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Ask the Readers: How can we save on supplies for diabetes?

Today’s question is from Misty:

Is there any way to save money on supplies for diabetics? My husband and I are both unemployed. He is doing his best to start a new business, but as you know, it takes time to create an income. We do not have any health insurance and he has diabetes. The cost of this disease is killing our budget!

It costs upwards of 15 dollars per day just to do the minimum amount of testing, insulin injections, and pump supply change outs. I’ve not been able to find any way to decrease the cost. Does anyone have resources, ideas, or suggestions for us? -Misty

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  • Tracy says:

    Ask your doctor for sample meds & supplies. They should either have them in their office or have vouchers. Also, most pharmaceutical companies have patient assistant programs to help those who have a difficult time paying for their meds, etc. Hope it helps.

  • Could your family apply to a state health insurance program? I’m a little ignorant about this but I know many friends of mine have applied to programs funded by the state.

  • Staci says:

    Since you guys are unemployed with no insurance, you can try getting at least the insulin free from patient assistance programs. Try to see what is available in that way.

  • Jessica says:

    I have gestational diabetes and while I have insurance, it get expensive with all the co-pays for supplies and trips to the dr. Sometimes I get samples of the things I need, like testing strips, lancets, needle tips or even insulin pens. You might ask your dr. if they have supplies they can give out. Sometimes stores like Target and Kroger carry a store brand lancet, I think.

  • Most drug companies have programs that can help with out of pocket expenses if you are unable to afford your medications. You may also see if your local community has some type of indigent care program. They will determine your “cost” of the medical supplies and doctors visits on a sliding scale (typically for those who can’t get Medicaid, but don’t have enough income to cover their medical needs). Many states are also offering health insurance at affordable prices through state run programs for those who can’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford regular insurance. If you have a United Way program in your area, give them a call too. They often know of other programs that can help in your area. Last, you may want to talk to your doctor. Many have ways to help patients cut back costs, with coupons, drug samples, ect. They also may be able to suggest lower cost alternative medications, such as generics or alter the way you take your medications safely to save you more.

    • Janet says:

      The drug company programs are exceptional most of them call these Patient Assistance Programs try google with the company or drug items and Patient Assistance Programs you can often get the girls at the doctors office to help you file all the forms but if you are approved , it can be a life saver!

  • Denise says:

    A few ways to save:
    1. Write to Sanofi Aventis and other drug manufacturers. They all have patient assistance programs. Sanofi Aventis sent my husband a six-month supply of Lantus (24-hour insulin) and Apidra (rapid acting, similar to Novolog or Humalog), which if we paid cash would cost us thousands of dollars — absolutely free!
    2. We buy all our testing strips on eBay. If you have a few different types of meters (you can get most of them free) then you can be flexible with which types of strips you get. When you have some money together you can buy in bulk. We often buy 200 strips for 15 cents on the dollar.
    3. Talk to your endocrinologist or health department. They have lots of programs. At one time he got free insulin and syringes from the health department.
    4. Also work with your doctor about being flexible about your therapy. Pumps are new and expensive, and considered a “luxury” by some companies, so there may not be much financial assistance for pump supplies, which are expensive. That’s one of the reasons we chose not to go on the pump now that our finances are tight. Intensive insulin therapy (a 24-hour or other long acting insulin, combined with three or four injections of short-acting a day) may be more economical, and almost as good as pump control, at least until you guys are in a better place financially.

    • Kat says:

      If you call the test meter companies, they will often send you a free meter with extra strips. just for asking about them. I had an out of date meter and could not find strips so I called the company and they sent me two meters (one for myself and one to give to my mother who has diabetes) plus several vials of test strips. For them it is an advertising thing to get you the latest and greatest and hooked onto their meter, but for you it is a free meter with testing strips. It is a win win. Call a few different companies and you could have enogh strips to last for a while. Plus, like suggested earlier, it would give you the opportunity to seek various brands of strips on ebay.

  • Colleen Schotter says:

    Have you thought about buying unused (in date) testing supplies on ebay? Or checked craigslist to see if someone bought supplies and then changed meters? Does Amazon offer subscribe and save on testing supplies?

  • Emily says:

    I will look forward to reading people’s replies! My husband also has type 1 diabetes and uses a pump. He is planning on going to law school next year and it feels like the decision will come down to which school offers the best student health insurance policy!

    • SarahK says:

      Emily, when you are researching student health insurance, please make sure you get in writing specifically what the policy will cover (if possible, get a list of the things you will need and written confirmation of how much of each they will cover). I am also a Type I diabetic on an insulin pump. When I got my Masters, I did a lot of research into the student health insurance. The policy through my university was somewhat vague, so I called to confirm that all of my diabetic needs would be covered. I was assured that they would be and documented the conversations. The policy required me to pay for everything up front and then submit claims for re-imbursement. I ended up with tens of thousands of dollars of rejected claims. Even though I had documentation of multiple people I talked to with names, dates and times, they refused to cover the expenses. I know this is sort of off-topic from the post, but I really don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through. Good luck!!

      • Emily says:

        Thanks for the advice SarahK! We will definetly make sure and do that. We have been trying to stockpile as much of the things that don’t expire as we can while insurance is paying so hopefully that will help as well.

        • Kelley says:

          We had a similar experience with student health insurance. We had to enlist the state insurance commissioner’s office to help us get our insurance to pay for a procedure for which we had all the appropriate paperwork, pre-authorizations, and approvals. It was a nightmare.

  • Martie says:

    My daughter also has Type 1 Diabetes and I would also LOVE to know how to reduce costs without reducing care. It really is an expensive disease!

  • Yvette says:

    I would like to suggest to Misty to check at her grocery stores in my area PriceChopper and Stop and Shop offer free diabetic medications. At Walmart they have a generic medication list that they offer 90 day supplies for just $10. I work in the Diabetes field and will check with my company to see if they have any resources I might share with you that could help. I would also like to offer to send you a meter with as much testing supplies as I can from my supply as a diabetic instructor. I have had to deal with the same issues as my dad is diabetic and has limited insurance. I know how important it is to be able to test daily. I am not sure if this is allowed but I just want to help my email is

    • misty says:


      Did you receive my email?

      I sit in tears while I read all the replies on Money Saving Mom. I was shocked that my question was posted and further shocked by all the replies and ideas!! What a blessing each reply is to my heart. Your offer to send supplies to us ~ I can’t tell you how it has touched my heart. I will pay it forward. May the Lord bless you for your kindness.

      My address is
      misty wettergren
      4800 north caseville road
      caseville, mi 48725

      While I can not afford the high cost of supplies, I can reimburse your shipping cost 🙂

  • Sharon says:

    When we didn’t have insurance for about a year, my husband was on medication. The doctor did two things for us: 1) As long as we agreed to come and see her once a month (a $70 expense), she provided us with enough “samples” of the medication to get us through the rough patch of no insurance.

    She then directed us to It is essentially a database of all the prescription drugs you can thing of and the company that makes them. All the companies offer some kind of patience assistance program. The applications were fairly easy (you’ll do one for each drug company that is applicable to your situation). Just make sure you fill it out completely and read all the fine print. You’ll have to get prescription from your doctor–which they do with diabetic supplies (I had gestational diabetes and my insurance covered everything after my co-pay but everything had a prescription). It does take up to 8 weeks to go through the red tape. In most cases, you’ll receive a monthly voucher that is honored by any pharmacy.

    The other thought I had, while you’re waiting for your free meds, is to join your local Freecycle group and ask if anyone has any extra testing strips and needles. For me, because I only dealt with it during pregnancy, I had a BUNCH left over and ended up giving it away to someone who needed it on Freecycle (

    Finally, let your friends and family know your struggle. I know it’s a bit of a ding to your pride but the Bible says if someone is in need, help them. We have seen this personally in our lives (so many people have anonymously helped us pay for our son’s autism therapy–totally a God thing–after we wrote a letter explaining our situation). People appreciate your honesty and even if they aren’t able to help monetarily, they can pray for you and that’s powerful!

  • Susan says:

    I don’t know what state you are in, but some states/counties/cities have free or low-cost clinics for the uninsured. Some drug companies also have programs to help with medication and supply costs. Are you eligible for Medicaid, even if only for the short term? I hope one of these suggestions might have helped!

  • brenda says:

    you can contact the manufacturer to find out if they have a program that will help. My mother also signed up for together Rx which helped to save a bundle.

  • Frances says:

    Enroll in CVS’ Extracare Advantage for Diabetes and get double bucks on diabetic related item.

  • Lacy Smith says:

    My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes, his insurance only cover Accucheck Aviva, and we purchased a glucose reader from CVS which had a coupon with it for $5.oo off. Inside of the box, there was a discount card for a prescription for the test strips. My husband now pays $15.00 for 200 test strips, which were $40.00 with our insurance. Maybe this will be some help to you. Also, Publix is offering free Metaformin(spelling?).

    • Angie L. says:

      I also use the Aviva for gestational diabetes and LOVE that card that gets me 200 test strips for $15.00. That is really an awesome deal! Test strips are one of the most expensive diabetes items so this has been a lifesaver.

  • Dearela says:

    I know how expensive those supplies can be. My 12yr old is a type 1. I am not sure how much money you can save but I have noticed online that people are selling test strips and lancets on ebay. I think they are usually cheaper and they always post expiration dates. Also I would check with the makers of his pump supplies. Maybe they can help give you some names or places that help with supply cost. I know that there has to be resources with help available. It’s not like having these supplies are optional. Good luck and check with your state offices such as the ones that offer medicaid. If nothing else, they should have a list of resources or maybe can help you find it as well. I am sorry I have nothing else to offer! Wishing you the best of luck!

  • Sharon says:

    I just wrote a fairly long response and hit send and then . . . nothing. It included links so I don’t know if it has to go through a moderator first . . .

    But here goes again. If it shows up twice, I apologize.

    We just went through a year of being without insurance and my husband was on a few medications. His doctor made a deal with him that if he came to see her once a month ($70 per visit), she would supply him with a monthly supply of samples to get him through until the next visit.

    She then told us about NeedyMeds (add dot org to it to find the website). It’s a database of medications and their manufacturers. You find your med, fill out the application for that particular manufacturer’s patient assistance program. Make sure to read and follow the directions carefully. In most cases, you’ll receive vouchers to pay for your prescription med. You’ll have to do an application to each different manufacturer that is applicable to your situation. You’ll need your doctor to fill out a section of the application as well. Incidentally, it is not just for people without insurance but also for people with insurance that find their monthly co-pays a hardship (it’s based on income).

    Also, check with your local Freecycle group (add a dot org to find website). I had gestational diabetes with one of my pregnancies and ended up with lots and lots of testing strips and needles left over after his birth. I was able to give them to someone on Freecycle that needed them.

    Alas, let your family and friends know about your situation. This can be a ding to pride but the Bible says we should help others in need. Your friends and family don’t know what you need unless you tell them. They may not be able to help you financially but they can pray for you and that’s POWERFUL. We know this first hand when we could not pay for our son’s autism therapy and each month for almost a year, someone anonymously paid it for us. The difference was that we told people what our specific needs were. God is cool that way!

  • Brenda says:

    I was the Executive Director of a clinic for the uninsured for about 5 years. I retired a year ago, so I don’t know what is “current” right now. Without know where Misty lives, I can only suggest a few web sites that may be helpful for finding either free or reduced medications, supplies, and care. These sites may contain some similar or duplicate information.

    In no particular order…

    I hope this information is useful in some way.

  • Debra D says:

    I certainly agree with asking your doctor, pharmacist and drug company for help and direction. There are many good suggestions here and hope you find some relief. I have a pet with severe allergies and have never set up a insurance program for her, which now is too late. I have kept her alive well into her years and her medicine just gets more expensive every year. It is an inhaler used on people and is now over $250 a month! Crazy! Well, I have found that some pharmacies price match so every month when her medicine needs replacement I pull out my cheat sheet of local pharmacies their phone number and how much the rate was and I fill in the current rate. I then call my chosen pharmacy that will price match and have them fill it at the best price. The pharmacy that I go too is Hyvee Supermarket and for every ten prescriptions filled and recorded on a punch card I will save 10% on a grocery order. All family members prescriptions count, cats and all. If you can find a deal like that you may also be able to call in the needles that are needed for insulin as a prescription and check to see if they count an order in as one prescription or if each medicine counts separately. That may help save money elsewhere if you can not get the actual cost of the medicine to go down at a bearable amount.

  • Angelina says:

    I have worked in home care for 17+ years and had great success with

  • Cheryl says:

    HealthWell Foundation,, internetdrugcoupons,com

  • I would check to see if there is a free clinic in your area. Our city has a privately funded family program that provides for various circumstances. The offer apartments for the homeless, a food pantry, daily meals, a free health clinic, etc. I’d see if there is something similar in your area. They may charge you something or ask for a donation you could afford but it would still be cheaper than buying it at market price.

  • Matti says:

    Didn’t Walgreens recently have some diabetic testing supplies or a glucose monitor for free after Register Rewards? Maybe these things do go on sale occasionally, is there any way to stock up?

  • Kim says:

    Most Doctor’s offices have to fill out the form from the manufacturer. If you are able to go online and locate the websites for each type of insulin, syringe and test strips, you can print off the forms, fill out your portion as well as have copies ready of any proof of income they require. That way when you go to your next appointment (or if you go to a “free clinic”) You can present the forms to them to fill out their portions. Usually the manufacturer requires the supplies be sent to your doctor or clinic for you to pick up so they insure that you have the proper directions on how to use and what dosages (just a requirement to be able to get the supplies for free). I had to use these programs for over 2 years, as an uninsured Type 1 Diabetic. ( I have been type 1 for 32 years). Also, if you take any meds for high blood pressure or high Cholesterol they too have forms that can be filled out and submitted for free medication or very lost cost. If they are done at the same time as your diabetic supplies (and those conditions are related to the Diabetes) it is usually easier to get them approved. Also, depending on what type of glucometer you use you might be able to use CVS, Walgreens, or even Wal-Mart to get low cost test strips and lancets and needles. The BD website has an e-newsletter you can sign up for and get coupons mailed to you or emailed to you for syringes or pen needles. One last thought, usually all of the above mentioned stores have “generic” or store brand machines and test strips that are compatible with brand name machines. Just read the boxes carefully to see if they list what other machines they may be compatible with. Also, contacting the manufacturer of the glucomter/test strips might help you receive coupons or other discount cards for test strips to use at any store (shopping around for the lowest price that way to get the best deal.) Sorry for the long response but I had to go through this and hope the information I am able to share will help.

  • Rebecca says:

    Ask his Doctor about the patient assistance program they can help you apply. In the mean time communicate your situation with the Dr. and get samples until you can find another solution.

  • Michelle says:

    See if your doctor can switch him to a $10/90 day generic at either walmart or target. Most doctors do not know the actual cost of the meds they prescribe, and usually prescribe whatever is the “newest and best” on the market, aka name brand. Many of the older, now generic meds are just as good. I had a co-worker that was unaware thus could be done. His dad was on $1000 plus a month in meds and didn’t have insurance. I told him about the 90 day generics and he called his dad’s doc. Sure enough, 3 off the 4 meds he was on could be changed, and he’s saving $800 a month! Just take the list of meds from the target and walmart pharmacy web sites and see if they can use one from the list instead!

  • amelia says:

    Walmart carries a meter that has testing strips for about half the price of other strips.

  • Amy says: is a website I have used with a number of clients (I’m a social worker) to get a variety of discounts. You can search for disease based assistance programs–there are a lot of programs listed that assist with supplies/etc. for diabetics.

  • Amy says:

    You can also use to search for a variety of disease based assistance programs, medication discounts, etc. As a social worker, I’ve had a lot of luck using this with clients.

  • Windy says:

    Hi! I would encourage you to check out resources within the Diabetes Online Community. Manny Hernandez founded a site called (It’s a social network site for diabetics) Also diabetes and all good sites and these people are leaders within the community. On you will be able to be directed to websites where people send their extra supplies to and then they are redistributed to needy folks who may need extra supplies during tough times. Good luck! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    I am a pharmacist and we have several different discount cards available at the pharmacy for no charge. It is beneficial to try them all to see which gives you the best deal. You can even use several different ones if each of your drugs is cheaper on a different card. Also, use a store brand glucose meter. They work just as well and the test strips are a lot cheaper. Finally, I don’t know if this is an option, but if your husband is able, coming off the pump and doing injections throughout the day would probably be cheaper. Pumps tend to use a lot more insulin than injections.

    • Sarah says:

      Jennifer, I know you said you are a pharmacist, but I am not sure where you heard that pumps use more insulin than injections. Everything I’ve read and also my doctor, the nurses and the diabetic educator I work with all said that people who are on pumps use less insulin overall than those who take injections. You may use more of one kind, but that is because you aren’t using the other kind. I use a pump and have been using less inuslin since on the pump. I know this is not the point of the post, but I also know that insulin alone is not a reason to switch back to injections, besides the fact that you lose tighter control that you have with the pump (which saves you medical costs in the long run if you stay healthier). I would say the main reason people would switch back is because pump supplies are soooooo expensive! Mine are over $300 a month!

      • Jennifer says:

        Sarah, I should have been more specific about the insulin. Cost is very dependent of which one you use and how much you need. I just know I have some patients who need 6 0r 7 bottles a month with their pumps. Thanks for helping me clarify!

  • Julia says:

    You are definitely not alone on this, I am a provider who works only with adult patients with diabetes. There are a variety of things you can do to lower your costs.

    First of all if you are using a pump, you may want to consider changing back to vial and syringe. Pumps are 4 times the cost and when you are on a limited budget this definitely adds up quickly.

    Second, I would recommend asking your provider to switch you to Apidra, a short acting insulin for your meals or in your pump because from now until March 2012, Apridra’s company will pay for up to 250 dollars each month to make your copay free. All you do is bring this prescription into a pharmacy that is part of this program. I know that Walmart, Target and CVS are all participating and you can ask your pharmacist if they are participating or you can call the company for more information. After March 2012, the copay will be a max of 20 dollars regardless of your insurance. This program is not available if you have governmental insurance.

    Third, consider asking your provider for all of syringe, meter, strips, and even insulin (NPH or Regular only) to be prescribed as Relion brand. This brand is only available at Walmart but they are significantly cheaper. In fact if you are just in need of strips and meter, you can pick them up without the prescription. And as you well know the strips are close to a dollar a strip, so this adds up fast when it is close to half the price! The relion meter is less than $20 as well!

    I hope this helps, hang in there and remember that even though the cost is significant to keep your diabetes in check, its even more expensive to have complications!

    Good Luck

  • Dee2 says:

    You’ve received several good suggestions already. I would start with your doctor’s office and the local health department.

    Because of the health care reform passed by congress (aka ObamaCare), you and your husband should be eligible for affordable health insurance if you have not had insurance for 6 months. Some states took the money from the feds and set up their own plans. If your state did not, there is a federal program you can sign up for. Any health insurance broker or your local health department can give you the information to sign up. Sometimes the 6-month wait can be waived if you are considered in a “high risk pool.”

    I learned a lot about it when my 24-yr old son, who has a chronic condition, moved across the country for a job that didn’t have insurance.

  • Susan says:

    Publix offers FREE Metformin (diabetic medication) to everyone. No income or insurance requirements. More info at

  • Monica says:

    You might want to look into ways to reverse the disease, which would overall save the most amount of money! The GAPS diet is proven to help reverse type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as a host of other problems. There are many other diets that can help as well. Here is a link with more info about the GAPS diet, we have seen huge improvements with our health due to this diet.

    • anN says:

      You Bet! I can vouch for a dietary change. When my hubby had his blood work done, he came in the pre diabetic zone. His ALT/AST count was also high showing fatty liver and insulin resistance. Thats when he freaked out and started workin out every single day. I reduced the starches and carbs in his diet, cut the sugar and fruit. He lost weight. One month later we took his blood test and all numbers were normal. I can only talk about pre diabetic reversal, but surely diet and exercise CAN improve insulin resistance.

    • Bethany says:

      Type 1 diabetes can NOT be ‘reversed’ by a changes in diet.

      • Monica says:

        It can, if you do the proper research, it is actually an autoimmune disease. We have had great results using diet with my sons auto immune disease. Unfortunately mainstream medical has not made the connection yet, but many people have seen improvements. This is what Dr McBride has to say:

        “There are two forms of diabetes: type one and type two. Type one is an auto immune disorder, where the body attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. All auto immunity is born in the gut. Following the GAPS Programme will heal the gut and re-structure the immune system. In my experience, as the patient progresses through the treatment, he or she is able to slowly reduce the dose of insulin and in many cases to stop the injections altogether. Type two diabetes is caused by the body becoming insulin resistant because of continuous consumption of processed carbohydrates. GAPS diet removes all processed carbohydrates, so the body can heal the damage and remove diabetes. Once better, as long as the person continues to stick to low-carbohydrate nourishing diet for the rest of his or her life, the diabetes should never return.”

        I used to work in the medical field so this was a tough pill for me to swallow, but when your two year old is diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disorder, you get desperate! This diet has changed our lives and I will be forever grateful to Dr. McBride.

      • Victoria says:

        A lot of people don’t know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, even people who have diabetes themselves. I have type 1 or juvenile diabetes and often people offer me crazy advice like a special diet or alternative medicine to cure my diabetes :(((

      • Tami Calhoun says:

        The poster didn’t mention if her dh has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Either way, the amount of insulin needed can be changed by eliminating carbohydrates from the diet.

        I am Type 2 and am no longer testing in diabetic ranges on my A1C and I have lost 90lbs from eliminating all forms of sugar and grains in my diet. I have never felt better and this is easily a life long sustainable dietary change.

      • Sarah says:

        Agreed. It is ridiculous that anyone is suggesting otherwise.

        • Sarah says:

          Above, I meant to say it is ridiculous that anyone suggests that type 1 can be cured. While I agree it can be managed better with a good diet and exercise, it does not go away. I wish it would!

  • Angela says:

    CVS is the way to go for supplies that you have to purchase at the pharmacy. They reward you very generously with double ECBs and there are something like 92 (guesstimate) items that qualify for this program. Check it out if you haven’t already. Good luck and God bless!

  • Susan says:

    My husband’s blood sugar was 300 and we also had no insurance. He was able to drastically change his diet and cut out all pasta, bread and rice. With in 3 weeks his blood sugar was at 140 consistently with out any medication. This may or may not be possible in your case but many times diet and exercise will turn diabetes around. We did a CVS deal for a FREE monitor, got strips off of Craig’s list from a lady that had gestational diabetes, bartered with a chiropractor and found a health clinic through a local college that charged on a sliding scale.

  • Tonya says:

    I don’t personally have this disease but know a ton of people who do. One guy in our church went vegetarian and was able to go off of insulin. Which is huge. So my suggestion is look into diabetic diets with out meat. They guy did it from a book but I don’t know what it is called but I bet you could find it if you googled it. Not only would you bring the cost of the diabetes done but also your grocery bill, meat is expensive. Just my two cents take it or leave it 🙂 I hope you find something that helps!

  • Cambria says:

    Misty – I completely understand where you are coming from. My husband and I have health insurance; however, it only covers emergencies so we are forced to pay for my pump supplies, insulin and test strips at full retail price. Its gets VERY expensive and often times can be more than our mortgage for the month.

    Over the last year I have spent a ton of time trying to reduce these costs; however, refuse to put my health at risk. I would DEFINITELY recommend talking with your doctor about free samples. Personally, my doctor has plenty of Humalog always on hand and gives me several bottles now every time I visit. The nurse said they usually don’t know what to do with the stuff so were happy I asked for it. Test strips are much harder to find as free samples aren’t typically available. Those I either have to pay for and/or try to find a coupon/rebate to use.

    My heart goes out to you because I know how burdensome the disease alone can be, yet alone having to worry about the financial complications as well. I will be praying for you and your family and hopefully you’ll find lots of really good resources from all these comments.

  • Liz says:

    I believe this may have been mentioned above, but call your pharmacist to see if injectible insulin would be cheaper than the insulin pump. If it is, your husband could talk to his doctor about switching to a long- acting injectible insulin. I hope you can find a less expensive solution!

  • Badgermedic says:

    Great advice from all. Here is my two cents worth check out Craig’s list I have seen people selling unused test strips there for less than half off just be sure to check expiration dates.

    Have everyone you know contact the major glucometer manufacturers they give out free meters and sample strip, hoping you will become a paying customer. If enough people do that for you it could help for awhile.

  • Elle says:

    I second all of the recommendations to use CVS’ excellent Extra Care Bucks program for sharps/wipes/lancets, but also try Freecycle for testing supplies and equipment. You’ll be amazed at what people have to offer and what you can get if you ask. I don’t think you could get insulin that way, though 😉 .

  • missa says:

    Talk to a diabetes educator in your area. In some places I’ve seen people start a surplus bank (I changed pumps, now I have 3 months worth of extra sets, etc.)

    Do you know anyone else locally with diabetes? They may be able to request more strips for the same co-pay they pay now and share with you. In most cases doctors don’t mind writing the prescription for more testing.

    I use a Freestyle Lite meter, and they offer a discount program on strips, and free meters frequently.

    Also, if you are considering coming off the pump, look into insulin pens. There’s less packaging and they are easier to use than traditional vials. I’m not sure of the cost difference, but it might be worth researching.

  • HeatherS says:

    Definitely check all local grocery and drug stores. I just found out that my Price Chopper grocery store (NYS) offers a huge variety of diabetes medications and supplies FREE and my doctor always seems to have insulin pens and strips to tide me over until I get them through my mail order pharmacy. He also always has a new meter for me when my old one starts to die on me, rather than me dealing with all of the paperwork and specific scrip information that’s required in trying to get a new one. Also, if you have a particular meter, and you see CVS or Rite Aid or WAGS is selling the same one cheap with ECBS, RR’s or UP rewards, check it out. It might have a free box of strips with it and you can get it for free with the cost of manufacturer rebate. Good luck. I hope you can find a program that can help you. Diabetes supplies and meds are expensive WITH and WITHOUT meds.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I buy my testing supplies on ebay. I find it to be much cheaper and use ebay points to bring the cost down more.

  • Shannon says:

    Check to see if you have a local Diabetes Association. In Ohio we have the Central Ohio Diabetes Association and I believe they give assistance or give free diabetic supplies.

  • Paula says:

    My son is a type 1 diabetic and we constantly had supplies that expired so when we joined a local support group I found folks that needed the supplies before they expired.

  • Carrie says:

    I would also use CVS extracare bucks and I would check Wal-Marts $4/10 program. I would also check the companys assistant program for the meter you use and research what brand of testing supplies is the cheapest most companys will give you a meter because they want you to use there supplies.

  • Karen says:

    I haven’t seen this mentioned, forgive me if it’s a repeat.

    The reason that test strips and meters are so inexpensive on ebay is because some shoppers get them for free or even as money makers at CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens. I’ve seen many posts on a site I frequent wondering what people can do once they have them. They often offer them on Freecycle or look for a clinic that will accept them. I don’t know if it’s ok to post the site here, but I trust Crystal will delete the information if it’s not appropriate. The site is . You can go to the forum titled “drugstore/grocery B&M deals and discussion” and search for a thread called “stockpile stuff you wouldn’t mind donating or trading” and post your general location. You might be surprised at what people have to offer. Good luck.

  • Suzanne H says:

    Just saw this coupon for up to $19.99 off on a lancing device. You can frequently get test kits free after RR or ECB.

  • misty says:

    WOW!! You guys are amazing!! I have a booklet filled with your amazing ideas and am going to spend the day checking out each and every one! I will post my results here 🙂 Thank you to each and everyone of you who took the time give me advice, links and encouragement! Blessings ~ Misty

    P.S. Crystal ~ Thank you so much for posting my question. I was shocked to see it posted so soon and I am grateful to you and your readers.

    • Pam says:

      Misty I would love to see what you come up with. As a RN
      I have tried to find resources to help my uninsured clients. What state do you live in?

  • scott says:

    Is he a veteran? They will give him everything that he needs for his diabetes. As a disabled vet they VA covers all of my medical needs. You sometimes have to wait even if you have an appointment, but there is no costs involved.

  • Jen says:

    My cat is diabetic and I get his syringes from I save a TON of money versus purchasing the syringes from a pharmacy. Plus I can usually get cash back through EBates, and sometimes I can find savings codes through Now if I could just save on the insulin which costs over $100….he’s lucky he’s cute! 🙂

  • Audy says:

    Crystal and group what a blessing.

    I am in tears as I read all these comments and help. What a great thing to take the time to help a person in need. My heart is overwhelmed as this is my sister. When she told me that Crystal posted this, I had to jump over here and read it. It’s been months since I have been here as I have given up the internet for the most part. But I am glad to check back in and see the overwhelming help you have given her and her husband. May you be blessed and touched for your generosity, by time & advice given.

  • lindsey says:

    I am diabetic. Years ago when I was in a real financial bind, I wrote the people who traditionally gave us Christmas gifts and asked them to buy me testing strips—I included a scan of the exact kind I needed. I received enough to take care of the entire next year!

    Our churches have gotten together and formed an agency called Love, Inc. Anyone can ask for their help, and they have a specific fund just for medicines for the uninsured folks. COntact one of your local churches to see if you have something similar where you live.

    Also, the doctor always has samples, so don’t be shy about asking. Also, my physician said that it is really okay to use the same syringe all day long, which reallly cut down the cost. I have been doing that for over a year now, with no ill effects.

    Good luck. You are not alone.

    Good luck, I know how expensive it is.

  • DD says:

    Hello, I buy supplies on Ebay. Buy only from great sellers with 100% positive feedback & ask questions when you are unsure. Buy only factory sealed supplies. Most of the time I save more than half off the Walmart price! Best of Luck to you, DD

  • Tammy says:

    I’m in Virginia and have found that Target offers the best deal on a meter, strips, and lancets. Their store brand UP & UP meter is about $10 and so are the lancets (100 ct). The strips are about $36 for 100. Walmart has the best deal here for Relion brand syringes, about $13.00 for 100 and Relion NPH and Regular insulin are about $26 per vial.

  • Christine says:

    My husband recently changed pumps. We have quite a bit of extra supplies for a Medtronic Paradigm pump – 4 boxes of MMT-326A Paradigm reservoir, 1.8 ML (5XX only) and 4 boxes of MMT-396 Quick-set Paradigm infusion set 9MM – 43” (10/box). I would love to mail these supplies to someone who will use them. Email me at cmarcari at gmail dot com.

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