Drugstore 101

Learn how to play the drug store game. You can save a lot of money by using the store promotions offered at CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid. Here is a quick overview. However, we suggest taking some time to learn how to use these store promotions. Make sure to check out our Fundamentals of Store Incentives Workshop. You can learn how to take advantage of store incentives. We teach you how to shop at your local grocery store, as well as WalMart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid!

Walgreen’s offers shoppers a wide variety of store coupons in their weekly sales ad and in the Walgreens store coupon book (found in stores). These store coupons can be used with manufacturer’s coupons.

For Example:
Kraft Dressing is on sale for $1.99
Use a $.50 off manufacturer’s coupon
Use with a $.50 off Walgreen’s coupon
Final Price: $.99

Walgreen’s also offers a Register Rewards (RR) Program as an additional store incentive.  The offer is usually “buy X amount (dollars or quantity) and receive $X in Register Rewards”.  Register Rewards (RR) print out at the register at the completion of your transaction and are good on your next purchase.  Make sure to watch the expiration date on these rewards.

For example:
Kellogg’s cereal is on sale 2 for $5
Get $2 in Register Rewards (store credit) when you buy 2
Pay $5
Get $2.00 in Register Rewards (store credit)
Final Price: $3 for 2 boxes or $1.50 each

You can also use coupons with Register Rewards to score some great deals!

For Example:
Kellogg’s cereal is on sale 2 for $5
Get $2 in Register Rewards (store credit) when you buy 2
Use a buy one get one free manufacturer’s coupon
Pay $2.50 for 2 boxes
Get $2 in Register Rewards (store credit)
Final Price: $.50 for 2 boxes or $.25 each

CVS has an excellent incentive program, Extra Care Rewards, where you earn Extra Care Bucks on specific product purchases.  ECB’s can be used like cash at all CVS stores.  This program offers you the opportunity to get many items for next to nothing, free or even with overage. To participate in the Extra Care Reward program all you need is a CVS Extra Care card which you can request in the store or online.

Extra Care Bucks (ECB’s) can be earned in two ways.  First, you will receive 2% of your cumulative spending at the end of each quarter.  Second, ECB’s can be earned when you buy certain advertised items in the weekly sales ad. Extra Care Bucks will be printed at the end of your receipt. Be sure to check for them before tossing the receipt!

For example:
Crest toothpaste is $2.99
Pay $2.99
Get $2.99 in ECB (store credit)
Final Price: FREE

Manufacturer’s coupons can be used on items that also have ECB offers.

For example:
Crest toothpaste $2.99 each
Use a $1.00 off manufacturer’s coupon
Pay $1.99
Get $2.99 (ECB store credit)
Final Price: You profited a dollar in store credit and got free toothpaste!

Rite Aid has store coupons in their weekly sales ad. Rite Aid also has videos you can watch about the latest products and then you get exclusive in-store coupons.

These store coupons can be used with manufacturer’s coupons.

For Example:
Hormel Compleats are on sale for $1.99
Use $.75 off manufacturer’s coupon
Use with $.50 off Rite Aid Video Values coupon
Final Price: $.74

Another great way to save is using the +UP Rewards Program. This program is very similar to the Extra Bucks Programs at CVS and Register Rewards at Walgreens. You can also use coupons with this program to get items at rock bottom prices!

For example:
Hormel Compleats are on sale for $1.99
Get $1 +UP Rewards (store credit)
Use $.75 off manufacturer’s coupon
Use with $.50 off Rite Aid
Video Values coupon
Pay $.74

Get $1 +UP Rewards

Rite Aid has a rebate program called Single Check Rebate or SCR. You can enter your receipts online at Rite Aid throughout the program month so you don’t have to mail anything in.


  1. says

    i try to use both the walgreens coupon with the manufactures coupon and the one in santa cruz, ca. doesnt allow it. What am i doing wrong.

  2. Jenny Weddle says

    With your c0mment from May 14 and Walgreens couponing. It may have been that you had too many coupons to products purchased. The Walgreen’s coupons don’t count in this situation. Let me explain it a little further. If you have a manufacturer’s coupon that gives you money off an item and you use a rewards bucks coupon to take money off that same item, you will need to have two items for this transaction to work. If you have a walgreens coupon and a manufacturers coupon on one item, that should work fine as the walgreens coupons don’t matter in this situation. The register rewards are considered manufacturer coupons so you need the same amount of items to equal the coupons. I usually add something that has a small value. Like a pencil or a bar of candy. I hope that clears it up. I’m sorry I just saw this post so I am sure someone else has explained this to you by now. Happy shopping!

  3. rae says

    some of the internet coupons you refer to in your postings seem to be store specific (ex: Glade expressions fragrance mist starter kit referred to in the Walgreens deals states it is redeemable @ Walmart). Can these be used at other stores?

  4. says


    If the coupon says manufacturer’s at the top but has a logo of a store or says “redeemable at” you should still be able to use this at any store. If the coupon say “redeemable only” I would only use it at that certain store. Most stores will allow you to use the coupon, but it is up to the store!

  5. Heather says

    Ok I’m still a little bit confused as I have yet to try and shop in a drugstore with rewards. So hypothetical situation. Say I have 2 toothpastes that cost 3 dollars each and 2 store coupons for 50 cents off 1 toothpaste. I also have a manufacturers coupon for another 1 off each coupon. Thats 1.50 off per toothpaste. Now I have decided not to buy anything else can I also use 3.00 off in register rewards or would I be required to get something else because it costs as a type of coupon? if it does count as a coupon which type does it count as? If a third item is required to use the RR then can you use RR in an amount the exceeds the amount of the third item? As in I add something that costs 50 cents can I use 3.00 in RR ?

  6. says

    Register Rewards are manufacturer coupons! You can’t have more manufacturer coupons than you have items you are buying.

    Walgreens coupon do not count toward this total!!

    If you are getting 2 items and have 3 manufacturer coupons you will need to pick up a filler (like a piece of candy or a pencil). You do not need to get to the value of your RR but you will not get any money back or keep the RR with a balance.

  7. Heather says

    ok one last question… and thank you for clearing that up for me. If with the for mentioned scenario say I add for my third item gum which costs a dollar and I have RR for 4 dollars would I only be able to get 1 dollar of the RR redeemed or would it remove 4 dollars off my total purchase? If 3 dollars would fall off from the RR then I would want to pick up something more expensive..(but I don’t know how it works to know if that is what I am suppose to do with them). Also I wanted to say I loved your book. :) I just find the drug store stuff a bit confusing still and cashiers here are not very patient, which is why I want to know what I’m doing before I attempt it.

  8. says

    You only get to use your RR once and you lose what you don’t use! I like to use my RR for things I can’t get a good deal on (like milk)!

    Does that help?

  9. Jessi says

    Our Walgreens no longer do Register Rewards but now do “Balance Rewards”. I miss the Register Rewards. :(


  1. [...] 7. Finally, become familiar with the incentive programs available at many retailers. Some stores offer rebates. At stores like Staples, you’ll pay for your purchases at the register, but you’ll get money back by mail when you submit your rebate for certain items. Staples and other stores like Walgreens also offer store coupons. To find these coupons, check your favorite money saving blogs or search for them yourself in the weekly circular or online. A third incentive program retailers like CVS and Target offer is in the form of store credit. You’ll pay for your purchase in full at the register, but these stores often offer money off your next visit in the form of Extra Care Bucks at CVS and gift cards at Target. To maximize your savings, combine as many incentives as possible on one purchase. For example, you might be able to use a store coupon in conjunction with a manufacturer’s coupon, a rebate and/or store credit to cut your final cost significantly. Learn more about how to shop at your local drug store here. [...]

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  3. [...] 8/1-8/7 Thanks to Frugal Coupon Living Get more coupons here and here If you are new to coupons you can learn more here If you are new to CVS you can learn more here [...]

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