Since drugstore chains have popped up on every corner, they seem to be convenient places to run in for a few items here or there. It might be convenient to knock a few items off your list of necessities when you are in the store picking up your prescriptions. However, if you are looking to save money, the drugstore is probably not the place to stretch your dollars. You may want to consider whether the convenience of running into the drugstore is worth the extra cash you may be spending there.
13. Greeting Cards
Drugstores usually have racks of greeting cards and aisles of gift wrap to go along with those cards. However, if you are looking to wish a loved one a happy occasion without breaking the bank, you may want to skip these drugstore aisles. Greeting cards and gift wrap can often be found at rock bottom prices at the dollar store. Why spend five dollars on a card that will end up in someone’s recycling bin? The dollar store allows you to happily express the same sentiment at the price of two cards for a dollar.
12. Party Supplies
When preparing for a party, skip the party aisle at the drugstore. Plastic tablecloths, decorative paper plates, streamers, and party favors can all be found at low prices at your favorite dollar store. The dollar store can also be a great place for themed party supplies, such as graduations in the spring, luaus in the summer, or Halloween in the fall.
11. Hair Supplies
Your local drugstore probably has several racks of hair supplies, but don’t go looking there for a deal. The dollar store often has hair brushes, bobby pins, hair ties, and even shampoo at ultra-low prices. Big box stores also carry hair supplies at lower prices than you are likely to find at the corner drugstore.
It may be convenient to grab a carton of eggs or a tub of ice cream on your way out of the pharmacy, but this probably isn’t the place to score a good deal. Better prices can usually be found at the grocery store or discount warehouse. While an occasional gallon of milk won’t break the bank and may be worth it to save an extra trip to the store, over time these small purchases can add up.
9. Gift Cards
Your local drugstore may carry a dizzying array of gift cards to local restaurants, movie theaters, and online retailers. While you get what you pay for when purchasing these gift cards, you can usually score a deal by purchasing them at discounted prices in wholesale clubs. Gift card websites can be handy places to shop for discounted new or resold gift cards.
8. Cleaning Products
Window cleaner, scouring powder, and furniture polish are all items that can cost you more at the drugstore. Seek out less expensive versions that work just as well at a dollar store. Better yet, avoid the chemicals in commercial cleaning products and make your own from ingredients you already have on hand. Mix up your own glass cleaner using one cup of water, one cup of rubbing alcohol, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Pour into an empty spray bottle and clean mirrors and windows as usual. Clean your toilet bowl by spraying with vinegar, sprinkling on baking soda, and giving it a good scrub.
7. Photo Prints
The drugstore is not the best place to order prints of your favorite photographs. Discount warehouses offer one-hour printing at lower prices. Online sites such as Shutterfly or Snapfish often run sales on prints or photo gifts. If quality is what you need, check out Wirecutter’s recommendations for websites that offer premium, professional quality prints.
6. Brand Name Medications
You would think that a drugstore would be the best place to purchase medications. However, brand name medications often come with a higher price tag at the corner drug store. Look for generic or store brands containing the same ingredients at lower prices on your over-the-counter medications. The same is true for prescription medications. Brand name medications come at a higher price to make up for the costs of drug development. Generic manufacturers don’t have drug development costs, so they are able to manufacture medications at a lower price and pass the savings on to you.
5. Brand Name Diapers
Brand name diapers can have a steep price tag at the drugstore. Furthermore, while you may be able to find generic versions on the shelves, the quality may suffer. And a leaky diaper is not a cost-effective substitute. Parents offers tips for finding the best deals on diapers. Buy diapers in bulk online or at a discount club, shop for sales, and clip coupons to get the best value for these expensive items.
If a book catches your eye while in line at the drugstore, you may want to wait until you can enjoy it for a better price. The best prices on books can be found from online retailers for either brand new or used copies. A secondhand shop is another great place to score a great read for only pennies. Of course, nothing beats a trip to the local library for finding great books. The best part is, it won’t cost you a dime!
3. Smartphone Accessories
The corner drugstore often carries an array of smartphone accessories, including car chargers, earbuds, and portable chargers. While it is convenient to run in and grab these items when you are in a rush, they probably won’t come at the lowest prices. Find smartphone accessories at lower prices at big box stores, or order them online.
2. Brand Name Trash Bags
Brand name trash bags can be found for lower prices at big box stores and discount warehouse clubs. You may be tempted to purchase generic brands at the drugstore, but beware that quality often suffers. A trash bag that rips and dumps coffee grounds, egg shells, and food remnants on your floor is not a money saver.
Don’t be tempted by the dazzling displays of candy, chips, and other snacks on drugstore shelves. These sweet or savory snacks often come with a higher price tag than those found at your local grocery or big box store. If you are motivated by saving money, watch for sales on your favorite items and pick them up when they are at a discount.Related: 11 Tricks Grocery Stores Use to Make You Spend More