5 Ways to Save Money on Vitamins
David Bakke writes about budgeting, health, and lifestyle choices on the personal finance blog, Money Crashers.
We all want to lead healthy lives and give our bodies the nutrients they need to stay strong and resilient, but we don’t want to drain our bank accounts to do it. The vitamin and dietary supplement industry in this country is big business, to the tune of about $28 billion in 2010 alone. If you’ve been plagued by pricey vitamins and supplements, you can give your finances that much-needed dose of savings by following these quick tips:
1. Determine Your Needs
If you’re taking a vitamin because of a diagnosed deficiency, pregnancy, or a family history of a disease, then the effects are going to be of significant benefit to you. Taking vitamins just to take them, however, is not a good strategy.
Your first step should be to determine if supplements are right for you. If they are, decide exactly how much you should take. Only in rare cases, for example, would you ever need more than 100 mg of Vitamin C in a given day. There’s no need, then, to buy 1,000 mg tablets, unless of course, you’re getting over an illness. Your body knows when you’ve put too many vitamins in your system, so don’t let it get to that point – save yourself some money upfront.
2. Buy in Bulk
If you decide that certain supplements are right for you on a regular basis, buy the largest quantities possible. You can often find discounts of up to 50%-off by buying 500 tablets as opposed to 250. Scour warehouse retailers like Wal-Mart and shopping clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club for the best deals out there. Just remember to always check the expiration date to ensure that you’re not buying more than you’re going to be able to take before they go bad.
3. Use Manufacturers’ Coupons
While cents-off deals at the grocery store are always beneficial, you can often find better prices by going directly to your preferred vitamin manufacturer. Nature Made has a variety of printable coupons on their website available for download. Kirkland offers a variety of discounts as well, and if you buy a significant amount of stock, a $15 annual membership to GNC’s Gold Card program gives you 20% off all products. Just make sure that the membership fee is worth it before you commit.
4. Shop Online
Even after you factor in shipping costs, shopping for your vitamins online can be more advantageous than buying at brick and mortar stores. And don’t just limit yourself to shopping at manufacturers’ websites either. Amazon and eBay have wide varieties of vitamins and supplements on offer, and in some cases, you can avoid paying sales tax if you purchase from the right online retailer.
5. Alter Your Diet
The best way to save on vitamins may be simply to alter your diet and lower your reliance on them. If you tend to subsist on processed and fast foods, try eating more fresh and natural ingredients every day. Pack your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables and you can get almost all the essential nutrients that vitamins offer. By eating healthier foods and a more rounded diet, you may never need another supplement again.
Even if these methods only shave $10 a month off your vitamin spending, that’s an extra $120 in your checking account at the end of the year. If you can come up with four other ways to save $10 per month, you’re going to have almost $500 at year’s end.
Yes, hitting the financial home run is always nice, but these small moves can significantly boost your savings when all is said and done. Just use common sense, adjust your life habits as necessary, and you can save significant money on vitamins without sacrificing your health.
What ways can you think to save on vitamins?