What We Spent on Supplements in 2013

supplement costs 2013

“We spent $500 on quercetin last year?!!!”

I cautiously asked the Wendy’s Eating Husband to tally up all of our supplement expenses in 2013. He did not like the results. Too bad for him, because he was part of the problem, with his mutated MTHFR genes.

The Wendy’s Eating Husband would rather buy a movie ticket or a large Wendy’s fry than spend money on the methylated folate and B12 supplements he’ll need to take for the rest of his life.

The cost of supplements can rack up fast, and when you look at the numbers, it can be a real deterrent. It’s easy to think of what the money spent on supplements could have been used for instead. But how can we put a price tag on our bodies, especially when supplements can do for our bodies what no prescription drugs can do?

I would so much rather have health to the fullest extent possible than all the other stuff I could spend my money on. I have lived with chronic bladder pain where just a clap would trigger my bladder to spaz like it was contracting on razor blades. That’s a terrible quality of life, when you have to be careful of jolting your body a certain way so as to prevent severe pain. Supplements helped me to heal from interstitial cystitis. The price? Pffff. I have my life back.

I hope that at some point, my family won’t be spending so much money on supplements. We take the supplements to heal our bodies, hoping that some day we can be at a place where we will no longer need most of them. Yet at the same time, our polluted world is falling apart and it’s reflected in our bodies. We may always need some supplements.

It also deserves to be said that in many cases, changing your lifestyle has a much more powerful effect on your health than a supplement. But sometimes you get stuck in medical school with two kids and a husband with two jobs and life has no give, and you just have to take a lot of supplements to survive. Because you’ll never get 8 hours of sleep.

Other times, you may need a supplement for a lifetime. Last year, we discovered that the Wendy’s Eating Husband is homozygous for the C677T MTHFR mutation. He will need to take methylated B12 and methylated folate for the rest of his life. There isn’t any lifestyle modification that will change that.

supplement costs comparison

It may seem like we are made of money to be able to afford all of these supplements. We’re only able to afford them because whole body wellness is a huge family value to us. We live a very simple life to make that happen. Here are ways we’ve saved money over the years to be able to afford all of our natural supplements:

  • We rarely eat out as a family. Last year, we’ve probably eaten out 10 times or less.
  • I make almost every single thing we eat from scratch.
  • I’ve had my mother-in-law cut and highlight my hair. When she hasn’t been available, I have allowed myself to be tortured at a hair school (which usually involves 3 Motrin + 6 hours of a Saturday).
  • When the Wendy’s Eating Husband or I buy clothes for ourselves, it is almost always on clearance or at a 50% off sale.
  • Most of our kids’ clothes are from consignment stores or super clearance sales.
  • We had to buy a home outside of our preferred location.
  • We don’t buy fancy coffee drinks. If we’re out and about, the WEH gets coffee and I get an Americano.
  • We rarely do date nights out of the house where a babysitter is paid.
  • We haven’t been on a real vacation (yet).
  • We try to get most of the kids books from the library so that we don’t buy them.
  • We avoid family outings that cost a lot of money and try to have our own adventures for free.
  • We’re still wearing clothing from high school. I have a fleece shirt from 8th grade that I am still wearing around.
  • We were a single car family until last August.
  • We lived in a <800 square foot apartment as a family of 3 and then 4, until last year.
  • We buy organic food in bulk.
  • We try to do as much of everything ourselves. In other words, the Wendy’s Eating Husband is also the Wendy’s Eating Handyman that’s fixed our garage door, installed a water saving toilet, and ripped out a popcorn ceiling.

In 2013, we spent $2541.58 on supplements, making our average monthly supplement cost about $211. This includes herbs, vitamins, probiotics, the Wendy’s Eating Husband’s methylated stuff, and all of the natural things you saw in my “A Day in the Life of My Supplements” article.

As a comparison, in 2013 we spent about $20 on prescription drugs. Sometimes you need a prescription drug and that’s that.

Is your supplement bill driving you nuts? Do you have to make other sacrifices in life in order to afford your supplements? Do you hope to live a healthy life, free of taking supplements?

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6 Responses

  1. Paul Heggie

    Those graphics are awesome! And that’s a lot of money for supplements. I really only take a multivitamin and fish oil–not sure what else I would/should take.

    But I agree–when I’m 40/50 years old, I don’t want to be dealing with all kinds of complications that I’m trying to cope with or painstakingly undo because of how I’m living now.


  2. Kelsey

    Yikes! That is a lot. Although I suppose it’s merely an investment in long term health. I’m trying to convince myself that ordering expensive supplements is a good and necessary thing. It can be hard to justify it when I’m trying so hard to live within my means and be frugal. :/


  3. Julie

    What does your husband take for his MTHFR? Do you think that supplements are a must for people with MTHFR?


    Dr. Archer Atkins

    Hi Julie,

    He takes Methyl Guard Plus by Thorne. Yes, in general, methylated folate and methylated B12 supplementation is a must for those with MTHFR mutations.


  4. Katterin

    I have a Wendy’s Eating Handyman Husband too! My midwife just introduced me to your blog, I’m thoroughly enjoying your health advice and stories!


    Dr. Archer Atkins

    That’s great, Katterin! Glad to have you around.


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