I was looking over my previous month’s expenses the other day, and I noticed that I was spending a ridiculous amount on vitamins. Last month alone I had bought prenatal vitamins, multivitamins, several supplements, and vitamins for my baby, which amounted to over $50. Yikes! I am all about living a healthy lifestyle and being proactive in preventing illness and disease, but $50 in one month seems a little steep.
So I did some research and brainstormed how I could reduce my spending on vitamins yet still receive the nutrients that my family needs, and I figured out a way for me to save approximately $150 per year. Here are 9 ways that you can save money on vitamins:
1. Take a Multivitamin
A multivitamin can cover most of your nutritional requirements, so talk to your doctor because this may be all you need. Some of you might think this is common sense, but I had a friend in college that had a vitamin for everything. I went to her apartment one day, and she had about 10 different bottles on her counter, and none of them were multivitamins. I cringe just thinking about how much she spent on all of those! Now I’m not saying a multivitamin can eliminate needs for any other vitamins, but it can eliminate the large majority of them.
2. Go for Generics
If the generic has the same ingredients and amounts per serving as the brand name, then you should be getting the same benefits. Try to see if there are some reviews on the generic you’re considering to know if it is of good quality. You could potentially save a bundle this way.
3. Determine Your Needs By Talking to Your Doctor
Depending on your age, gender, genetics, and overall health, your body may need additional vitamins. I recently went for my yearly physical, and my doctor discussed with me the importance of calcium for a woman of my age who has a family history of osteoporosis. She explained to me that I should be taking a lot more calcium than what is in my multivitamin. So for me, calcium is a supplemental vitamin that is worth taking. However, it is unnecessary for many who are not at risk for osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor to determine your needs!
4. Combine Supplements
Some supplemental vitamins are sold in combination with another. For instance, calcium and magnesium are often sold in combination for bone health. Flax seed oil is combined with fish oil for cardiovascular health. After you discuss your needs with your doctor, see if any of the combined supplements can save you some money.
5. Take Kids Vitamins
When I was pregnant, someone overheard me discussing the high cost of prenatal vitamins. He told me that instead of taking prenatal vitamins, his wife took two Flintstones vitamins. If you compare the ingredients on the bottles of prenatals and Flintstones, there is actually not much of a difference in potencies. Check with your doctor to see if you could substitute the kid’s version for any of your vitamins.
6. Shop Online
There are a lot of vitamin stores on the Internet. Some sites offer free shipping and have coupon codes. Others offer such deals as “Buy 1, get 1 free.” Compare prices and see if you can get some deals. I have seen good deals on Vitacost and Puritan’s Pride.
7. Buy in Bulk
Try buying a three month or a six month supply instead of a 30 day supply. The larger supplies are usually only a couple dollars more. It does not hurt to buy vitamins in bulk. It is not like other items one might buy in bulk such as toilet paper in that there usually is not a problem finding storage space for vitamins! Just check the expiration dates and do the math to make sure you’ll use them in time.
8. Use a Tablet Splitter
If it makes more sense to buy vitamins with a higher potency, just split them into the portion size that you need. You can get tablet splitters at your local pharmacy.
9. Get Your Vitamins the Natural Way
Remember that vitamins come from nature, and there are sources for vitamins other than pills. By being prepared and organized enough to eat healthy on a budget, you can get the large majority of your vitamins. Also make sure to get enough sunshine for that vitamin D. Finally, just because I take a calcium supplement doesn’t mean I don’t also try to eat foods rich in calcium; vitamins aren’t an excuse to eat poorly!
Vitamins are essential to our health. They give us energy, fend off illnesses, prevent diseases, and enable us to function as human beings. Talk to your doctor to come up with a vitamin plan. Take care of yourself!
(Photo credit: SOCIALisBETTER)