Well, time for perhaps my least favorite day of the year, the annual flu shot. Nothing like having a long needle inserted up into my shoulder to bring a smile to my face.
And yet I do it anyway. Why? I do it because I don’t want the flu, of course. I do it so that I don’t bring the flu home to my children. And I do it so that I don’t become a carrier. The flu is a terrible, under scrutinized epidemic, killing tens of thousands of people each year here in the US. 20%-30% of people carrying the flu virus don’t even realize it. But they pass it along, touching door handles, shaking hands, etc.
The flu vaccine is far from perfect, but the only way something like this is controlled is by limiting its ability to spread. I.e. by mass vaccination. People frequently use my computer at work, borrow my pens, or shake my hand. It drives me a little crazy. They always insist that they aren’t sick, but if they were sick, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t even know it.
I’ll tie this back to my post title, how is the flu shot frugal? First of all, it’s usually free. How’s that for frugal? But it goes beyond that. Getting sick is the opposite of frugal. You miss work, you’re less efficient, and you spend money on doctors and medication. So a free shot that makes you less likely to get sick is a frugal choice. It’s also the right choice.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the flu costs Americans 10.4 billion dollars each year in direct expenses, as well as 16.3 billion in lost earnings. That’s 26.7 billion dollars of your tax dollars, your neighbor’s college fund, your grandmother’s retirement savings, etc. Doing what it takes to not pass this disease along to the next person is your responsibility. Don’t shirk it.
A number of the larger pharmacy chains offer an incentive for you to get your flu shot through them. Here’s a short list of what some of the companies near us are doing:
- Walgreens – If you get a flu shot there, a shot gets donated to a child in need.
- Osco – Offers a 10% off coupon for grocery shopping.
- CVS – Offers an in-store 20% off coupon.
- Rite Aid – No incentive.