Save money on food, medication

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 11:41 a.m. CDT

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When times get rough, many people cut things like their entertainment budget, but lets face it — we are human.

Everyone needs entertainment, and rather than cutting it out completely, there are two commonly overlooked areas when it comes to budgeting: food and over-the-counter drugs.

Food

When it comes to food, there are obvious choices like buying store brands rather than name brands, but what many people forget about is coffee. Coffee can cost $2 to $4 a cup at most places, and if one drinks a cup everyday, it adds up. Skip the fancy coffee and buy some at the grocery store. By doing this, expect to save more than $400 a year.

Do not dine out as much

Another commonly overlooked food related expense is eating out. Sure it can be nice, but it can be expensive. A minimal $5 lunch can be reduced to half by making it at home.

A sack lunch will also ensure a healthy diet. A greasy burger that cost $5 can easily be turned into a $3 healthy lunch by making it at home.

Stick to a grocery list

Perhaps, the most commonly overlooked food-related tip is sticking to a grocery list. It is always dangerous to go shopping hungry, and by shopping with a list and a full stomach, one is guaranteed to make smarter decisions versus going in without a plan.

Medication

Medication expenses are a growing problem for many people. Medication prices are not expected to be reduced anytime soon, so be sure to ask your doctor if prescribing generic drugs would be better. It seems, in most cases, doctors will prescribe medication fit for the job, but for very minor cases, generic drugs may work.

Medicine cabinet

For those who must have a fully stocked medicine cabinet, be sure to consider store brands when it comes to medication. Store-brand medications are often at least 20 percent less than nationally advertised brands. Talk to your doctor before you switch. Doctors are human too and understand if you’re in a financial pinch.

Prescription medication

When a doctor does prescribe a medication, and if you do not have insurance, be sure to scout around for the best deal on prescription drugs. Beware, there are many companies selling fake drugs and expired drugs, so be sure to research any company before ordering online.

And never use medications that were not prescribed specifically to you. The drugs may be expired or have a different dosage than what you need.

Miracle herbs

Another thing to watch out for is “miracle herbs.” Many people are drawn to an easy way out, and the fact is there is no miracle way out. An herbal remedy may temporarily relieve your pain, but there is a reason modern medicine is the preferred practice — it works.

Take advantage of free

samples and coupons

Like food, some drug companies offer free samples. Some medication samples can last almost two weeks.

It may seem odd to ask for samples, but if they are available, they can save you money. And, beyond prescription drugs, they’re also available for prescription contact lenses.

Like groceries, medication companies offer coupons. Be sure to take advantage especially going into allergy season.

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