seems like a strange definition of limit, but they make the rules. When combining these coupons with manufacturer coupons, I always try to give them the manufacturer coupons first. If you have overage when you combine the IVC or ESC and your MFC, the register will beep if you give the MFC last, but it will not beep if you give the IVC or ESC last. At least that’s always been my experience. When you use and IVC or ESC, you will only ever need one for whatever items you’re buying. For instance, if there is an ESC for $2 off Garnier, and you would like to buy 3 Garnier, you need only present one ESC. If you have 3 Garnier, the register will deduct $6 when the ESC is scanned. You also need not worry about clipping these coupons and giving them to the cashier. They can scan them from inside the book, and since they do not send them in for reimbursement, you are free to keep them to use again.
RR are somewhat trickier. While they are only available from Walgreens, they are in fact manufacturer coupons. So how do they work? First, let’s start with an example. This week, if you buy 8 Dove products, you get $10 in RR. This will be in the form of a Catalina coupon that will print at the end of your order. This prints from a special coupon printing machine. It is not the same machine as the one that prints your receipt. RR do not roll. If I bought 8 Dove yesterday and got my $10 RR, I can’t take that today, buy 8 more Dove, pay with the $10 RR and get another $10 RR. I could use a RR from a different promotion to pay and still get my $10 RR, though. MFC should not, in general, effect the printing of RR, regardless of what some managers may tell you. There have been a few cases lately where some coupons were coded the same as the RR, which would then cause the RR not to print. This is because the computer cannot tell that you didn’t use an RR from the same promotion to pay. If the coupon looks like the RR to the computer, it’s not going to print another RR. This seems to be somewhat rare, however. When spending RR, you may use them on almost anything in the store. There are exclusions on the coupon itself. The trickiest part of spending RRs, besides remembering that they don’t roll, is following the rule that Walgreens has regarding the number of MFCs. You cannot have more MFCs than you do items, and RRs count as MFCs. For instance, if you have 4 items, all of which you have a MFC for, and you would like to also pay with a RR, you can’t. You would have to get a filler item. I will often pick up holiday pencils if they have them. They are usually less than $.25 each, so they make pretty good fillers. IVC and ESC do not count as MFC, so they do not count when you are tallying up your total MFCs.
- # of MFC cannot exceed # of items
- RR count as MFC, IVC and ESC do not
- IVC and ESC may be combined with MFC
- For best results, give your coupons to the cashier in this order: RR, IVC/ESC, MFC
- RR do not “roll”
- In almost all cases, MFC should not prevent your RR from printing
- Often the limit on IVC and ESC is not enforced
Whew, ok, that’s a lot of information. I hope this brief introduction into couponing at Walgreens has been helpful. I’ll write up some information regarding their rebate program (which may or may not be going away in April. There are conflicting reports) sometime soon.
Thanks for reading.