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

    • Family Heartbroken After 4-Year-Old Is Killed by New Dog Dropped Off Minutes Earlier

      The owner reportedly dropped the dog off less than an hour before the attack.

      Inside Edition
    • Woman who pushed husband out of high-rise window found dead in prison

      An Oklahoma woman convicted of second-degree murder for shoving her hubby out of the window of their high-rise apartment was found dead in her prison cell on Monday, officials said. Amber Hilberling, 25, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence for the 2011 death of Joshua Hilberling was officially pronounced dead at 5:33 p.m. at the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, OK, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. The medical’s examiner’s office will determine Hilberling’s cause of death, but the woman’s parents who spoke exclusively to KTUL-ABC 8, said that medical staff told them that the death was being treated as a suicide, according to the news channel. Hilberling’s stepfather, Bryan Whitlock, who said he spoke to Hilberling the night before, told KTUL that there is “no way” his stepdaughter’s death was a suicide.

      New York Post q
    • Phil Collins Witnessed Princess Diana’s Affair and 7 More Shocking Revelations From His Memoir

      In his new memoir, 'Not Dead Yet,' Phil Collins shares shocking stories about Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Adele and more — read Us Weekly's top revelations!

      Us Weekly
    • You Need To Read These Stories About Marshawn Lynch From His Former Seattle Teammates

      Just watch his episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls for proof of all of this. The Seattle Times caught up with a few guys on Seattle’s roster and asked for their favorite Marshawn stories. My first week here, we were outside on the field, and I was talking to Justin Forsett.

    • Teen Girls Arrested After Video of Assault on Man, 62, Appears on Facebook

      Two girls, one 14 and one 15, are accused of assaulting a 62-year-old man who told them to get off his lawn.

      Inside Edition
    • Doctors thought he just had jock itch. Then it spread.

      Late Friday afternoon on Dec. 4, 2014, Stephen Schroeder was waiting to board his packed flight from Philadelphia to Las Vegas for a much anticipated long weekend with his son when his cellphone rang. On the line was an unexpected caller: his doctor, reporting test results sooner than Schroeder had expected. Listening intently, Schroeder was flooded with disbelief as he struggled to comprehend what he was hearing. Using the lip of a trash can as a writing surface, he scribbled notes on the back of his boarding pass, making the doctor spell out each unfamiliar word. Then he sent a terse text to his wife, who was at their home in the Philadelphia suburbs, and got on the plane. Onboard, Schroeder,

      Washington Post q
    • Michael Bloomberg nails the 'greatest conundrum' America faces today

      Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg attempted to explain the sentiment of Donald Trump’s supporters, noting that many would be “flipping hamburgers” after they lose their jobs to technology. “One thing that has to be said here is Donald Trump really does represent 40% to 45% of this country. Indeed, this explains why manufacturing activity is up even as manufacturing jobs falter.

      Yahoo Finance
    • Black Twitter Was NOT Having Marvel's Changes To Riri Williams

      We were so excited to see the images of Riri Williams, the new “Iron Man,” when the first came out. That excitement turned to concern when Entertainment Weekly, posted a collage of Black actresses who would be good for the role. While the original illustration of RIri, by Stefano Caselli, was a dark-skinned girl with coarse hair, the one that appeared on a recent cover looked completely different. She was lighter complected, her hair had a looser curl and the biggest complaint that people had was that this never version of Riri looked nothing like a 15-year-old girl should. Not only does her face resemble that of a grown woman, there really is no justifiable reason that we should be seeing a q
    • World Series of Poker player lectures another about being a bully

      Poker is generally a quiet game with occasional banter, but Englishman William Kassouf just doesn’t shut up.

      Sporting News
    • Marco Rubio suffers for Trump endorsement as he is booed by Latino crowd in Florida

      Republican Florida senator Marco Rubio has been booed off stage by a crowd of Latino voters in his home state. Rubio appeared at the Calle Orange festival event in Orlando, which is aimed at the Puerto Rican community, intending to be met by a crowd of his Latino supporters.

      International Business Times UK q
    • 16 Cool Halloween Costume Ideas to Shop Right Now (16 photos)

      Less than a week left until Halloween — and you’re all set with the costume you’ve been carefully planning since August, right? Yeah, neither are we. But that doesn’t mean our only recourse is a running to the nearest Spirit store and grabbing a weirdly expensive, yet cheap-looking prefab costume . The truth is, you can probably build a much better Halloween costume, DIY style. Just grab a few items from your closet, throw in a just-for-Halloween buy or two, and voilà — a custom costume that looks way better than anything in cheapie polyester. To prove it, we asked Polyvore to bring us its best user-generated Halloween sets . Ahead, you’ll find 16 cool costume ideas, that you can click to shop right on Polyvore. Trust us, there’s still plenty of time to look as if you put effort into Halloween (thank God for two-day shipping). Channel the badass heroine of the Netflix original series that's not  "Stranger Things" with this Jessica Jones costume . Is it the most shockingly original costume ever? Definitely not. Do we adore this unusually elegant take on the cat costume – complete with slinky jumpsuit – anyway? For sure.

      Yahoo Style
    • This Bride's Wedding Dress Landed Her in Vogue, but Wait Till You See What the Bridesmaids Wore

      It's not every day we peel our eyes away from a stunning wedding dress to "ooh" and "ahh" over what the bridesmaids wore, but looking at photos from Annabelle Caufman Soudavar and Maximilian Moehlmann's big day, that's exactly what happened. While the bride's classic Carolina Herrera was no doubt breathtaking — especially when the lacy, fitted number was paired with a long, dramatic veil — the ladies that stood by her side wore different floral dresses, a fun, trendy choice that simply made us swoon. The choice definitely paid off in the end: everyone looked so stylish, we're starting to wish we were in that wedding party! Scroll through for more views of Annabelle's gown, then check out what the bridesmaids — including fashion-influencer Hannah Bronfman — wore.

      PopSugar q
    • A Redskins Coach Exposed His Wiener To Fans When He Whipped It Out To Pee On The Sideline

      One Redskins coach, however, decided to go full Nick Novak and pee on the sideline during Washington’s game on Sunday against Detroit. Ben Kotwica, Washington’s special teams coordinator, grabbed a cup, walked away from the action, and went to the bathroom. If you’d like to see the uncensored picture, Deadspin has your back.

    • 'Nothing short of a miracle' how kids survived suicidal bridge fall with dad, police say

      "When the officers found the children -- conscious and alert -- it's nothing short of a miracle, that's for sure," said Captain Christopher Depuyt with the Pequannock Police Department.

      WABC – NY 23 min ago
    • 7 New Fall TV Shows Already in Ratings Trouble (Photos)

      It happens every fall – some of the new broadcast shows just don’t deliver. Here’s a look at some of the offerings in trouble this season, along with their ratings averages over seven days in the crucial adults aged 18 to 49 demographic, according to Nielsen.

      The Wrap
    • Philippines' Duterte tells Japan his China visit was just economics, blasts U.S.

      By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sought to assure Japan on Wednesday that his high-profile visit to China last week was about economics, not security, and vowed to stand on Tokyo's side over the disputed South China Sea when the time came. Earlier in the day, Duterte reiterated his harsh words for long-time ally Washington, saying he might end defense treaties. The volatile Philippine leader's visit to Japan comes amid jitters about his foreign policy goals after weeks of verbal attacks on ally the United States and overtures towards China.

      Reuters 16 min ago
    • Oops! She Did It Again — Britney Spears’s Bra Top Came Undone at Her Las Vegas Performance

      Whether she’s carrying a seven-foot boa constrictor seductively across a stage, giving us the height of millennial fashion in a coordinated denim gown with Justin Timberlake, or simply displaying her unparalleled ability to Google Image search corn, it seems the singer has got it all under control.

    • The Undertaker and the Ultimate Warrior's widow helped the Cavs celebrate on Opening Night

      Hey, remember how LeBron James wore a T-shirt bearing the image of the legendary WWE wrestler the Undertaker when the Cleveland Cavaliers were down 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals?

      Ball Don't Lie
    • Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal open up about Novak Djokovic's recent struggles in tennis

      Sporting legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have opened up about Novak Djokovic's recent run of poor form in tennis, admitting that while the Serb is "going through a crisis" they feel that the sport is less important as compared to what life has to offer. The number one ranked player in the world Djokovic, recently revealed that loss of desire and love for the sport was behind his struggles following his incredible success on court at the beginning of the season. Federer and Nadal who have experienced ups and downs in their careers understand what the Serb is going through but have revealed that life is more important than the sport.

      International Business Times UK q
    • 13 Ultra-Comforting Potato Casseroles (14 photos)

      These hearty recipes need to be in your fall casserole rotation. From Delish