Friday, January 8, 2016

How To Save On Prescription and OTC Medications

Before I talk about saving on medications, I want to tell you that we took it pretty easy yesterday. It was a day off from doing much of anything. Hubby put away the outdoor Christmas decorations. I did some de-cluttering for a couple of hours in the basement. Then we went out to dinner at Applebee's. We signed both of us up for a Golden Apple Card before we ordered our meals. Those cards give each of us 10% off our meal and are given to seniors over the age of 60. You just have to ask for one. Some restaurants participate in the program and some don't. You have to ask to find out. We also had one of the Mystery gift cards that I received for buying gift cards in December. That took an additional $10. off our bill. Hubby and I ordered a dessert to share  and because it took so long for them to serve it (the place was packed) the waitress had the manager take the dessert cost off our bill without us even asking for it. So we had 2 drinks, 2 entrees (not the for $20. deal), coffee and a dessert for just $30.  which included a $9.00 tip. I used a gift card to pay the bill and tip.

Now to talk about the subject of this post. We all know how expensive healthcare is today. Prescriptions drugs and OTC medications make quite a ding in anyone's income. I have vowed to bring our prescription and OTC medical costs under control in 2016 by using some of the suggestions below.

- I would be remiss in not telling you to stay as healthy as you can when you are younger than I. Exercise and eat healthy food. Preventive care is the first line of defense against having to take drugs. I didn't see a Dr. but once a year for an annual checkup until I was 55+. 

- However when you start to age, you need Dr.'s and medications. That is one of the reasons, it is imperative that you save enough money to be financially independent no matter what age you retire at. Make sure that you include a good chunk of money in your investments to pay for healthcare especially in your golden years. Even if you have healthcare, you have insurance premiums to pay and co-pays on Dr. visits, procedures, hospitalizations, urgent care and ER visits and for you prescriptions. If you don't save for these, you are in for a big surprise after you retire.    

- When a Dr. wants to give us a new prescription, we ask if he or she has any free samples. If it is a brand new drug they usually have them. They may even have a coupon for a free trial or information on registering with the drug company to give you a certain amount of cost off the drug monthly for a year.

- We make sure that our Dr. writes the prescription for a generic if the drug has one. They are so much cheaper and are usually just as good as the brand name. I have only had one drug in my lifetime that didn't work as well as the brand name.

-  We have our Dr. write our prescriptions for a 90 day supply because that is what we are allowed to get on a maintenance prescription. It is cheaper than filling 3- 30 day supplies. If you don't tell the Dr. they assume that you get 30 day supplies and write it for that. Hubby had a 30 day supply and one 60 day one. I contacted his doctors and had a new prescription sent to the drugstore for a 90 day supply. We do not want to pay anymore than we have to.

- Some drug plans are cheaper if you mail order. If you are comfortable with that, it is usually cheaper than getting them at a drugstore.

- When you go to the drugstore ask your pharmacist if they have any coupons to make your co- pay cheaper. They sometimes have them from the drug reps but they don't offer them if you don't ask.

- Many stores including Walmart either have $4.00 drugs or free drugs for some common drugs. So always check prices before you fill a prescription. If it is a commonly used drug like amoxicillin, you may be able to fill it for free.

- Here is a drug list of coupons and discounts on prescription drugs and OTC meds that served us well for years. Many of our drugs we were able to get reduced co-pays on. Some of them, you don't have to be income qualified for. So check for any brand name drug that you may be prescribed and see if they are on the list. Then click on the terms and see if you can get the reduction. If you are on Medicaid or Medicare, you usually are not qualified. Hubby and I got many discounts before we went on Medicare. However I use this site regularly to look for coupons off of OTC drugs.

- Many prescription drugs have a strength that is exactly double the strength that you need. Ask your Dr. to write your prescription for the doubled strength and then cut the pill in half. This will give you your dosage at 1/2 the cost.  

- Always compare prices on any brand name OTC medicines. I always go online and compare prices drugstore to drugstore. Then I look up Walmart  and Amazon prices. Look for coupons online to defray the cost. Then see if they have a generic that is exactly the same medicine. If the generic is cheaper than the brand name after coupon, buy the generic. If not then purchase the brand name. 

- If you find a rock bottom deal on OTC medicines that you use on a daily basis, check the expiration date and buy as many as you can use before they expire. For example, both Hubby and I take 3 vitamin D capsules daily, so when I found the pictured med so cheap that I couldn't believe the price, I stocked  up on enough for both of us for 2 years. I did the same for 81 mg. aspirin.

- I learned the hard way not to stock up on medicines like TheraFlu or Nyquil. When I was in my coupon craze, I did this and then none of us got sick all  winter. The drugs expired and were a waste of money. If I need something like that, I buy it when  we need it  getting the best price at the time using any available coupon.

- If you can't afford your medications, check out
RX Assist to see if you can get some help from the manufacturer.

- Never store your medications in a bathroom. Bathrooms get steamy and hot and that can reduce the potency of the drugs. We keep ours in a portable box in another room. 

We will be doing our best to cut our prescription drug costs and medical expenses in 2016.  If anyone has any tips that aren't listed here, be sure to leave a comment and tell us what you do. 


  1. Hi AD this is Chris. I wanted to let your readers know, if they didn't already, that Kroger quietly ended their $4 generic drug program. Also, the grocery store Meijer offers free generics for certain drugs like antibiotics and generic Lipitor.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for sharing with all of us.