Tag Archives: Frugal

Inside Mark Cuban’s Plan to “F— Up the Drug Industry”

“I could make a fortune from this,” Cuban said. “But I won’t. I’ve got enough money. I’d rather f— up the drug industry in every way possible.”

Mark Cuban, Texas Monthly

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When you deliver something people need for less money than if they schlepped to the store, you win. See: Amazon.

That’s what Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame is doing with his new startup. Cost Plus Drugs, which just launched two weeks ago, sells a wide variety of generic medications for less than anyone else.

Let’s see how much cheaper Cost Plus Drugs is for some common meds:

Albuterol (Proair) inhaler for asthma: $30 on Cost Plus vs. $86 on GoodRx (for pharmacies near me)

Prednisone (Deltasone) for asthma: about the same on Cost Plus vs. GoodRx

Norgestimate / Ethinyl Estradiol (Ortho Tri-Cyclen (28)) for birth control: $7 on Cost Plus vs. $13 on GoodRx

Atorvastatin (Lipitor) for high cholesterol: $4 on Cost Plus vs. $8 on GoodRx

Imatinib (Gleevec) for leukemia: $17 on Cost Plus vs $120 on GoodRx. Wow.

You don’t need me to tell you that medical care in the United States is ridiculous. Massive bills and no transparency make even me, an unusually fortunate person, hesitant to go to the doctor.

Cost Plus Drugs changes that. You know exactly what you’re paying, every time.

Even better, you know where that money is going. The website clearly breaks down the costs for manufacturing, shipping and labor.

Cost Plus also builds in a 15% profit margin. This may seem greedy, but it’s a lot less than competitors, and they have to make some margin to stay in business and expand.

You can’t disrupt the medical system if you go bankrupt!

Cost Plus has another big advantage: strong word of mouth. From Mark Cuban:

“When people save a lot of money on their medications, they often will tell others they know that have the same challenges. That word of mouth impacts our growth the most.”

This is critical for a consumer company. Consumer companies have to acquire tons of customers that may not spend very much each.

So, the cost of customer acquisition can make or break a company. Cost Plus has a great strategy here to grow organically at zero cost.

Cost Plus plans to begin manufacturing its own drugs and building distribution centers across the country. They’re going to control the whole stack, which is the best way to control prices.

As a startup investor, I’m itching to get in. A huge problem, a brilliant entrepeneur, an innovative solution….what’s not to like?

And as a consumer, you can bet I’ll be getting any meds I need from Cost Plus from now on!

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More on tech:

3D Printing a Human Ear

Why I Just Invested in Deft, the Best Way to Shop Online

Male Contraception With an Ultrasound Device?

Photo: “Mark Cuban” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Amazon Business American Express Card

You already shop on Amazon. Why not save $100?

If you’re approved for this card, you get a $100 Amazon gift card. You also get up to 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% on restaurants/gas stations/cell phone bills, and 1% everywhere else.

Best of all: No fee!

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 and returns have been great so far.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get your management fees waived for 90 days

Misfits Market

My wife and I have gotten organic produce shipped to our house by Misfits for over a year. It’s never once disappointed me.

Every fruit and vegetable is super fresh and packed with flavor.

I thought radishes were cold, tasteless little lumps at salad bars until I tried theirs! They’re peppery, colorful and crunchy!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $10 on your first order. 

How I Took An Awesome Yoga Class for $1.75

One of the new hobbies I’ve picked up in 2020 is doing yoga. I became a believer when it helped me recover from a painful tendon injury, and I’ve been turning myself into a pretzel (or trying to) ever since.

Yoga classes can be expensive, but I’ve found a way to take great classes in person for as little as $1.75, which is what I paid last night. Perhaps as a way to coax people back into gyms, ClassPass has yoga, spinning, and numerous other classes for incredibly low rates. And you can do it all a la carte with no monthly membership fee.

You can do a 0 credit a month plan for free and then buy credits any time to take a class. That’s what I do.

I’ve taken almost a dozen classes since November and I’ve never paid more than $6. I go to a local studio with great teachers, and I feel very energized and relaxed afterward. I work out, socialize a bit, come home and eat dinner, then sleep like the dead due to the evening’s exertion.

An a la carte model is perfect right now because the COVID situation can change rapidly and impact people’s willingness to go to a gym. With this plan, you only pay when you actually go.

I don’t know of any cheaper way to do yoga, and the app is easy to use, so I strongly recommend this to anyone who is interested in yoga or other fitness classes.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be around this community of people who enjoy yoga and live nearby. It makes me feel normal and feel happy, and that’s valuable nowadays. See you at spinning tonight!

Try CkassPass for free for 14 days using this link. (If you do, I will also receive some free credits. )

“Yoga in King George Square Brisbane-06=” by Sheba Also 18 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

These Vitamins Are So Good I Took a Picture With Them in a Snowstorm

It’s been snowing for over 20 hours straight here in the New York City area. But I’m inside enjoying, among other things, the excellent vitamins that just arrived from iHerb. I got the best tasting Vitamin C gummies I’ve ever had, from California Gold Nutrition, along with melatonin, magnesium, etc.

I almost bought the vitamin C on Amazon, but I did a quick Google search right before pressing “Place Order.” Good thing too, because I found them for $7.00 rather than $12.55 on Amazon.

Note that the Amazon ones are actually coming from iHerb too! You’re buying the exact same product from the exact same seller for almost twice the price. Why? My guess is Amazon is just marking it up through the roof because people default to Amazon, and iHerb just has to live with it. But who knows.

I had never heard of iHerb, but my always-astute wife had and assured me it was legit. It is. I got my shipment in a couple of days (first day in the delivery window they specified) and got texts when it shipped and when it was delivered.

iHerb adds a lot of additional value through their iTested program. They take the supplements they sell, send them to a third party laboratory, and find out if they actually contain what the manufacturer says. Then, they share that result with you. Here’s the report on the vitamin C I bought. They contain 250 mg of vitamin C dead on, as advertised, and virtually zero trace heavy metals or any other contaminant.

This is important when many vitamins don’t contain what they claim to. I intend to shift all future supplement purchases to iHerb based on this experience.

New customers get 25% off their whole order right now, and minimum shipping is $20. That’s hard to beat.