Cho-co-lat-e Blog-a-lot eh? (Oh and the CVS thing and natural moms)

Show that inspired this post: Chele’s interview with CVS Diva Crystal Paine of

100 words: (Chele if you’re reading this, don’t get your feelings hurt. I am now hooked on your show.) This was the first episode of Moms Love Shopping I ever listened to, probably because I follow Crystal’s blog and she mentioned she was interviewed there. I enjoy Crystal’s blog a lot, she has some of the best advice on how to make money from a blog for example, as well as valuable frugality tips.

I am a frugal mama, to be sure. But I didn’t think the whole CVS “thing” would work for me. Nor was I sure I even wanted to do what I see other moms all over the internet doing and blogging about.

When it comes to the first issue, I don’t use a lot of products, period. And most of the products I use are either all natural and organic, or I make them myself. For instance, I moisturize my face at night with olive oil. I make my own tooth powder (I’ll share the recipe here someday). I use cloth menstrual pads. I like for the stuff that touches mine and my kid’s skin to be as safe as possible. Other than Burt’s Bees and BeFine (which I haven’t investigated yet), CVS doesn’t carry those types of products, and there are very rarely any deals that feature those kinds of products.

I do use a regular moisturizer with sunscreen in it for daytime, I have since I was 12, but CVS doesn’t carry the brands I use. And I use rechargeable batteries and my local CVS is always out!

The few things that CVS carries that I do buy are overpriced, like paper products (notebooks for the kids and computer paper). That must be where they’re making up the difference for the stuff they can give away for free. And I suppose I could buy band-aids, vinegar and baking soda there, but again – they would be priced higher and there aren’t any Extra Care Bucks or coupons associated with those kind of basic, generic items. Most of the great deals are on items that I never, ever buy, like soft drinks, candy and junk food.

I’m also concerned with the temptation to buy when I wouldn’t ordinarily BE buying, and buying items that I wouldn’t ordinarily BE buying, just to get it free, or to get more ECBs, or whatever. Does that make sense?

This is where I might lose some friends, all in a desperate attempt to get free chocolate. Ahem. Does that mean my priorities are messed up? No… actually I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time now. Really I have. ;)

I am not judging anyone else here, but getting a lot of stuff for free at CVS or any other store doesn’t feel good in my gut. So I don’t do it. I don’t understand how a person can go in to a CVS and take home several bags of stuff, week in and week out, and pay pennies for it. It doesn’t feel ethical to me. It feels like getting something for nothing, and that goes against my understanding of certain Biblical principles. It gives me that funny feeling in my gut, and I have to listen to that. I would be wrong not to… we all have our conscience and we had best not ignore it.

To me it’s similar to the cheap toy situation. We (meaning we as American consumers) “demand” by our shopping habits cheap plastic stuff. So, the manufacturers have to keep cutting corners to give us what we want, which is cheap plastic stuff. Then we complain when the cheap plastic stuff ends up being what it is: cheap. It’s not safe, it’s not good for our health or the environment, or whatever, but it’s really our fault for wanting so much stuff, so cheap.

If I take home $100 worth of stuff from CVS and pay 0.23 for it, I’m feeding into that system.

To be fair, I DID take advantage of that Sambucol rebate deal where I purchased a bottle of their Elderberry Extract and got a $10 ECB from CVS and then mailed in the rebate, getting the full purchase price back. :-)  

Link to Moms Talk Radio

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12 Responses to Cho-co-lat-e Blog-a-lot eh? (Oh and the CVS thing and natural moms)

  1. chele says:

    No offense taken. :-) You have very valid points and most I agree with.

    For instance, I don’t purchase EVERYTHING on the list for ECBs if I know I’m not going to use it or know someone that will use it. My reason is, I have a huge issue with being wasteful. Buying more than is necessary or not even planned for use IS wasteful. It’s not something I want to teach my kids to be. I think many of us were raised this way and we now see the problems it has caused.

    I did take advantage of the Purell because it is on the school supply list here year after year. At home we use good old soap and water, but I understand how it’s not possible to take 30 kids to wash their hands several times a day at school. I couldn’t get any Sambucol at either CVS here. I guess it’s a hot item where I live. ;-)

    As for the Biblical principals, I’m not sure either way. Part of me is irked that it should even be an issue. You shouldn’t have to jump thru hoops to buy something at a reasonable price, but if you must…

    It’s nice to have someone honest enough to tackle the issues you mentioned. I’d love to have you back as a guest if you’d like to have an open dialog on the subject. :-)

  2. carrie says:

    Thanks for your comments Chele. You know, as a marketer, I can’t help but feel sorry for the CVS people. When a manufacturer puts a coupon out there or a rebate, it’s a marketing tactic – they want you to buy their product so you’ll get hooked on it (hopefully) and keep buying.

    I might do the same thing when I offer a discount or freebie. My motive is to increase goodwill and make sales, but I can’t give everything away for free or my kids will go hungry. To combine rebates, manufacturer coupons and CVS dollar off coupons and ECBs seems greedy to me. Somewhere along the line, someone is losing money. Getting money back from CVS when you shop there? Doesn’t seem right.

    I’ve also heard some mommy bloggers brag about how much free stuff they get – stuff they can’t use and donate to others. I fail to see how that is ethical or fair. If I want to donate money or goods, it should come from my pocket, not CVS’s or anyone else’s.

    Just because someone can figure out how to work a system doesn’t mean they should, imo.

  3. Very interesting points, Carrie. You always open my eyes to a new way of seeing things. I’m not a big CVS person. I go when I must, but I don’t go ape wild using coupons and rebates…etc. It’s simply there for emergency’s. Mostly because I’ll walk away with much more than I actually needed…like the big bad old wal-mart. ;)

  4. Great points, Carrie. I also don’t like to purchase something just because it’s a good price. If you never use that product, then it’s still a waste of money, whether it’s $2 or 0.02.

  5. Carol says:


    I agree with you about that “gut” feeling. I don’t see a problem with shopping for the items you need with a manufacturer’s coupon and the instore coupon and getting extra care bucks back, but somewhere after that, it just seems to be bordering on greed.

    Another area that I made a decision not to participate in is getting coupons online through clipping services. I can’t in good conscience ever do this again. I know that they say you are only paying for their time to clip and sort, but that’s a mighty thin line. It may be legal to do it, but is it ethical? It’s only legal because they state that it’s just for their time, but in reality, aren’t most people just plain buying those coupons? I think I’ve heard every opinion on this one, but in the end, it comes back to that “gut” feeling and making sure that I am doing what is pleasing to God.

    I am not passing judgement here. I had to decide for myself that it isn’t worth getting something for nothing if it means taking the wide road to get there.

  6. Annette says:

    Great post Carrie. I’ve never been a coupon person for some of the reasons you mention – most of the time the coupons are for things I wouldn’t be buying anyway.

    Thanks for the olive oil tip too. I’ve never used it on my face although it’s been great on my hands!

  7. yarnball says:

    I think it shows good stewardship of your money to be able to buy things to give to others. Why is it “bad” to get things at the lowest price? Doesn’t that just allow you to buy more to donate?

    I totally do not get where y’all are coming from!

  8. jnbsmom says:

    Woe! I really don’t see your point about taking advantage of the system. The system is set up with the idea that the average American won’t use those ECB’s. There is a one month expiration date on them, and if they aren’t used in that time, they’re lost, and you’ve paid for the product that you thought would be free.

    Don’t make the person, who is trying to make ends meet, into the bad guy. Some people have to play the game with the economy the way it is. I don’t see the large corporations apologizing or feeling badly when you have to spend your paycheck on necessities.

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  10. Karen says:

    I am new at using coupons to save dollars so I will try not to sound like an expert on the topic. However, using coupons and taking advantage of “deals” seems rather wise to me. There are at times products that I would not have purchased without the availability of a coupon, rebate or extra bucks, but unless I am throwing away the product, i.e., wasting, we will use it or know someone who will use it. I do not have a gut feeling that I am taking advantage of the manufacturer or the company. Policies and requirements are clearly stated on the manufacturer’s coupons and in the company policies. As long as I stay within these guidelines, I am doing nothing wrong. I do not buy everything just because and so far have not used the online coupon clipping sites, although, I do not feel it is dishonest in anyway.

    The one area I do see a problem, at least for me, is that it can become addicting. For me, this is because now I am aware that I can save money on products and it seems more wasteful to me to purchase haphazardly.

    I do think it is great to use homemade products and maybe someone should start classes to teach how. As far as contributing to the “cheap” products, we had better all stay at home, because it is nearly impossible to purchase anything that is not made outside the USA anymore, and I know we all would like to change that process. However, maybe we are helping the third world countries make a living that would not otherwise be available to them.

    For me, for now, I will continue to use coupons, rebates, and take advantage of CVS’s bucks and WAG’s RR.

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