Love and Hate at CVS: Minimum Wage Challenge

cvs drug store

I have a love-hate relationship with CVS. I love that I can get things there for free / nearly free (one of my goals for this minimum wage challenge is to try to get all of my personal care products for free this year, and using the CVS program will be a big part of making that happen), but it also seems to be a place where I have terrible dilemmas like whether or not it’s worthwhile buying tampons in order to get peanut butter. Today I needed to get a couple of sticks of deodorant (I had some coupons expiring which gave them to me for free) which wouldn’t seem to be an issue in most cases, but you have to realize what happened the last time I went into CVS to buy deodorant.

I walked in and headed to buy the deodorant when I noticed a woman who was having trouble reaching something she obviously wanted on an upper shelf a couple of aisles from where I was. To the rescue, I headed over and helped her get down some make-up tool that she was trying to reach.

Her: “Thank you. I hate when they put things up on the upper shelves.”

Me: “You’re welcome. Glad I could help. Have a wonderful day.” I began walking back to buy my deodorant while thinking, “wow, she was quite attractive. Maybe I should have tried to strike up some type of conversation…” My back was turned and I was walking away when I heard “hey!” from the end of the aisle in direction from where I had just come. I turned in mid-stride to see the woman wave with a big smile on her face.

Her: “Thanks again!”

Me: Still walking backward, I smile back. “No prob….” and promptly plowed directly into an in-aisle feminine protection display sending packages of pantyliners flying in all directions. I then spent the next ten minutes trying to clean up the mess I had just made as other customers walked by wondering why the hell there was a random grown man on his hands and knees picking up pantyliner packages in the middle of CVS.

As you can see, I’m quite the ladies man. For some unfathomable reason, the attractive lady was nowhere to be seen when I had finished cleaning up. Even worse, I was so flustered from the entire incident that I ended up leaving the store without buying the deodorant that I had gone there to buy.

So, you can see why I have a love-hate relationship with CVS. That being said, anyone that lives in an area where CVS, Walgreens or Rite-Aide exists should learn basic couponing techniques to save them a bundle on personal care products. Each drug store has a different way their program works and it will take a bit of effort and time to learn how each system works, but it’s well worth the time investment as it can literally save you hundreds of dollars a year on basic necessities. With just a bit of practice, you should be able to get the following things for free / nearly free

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving cream
  • Razors
  • Over-the-counter medications

This is actually a short list of what you can get a most drug stores for free or nearly free. Anyone who is on a tight budget should take advantage of the deals that these drug stores provide for many of the basics that most people pick up at the grocery store for a premium price. Even with the occasional embarrassment which I only seem to be able to achieve, the savings more than makes up for it. You can learn more about how CVS works here to begin taking advantage of all the deals that they offer.

Next article: Day One: A Well Stocked Fridge

(Photo courtesy of NNECAPA)

This entry was posted in Frugal, Minimum Wage Challenge, Personal Finance, Saving Money, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Love and Hate at CVS: Minimum Wage Challenge

  1. creditcardfree says:

    Jeffrey, I really do hope you don’t have any run ins this year with feminine protection products. If you do, I’m going to have to wonder what kind of sign you are being given!!

  2. jeffrey says:

    Seriously…I will begin to wonder too…

  3. That’s a funny article!

    It reminds me of when I worked at a department store as a High School Senior. One of my departments was ‘Health & Beauty Aids’, so I got comfortable real quickly with stacking feminine hygiene products or carting around baskets full of the stuff.

    It came in handy too, since I’ve got a wife and 3 daughters 🙂

  4. Lol! Sounds like you got game!

    And nice work on the CVS hack. Sounds like you can save some serious dough!

  5. Minny says:

    What larks Pip old chap! You do see life Jeffrey, are you sure that your sister doesn’t set you these challenges because it gives her so much amusement.

    As we would say here in the UK, better than the tele!

  6. Minny says:

    Was going to say that here in the UK we don’t have couponing in the same way – I wish we did.

  7. Gailete says:

    I love CVS especially after reading your $1 day challenge, it gave me so many ideas on how to shop at CVS. I don’t have the energy to shop much elsewhere than CVS and the expensive (only one in twon) grocery store across the street from it. With all our prescriptions needs we generally end up at CVS at least once a week so we aren’t making special trips. I just got my $18.50 bonus bucks for fall shopping added to my card. I also signed up for their new Rxrewards program. Love those bonus bucks! I get lots of cereal at CVS since it’s sales are better than the regular store. anything that is a CVS brand also gets me 20% off with my card if it isn’t on sale anyhow so combining that with a 20-30% off deal on my card, I generally don’t even have to wait for sales for things I need. The part I hate is how much money we have to sink in meds. That is a bummer but not CVS’s fault.

    Jeff too bad the lady disappeared, I think most women would be attracted to guys that could spill a display like that and then pick it up without blushing. My ex-husband wouldn’t buy any of that stuff for me.

  8. Joan says:

    “The part I hate is how much money we have to sink in meds. That is a bummer but not CVS’s fault.”

    Actually, it is sort of their fault. If you have a big box membership store near you, give their pharmacy a try; you can call up and price the prescriptions you’re currently filling at CVS, and you may be astonished (I was) at the difference in price. I remember pricing a presc. at CVS, $160 + for the generic version; at Costco, under $30. There may be some medications that are not cheaper at the membership pharmacy; but so far everything I’ve priced out has been.

    The great thing is, you don’t even need to buy a membership in order to use a membership store’s pharmacy. Federal law requires every pharmacy to fill prescriptions for anyone who presents one to them; they are NOT ALLOWED to refuse to serve anyone, member or not. If you don’t have a membership, tell the card-checker at the door that you’re there to use the pharmacy only. If you’re ever given any trouble by store staff, call whatever agency is in charge of pharmacies in your state, and they’ll set them straight.

  9. Joan says:

    Jeffrey, your post is hilarious, and I’ll pass it on to others. That kind of personal experience makes frugality a lot more fun to read about.

    I didn’t know that you can get OTC meds for free or low cost at CVS. One question: do you need a newspaper subscription to find deals and coupons at a local CVS, or can you find everything on their website?

    Also, I did want to mention that I have stopped using three of the items on your list (shampoo, soap, and deodorant)with really positive results. I started to write a whole account as to the hows and whys of these omissions and their outcomes, but decided it was probably TMI, and anyway not very useful on an old thread. I will just say that the use of soap CAUSES the need for deodorant, as soap changes the PH balance of skin in ways that are, shall we say, olefactorily unfortunate. (If somebody decides to renounce soap and deodorant, stop using soap first, and wait awhile for your PH to normalize – I waited a year – before giving up deodorant.)

    Well, thanks again for a wonderful laugh-out-loud post.

  10. jeffrey says:

    The easiest way is to follow one of the many blogs that matches the deals for you each week. Simply Google “CVS weekly deals” and find one that presents the information in a way you like best. Getting the weekly coupon inserts will help reduce the costs and let you get many more items for free (or make a bit of money with them), but you can do it without as well (you just pay a bit more). If online coupons work, there will be a link where you can print it. I have a lifetime supply of Aspirin, NyQuil, Rolaids and the like that have all be free/nearly free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *