GIVEAWAY ALERT! Make sure you reach the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway!
Have you all heard of the “Drugstore Game”? I’ve seen it applied to CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid to a certain extent. It’s where you take out a certain amount of money- let’s say $20.00- and make it last as long as possible through rolling rewards that you get at the register. I had tried a couple times with a little luck, but this time I wanted to document my transactions at Walgreens, my chosen store, to answer the question- is the Walgreens Game worth the effort? Do you actually save money with all the time you spend with this?
Before I begin, I want to lay out where I started and how I found the deals, for those unfamiliar with couponing.
- Here is an in-depth explanation of what Register Rewards and Balance Rewards are. Basically, Register Rewards print out after your transaction and typically expire after a couple weeks. Balance Rewards are put on your Walgreens card and don’t expire for a long time. I received and used a mixture of both.
- I already had some Balance Rewards on my card, due to their healthy choices program and buying items in the past. I didn’t use any during these 3 transactions, but was prepared to do so.
- I used I Heart Wags and The Krazy Coupon Lady to find the deals. They both lay out the steps to get items for free, or even make money from your transactions.
With that being said, here are my three transactions and how they all panned out in the course of 4 weeks.
Buy 3 items, receive a $9.00 Register Reward
Bought: Crest mouthwash $5.99
Oral B battery-powered toothbrush: $5.99
Oral B floss twin pack: $5.99
- Used 3 $1.50/1 coupons
Final Cost: $14.77 OOP, received $10.00 Balance rewards, $4.77 total
I’m not sure what happened, but for some reason the $9.00 Register Reward didn’t print. I went back later that day, and since the Register Reward couldn’t re-print, the manager instead put 10,000 points on my card, which is equal to $10.00.
Buy 2 Colgate Total toothpastes 2 for $5.00, get a $3.00 Register Reward
- Used: $1.00/1 Colgate Total coupon + $3.00 of my Balance rewards from last time
Final Cost OOP: $1.36
This transaction frustrated me. I went into the store looking for the toothpaste, and the price tags weren’t correct. An employee had to look up the ad to make sure I was buying the correct ones. When I got to the register, I had to explain the same thing to the cashier, who ALSO had to look at the ad and change the price. Then when he took my coupons, they wouldn’t scan. At all. And he gave them back to me and shrugged. Luckily I had a digital coupon on my Walgreens card, so I was able to get at least $1.00 off. Then my Register Reward didn’t print, so he had to call a manager to go to a different register and get it printed for me. My total price OOP should have been zero after coupons and rewards, but since the one coupon didn’t work, I suppose $1.36 is better than full price.
Blue Diamond Almonds, 6 oz: 2 for $5.00
Bought 4, used: Two $2.00/2 printable coupons
-$3.00 Register Reward from previous transaction
-$3.00 of my Balance Rewards
Total Cost OOP: $0.00
This one, at least, went a lot smoother. I took my 4 containers of almonds to the register and asked if I could use Register Rewards and Balance Rewards on the same transaction, and the cashier shrugged and said, “I don’t think so.” After standing there for about five seconds, she said, “Well, I can try it.” Luckily it worked, and I was able to get all of them without spending anything out-of-pocket that day.
That was also pretty much the end of my rolling $20.00. I still have Balance points left, but since I had reached the end of my cash, I didn’t want to continue and take out more money to pay for things. Plus, I hadn’t found anything good in the next couple ads so I’ll just save my points for another time!
So, is the Walgreens game worth it? It’s a great way to save money, if you do it carefully. Items at Walgreens retail for a lot more than grocery stores, so you really have to pay attention to your coupons and rewards to make sure you’re really getting a good deal. However, if you lack patience, this may not be for you. Price tags can be wrong, coupons may not scan, cashiers may not have a clue how to ring things up… now, this is not giving you permission to blow up on the cashier when things go wrong. I was, honestly, all smiles when the problems came up, although on the inside I was grumbling. Things happen, and you just have to be prepared for it.
Would I do it again? Eh, maybe. I took Allison with me each time and trying to wrangle a toddler while working out issues can be tough. Plus I had to go back to the store one of these times to get something fixed, so it took more time than I’m used to with couponing. I’ll probably do it here and there when there are amazing deals, but it’s not something I’ll do every week.
If you think you’d like to try your hand at the Walgreens game, I’ve got a gift card to help you get started! I’m giving away a $20.00 Walgreens gift card to one lucky winner. The giveaway ends Monday, September 5th, and will be mailed out to you soon after! Good luck, and don’t forget to share this with your friends to give them a chance, too!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.