How I saved $5 by reading a label

This week I came down with a cold. The same week I’m getting my wisdom teeth out, of course. I’ve already contacted my oral surgeon, and he says the mild congestion I’m suffering won’t affect my surgery tomorrow. Whew. I didn’t want to put it off another week.

But that’s not the point of the this post. I want to quickly tell you about my trip to CVS last night.

When I’m sick, the most effective medication for me is a blend of ibuprofen and decongestant. I don’t know why, but ibuprofen seems to work better for me than acetaminophen.

I stopped at CVS on my way home from work to pick some up. I’m used to paying high prices for even generic versions of this cold medicine. The cost was $10 for 24 pills.

I started checking alternatives to see if I could find something similar for less money. I looked at a box of generic Sudafed, which cost only $5 for 24 pills. When I compared the ingredients, I realized that the only difference between the generic Sudafed and the generic Advil Cold and Sinus was that the Advil included a dose of ibuprofen. The generic Sudafed had the same exact decongestant in the same amount (30mg of pseudoephedrine).

All this time I’ve been paying double for the generic Advil Cold and Sinus when I could have just picked up generic Sudafed and supplemented it with a dose of ibuprofen, which I always have on hand at home. This morning I took a dose of the decongestant along with a dose of ibuprofen, and it’s just as effective.

The lesson? Next time you’re browsing medications, be sure to compare ingredients and think about what you have on hand at home. Otherwise you could end up paying twice as much to buy something that’s already in your medicine cabinet.

Photo by zingersb

5 thoughts on “How I saved $5 by reading a label

  1. Melanie

    as another tip to your readers, we looked at the ingredients of Tylenol PM, and the “sleep aid” ingredient is just benadryl. Now, we just buy a bottle of generic benadryl rather than sleeping pills.

    1. Karen

      I also use Benadryl as an occasional sleep aid, but it’s because my mother who is a nurse told me that it’s the most gentle, least dangerous medication that can help you sleep. Because of its possible effects on the liver, she told me not to take Tylenol just to help me sleep. It’s interesting to find out that it’s the same ingredient in Tylenol PM!

  2. MB

    The more the manufacturer adds to your product, the more you will pay. If a product is the combination of two name brands, buy the generics of those brands and self-medicate. Cut pills to adjust as needed. I use benadryl instead of tylenol PM too. Is it really pain that’s keeping you awake? Then you don’t need a sleeping pill; you need a pain killer. Otherwise, Tylenol won’t make you sleep. Likewise with cold/flu medicine. Just take your preferred pain killer like aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen along with whatever medicine. Often what’s added serves only a marketing purpose and does not help you feel better.

  3. Ang

    They also make a generic of the Advil Cold & Sinus in case you’re ever interested. It’s what got me through the swine flu. My husband is a 3rd year medical student and per his instructions ALL WE BUY IS GENERIC. It is the exact same as name brand. As someone who has to take Claritin everyday of my life, WalMart brand Claritin has been a God send.

  4. Andrea

    Just an FYI, Sam’s and Costco have the best prices on generics! A nurse practitioner let me know about this. The generic Zyrtec (that I take daily) at Sam’s is only $17 for 350 tablets. The best part? You don’t have to be a member of Sam’s to get this deal. Just go straight to the pharmacy and ask for the Sam’s generic version of (fill in the blank of the name brand medicine) and there you go! Cheap medicine. The savings beat Target, all of the chain drug stores, etc. … hands down.

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