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I never really gave much thought about “taking my daily vitamins” when I was younger. Being young has a way of making most of us think that we are immortal and that it really isn’t necessary to take vitamins and supplements every day. That’s for older people and mostly those who aren’t healthy (like me), right? Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With the way we live today and our fast food lifestyle, taking some sort of daily regimen of vitamins is not just a good idea, it is really a necessity!
Taking a daily multivitamin can fill the gaps of any vitamins or minerals you didn’t get throughout your day. Even the most health-conscious people still may be lacking in a certain vitamin on any given day, so each vitamin or mineral serves a specific purpose for your body’s needs. It can be anywhere from basic functionality to providing an extra energy boost throughout the day. But buying vitamins can cost significant money, so how can you save money when you shop for vitamins and supplements? Are they worth it in the long run?
Talk to Your Doctor
As always, with any medications, vitamins, or changes to your diet, consult your doctor before you start taking anything. Multivitamins are great for the general public, but every individual person is different. Certain diseases, conditions, medications, your age, or other aspects of your lifestyle can change the type of vitamins you take or if you should take them at all. It’s important to know what you are putting into your body and why, and how it all will interact, too.
Choosing the Right Vitamins
Multivitamins have evolved past the basic supplement that you heard about as a child. Today, there are specific vitamins for specific groups such as women, men, children, over 50, women trying to get pregnant, and teens and on and on and on. There are also vitamins for tons of specific areas you may be concerned with like multivitamins to increase your daily energy, extra heart health care, or digestive help. After consulting with your doctor, you can determine which specific vitamin is best for you so you can get help and your money’s worth.
11 Ways to Save Money on Vitamins and Supplements
Here are some of my best super saving tips on how to take vitamins to make the most out of them and how to save money when you do it!
1. The Doctor Visit
Going to the doctor is just a good practical way to help maintain your health. Besides saving you from the expenses of paying for more cold medications and having long-term higher medical bills and health insurance premiums, deciding on a vitamin regimen can also strengthen your immune system. That means fewer chances you’ll have to take off work for a cold which depending on your job, can mean a loss of income. But that’s only one of the ways to save when taking vitamins.
2. Make Sure You Get What You Pay For
Not all vitamins and supplements contain what they say in the amount they say. Look at independent testing such as ConsumerLab.com or USP to make sure your brand contains the correct ingredients and potency.
3. Consider Cutting the Vitamin in Half
To save some money, you can also cut the vitamin in half with a pill cutter and take each half at different times of the day (or buy a double dose and take half per day). The real benefit to this may be practical in that this also distributes the vitamins at different times throughout the day and can help you absorb the vitamins better. It is also common for a multivitamin to slightly irritate your stomach. If that is the case, try taking half of the cut vitamin before bed to avoid the discomfort.
4. Buy in Bulk
Vitamins generally have a long shelf life, so if you know you’ll use them, buying in large quantities is a great way to save money. Stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are good places to look for bulk amounts of vitamins. Also, sometimes stores offer BOGO—buy one, get one free—deals. You can also find that they have larger packs which could be a better deal than you find in your local drug store chain. Just be sure you know what the expiration date is so you’re taking the most potent vitamin possible and nothing that has expired or may expire before you use them. Keep your vitamins in a cool dark dry space to insure freshness.
5. Take Your Vitamins with Food
Taking your vitamins with food increases the time it has to be absorbed in your body therefore improving its health benefits and stretching the benefits even more. It makes real sense because this will help you to make this part of your everyday routine by taking it after the same meal every day. It also will reduce any discomfort you may experience in your stomach when taking the vitamins.
6. Search for Coupons
Name brands like Centrum or One-A-Day offer coupons right on their website that you can print out. But you can visit almost any specific brand’s website, collect in-store coupons from grocery stores, and visit websites like Coupons.com for special pricing and deals. Today there are digital, paper, and bonus reward coupons available.
You can also sign up for e-mail alerts for vitamin brands and “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to get coupons and learn about offers. Coupons and discounts are readily available to anyone who wants them and tries even just a little bit to save.
You can boost your savings even more by getting cash back…just visit Rakuten first.
7. Consider Using Generic Brands
In many cases, the generic brand is almost identical to the brand name. Compare the labels to double check you are getting the vitamins you need in the right proportions and that they are approved by the FDA. If you’re curious about a certain brand, ask specific questions to your doctor or a pharmacist.
8. Using “Tabs” Will Save Money
Gummies, capsules, and chewables are popular, but they will almost always cost more than good old tablets. Splitting a tablet safely can be done, not so with the other forms.
9. Shop Online
Companies like Puritan’s Pride, Vitacost.com, or LuckyVitamin.com (and other strictly online vitamin companies) offer lower costs and great deals. It’s a good idea to compare the ingredients and quantity of ingredients to make sure you’re getting what you expect. The FDA sets the recommended dietary allowance which will let you know the specific amount of vitamins you should be getting each day. Make sure you are checking that info so you are really comparing apples to apples. It’s fairly easy to make the mistake of thinking “all vitamins are created equal” unless you actually do the checking!
10. Multivitamins Instead of Single Vitamins
Consider getting a good multivitamin and combining several of the single items to save. It’s more cost-effective and convenient to do it that way when you are able. But remember to also be careful and not double up. Taking a multivitamin as well as additional single vitamins can cause you to exceed your recommended dosages.
11. Ask If Your Employer Health Insurance Offers Discounts
Some employer health insurance programs offer full or partial reimbursements for health products you purchase as part of your benefits at work. It doesn’t hurt to ask your human resource department if that is something they offer or would consider doing in the future.
Taking a daily multivitamin is a convenient way to improve your health. If you can’t budget in the cost of vitamins or choose not to take them, be sure your diet is rich in essential vitamins and minerals. With the help of your doctor, identify the vitamins that are most important for you to be getting, and find the foods that can give you the right amount you need.
Even though taking a multivitamin daily can cost your budget if you have not been previously taking them, they can actually save you money in the long run. Taking a vitamin and getting those essential vitamins and minerals can make you healthier and save you from long-term healthcare costs.
Do you take a multivitamin? Which vitamins do you recommend? How do you save money on your vitamins? What are some other budget-friendly health tips you have?