How to play the WAGS game

Playing the Walgreens game is a blast once you get the hang of it. Although, I will admit, it is quite challenging. Once you start playing, you really need to play every week in order to maximize your savings and continue to roll your rewards.

Walgreens uses a system called “register rewards”. Every week in the sales ad, you will find various products advertised that will yield a register reward (RR) if purchased. A register reward is a Catalina coupon which will print from the Catalina machine when you have purchased a participating product. The Catalina machine is the little box located next to each register, similar to those found in grocery stores. Each RR has an expiration date, which usually expires 2 weeks from when you receive them. So, don’t forget to use them and don’t loose them. Treat your RRs like cash!

Now let’s get started. The object is to pay as little out of pocket (oop) as possible and/or try to gain more RRs than you used. Walgreens advertises products yielding RRs in two different fashions. The first being, purchase a particular item and receive a specified dollar amount RR. This scenario would look like this…

“Buy Colgate Total Toothpaste, 4oz, sale price $2.99; receive a Register Reward good on your next purchase for $2”

Hence, you would buy one tube of toothpaste, pay $2.99 and get back a $2 RR for a final cost of $0.99. You may think that this is a great price for toothpaste, well, you are wrong! This deal could net you a penny profit if you had a $1 coupon for the toothpaste.

The second being, purchase X amount of dollars of a product and receive a specified dollar amount RR. This scenario would look like this…

“Buy $10 or more of Hershey’s Pieces, sale price 2/$5; receive $5 in Register Rewards good on your next purchase”

Hence, you would buy four packages of Hershey’s Pieces, pay $10 and get back a $5 RR for a final cost of $5. You may also think this is a great price for four bags of candy, well, you are wrong again! This deal could cost much less if you had four $1 coupons for the Hershey’s Pieces.

Now, let’s learn how to use coupons and RRs in the same transaction. WAGS registers recognize RRs like coupons. Therefore, when using coupons and RRs in the same transaction, you will need to have a product for each coupon or RR to attach. WAGS store coupons do NOT count in the product to coupon count. So, let’s say we have a $1 coupon for the toothpaste and we have a $2 RR from purchasing a completely different product from the previous week. Well, in this case, we have two problems. The first one is that we cannot purchase one item and use two coupons, where one of the coupons is the RR. The second is that the toothpaste only costs $2.99 and once we use the $1 coupon and the $2RR, we will go negative by a penny. So, we will need to find what is referred to as a “filler”. A filler is the cheapest item you can possible find at WAGS to act as a place holder for that second coupon and to prevent us from going negative. Fillers can consist of anything you choose. However, most pros use items that are as cheap as possible (i.e. candy bars, pencils, etc.). For our example, lets use a pencil that is on sale for 20 cents with an in store coupon advertised in the weekly ad. You may be thinking, ok….now we have three coupons and only two products. Remember, WAGS store coupons do not count in the coupon to product count. They do not attach to anything. So here is what our transaction would look like…

Buy Colgate Total Toothpaste $2.99
Buy pencil regular price $0.40
Use $1 manufacturer coupon for toothpaste
Use $2 RR from purchasing a completely different product prior week
Use in store coupon found in ad (deducts $0.20)
Pay $0.19 Get $2RR

I’ve found it best to give your manufacturer coupons first, then your WAGS store or in ad coupons and your RRs last.

You can purchase more than one RR generating product in the same transaction as long as they are different deals. For example, if you were to buy one Colgate Total toothpaste and four bags of Hershey’s Pieces in the same transaction, you would get a $2 RR and a $5 RR.

Also, you cannot “roll” RRs into the same deal. This means you cannot use a $2 RR from the Colgate Total toothpaste to purchase more Colgate Total toothpaste. You will not get another $2RR. The best way to roll RRs from week to week is to use them on a completely different RR deal. For instance, use the $2RR from the Colgate toothpaste deal towards the Hershey’s Pieces deal.

Now that you are completely overwhelmed, give it a try! Feel free to ask questions. You WILL get the hang of this and become a pro!