Surprising things you should always buy at drugstores

Woman's Day
Save a bundle at the drugstore

Photo : 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 Makeup

Photo: iStock


“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?


Photo: iStock


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, 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.

Body Lotion & Body Wash

Photo: iStock

Lotion and Body Wash

Similar to hair care, body-care products are regulars on drugstores’ promotional schedules. Although coupons will make the prices even lower, sometimes swiping your rewards card is all that’s necessary to get a good discount.

“Stores like CVS and Rite Aid run rewards promotions making these products cheap all on their own,” says Joanie Demer, co-author of Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey: Save Big Money & Make the Grocery Aisle your Catwalk.

Another reason to buy bath-and-body goods at pharmacies: So many stores have released generic (read: inexpensive) versions of popular name-brand products. The store-brand varieties are now of equal quality to or better than the more well-known items, says Karp.

Laundry Detergent

Photo: iStock

Laundry Detergent

Home and clothing cleaning supplies, ranging from paper towels to air fresheners, are smart to pick up at the drugstore.

CVS, Duane Reade and similar stores have created their own versions of brand-name cleaning items. Even though big-box stores and supermarkets have their own brands as well, pharmacy brands are still less expensive.

“Drugstores work much harder to promote their store brands, so you’ll find they go on sale regularly. Grocery stores may not put their store brands on sale at all,” says Erin Huffstetler, the Frugal Living Guide for

If you choose to go the brand-name route, well-known household product distributors Proctor & Gamble (Bounce, Tide) and The Clorox Company (Clorox, Green Works) frequently release coupons for cleaning items. Although detergent and house cleansers are best bought at drugstores, Karp warns to steer clear of mops and brooms. Since they’re typically displayed alongside cleansers, consumers tend to buy them impulsively and, therefore, stores sometimes give them higher prices.  

Hair Color

Photo: iStock

Hair Color

No need to spend a fortune at salons to update your hair’s hue. At-home hair-color kits are bargains at retail pharmacies as compared to supermarkets and warehouse clubs.

"First, hair color is considered a core item for pharmacies", says Karp.

"As a core item, drugstores typically have more brands and varieties available to purchase than supermarkets do. And that gives you more price points to pick from", explains Huffstetler.

She adds that the availability of large amounts of hair-color brands also means that at least one of them is likely to be on sale or part of a promotion at any given time.

More from Woman's Day:

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent

20 Super Sandwiches

8 Sexy Ways to Burn Calories

8 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Mariah Carey’s Rep Confirms Star’s Split From Billionaire Fiance James Packer After Fight in Greece: Read the Statement

      Mariah Carey’s rep confirmed that the star split from her billionaire fiance, James Packer, after a fight in Greece — see the statement

      Us Weekly
    • This photo of a dog with a mouthful of ladybugs is freaking out pet owners

      The photo that Kansas veterinarian Lindsay Mitchell posted to Facebook looked so unreal and disturbing that some who saw it went right to the hoax-busting website Snopes to verify it. But that didn’t stop the photo from being shared more than 53,000 times since it went up last week. Mitchell, of Hoisington, Kan., posted a graphic picture of a dog with a mouthful of Asian lady beetles. Ladybugs aren’t so cute when 30 to 40 of them are stuck to the roof of a dog’s mouth. “This is the second pup I have seen like this today. If your pet is drooling or foaming at the mouth look for these lady bugs. They cause ulcers on the tongue and mouth and have a very painful bite,” she wrote on the Hoisington

      The Charlotte Observer q
    • Transgender Model Stuns in Bathing Suit on the Cover of ELLE Brazil

      Models getting their own magazine cover these days is rare (Karlie Kloss might be pretty but the Kardashians sell copies), but Valentina Sampaio fronts ELLE Brazil’s November issue. Sampaio, who wears a blue bathing suit and a Burberry coat in the shot, made waves when she came out as a trans woman on International Women’s Day through a video for L’Oreal Paris for which she is an ambassador. “It comes from the soul.” She goes 2016’s Women’s Day was officially her first, Sampaio’s cover is not without precedent.

      Yahoo Style
    • Russell Wilson's injuries are even worse than we thought

      First, on the knee injury, Wilson told Seattle media he wasn’t supposed to play for four weeks. Wilson, with the help of a live-in therapist, never missed a game. Wilson has a pectoral injury he’s dealing with.

      Shutdown Corner
    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Donald Trump’s March to Loserland Is Only Beginning

      Donald Trump’s march to Loserland is only just beginning. His real pain starts the day after Election Day. As they say in his native Queens, what goes around comes around. And come it will. Accelerated business losses. A continent-wide clamoring to remove his miasmic moniker from buildings. Multiple looming lawsuits, two of them fraud actions arising from Trump University, one of those before federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego, whom he suggested was biased because of his ethnicity. Trump will also face revelatory depositions should he follow through on threats to sue the 11 women who have recently accused him of sexual transgressions. He might remember his deposition during his 1990 divorce

      The Daily Beast q
    • The future of US naval dominance summed up in one picture

      In the above picture we see just one large boat, the USS Zumwalt, and just one plane, an F-35C, but that's likely all the US Navy will need to dominate the seas in the future. Despite being the US Navy's largest-ever destroyer, the USS Zumwalt is a ship so stealthy that it appears as a small fishing boat on enemy radars and sometimes has to deploy mirrors to make it more visible to friendly traffic on the open ocean. "If Batman had a ship, it would be the USS Zumwalt," Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander of the US Pacific Command, told CNN.  Both the Zumwalt and the F-35 share one key concept of the Navy's vision looking forward — modularity. With a large rear flight deck and a oversized power

      Business Insider q
    • Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the new MacBook Pro worth the price?

      Apple finally updated some of its Mac lineup. Here, we compare the MacBook Air 13-inch to the newly-announced MacBook Pro 13-inch -- the non-Touch Bar edition -- to see which comes out on top for those looking to buy a basic, lightweight Mac.

      Digital Trends
    • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen predicted the election 15 years ago

      It’s a little-known fact, but once upon a time 15 years ago, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had a lifestyle magazine. The publication,…

      Hello Giggles
    • What Will Happen to Mariah Carey’s Ring from James Packer?

      If the news of Mariah Carey’s split from James Packer is permanent, there are some very important custody arrangements to work out. Who gets to take the jet to her children’s sports games and performances?

    • You Won’t Believe How Excited Dreadlock is When He Learns He’s Adopted

      10/26/2016 Posted by When almost 10-year-old Dreadlock came to the Soi Dog Foundation  four years ago, with horrible skin problems and a matted, filthy coat that rendered his moniker, he probably never imagined his life could get any better than being safe at the rescue. Known for being a cuddler, the typically laid-back dog was usually quiet, but surprised everyone when a volunteer shared with Dreadlock he would soon be on the way to his new forever home in the United Kingdom. The Soi Dog Foundation does remarkable work, saving  Thailand’s dogs and cats that have been neglected or abused.  While many of the animals stories will never be known, in coming to Soi Dog, they are given hope, love,

      Life With Dogs q
    • VIDEO: Man pistol whips scary clown prankster in California

      A video showing a man dressed as a clown scaring random people in Northern California has gone viral after one man pistol whipped the prankster.

      KABC – Los Angeles
    • Michael Massee, Actor Who Accidentally Killed Brandon Lee During Filming of 'The Crow,' Dies at 61

      Michael Massee, the actor who unfortunately will forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and killed Brandon Lee on the set of the 1994 film The Crow, has died. Massee’s death was first announced by actor Anthony Delon and confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of his agent at Greene & Associates in Los Angeles. In just his second movie appearance, Massee was playing a character known as Funboy when he fired a revolver that had been improperly prepared by crew members at Brandon Lee, the son of famed martial arts star Bruce Lee.

      The Hollywood Reporter
    • Blac Chyna Speaks Out on Reports She Cheated on Rob Kardashian With Pilot Jones

      LAPD confirmed to ET on Thursday that Kardashian was being investigated for allegedly threatening Jones.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Trump Suggests Canceling Election

      "What are we having it for?" he asked a crowd in Ohio.

      ABC News q
    • Colorado officer gets 16 years in prison for police shooting

      LA JUNTA, Colo. (AP) — A former small town Colorado police officer was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in prison for fatally shooting a man in the back after he followed the man into his mother's home, court officials said.

      Associated Press
    • The Best Gifts for Adventure Travelers (15 photos)

      Whether youre hiking up Everest or through the local national park , there is so much to experience while venturing through unknown terraina pointyour beloved summit-seeking friend has reminded you a million times. This holiday season givethe adventurers in your lifesomething they can use on their journeybackpacks, sleeping bags, and growlersand a promise to jointhem on an adventure later in the year. This year, Travel + Leisure is offering its most comprehensive gift guide ever. The goal? Make sure you can find the perfect present for everyone (yes, evenyour mother-in-law ) on your list. Below, our picks for outdoor enthusiasts:

    • The significance of what Daenerys Targaryen is wearing in this Season 7 leaked photo is INSANE

      Leaked photos from the set of Game of Thrones just keep on coming and with them? Game of Thrones Season 7 spoilers! With these…

      Hello Giggles
    • Mariah Carey 'dumped' by billionaire fiance James Packer but keeping $10m engagement ring

      The fairytale may be over for Mariah Carey and her fiance James Packer with reports claiming the couple have split. The Australian businessman is alleged to have ended his 10-month engagement to the US pop star due to her extravagant spending in the midst of their wedding preparations. Packer, 48, proposed to Carey, 46, in January 2016 after almost a year of dating and presented the Grammy-winning singer with a $10m (£8.1m) engagement ring which he is reportedly allowing her to keep.

      International Business Times ONC UK q
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q