6 Ways to Save Money On Vitamins and Supplements

Guest post from Shelly of Coupon Teacher

While I never anticipated becoming an expert about saving on vitamins and supplements, the last nine months of my life changed my outlook. Recently, my chronic illness took hold of my body once again, and I have been on at least seven vitamins and supplements per day (most at my doctor’s recommendation).

If I paid regular price for my current vitamins and supplements, I would be spending in excess of $150 per month not including my prescription medication. Needless to say, we could not afford the expense, so I have become a woman on a mission to find the absolute lowest prices on my healthcare expenses.

This past month, using the following tips, I cut that in half by only paying about $75 out of pocket:

1. Buy high quality vitamins and supplements with your drug store rewards. 

I recently was able to get my vitamin D3 for free after Extra Care Bucks, coupons, and a Buy One, Get One Free sale. Always check for the correct dosage and the expiration date to be sure what you are buying is really a deal.

2. Utilize your Swag Bucks account to get Amazon gift cards.

After plunking $30 down on a supplement at my doctor’s office, I looked for it online. I found it for the same price on Amazon from a reputable source, so I was able to order my next bottle for free with my Amazon credits.

3. Use store programs and coupons.

When I can’t get my supplements anywhere but the vitamin store, I use a coupon from their rewards program. I recently received a 20% off my purchase coupon, so I stocked up on the items I couldn’t find anywhere else.

4. Ask your doctor if the vitamins are available as prescriptions.

I pay a $12 co-pay on my generic prescriptions. I was recently able to get three months’ worth of a vitamin for only $12 via my prescription coverage.

5. Utilize sales at Vitacost.

They have great prices, flat rate and free shipping options, and their sales are good, too. I initially signed up for my free $10 credit, and I have since ordered from them (even without credit)! One of my supplements is half price over the local vitamin store. Vitacost also carries many allergen related foods.

6. Don’t stock up until you try it.

One of the supplements that was suggested to me didn’t work. In fact, it made me feel worse. A lot worse. If I had stocked up on a “great deal”, I would have been out the extra money.

How do you lower your cost for vitamins and supplements?

Shelly is a full-time fourth grade teacher and blogs at Coupon Teacher. She wants you to share and celebrate your successes with her, and she may give you a few tips along the way!

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Comments

  1. Lisa says

    We get great deals on supplements and even some foods at http://www.iherb.com and http://www.vitacost.com. I keep a wishlist at each site which I then bring up each month in order to compare prices between the two. The free shipping minimum is very low at each and we order from both places each month. Be sure to click on the “freebies” at each site. I get my vitamin B supplement free each month at Iherb!

    Also check Amazon…they have a “subscribe and save” option which saves us money on coconut oil, olive oil and Gaia thyroid supplements.

    • Sarah says

      These are our two favorites as well. We buy all our personal care products there too – shampoo, conditioner, mousse, deodorant, etc. Don’t forget to click through from Ebates first when buying from Vitacost, for even more savings. Last time I checked, iHerb was no longer listed.

  2. says

    If your doctor will write a prescription for vitamins or supplements that you need, you can pay for it pre-tax using FSA or HSA funds. It doesn’t matter whether you fill it at the pharmacy or buy it OTC.

  3. chelsea Johnson says

    I take 15 different vitamins a day and I have found that using the website purematters.com is awesome! They have hundreds of vitamins to choose from and if you opt for auto shipments each 30, 60, or 90 days they take a percentage off the cost. Its free shipping also! I absolutely love them. They have great sales and are launching a rewards program this month.

  4. Lindsey says

    Here is something to consdier before asking if the vitamins are available as prescriptions. We did that for years, even though I found out the prescription ones were more expensive for the insurance company than if I bought them from the grocery store. Then my husband and I both got a catastrophic illness and maxed out the million dollar policy—it happens amazingly fast when you spend 5 months in ICU and 18 months on chemo. The thousands in vitamins came back to haunt me because the policy max was reached faster, and at a time when I could not work. When I was buying vitamins through insurance, I was working and could have paid for them out of pocket—I sure could have used that money years later. Also, 10 years passed. We were both in remission and applied for health policies at our respective (new) jobs. We were turned down and one of the things cited was excessive use of prescriptions. Now I use prescription drugs as little as possible—I might add that we were both in our 20s and healthy when one after the other my husband and I were taken ill. Even with insurance, we ended up owing over $250,000 in costs the insurance didn’t cover…just be careful when you think about using a pharmacy for non essential items that you can buy on line or at a grocery store. Also, Consumers Digest tests and then rates vitamin manufacturers. Before you buy a new brand, look them up. Many, many of the vitamins sold are substandard, nothing like the strength they market themselves as. Sorry to be a downer.

  5. Carol says

    I would never dream of taking anything less than a high quality vitamin or supplement. What would be the point? I purchase my vitamins from Procap Laboratories because of the quality of the product and the way they are made. I save my RR’s and ECB’s for other items.

  6. Jessica says

    Take care when using vitamins. Megadoses of these are not necessarily good for health. Some can be downright dangerous, especially if you have certain health conditions, are thinking of conceiving, are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also be careful about storing vitamins. I’ve noticed that many don’t come in childproof bottles.

    I have a thyroid disorder and it’s imperative that I take my thyroid medication several hours separated from any sort of vitamin, especially anything containing iron or calcium. There are a lot of conflicts like this that people are not necessarily aware of.

    Self-diagnosing and self-medicating can be very dangerous to your health. The best way to get the right amount of most vitamins is to eat a variety of healthy foods, not get them through a pill. There are only a few exceptions to this general rule, including most people are deficient in Vitamin D. But even too much of that is not good for your body!

    • says

      Thank you for your concern! My doctor is aware of all my medications, and we are working on my diet too. I am eating mostly real foods, but my body got so broken down, it wasn’t helping itself anymore. The goal is to be able to take as little as possible, as a matter of fact, I have weaned myself off two of my supplements already! :)

    • Dineen says

      Jessica, you are quite right. However I have found that most mainstream doctors are unwilling to discuss supplementation and are not nearly as educated about my own medical issues as I have made myself (I also have a thyroid disorder). One must educate oneself about the safety and interaction of all one’s medications and supplements and stay up-to-date on current research. Of course food is the best source of vitamins and minerals because they contain more than an isolated chemical we label “the vitamin”, but many of us realize that our food sources may be lacking in some areas, especially variety and freshness if we cannot grow our own.

  7. Debbie says

    Lucky Vitamin also has excellent prices on vitamins and whole foods. Vitacost and Lucky Vitamin are my go to sites for ordering. Just make sure to buy supplements from reputable companies with pure ingredients. I checked out the supplements in Costco hoping to save some money but they had food dyes and artificial ingredients.

  8. says

    Got a couple tips to add:

    (1) I buy almost ALL of our vitamins and essential oils through Swanson Vitamins. They are at least 50% cheaper than ANY of the health food stores around here and most of the time you can find free shipping, or right now they have .25 shipping.I take around 30 vitamins/minerals/supplements a day so it REALLY adds up. Doesn’t even count the ones my husband takes.

    (2) Another way to save is buy the blank capsules and then buy whatever “vitamin/supplement” in powder form and fill your own capsules. For instance, Kelp is $7.00 a bottle or you can buy 2 pounds of Kelp powder at Swanson for a few dollars.

    (3) If you can’t find everything at Swanson, then Vitaminlife is another good source on-line.

    (4) You can use your Ebay bucks to purchase vitamins through Ebay.

    (5) Nature Made Rewards like someone else said, to get things such as Vitamin C

    (6) Any overage at Wal Mart or other stores can be used to purchase certain vitamins.

    (7)Eat healthy and exercise and take vitamins and supplements as needed.

  9. Dineen says

    I tend to alternate between Swanson and Vitacost, as they have the best prices and carry brand name as well as their own house brands. I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of their house brands. Three money saving tips with those stores:
    Vitacost is in the ebates program, so sign up with ebates, and you can get a percentage back every so often (and occasionally ebates has double cash back sales); just make sure to enter the Vitacost site through the ebates portal. Those small percentages you use to shop through ebates here and there add up to nice little “surprise” checks.
    Swanson has a payment option called WUpay that is a service of Western Union. It’s a way to pay directly from your bank account’s electronic bill-pay system without the company you buy from getting your credit card or other financial information (you can also choose to pay cash if you print out an invoice and pay at a Western Union outlet). WU pay offers a cashback incentive program, where percentage of your purchases add up in a account that you can use to generate coupons in increments of 10 dollars for future WUpay purchases (at any WU pay participant).
    Swanson also just added auto-reorder (similar to Amazon) on their own name brand products with a 5% discount (5% begins on the 2nd delivery).

  10. Jessica H says

    When the cost of my supplements became too high I switched to Swanson Vitamins. At the time I felt bad, because they prices on herbs were so cheap I just knew they had to be inferior quality. Later on I was able to afford brand name supplements, but was surprised to find that I had more energy on Swanson’s brand. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but now I prefer their brand over the more expensive ones.

  11. Karen says

    I have read all of the comments with interest. I know people who live in areas with no real deals, cannot get around as much (elderly) and they use Puritan’s Pride for mail order vitamins and supplements. I saw no comments about PP for ordering and am wondering why? Are there negatives about their products? I was considering ordering from them considering their BOG2Free deals and single cost shipping no matter how large the order. Ebates has them on their list, too. Currently we use BOGO free deals with cps at our Giant Eagle, CVS and Walgreens. Thanks.

    • Sam says

      I’ve used PP for years with no trouble. I was surprised too to not see them mentioned.

  12. Erica W says

    Something else to keep in mind when getting RX vitamins is that they are NOT from natural sources & are filled w/all kinds of cheap fill-ins, that while they may save $ up front, in the long run can cost you your health & end up costing a whole lot of money. RX/ synthetic vitamins come at a high cost… get a list of the ingredients AND the sources of each ingredient to see if they are actually healthy or not… another issue is that many vitamins often don’t contain enough of a certain nutrient so one has to take a lot of it to get enough of that vitamin.

    I buy our stuff @ Vitacost & to help keep costs down, I will rotate some things… maybe not take them every day (like D3, which we use when summer starts coming to an end to build up our immune systems BEFORE the sun isn’t strong enough for us to make enough of our own, before all of the back to school germs from doctor visits are everywhere, & before all of the flu shot booths are in stores, etc…. we then stop when spring comes/the sun is strong enough to allow our bodies to make our own D3 naturally… not only does it save $, but it is a good idea to let our bodies rest from taking things, especially when our bodies are making enough getting adequate sun exposure each day). We also rotate vitamin brands to make sure we aren’t getting too much or too little of something by only using a certain brand.

  13. Angel says

    I apologize in advance for the sales pitch… :)

    GNC-brand multis are pharmaceutical grade, all-natural, and don’t contain binders or fillers (the reason that many other one-a-days only half absorb into your system). Many of them are also vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and/or yeast-free. They have many different blends, including 50+, energy/metabolism, greens (has added antioxidants), and sport. If taking pills is a problem, they also have liquid and powdered multis. Their cheapest multis start at $9.99 for a 3-mo. supply! ($7.99 with their Gold Card, described below.) If any of their supplements don’t work for you for ANY reason, they will do a full return/exchange within 30 days with receipt (they can still do it without a receipt, but they have to give you the lowest sale price).

    As for savings, they have a savings program called the Gold Card, where you save 20% when you first sign up and also the first week of every month so you can go in and stock up. Even when something is already on sale, you get the extra 20% off! The only time it doesn’t save is when an item is on Hot Buy, which is already better than 20%. It’s very similar to a Sam’s card to where a year long membership for $15. It is NOT a credit card.

  14. Priscilla says

    I didn’t see any comments from anyone who uses Shaklee vitamins. I’ve just started looking into them, they do a lot of research on their product & seem to be good quality from what I’ve read.