Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Learn to Shop Walgreens - Step 1

Learn to Shop at Walgreens, step by step.  This series will take you through a series of small shopping trips while you learn the ins and outs of Walgreens shopping while saving money.

The first step is to become a Balance Rewards card member and purchase 3-4 sale items with it.

Before you start, locate your nearest Walgreens store or the one most convenient for you.  Then, locate the current ad that you'll use, they run their sales Sunday - Saturday.  If you can't find an add, go to and click the "weekly ad" link at the top of the page and view it as a PDF.

Preparing To Shop
As you look through the ad, focus only on the regular sale prices, in-ad coupon items and the items priced "with card."  Ignore the "Balance Reward" and "Register Reward" deals for now, we will get to those later.

The Balance Rewards member card allows you to get the "with card" deals and to accumulate points for free store credit.  We'll start with just the "with card" deals and learn about the points later.  Pick out no more than 4 items that you'd like to get.  Feel free to stack manufacturer coupons on top of those deals.

Tip: if you choose a coupon deal, look for the fine print.  Most will limit the number of items you can get with that coupon such as "Limit 4."  In this case you could get either 1, 2, 3 or 4 of the item at the coupon price.  Any more than that will be regular priced.

Write out your list and gather your coupons (if any) and plan on about 30 minutes for shopping.  Try to go during a non-busy time if you can so you won't feel rushed.

At the Store
You can choose to either get your Balance Rewards card before you check out or while you check out.  If it's not too busy when you arrive, get it right away.  A cashier can help you either at the register, photo or cosmetic counter.  They should also give you a little brochure about how the program works.  Put the card in your wallet.  There's also a key fob card attached to the card, put it on your key ring now.

Browse through the store and locate the items on your list.  Familiarize yourself with layout so that next time you'll know a little more about where things are.  If an item you wanted to get is gone, make a note (mental or written) to ask the cashier to see if there are more in stock.  Otherwise you may ask for a rain check if you want to get the deal later.

It's check out time!

You may discover that you check out at a different counter, depending on what cashier is available, just flow with it and be polite.  My favorite is the cosmetic counter because you can ask for coupons and get free samples.

Present your Balance Rewards first if you got one when you first arrived.  Otherwise, tell the cashier that you would like to get one.  Put your items on the counter, and then be ready to hand over your coupons if you have them.  If there was an item you couldn't find, ask the cashier if she can check on it for you or issue a rain check.

You should be able to watch the transaction amounts on the digital display attached to the credit card swiper.  If something doesn't ring the way you thought it should, don't be afraid to speak up.  Hand over any coupons you have for the transaction and watch them ring up.

Pay for your purchases, put your card safely back in your wallet and congratulate yourself on your first Walgreens shopping trip!

On the way out of the store, grab a monthly coupon book and stick in your bag.  We'll use this on a future trip.

Reading Your Receipt
The bottom of each receipt will show the percentage that you saved and an amount.  This includes the savings that you received from being a Balance Rewards member.  There will also be a Balance Reward total, of how many points you earned today and your running total.  You may receive a certain amount of points for signing up.

I recommend registering online at Walgreens and adding your card when you get home.  This is a great way to keep track of your points and search for other great deals plus you should receive points for registering online.

Now you have a Balance Rewards card, are a little familiar with the store and have already saved some money.  The next step is to get a Register Reward.

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