What to buy at the drugstore

Feb 24, 2011 at 2:05 a.m. ET

We all have a neighborhood pharmacy, drugstore or corner store where we pick up essential items - from over-the-counter drugs to small housewares to simple groceries. Whether you shop at big box stores that boast falling prices or a comfortable corner mom-and-pop shop, you can buy more than candy bars and your prescriptions if you shop carefully and keep a few key items top of mind.

Pharmacy Storefront

Drugstore GROCERIES?

Groceries

In January, "Good Morning America" reported that CVS and Walgreens, among other drug stores, are getting into the grocery game in a big way, in order to cater to customers' needs as well as their wants.

Studies show people shop for drugstore items only about once a month, but they shop for food two or more times per week. Some stores are not only stocking nonperishable staples, but milk, eggs, produce - even prepared sushi for on-the-g0 lunchers.

What not to buy? Anything that isn't on sale - you might get better deals at the grocery store. Also, be wary of buying fresh meats or products with expiration dates, as shelf turnover might not be as high.

Bath ProductsBath Products

Before you lather up, look on the shelves at your local drug store for the best deals on your favorite items.

According to Teri Gault, CEO of TheGroceryGame.com, there are some great deals to be found on your favorite soaps, lotions and potions at chain drug stores, like CVS or Walgreens. "Clip coupons and use the coupons to shop sales," Gault said. "You can get high-end name brands for much less than you would normally pay."

CosmeticsCosmetics

Sometimes, pharmacies and big box stores have extensive cosmetics departments that offer quality products, some of which are made from the same manufacturers as high-end brands. Determine what products you use the most - such as eyeliner or makeup base and buy those from designer brands. For lip glosses and blush, shop sales at your drugstore.

Paper ProductsPaper products

It can be tempting to pick up paper towels, toilet paper and Kleenex at your grocery stores, especially when store brands boast low prices. However, read the fine print before you fork over your hard-earned cash. Sometimes, premium brands on sale and drug stores will cost you less than the store brands at big box stores.

PrescriptionsPrescriptions

It might sound like a no-brainer, but if you often order your prescriptions online, you might want to check for hidden costs and premiums. Some experts suggest buying from your neighborhood pharmacies to avoid mark-ups and unwanted surcharges for shipping and handling or online ordering.

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