Good health sometimes comes with a price tag in the form of more expensive food and supplements, but at my house we try to cut corners and save money where we can while maintaining quality. Because I know I am not the only one out there working with a limited budget, I try to pass on any tricks or tips for frugal healthy living.
Recently I have been taking far more supplements than ever before. While my opinion on some supplements remains cautious (I’d love for my diet to be so nutrient-dense that I don’t need any extra nutrition from supplements, and then just use herbs, and essential oils as needed), I am currently, under the advice of my doctor, taking a variety of supplements to bolster my immune system and to make sure that I reach optimal nutrition levels, instead of just “good” nutritional levels.
But guess what? Supplements are expensive. Some of the ones I take right now are not only expensive, but also are only available through doctors. But others are available widely, which allows me freedom to budget shop for them.
I thought I would share some of the ways I’ve saved money on supplements, which is even more important if you are taking them long-term. Saving even $5 or $10 on an item adds up when you're buying a bottle or two a month!
Compare, compare, compare
The first thing I do is compare prices from a variety of places. I can buy some supplements locally, but they are generally retail price. Online I look at a variety of places to compare prices, and compare them to what I can buy locally.
Buy from a reputable place
Some small “companies” (aka people trying to sell supplements online) aren’t very successful, and their stock is older. They may have cheap prices, but I wouldn’t recommend buying from them. Sometimes they have their own website and sometimes they are a third party selling through Amazon. If you haven’t already, check out the Better Business Bureau’s advice for online shopping safety here.
Where I buy
Currently, I have personally been ordering from Amazon.com and/or Vitacost.com. I also buy cod liver oil and my butter oil from building-health.com, as they have free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
One supplement I am currently taking is Floradix, which I personally feel is the best supplement for iron. It’s much more absorbable, and does not cause constipation. I save about $10 from buying from either place instead of buying at a local store.
Watch out for shipping
Sometimes third party sellers selling through Amazon have good prices, and then tack on really high shipping costs, so watch out for that. Vitacost has really reasonable shipping prices, and it’s free over a certain amount as well. If you have Amazon prime, then shipping is free as well. It’s important to watch the shipping prices because shipping costs can eat up your savings quickly.
Use coupons (on and offline)
Certain companies, such as Vitacost, give out a lot of coupon codes. Keeping track of them yourself, but also doing a Google search for “Vitacost coupon codes” before you order gives you the opportunity to make sure you haven’t missed any coupons. And, of course, this works locally as well.
Consider brands that are quality but not as expensive
The NOW brand of supplements is generally less expensive, but I’ve heard from several unbiased and reputable people that they are, generally speaking, very high quality. I’ve bought several different supplements that were under the NOW label and was happy with them. When buying from Vitacost, you will notice that they have their own brand as well, which is generally significantly cheaper than other brands. In deciding which brand to go with when buying supplements, I would look at it on a case-to-case basis, but the less expensive brands are often high quality. Just because one brand is marked up, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better.
Sign up for automatic shipment
On both Amazon and Vitacost, certain supplements have a cheaper price if you sign up for a monthly/quarterly shipment. This works great for supplements you know you need to buy on a consistent basis. You don’t have to remember to order it, and you get a cheaper price!
Related stories on MNN: