Worst drugstore deals

Hot on the heels of the best drugstore deals, we decided to tell you which deals at the drugstore are the worst -- and there are plenty of them. With rare exceptions -- say, when there is a super sale or you have stacking coupons -- the following seven items will bust your budget and erase all the amazing savings that drugstores can offer.


The cover price of a single issue of a magazine is often half the cost of a year-long subscription! Why pay full price for a one magazine when you can easily find a deal for a year-long subscription that costs only a few dollars more? If you are justifying your single-copy purchase because you are considering subscribing, read the publication an extra 10 minutes in the store, or until you make up your mind. Browse all you want, but resist he temptation to buy.


The prices are so much more competitive at grocery stores, which benefit from bulk discounts and high turnover. Plus, grocers have much better selection. Avoid buying cereal at drugstores unless you have a cereal emergency. Ahem, that was a joke. There is no such thing as a cereal emergency!

Trial sizes
The teeny tiny packages are so cute it's hard to resist them, but do a quick per unit calculation and the price - compared to full size - will blow you away. In a bad way. Better to buy reusable containers and fill with your normal supply of shampoo and other toiletries. I repeat, do not be fooled by the sub-$1 sticker price. Trial sizes are expensive.

Soy milk

I won't scare you with the exceptional mark up I spotted on a quart of soy milk at one of my favorite drugstores. Suffice to say, I'm sticking to Trader Joe's and mainstream grocery store sales for my non-dairy beverages. I'd even drink cow's milk before paying these prices.

Seasonal gear

Summer umbrellas, winter decorations, and gear for every season in between often come with huge markups because many of these items are impulse buys. At the beach without an umbrella? The pricey shade provider will save you a sunburn but teach ya the next time. The exception is post-season leftovers, like Christmas cards in January.

Back to school supplies

With some exceptions, you are going to find much better deals at Target and the office supply chains, which compete for business by offering loss-leaders like free backpacks and 20-cent bottles of glue. Your local drugstore wants $3 for a pack of markers? You gotta be kidding me.

Single-use cameras

With plenty of digital cameras costing less than $100, why lose money on a pricey disposable camera? With printing costs, each roll can top $20. That means you make money on a regular digital camera in just five rolls. Plus, you won't pay for developing bad shots. Not that you take any.

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