We like to think that we're being smart shoppers when we pop down to the drug store for a few essentials, but usually that's not true at all.
Saving money at the drug store involves waiting for big sales, taking advantage of loyalty cards and stacking coupons. In fact you're losing money when you buy these 15 essentials at your neighborhood pharmacy:
1. Shampoo and conditioner
The best deals for these hair products are in the one place we usually overlook: the salon. You've probably noticed your stylist offering crazy BOGO deals on hair products, but passed them up before. Stock up next time you get your hair cut and you'll thank yourself.
These become a staple of your grocery list as you get older, and it's only natural to assume that the drug store would have these at the lowest price, but that isn't so. You can actually shave a few dollars off your grocery bill each month by getting them at discount stores like Target, especially when you buy in bulk.
3. Anything edible
Of course you wouldn't do your grocery shopping at CVS, but we're always tempted to pick up "one or two little things" while we're out. Don't. Unless there's a killer sale you won't save on anything. Even snacks and candies are cheaper at a real grocery store.
4. Paperback books
Now here's something we often overlook: odds are you have a points or discount card at a store like Barnes & Noble, so every time you buy a $5 paperback at the drug store you're cheating yourself out of money.
If you're feeling really frugal, consider getting your books from the library instead, or at least an online bookseller.
5. Brand name medicine
We'll discuss prescription medications later, but be aware that even over-the-counter brand names should be avoided at all costs. Compare your drugs to the generic version in the same section. If the formula is the same, there's no reason to buy the name brand.
6. Cleaning products
Don't take our word for it, NBC has done the math. They found Tide was $2 cheaper at Walmart compared to CVS, and across the board cleaning supplies follow the same trend.
These next two are staples, and you're probably guilty of buying them from time to time...