Surprising things you should always buy at drugstores

Save a bundle at the drugstorePhoto : Getty Images

Save a bundle by shopping for these items at the pharmacy.

The days of hitting the drugstore just to pick up prescriptions are long gone. You can now stock up on beauty supplies, laundry detergent and more for less than what supermarkets, big-box stores and warehouses charge. Why?

Retail pharmacies, such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Duane Reade, have expanded their inventory but not necessarily their space, so they have to frequently rotate the products they sell.

“Department stores have one-day sales, and anything left over goes to outlets. Drugstore items go significantly on sale because they don’t have outlets, so they need a quicker way to sell things,” explains David Zyla, Emmy-award-winning stylist and author of The Color of Style.


Shampoo & Conditioner Photo : iStock

Shampoo and Conditioner

Keeping your locks luscious has never been so affordable, and you can save more on hair care at pharmacies than at supermarkets and warehouse clubs.

Drugstores often pair up with manufacturing giants like Proctor & Gamble (Pantene, Herbal Essences) and Unilever (Dove, TRESemmé) for promotions when the company wants to call your attention to a new product, says Kathy Spencer, author of How to Shop for Free.

Combine purchasing a product that’s already on sale with coupons and pharmacy rewards you get for signing up with a store program, and hair products can cost next to nothing—or be free! Drugstores are the only type of stores that offer free-after-rebate deals on hair-care supplies.



Drugstore MakeupPhoto: iStockMakeup

“Makeup manufactured for drugstores is less expensive than department-store brands because it has less pigment and offers less coverage,” says Zyla.

Still, the potential for savings can't be beat. When combining coupons, pharmacy rewards and promotions, cosmetics, like eyeshadow and eye liner, can be free (Spencer never pays for makeup!). They can even earn you cash back in the form of store credit or drugstore rewards.

Who doesn’t want to get paid for looking pretty?


CerealPhoto: iStock

Cereal

The savings on this breakfast staple just may bowl you over—if you take advantage of store coupons and loyalty programs. In addition to pharmacies offering discounts on cereal, product distributors, such as Kellogg’s and General Mills, release their own coupons.

Cereal coupons are also up for grabs on eBay.com, notes Spencer. In general, though, don’t go food shopping at the drugstore.

“Grocery items are usually more expensive in drugstores and drugstore items are usually more expensive in supermarkets,” says Gregory Karp, author of Living Rich by Spending Smart.

Food prices at supermarkets tend to be lower because they order grocery items in bulk, since that’s what customers typically go there for. Bulk purchases result in lower prices for the store, which trickle down to you. But stores may up the prices on items they don’t buy in bulk. It’s almost like you pay a convenience fee to buy groceries at the drugstore and pharmacy items at supermarkets.



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