Are you taking any whole food supplements like maca, cayenne pepper, or spirulina? You’re probably paying too much if you’re choosing them already in capsules.
You can save quite a bit by filling capsules yourself with the less expensive bulk powder options.
I did the math on this. Comparing the same brand of maca root powder (in pre-filled capsules versus filling capsules with the powder) we save around $10 per month on just one person’s supply. This includes the cost of the capsules, too.
However, it doesn’t include the cost of the handy little capsule filler machine; but we recouped that cost in less than a month when considering how much I use it.
Here’s the whole scoop!
Breaking Down The Savings
(Keep in mind, prices fluctuate. While this is my current calculation, it’s bound to shift over time.)
Though it depends on the actual supplement you’re using, the cost savings can be quite significant.
For example, let’s take maca root — which has many benefits and is a great food source of magnesium.
I went on amazon and priced out maca root capsules and powder from the same brand: Now Foods.
If you buy the capsules, you’re spending approximately 14 cents each. If you buy the powder and fill your own capsules, they cost about 6 cents each. And that includes the cost of the gelatin capsules, which must be purchased separately.
That’s a savings of 8 cents per capsule right there.
And those savings… they can really add up!
Let’s say you’re taking 4 of your home-filled maca root capsules each day (the equivalent of about a teaspoon). That means you save 32 cents each day or $9.60 over the course of 30 days.
Almost $10 savings each month? That’s significant!
In this example I priced out the same brand — it’s entirely possible to get the price even lower if you go with another brand of organic maca powder!
The Pill Filler Investment
Let’s talk about the investment in the handy capsule filler machine — or what I call a pill filler.
Though you can fill capsules by hand, it’s not very efficient, plus it’s hard to tamp down the ingredients to really fill the capsules densely.
So I do recommend a pill filler and here are the details.
At the Bulk Herb Store, a capsule filler machine costs about $16.
Remember you’ll save 8 cents each by filling the maca root capsules yourself. Extrapolate that out — you’ll make up the investment of $16 in about 200 pills.
Taking 4 of your self-filled pills each day, you’ll reach 200 in less than 2 months. Bingo, you just paid for the machine!
And after this… it’s all savings because you’ve already paid for your pill filler machine!
The Time Investment
Does filling your own capsules take a lot of time? Some, but not a lot. If you have absolutely no extra time and you’ve got money to spare, go ahead and buy those capsules pre-filled and no guilt!
But if you have about half hour free once a week and want to stack up the savings on whole food supplements you’re already buying (or want to finally afford…), then start filling your own pills.
About once per week, I pre-fill these capsules: maca, spirulina, and cayenne pepper. The machine does 24 at a time. It takes me about half an hour to make a few batches of each supplement. I do it in the morning (my most productive time of day) while I’m listening to music or a podcast. It hardly feels like work at all.
Want to see how easily I do it? This month, as a thank-you video, premium members at GNOWFGLINS get a video demonstration of using the pill filler!
So, who’s with me on saving a bit here and there? If so, grab a capsule filler soon and start pinching those pennies. They really add up! And be sure to let me know your thoughts and experience with this!
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Sheril C says
Do you not have trouble with some of the capsules getting ruined in the machine? If not, can you give me some tips for how to manage that? I can’t stand it when one batch comes out fine and then the next comes out with 30-50% ruined and the powder spilling everywhere and eventually thrown out.
I find that if the capsules are messing up they are either the wrong size for the machine, or they have gotten moist from the air. If you store them in an air tight container like a canning jar and keep a desiccant packet with them, it really helps.
Wardee Harmon says
Sheril – I would agree with what Tracey said. It is important to keep your empty capsules in an air-tight container (I vacuum seal mine in between uses). Capsules will dry out or get too moist with humidity changes. And either swing can affect how they fit the machine and how each part fits each other.
Another thing is if the machine gets gritty in between batches. Loose powder in the nooks and crannies can get in the way of a good seal.
I have only ever had 1 or 2 capsules not seal in many, many batches.
Can you describe a little about why you take cayenne pepper as a supplement? I searched on your site but didn’t find anything.
Wardee Harmon says
Jennifer — That’s a great question. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it. We eat cayenne to speed up metabolism and increase core body temperature. (For those of us who have lower of both. 🙂 )
And of course I’m not giving medical advice — just sharing what *we* do. 🙂
I don’t personally take cayenne in capsules — as that is too much for my stomach. Instead I add it loose to beverages that I sip throughout the day. Or just sprinkle it on whatever I am eating.
It’s important to use a good quality cayenne with lots of heat units!
Hi Wardee! Does taking cayenne pepper help? Is your core temperature normal now? Thanks!
I got my encapsulater from Azure Standard. It fills 50 at a time. I fill them while watching a movie, listening to my children read, or while visiting with a casual friend.
Wardee Harmon says
Gayle — Wow! That’s a great size batch. 🙂
Does this machine work for liquids too? I was thinking essential oils.
Heather, I personally do not have experience capsuling essential oils but I have known a few people that have capsuled essential oils which need to be taken immediately, not capsules that can be stored. Depending on capsules used, such as the vegans, that we use, they will breakdown as soon as liquid like water is in contact with them.
I have successfully made essential oil capsules. I have stored up to 10-12 days in the fridge. I kept them in a small sealed Tupperware bowl.
I find this information very helpful. I was wondering how many mg of maca is a daily serving? Is there some kind of chart for explaining how weight vs mg a natural supplement powder is?
It’s so much cheaper to buy bulk herbs and fill the capsules yourself. Just makes sense.
Just got mine! Filling with my powdered spirulina b/c I can’t stand the taste in a smoothie. But how many capsules to take? I usually put a tablespoon in smoothie. And is that even enough to get benefit?
Hi Jennifer, a tablespoon of spirulina powder a day is definitely enough to obtain its health benefits. The recommended dosage is typically 1-2 teaspoons per day, but it doesn’t hurt to take more. With regards to the number of capsules to take, it depends on which size capsules you are filling. Since spirulina powder is extremely light and fluffy you cannot put as much of it in a capsule. Approximately 1 teaspoon will fill 3 size “000” capsules using the tamper, which would equal 9 capsules for a tablespoon. The smaller the capsules you use, it will obviously require more capsules to get a tablespoon of spirulina. Hope this helps!
I’ve been wondering about this! Now I know I can do it! Thank you!
Monica Swift says
I’ve been filling capsules for my family and friends for about a year now, I started doing this because I wanted to avoid all of the additives and preservatives supplement companies put in their capsules, I make dehydrated liver caps, magnesium glycinate caps, willow bark caps, turmeric coconut oil caps, skullcap caps, ashwagahada caps, Indian gooseberry caps, hawthorne caps and several others.
I’m curious about the liver capsules- do you dehydrate your own or do you have a source for bulk dehydrated liver? I would really like to start taking liver, as I still can’t get my brain around eating it.
Amy McMann says
My husband and I already hand fill some capsules with cayenne. We need to invest in the capsule filler. I need to read more into the maca and spirulina.