Walgreens – The "Secret Rules" And Great Deals

So you have shopped at Walgreens for some quick, I need some cold medicine, trips right? And you really have never taken advantage of their deals, right? Well we are going to change all that. You will look at Walgreens completely differently from now on. I will show you how you can actually make “money” at Walgreens and use that “money” to buy things you really need and want. I say the word “money” but it’s really Register Rewards, which are just like money, however you can only use them at Walgreens. Let me explain…

What is an RR?

An RR (short for Register Reward) is a Catalina coupon that prints out at the register at the end of your transaction. This RR can be used on your next order. An RR will print for an item in the amount that is advertised in Walgreens current circular. Sometimes there are “hidden” RR deals that are not advertised in the current circular but are good for the whole month.

How to make money at Walgreens:

Walgreens teams up with various manufacturers to offer deals in their stores. Sometimes the deals are okay and sometimes they are great. A great deal would be something like this. Buy St. Ives bodywash for $2.99 and get $2.99 in RR (see an example of this below). The even better thing is that you can use a coupon to reduce the price of the body wash ($1.50/1). So now instead of paying $2.99 you are now paying $1.49 and you will STILL get that RR at the end of the transaction. So you have now made a profit of $1.50 and you can use (or roll) that Catalina coupon in the amount of $2.99 and purchase whatever you want.

The Rules of Walgreens:

Of course it was never going to be that easy. There are a few simple rules you have to follow in order to make your transactions run smoothly. I want you to understand that me telling you these rules is like being in a secret underground society. Why, because even the cashiers and managers don’t know the rules. Okay, so these are not secret and there is no underground society, however, it sure seems that way when you run into a coupon issue and they (cashiers and managers) have not a clue and rattle off all these rules that just simply are not true. Be polite, listen and know that you are in on the “secret rules”. So you, my savy coupon shoppers, need to know these Walgreens secret rules corporate policies.

  1. You can use a manufacturers coupon on an item and it will produce an RR
  2. You can use an RR to pay for a transaction of different product which offers an RR and it will produce an RR. (see #6 below for the exception)
  3. RRs are considered a manufacturers coupon
  4. Walgreens coupons from the circular are considered store coupons not manufacturers coupons
  5. You can use a manufacturer coupon along with a Walgreens coupon
  6. You can not use an RR to pay for the same product or even from the same company to get another RR deal. For instance if you purchased the St. Ives as I mentioned above and received your $2.99 RR you can not use that RR to buy another St. Ives.
  7. Only 1 RR will print out per transaction for the same item. For instance, if you purchased 2 St. Ives only 1 RR would print. However, if you purchased 1 St. Ives and another RR deal item both would print.
  8. This one is a little bit tricky but very important. You have to have the same number of manufacturer coupons per items in one transaction. Keep in mind that an RR is considered a manufacturer coupon. For instance, if you had 2 items in your transaction and you had a manufacturer coupon for each item and you wanted to use an RR in the transaction, then you would have to put in a small filler item so the register will not beep. It could be a $.10 item (if you can find them). Just as long as there are 3 items for the 3 manufacturer coupons you were using.

I figured that showing you an example of these rules and deals would be the easiest way for you to learn. It just so happens I had a great Walgreens trip(s) today so I can use my most recent deal. Here is what I bought:

Transaction #1:

1 St. Ives $2.99
1 Newspaper $2.00
-$1.50 St. Ives coupon
-$2.00 RR (I had this from last weeks deals)
Total with tax: $1.70
used a gift card to pay
Total OOP: $0
Received $3.00 RR for the St. Ives

Transaction #2:

1 Purex 3-1 $5.99
2 J&J Baby Powder $2.00
1 Newspaper $2.00
-$2.oo Purex
-$1.00 J&J
-$1.00 J&J
-$3.00 RR (from the St. Ives deal)
Total with tax: $3.55 OOP
Received $2.00 RR for the Purex & $1.00 for the J&J<

Transaction #3:

2 J&J Baby Powder $2.00
1 Newsaper $2.00
-$1.00 J&J
-$1.00 J&J
-$2.00 RR (from the Purex deal)
Total with tax: $.14 OOP
Received $1.00 RR for the J&JTransaction #4:
1 St. Ives $2.99
1 Newspaper $2.00
-$1.50 St. Ives
-$1.00 RR from the J&J
Total with tax: $2.70 OOP
Received $3.00 RR for the St. Ives deal

Transaction #5:

1 St. Ives $2.99
1 M&M $.67 (filler)
-$1.50 St. Ives
-$1.00 RR for the J&J
Total with Tax: $1.41
Received $3.00 RR for the St. Ives deal


Started with a $2.00 RR
Paid $7.80 OOP
Now have $6.00 in RR

So now you can see how you can roll your RRs and get your out of pocket lower. I paid $7.80 for all of that and I have $6.00 in RRs left after only using a $2.00 RR. The newspapers alone were $8.00 for all 4. Not a bad deal.

Now some of you are thinking, wow that is a lot of work. Well, I don’t find it work, I actually enjoy it. It’s fun to try to see how much you can get for very little. However, no one is saying you have to do that many transactions. Like everything in life, you can choose how much or how little you would like to do. This is only a guide for you to go by. Give it a try…I promise you that it fun to save. No one has ever complained because they saved too much money.

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  • Anonymous

    I had a great day at Walgreens as well, I had a few RR left from the monitors… so it was a great start…. I went to three stores and ended up getting the following (too lazy to divide)..

    12 Walgreen 20ft foil
    6 st ives body wash
    18 right guard sport
    2 Clearasil
    1 sea breeze
    6 kraft mac and cheese
    18 walgreens reusable bags
    2 28 packs of zephryhills spring water

    I spent OOP 13.37 spent 40.00 in RR but came home with 18.00 in RR left to spend… gotta clip more coupons gonna roll the st ives into the right gaurd everyday if the store keeps them stocked!!!

    • t4rewards

      thank you so much for posting this!! i asked a worker in walgreens about a month ago if they accepted man coupons and was told no. i have a walgreen directly across the street from me so i am so estatic now!!

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  • Andria

    What is CATALINA?????????????????

    • Jessica Mcneil

      its a coupon printed at the regiester

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    My Walgreen’s has told me that you are only allowed 2 transactions. Is this a rule? Or has anyone heard of this? I have been doing more than two transactions, but today they would not allow it saying that it was abusing the register rewards.

    • Morgan

      One of the local walgreens in my area did this to me as well. They only let me do one transactions because they said i cannot use rr from trans 1 on trans 2. i just dont go to that one.

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  • clueless in coupons.

    Why do they have to make it sooooo complicated??? i hate these new programs from walgreens and cvs.

  • Barbara

    I really think it depends on the cashier as to how many transactions you can have! 🙁

  • Beginner Girl

    Ok so I did my first couponing trip to Walgreens & now I’m totally confused!!!! I got the $2 RR from Kelloggs earlier that day….
    1 Shout w/ $1 coupon
    1 Glade fabric & Air w/ $1 coupon
    2 Windex w/ $.55/2
    These 4 were $2/5 sale
    3/$10 12 pk cokes, no coupon 🙁
    I spent $16.08 oop & left with 2 $1 RR from the $2/5 cleaning products BUT my confusion starts here…
    My plan was to return today for the Lysol BOGO which I also have a $1 coupon for but now that I’m reading this, will I be able to use my RR from yesterdays transactions towards my Lysol purchase?

    • crystal

      yes you can…its a new transacation! i do it all the time…either way you look at it…walgreens is getting there money back! just wish they didnt have a expire date of under 30 days! 🙁 now target on the other hand…gives YOU GIFT CARDS WITH NO expire date!! 🙂

  • If your register rewards were from the cleaning products, you can use them BUT you won’t get another register ward from the transaction.

  • PK

    I went to Walgreen’s for the first time since I started couponing and probably won’t go back again. They have Gain dish detergent on sale with an in-ad coupon for .99. I had a $1.00 manufacturer coupon. They refused to take it! They said the coupon can’t be more than the cost of the item. I suggested they just override it for .99 and then send it in to get their $1.00. The cashier and the manager said they couldn’t because they would lose money. It appears to me they would make a penny. Back to Rite-Aid; I’ve never had an issue and the cashier usually congratulates me for how much I save.

    • Meagan

      This happened to me as well! I had a $3.00 off coupon for any Splenda product but they denied me because the product was $2.99:(

      • Nicole

        PK and Meagan,

        It directly states in the Walgreens coupon policy that:

        “In the event that the item’s selling price is less than the value of the coupon, Walgreens will only accept the coupon in exchange for the selling price of the item.”

        This means that you can use the $3.00 off a $2.99 product, but they will not give you the $.01 overage. The cashier will just adjust the coupon down to the price of the product – in this case, $2.99.

        This is why it’s always a good idea to shop with the store’s coupon policy, and politely explain this to cashier.


    PK…It really depends on your cashier. I have cashiers that WILL override the coupon. On the other hand, I have had a manager tell me the reason I didn’t get a RR is because I was getting the item free…he didn’t even know the rules of his own company. And no I didn’t use same RR for same product. Sometimes RR just don’t print out and they have to “fix” it. Don’t give up on WAGS!! 🙂

  • Leah

    Cindy, I know we cannot use a RR to get another RR for the SAME product, and you mentioned brand, so does that include all P&G? If I received a RR this week for the Gilette Fusion Proglide, can I use it in the transaction for next week’s Pantene RR? Because I am pretty sure I used the Gillette Body Wash RR to pay for the transaction with the Fusion Proglide (and received the RR) but now I cant remember??!!! UGH Thank you so much in advance if you can help mee!!

    • RPH

      That’s a good question, Leah and I’m wondering the same thing… For example, if I got a RR for Gilette this week, could it roll into another transaction for something like Bounty paper towels (also made by P&G)?

      I’d imagine it would depend if the the RR say “Compliments of P&G” or “Compliments of Gilette,” but I’m not sure…

  • clmoore13

    What, if anything, can I do if my RR doesn’t print? I was there recently for the Liserine RR. The first transaction didn’t print a RR (evn though I had the correct product). The second transaction did print the RR. I paid cash for the first transaction, so the brand thing isn’t an issue. The cashier was very nice, but didn’t know what to do when the RR didn’t print.

    • New

      I shop Walgreens frequently and they give you a form to mail in and they mail you a register reward with a later expiration date on it.. A lot of times it has to do with their catalina machines not accepting the new offers from manufacturers. I spoke on the phone a couple of times about this issue with corporate.. they’re explanation was much more technical but it helped me understand it.. also.. if you ask a lot of times if the store manager allows it, the assistants will price modify your purchase down less the amount of the register reward you were supposed to receive.

  • Carolyn

    I went to walgreen’s for the first time ever with my coupons and transactions written out. On my second transaction the cashier told me if I used the RR’s from the first one they would not give me new one’s from my second transactions, so I chickened out & rang it all up together. I should have stuck to my plan. But I do have $8 in RR for next time 🙂

  • Dawn

    I can not find parts 1-5 of the secret rules?

  • Mary Ann

    I find Walgreen’s one of the worst places to try to use any coupons, mainly because you never know exactly what you are being charged for anything until you go sit in your car or go home and study your receipt. Discounts come off at the end, after everything has been rung up, so if there’s an error, you can’t really tell until the entire receipt has printed. Then, if you’re lucky enough to catch it while still in the store, you’re sent to the cosmetics or photo counter to have the cashier/manager there void and re-ring the whole thing. I’ve even had check-out errors on items that were on sale in the store ad, not requiring a coupon.
    We don’t have CVS or Rite Aid in my area, so Walmart gets my business. at least there I can follow the check-out process and see what’s being charged as it’s rung up.

  • feather jacobs

    My walgreens says 1 transaction only,1 coupon only, cannot combine mfg & store cpn, only 1 cpn on b1g1f, and they will not give rainchecks you have to come back the same week to get the specials!!!! I have to travel 1 1/2 hrs to get to another walgreens. if they dont get more in in time , well you just missed it> they are a real mess!

  • PhrugalinPhilly

    Does any one know if you can use coupons with ‘buy one get one’ free deals? And if you can, how do they ring up at the register? I am particulary interested in how it works at Rite Aid and Walgreens. Advice appreciated. Happy Monday!

  • I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before about the RR at Walgreens…. I learned this from a women shopping at CVS when we started taking about coupons. She told me you can use your Walgreens RRs off your bill at Jewel. I have since used all of my Walgreen’s RR at Jewel so I don’t fall into them not printing out at Walgreens and because of rule #6; one company can make several different products and it can get too tricky for me.

  • Anonymous

    Wal-Green’s is so bad for being out of product. That ruins my whole attitude about shopping there and feeling good about saving. If they are running an ad they should have the mechandise. If they are out of stock and you are to get a RR a raincheck doesn’t help.

  • Tala

    I wish WG would be well stocked – they are not especially are missing the stuff on sale and RR (:

  • Mary Ann

    Went to Walgreen’s again to give it another try using coupons on top of this week’s advertised items. Of the 4 items I went for, only 1 was in stock. Whisk was on sale for $6.99; I had a $2 off coupon. Attached to the bottle was a $1 coupon. I told the cashier I’d prefer to use my own $2 off coupon (duh!), but she said she “had to” use the coupon on the bottle (!!!!). It wouldn’t work and after nearly 5 minutes of fighting the register, she finally looked at it and saw it was expired. So she took my $2 off coupon and used it.
    JEEZ!!! Walgreen’s is NOT worth the effort!!!!

  • Angela

    Question about Walgreens. In your sample multiple transactions above, you purchased several St Ives in different transactions and received multiple RR for the St Ives. My Walgreens will only let me purchase one item if it has a RR. I tried to do multiple transactions with Colgate toothpaste and Mitchum deoderant, but they said I could only purchase one! Very frustrating! Does their corporate policy allow for more than 1 RR per customer per item?
    Thank you!

    • Deena

      So, do what I do — take your first purchase to the car, check your receipt, listen to a song on the radio, and come back in the store for another transaction. Go to another casher if you have to (in our store, there is a check out in cosmetics and in photo — use one of those). Only once have I been hassled about buying more than one deal, and when I asked to see the printed store policy and they could not produce one, I got what I wanted. They may not like it, but it can and does work.

      • AA

        the limit is right on the back of the ad in the fine print. They just had to turn the ad over. That is all the legal clarification they need, if they bothered to read their ad. They “reserve the right to limit quantities”

    • AA

      The policy states that it’s a limit of 1 and usually stores will allow multiple transactions if their stock allows for it. But if you live in an area with low inventory levels than you’ll probably be limited.. I just moved away from one of those areas and now i’m in an area with a few Walgreens and they seem to have everything in a good amount of stock, unless every Walgreens is out.. then it seems to be a delivery issue for the area.. but RAINCHECKS!!! They’re the best at Walgreens and the fact you don’t need a Store Discount Card to get the sales.

  • Samantha

    I am relatively new to couponing and I need clarification on an issue. If I have a walgreen instant value coupon, can I combine it with a manufacture coupon It is my understanding that the instant value coupon is considered to be a store coupon. Please advise.

  • AA

    When at Walgreens a lot of time if you use a RR from one particular manufacturer, say P&G, even if it’s not the same product but it’s manufactured by P&G you won’t get a RR at the end of the transaction. It all comes down to the manufacturer.

    Also, when you read the ads “fine print” for Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid it states “we reserve the right to limit quantities” which is why some stores limit transactions. Because in essence, they’re limiting our quantity. Tried to fight it once and it’s always been returned that quantities are limited and it’s a courtesy to their customers that they allow multiple quantities and transactions.

  • savannahmommy

    so i went to walgreens and they told me if i use a coupon on the items that gives u RR it will cancel the RR
    for example if gillette proglide is on sale for 9.99 and theres a $4 RR and the mfc is $4 off on any gillette proglide
    i won’t be able to get back the $4RR 🙁

  • fdgtgrl

    All this talk and all is great but sadly I can’t seem to be able the wrap my mind around the math :-/ HELP !!!
    PS: never couponed before just just starting 😉

  • Sharon Hellmann

    How do you know what items will get you the RR?

    • Laura

      It states the RR amount and the number of times you can do each deal in the Walgreens weekly ad.

  • Anthony G

    What is an in store coupon?

  • Laura D.

    An in store coupon is a coupon that is only for a particular store, in this case “Walgreens”. You can find in store coupons in their “weekly ad”. There is also an in store coupon book at Walgreens. It should be located right near the rack that has the weekly ads inside the store. Usually it is next to the hand baskets.
    Weekly ads can be obtained usually from the local newspapers before the sale starts.

    In store coupons can be “stacked” with manufacturer coupons. For example, a Gillette razor is $9.99 and you have a Walgreens in store coupon for $1.00 and a Gillette manufacturer coupon for $4.00. You can use both coupons and get the razor for $4.99. ($9.99 – $1.00 – $4.00 = $4.99)

    There is definitely a learning curve, stick with it, you’ll get it! Good Luck!!! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I just came back from Walgreens and they told me that in-order to open a club card, i have to pay $20???

    • Lori

      You don’t need any “club card” to shop and get discounts on regular merchandise at Walgreens. They do not have a card like CVS or Rite Aid do. The Walgreens “club card” is for discounts on prescriptions. I would only consider paying for it if you will reap the benefits of discounted prescriptions that aren’t already discounted by your health insurance or any other prescription discount plan.

  • Dave M

    Thank you Cindy and everyone else to help explain “the rules”. Everything makes a lot more sense now and I am actually willing to give Walgreens more of a chance. When I know the rules I can work with in them and can prepare better for each transaction. I am actually a little excited about my next trips to Walgreens.

  • Amanda

    I have a question. Our Walgreens here in Wisconsin no longer have the register rewards. They now have store cards and I am TOTALLY confused on how the new policy works and if they don’t have the rr, do they really have anything anymore? I am very confused and haven’t shopped there since they switched everything over 🙁

  • Chris Ramirez

    Supposing I buy Hefty trash bags this week and get 500 points. Can I do a second transaction and request that the 50 cents be deducted from that purchase? Are points available immediately?

    • Rapunzel

      Points are available immediately, however, you cannot redeem and earn points in the same transaction. I found this out the hard way by buying something that earned points but also since I redeemed points in that transaction, I did not earn the points I would have had I not redeemed. I had to “return” what I bought and the points I redeemed (5000=$5) had to be refunded on to a Walgreens card (a gift card, but not). When I re-purchased what I had returned, I was told I could not use the $5 Walgreens card they refunded my points on because, again, I would not earn the points I would on the product I was purchasing. Pretty frustrating.

  • Wilma B

    Can someone please explain the difference between Register Rewards and Balance Reward Points? I’m just starting to shop at Walgreens but I would like to be well informed before I venture into a new store. TIA

    • Rejane

      Hi Wilma B. The RR will print a Catalina in the of the transaction. The BRP are points that go into your account and to redeem them you have to request to cashier to do so as they don’t come out automatically. Also, the BRP are in your receipt so you can keep track of them. HTH!

  • Wilma B

    Ok so I;m back with another question.. If an item is offering 1,000 points, can I buy 5 in the same transaction and get 5,000 point? Also, can I use a RR towards an item that offers points and still get the points? Walgreens is very confusing but I’m determined to get good at it. Also, can I use points to pay for an item that offers a RR and still get the RR? TIA

  • Tangee Puckett

    I’m confused on the RR. For example, on the St. Ives, you received an RR, but then you used it on a J &J transaction. Can the RR be used towards anything?

    • Denise Uzunis

      Yes you can use it on anything, that is just an example of how you can roll a register reward from the 1st transaction into another transaction, hth!

  • Christine M

    Is this an updated version? I was at Walgreens last month for a stock up trip on the items I usually get during a certain sale cycle, with the same coupons I’ve used before, and left highly ticked off and frustrated. I think they changed their coupon policy recently.

    1. Spend $30 on Huggies products, get 10,000 RR.
    They would only let me use one of each manufacturer coupon (even though I used the same exact coupons, buying the same exact stuff in the last sale cycle), which ended up doubling what I spent last time. I used my RR, paid the remainder, and didn't get the RR I earned during that transaction! The manager said that if you use register rewards in a transaction, you forfeit and potential RR earned.

    Never again…..

    • geoff84

      I had a similar situation a week or two ago. I wanted to use 3000 Balance Rewards points (my balance was 30,000 or so) on a transaction that would earn 3000 Balance Reward points. The cashier informed that I couldn’t do that – that you can’t both earn and use BR points in the same transaction. For me, that was a new one. But I didn’t argue. The Walgreens rewards program is so arcane, I don’t know if anyone fully understands it.

    • Harry

      I agree. RR no longer stacks even with manufacturer coupons unless its a x off 2 or 3 MFR and has something that the RR to stick to in the order, And also their e-coupons no longer stack with anything and even the cashier and manager were unable to do a override on these. It appears that you need to have at least the same amount of items as coupons and that includes RR, ECPN and MFR.

      The above article is probably too old and needs an update.
      I do not normally do Walgreens but there were couple deals in the past month on the Glade that made it worth stopping by even with the new restrictions. So though my deals were not as good as expected, I did ok after stacking S*, ibotta and MFR. Just dumped the RR on oreo cookies last week even paying a bit more than SR for them, but given that I made something on the Glade I would not mind that. I will probably be very skeptical of doing any deals at Walgreens in the future as well.