I went in to Walgreens with no preconceived notions. I've not been a dedicated drugstore shopper for many years - before I had kids, I was convinced that drugstores were the best way to maximize my shopping dollar for health and beauty items, but more than a few kids and a couple of jobs later and I just do not have the spare time that I once had. Now, I'm much more likely to grab the personal products at Wal Mart, knowing that the prices are good and it's an effective use of my time.
When I go to get prescriptions filled, though, I typically shop around and try to pick out some good stuff. That's part of the reason that my husband encouraged me to start using the drive thru to pick up prescriptions - or to go to Target or Wal Mart for those medications - and get it all done at once.
I was asked to participate in the Walgreens Balance Rewards program and I was interested enough to go, with my own money, on a little shopping trip. For the purposes of this trip, I wanted to maximize the amount of points that I would earn, and minimize the outlay of moola. The only thing that I knew that we needed was shampoo and boyd wash, and I didn't plan to purchase them at Walgreens - just because I thought it might be less than cost effective.
It was not until I started walking around the store, though, and really focused on the little "balance rewards" tags - that I truly understood the program. In particular, I was really intrigued by the "Healthy" bonus - spend $20 on any of the Walgreens brand foods that came in the "healthy" category - and get a large point bonus. The first part of the $20 was super easy - I bought a dark chocolate bar for my husband, as well as some trail mix.
The man comes home from work and has a serious case of the muchies every.single.night. Trail mix, with dried fruits and nuts, is at least somewhat of a better choice than a bag of chips.
The remaining amount - $12 - was a bit more dificult to fill, but one can always use flour and sugar - although adding those in the name of "health" was a bit of a stretch for me. Hmmmm. I guess I could say that it's healthier to make your own foods than eat processed junk, and that's where sugar and flour come in.
Still not convinced, but grateful for extra points.
There was a bundle special on Dove/Ax/Suave products - and I'm enough of a product snob that I'm not so much a fan of them for myself - but have you SEEN the amount of product my kids go through? There is absolutely NOTHING more aggravating than walking into the bathroom to see a bottle of body wash on the bottom of the tub, committing body wash suicide one drop at a time, straight down the drain. I really do love the Dove Conditioner for myself, and so one bottle of shampoo + 2 bottles of conditioner + one bottle of body wash = a bunch of extra points.
For stuff I'd buy anyway. Hmmmm.
My daughters begged for Hello Kitty hand soap and the hair clips were buy one, get one free - and we go through hair clips like french fries at a snack bar, so both of those items were added to the basket, along with some bathroom counter cleaning wipes.
The end result, after in store discounts, store coupons and the extra points?
More than half way to a $5 gift card - just for stuff I would ordinarily buy.
I did see something that gave me a chuckle today. When an AARP member uses their membership and spends $25, they earn a 5,000 points (equal to $5 off). I'm not old enough (officially) to qualify for an AARP membership - but my 13 year old son was sent one on his 11th birthday. Maybe I should have taken HIM to the store with me, rather than two little Hello, Kitty soap craving little girls.
I don't think I'm going to cash in my rewards when I make the first or second level - and maybe not even the third. At the fourth level, I could come out of there with $35. That would buy me an awful LOT of makeup - or maybe some super spendy shampoo and body wash.
Walgreens Balance Rewards - helps you treat yourself to something you want while saving on the things you need. It seems like a win-win situation to me!