Thursday, June 26, 2014

My obsession with iHerb

I know, it seems crazy, really crazy, for a frugal blogger in Israel to advocate importing products from the USA. Logic would dictate that it would be more expensive to order items, particularly specialty and hard-to-find items, from overseas. I mean, wouldn't the shipping costs negate any savings?!

Surprisingly, not always. here in Israel. Some items are truly priced sky high here, but are affordable even with shipping when you order from a place like iherb, that has low international shipping costs.

Allow me to give you a real life example:

I bought an Israeli brand B-12 supplement, upon my doctor's urging. The reduced rate at my HMO pharmacy was about 56 shekels for 120 doses, or 0.47 shekels per dose.

I then bought Solgar brand B-12 supplement from iHerb, which was actually the formula my doctor recommended, but was VERY expensive at the pharmacy. A large bottle cost me $20.60 on iHerb before shipping. I ordered a number of other items at the same time, so I attributed $1 of the shipping cost to this item, making it cost $21.60 for 250 doses. Using today's exchange rate, that is 70.50 shekels, or 0.28 shekels per dose.

(Although to be honest, I got free shipping for the order with B12 in it - iHerb is currently offering free shipping for all international orders over $40 (and 4 lbs or less) until the end of June!)

The amount of B12 in the local supplement was very slightly higher than the amount in the Solgar one, but not significantly different and the Solgar one is a sufficiently high dose.  For me the difference in cost (almost 20 agurot per dose - about 1.40 shekels per week!) made it easy for me to choose which one to continue buying! It may not seem like a lot, but if you end up doing this with 10 products per year, whether it's a favorite food, essential oil, supplements, probiotics, shampoos, or unscented feminine hygiene products, it all adds up VERY quickly! thing I love about iHerb is their Rewards Program. Any new customer who uses a reward members' link to start shopping will get a $5-$10 discount, and after that will be given their own code to pass on to friends to help them save! In addition, iHerb will give credit for all future purchases (a small percentage) to the referrer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you all that iHerb does not guarantee their international shipments. If the shipment never arrives, iHerb's policy is not to refund, although I have heard of some who have managed to get refunded. I personally have never had a lost shipment, so I cannot comment on this. Please be sure to give your correct shipping address to help ensure your package's safe arrival!

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