To save money, I shop at stores with low prices, use coupons (when I remember!), and limit the number of random “things” that I buy. Yet, one store that has given me grief when it comes to saving money is CVS Pharmacy – and I’m not talking about their actual pharmacy products like prescription medicine. Logic would have me believe that CVS is a less expensive option when it comes to beauty and hair products because their circulars boast of sales prices on these supplies. Yet, every single time I enter a CVS, I end up spending MORE than I would at the local grocery store, can’t use their coupons, and don’t receive the sales price on the product of my choice!

This is a summary of my experiences at their store:

  • I select items that have yellow 50% off tags only to get to the register and NOT receive my 50% off savings. Apparently, I can’t mix and match products! Yet the fine print on their glaring, yellow tags didn’t catch my eye when I picked them out. Okay, so maybe this is my fault, but all the products have the same 50% off tag so why can’t I mix and match?!
  • I hand the cashier a 25% off coupon only to be told that because the items I selected are “on sale”, the coupon won’t apply. But wait…I didn’t get the 50% off price anyway! This doesn’t make much sense to me.
  • The receipt the cashier hands me is a mile long filled with lots of “coupons.” Yet, when I try to use one of these wasteful, paper-receipt coupons, I CAN’T! It doesn’t apply to the product of my choice (according to the fine print on “exclusions’!) WTF?!
  • They don’t carry all the products that I want, but the grocery store has everything I need in one aisle. This doesn’t make much sense; CVS has a huge beauty department, yet the grocery store dedicated only one aisle and has the product(s) I’m looking for.

I’m done with CVS. Maybe I just don’t know how to shop this store, but if it’s this much trouble to save a buck or two, I’d rather go somewhere else for less hassle. As far as I’m concerned, I have more choice in beauty products at a local grocery store or Walmart for a better price.

Have you given up on a store because of product selection or difficulty in getting the price you want?


  1. Money Beagle Reply

    I don’t do too much with drugstores, and there isn’t a CVS that close to go there all too often. I have seen reports of people who are pretty successful there. I guess you have to follow the rules a little more closely and learn the process. But going through all that has to be worth it, and it sounds like it’s not for you, so probably best to concentrate your shopping and deal hunting elsewhere.

    • @Money Beagle – I’m sure some people save tons at CVS if they do it right, but maybe I’m just not that patient. I’m sticking to Walmart and Ralphs. 😉

  2. I used to shop at CVS quite a bit, but I stopped because I had to buy a lot of stuff I didn’t need to get the stuff I did need for a cheaper price. I’ve heard that people have great luck with Walgreen’s, but their system seems even more complicated to me!

  3. Paul @ The Frugal Toad Reply

    Wow! I’m always amazed at companies that engage in misleading advertising. While CVS may not have intentionally been misleading, is it really worth making a couple dollars to alienate a customer?

  4. Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter Reply

    Wow, that sounds like a bit of a vortex. That’s pretty shady of them. I have dealt with companies like that before and it’s not worth the hassle of shopping there, not to mention it doesn’t save money!

    • @Daisy – With so many other drugstore-type places to shop, I’m definitely going to check out a competitor’s store.

  5. Jon @ Money Smart Guides Reply

    I shop at CVS for most of my personal care needs, but have recently found the grocery store prices to be comparable. Plus with my new credit card, I get 6% cash back at grocery stores so buying my personal care items there makes more sense.

    • @Jon – It’s surprising to see that grocery stores have better prices (often) than stores that are suppose to be all about health and beauty. Their loss I guess!

  6. @Poor Student – My grocery store actually has better prices on HBA items than the pharmacy, even when I factor in the sales. Go figure.

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