When I get asked about various supplements, like whey protein powder or multivitamins, there is sure to be a follow up question.

Where do you buy your protein powder (multi vitamin, protein bars, etc.)?

I’ve learned a thing or two over the years about how to shop for supplements. I am on a budget like everyone else. The first step in shopping for supplements is to do your research. Not just price shopping but to understand if the supplement even makes sense for your goals or if it really delivers on its promise. If you eat fish and other omega-3 rich foods you may not need to take fish oil. If you don’t need it, then you are wasting your money. You many need a multi vitamin but not one that you take four times a day. If you can’t remember to take one, then you are wasting your money trying to take four.

The next step is to try before you buy. Nothing is worse than buying a huge container of protein powder to find out you hate it. Places like the Vitamin Shoppe or Mama Jean’s Natural Market offer single servings of protein powders so you can give them a test run before committing to a larger purchase. Mama Jean’s has a great selection of protein powders in their bulk spice section – allowing you to buy as much or as little as you want. Vitamin Shoppe often has Wellness Fairs in their stores so you can try different supplements before you buy and leave with some things to try at home as well.

The sample box trend also offers you a chance to try selected samples on a monthly basis. I recently signed up for Bulu Box (paid for with my own funds) to see what kind of samples they would send based on my selected criteria. My first box included a multi vitamin sample as well as a sleep aid I had been meaning to try. It’s a fun way to get introduced to new brands you might not be familiar with.  You can earn points by reviewing the products you tried and use these points for discounts on purchases of full sized products. If you want to try it yourself click here and use coupon code FANTASTIC to get your second box FREE!

You might be surprised what supplements you can find at your local discount store. Target carries Designer Whey Protein Powders and an Up & UP version of EmergenC. You can often find name brands of protein powder, like Muscle Milk, at Cosco. My (not so) secret place for protein bars? Big Lots. You never know what you might find but I often find Designer Whey, Luna and LaraBar ALT bars and EAS protein shakes. Dry roasted edamame is not a supplement but I also stock up on it while I am there.

My favorite place to buy my supplements is online. All Star Health has the best prices I have ever found on my multivitamin, Vitamin D and calcium supplement. Amazon has the best prices on Ovega. Compare prices between these sites (and others) and don’t forget to factor shipping into the equation.

I must also give you a quick tip on where NOT to buy supplements – multi-level marketing plans. These are the companies where your friends sell the products and try to get you to sell them as well. I am not saying that some of these aren’t quality products. It is just that they are often way overpriced. There is also often pressure to sign up for reoccurring shipments. The convenience can be tempting but often they start showing up on your door faster than you actually need them.

Living healthy doesn’t have to break the bank. Most of your nutrition should come from real food. Supplements can add to your nutrition and cover gaps. Being a savvy supplement shopper can help keep you feeling good and on budget!

Where do you shop for supplements at the best prices?

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