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8 things you should never buy at a drugstore

8 things you should never buy at a drugstore
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Sally McDonald |
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Drugstores like CVS and Walgreens got one big thing right: convenience. I live about two miles from my nearest grocery store and three miles from Walmart; however, there’s a CVS right across the street from my neighborhood.

Avoid these costly products at drugstores

While it’s tempting to dash across the street to cross a few items off my list, it’s not worth the extra cost! Here’s a list of high-priced products to avoid purchasing at drugstores, plus a few examples so you can see the difference with a few suggestions on where to find these items cheaper.

Over-the-counter drugs

Over-the-counter medications are often more expensive at drugstores. (The irony!) You can usually find various medicine cabinet items cheaper at big box retailers and dollar stores.

Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets 500mg (24 count)

  • CVS: $6.29
  • Walgreens: $5.99
  • Dollar General: $4.50
  • Walmart: $3.97

Read more: GoodRx vs. LowestMed: Which app saves you the most money on prescription drugs?


Similar to medicines, vitamin prices skyrocket at drugstores. You can save more than $3 by shopping around!

One A Day Women’s Multivitamins (60 count)

  • CVS: $7.99
  • Walgreens: $7.99
  • Dollar General: $6.35
  • Walmart: $4.94

Read more: Report: These 3 vitamin supplements are worth the money


Makeup can be really expensive, and drugstores typically charge more for beauty products. Many brands like Target and Walmart now offer beauty boxes so you can save on the makeup you love.

CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara

  • CVS: $8.99
  • Walgreens: $8.99
  • Dollar General: $7.00
  • Walmart: $6.94


I use a lot of shampoo, so I can’t afford to pay more money for the same product. Bulk shopping at warehouse clubs is a lifesaver for household basics.

TRESemme Moisture Rich Shampoo (28 oz)

  • CVS: $4.99
  • Walgreens: $4.79
  • Dollar General: $4.50
  • Walmart: $3.98

Household products

Down to your last roll? Don’t restock at a drugstore! Sarah, from, found a great deal on toilet paper at Dollar General (expires July 22).

Scott 1000 Toilet Paper (12 rolls)

  • CVS: $10.99
  • Walgreens: $10.49
  • Dollar General: $9.50
  • Walmart: $9.28

Read more: High quality toilet paper comes cheap


Cleaners and detergents add up fast, so save a few bucks and head to your local dollar store instead.

Tide Simply Clean & Fresh Laundry Detergent (40oz)

  • CVS: $6.99
  • Walgreens: $6.99
  • Dollar General: $4.35
  • Walmart: $3.97

Read more: Best laundry detergent for your money


Need to grab a few snacks before a long road trip? Try shopping at the dollar store. The store carries name brand nuts and crackers that will save you money.

Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts (16 oz)

  • CVS: $5.49
  • Walgreens: $4.99
  • Dollar General: $3.95
  • Walmart: $3.50

Baby products

You can find great deals on baby items online. Programs like Amazon Mom offers Prime members a 20% discount on diapers, along with other offers and deals.

Pampers Sensitive™ Wipes (56 count)

  • CVS: $3.79
  • Walgreens: $3.49
  • Dollar General: $2.25
  • Walmart: $1.97

What’s the deal with drugstore prices?

To be clear, you can find deals at drugstores and prices can vary at individual locations. The key to saving money on everyday items is comparison shopping. I reviewed products and prices online at each store yesterday. While it’s just one product out of countless others, this snapshot captures the dramatic price differences you might find on the exact same item.

Drugstores vs. dollar stores

Money expert Clark Howard recommends shopping at a dollar store instead of a drugstore. Although the hours aren’t as convenient, the prices are tough to beat.

Stocking your medicine cabinet at the dollar store