I've been couponing for years, but I've never really taken advantage of the drug store programs that are available until recently. Several of the stores have had image over hauls and introduced programs that often get overlooked unless you are serious about saving some cash. So I've had to take my own advice and research the store policies for Walgreens and Rite-Aid because they have some amazing sale pricing if used by a savvy shopper--like myself. Knowing store policy is everything when it comes to whether we pay for it or get it for free! I have a new favorite in my savings game--Walgreens. They have a "Register Rewards" program that is similar to the Catalina coupon program in grocery chains, but differs in a few ways with how to maximize your savings.
Each week there are items in the ad that state when they are purchased a register reward is generated. For example, Schick Proglide razors are normally $10.99+. They are on sale for $9.99 and the ads says that when you buy one, a $5 register reward will print at the conclusion of the transaction. Taking the savings into account, the product can be advertised at $4.99. This gets a little tricky because you don't pay $4.99 on the first transaction--you pay $9.99, minus whatever coupon you have for it. In this case, I had a $4 off coupon for it. So the sales price comes up at $9.99, then the manufacturer's coupon reduces $4 off, down to $5.99. I conclude the transaction and pay $5.99+tax. Then a $5 register reward prints out that I can use on anything in the next transactions. By placing that coupon with the product at check-out, and deducting the value of the register reward, the real cost of the razor becomes 99cents. That's a pretty good deal for a very expensive razor.
Where it differs from the Catalina program is if you use it on the same product that you just purchased--another razor, it will not generate another register reward. But if your buy something else that generates a reward as well, pay for it with the register reward from the last transaction (the razor in this situation)--a new reward is generated. It will probably take a few tries to get the hang of the program, but once you do--great savings will be rolling in your way, especially on items like shampoo, soap, razors, household cleaners, and body care products.
The registers at Walgreens view the register rewards as "coupons"--even though technically they are not and can be combined with manufacturer's coupons. But the since the register sees the register reward as "coupon" and you are not allowed to exceed the number of coupons to items purchased ratio, you must use a "filler" item to even out the number of items purchased to "coupons". This means--grab a 25 cent piece of candy or pack of gum to bring up your number of items purchased. It seems kind of silly to start throwing extras into your cost-saving transactions, but you have to play by the store's rules and you want to use the manufacturer's coupons AND the register reward/store savings program.
Week after week, there are different items that are featured in the drug store ads that are fabulous deals. Don't be greedy and ruin a good thing for everyone else by mass purchasing an item to the frustration of the store. Purchasing little bits at a time over a period of time will add up quickly and turn out to be quite a stash in your family's inventory. When you combine the freebies with coupons, the cost-savings is extended to everything that you buy and you still go home with register rewards to use on the next weeks' deals. It has been a lot of fun to add another dimension and variety to the home and storage inventory.