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Guardian vs Watsons vs Unity Pharmacy Singapore Showdown – Which is Cheapest?

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Joanne Poh

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Hands up if it doesn’t matter to you which pharmacy in Singapore you buy your toiletries and personal care items from! (looks at a sea of hands) Yup, I bet you always just picked the Guardian, Watsons or Unity Pharmacy that’s closest to you, right?

Everyone knows that Cold Storage is more expensive than NTUC Fairprice, but when it comes to pharmacies, the 3 leading personal care stores seem almost indistinguishable (save from their logos, of course). How do their prices compare? We investigate.

 

Guardian vs Watsons vs Unity Pharmacy price comparison

The truth is that their prices are all very competitive. And while it’s not feasible for me to have a crazy price index of every product carried by the stores, here’s a sloppy list of some popular products and their prices at Guardian, Watsons and Unity Pharmacy.

Product Guardian Singapore Watsons Singapore Unity Pharmacy
Kirei Kirei Lion AntiBacterial Foaming Hand Soap (250ml) $4 $4 $3.95
Colgate Total Professional Whitening Toothpaste (2x150g) $9.25 $9.25 $9.25
Panadol Extra with Optizorb (20s) $8.30 $8.30 $8.30 (currently on sale for $7.85)
Dettol Original Anti-Bacterial Body Wash (950ml) $10.50 (currently on sale for $8.45) $10.40 (currently on sale for $8.85) $10.40
Sebamed Olive Face & Body Wash $18.40 $18.40 (currently on sale for $14.70) $17 (currently on promotion, 2 for $24.95)
Pantene Aqua Pure Conditioner (670ml)   $12 (currently on sale for $8.95) $12 (currently on sale for $8.95)
Zyrtec R Rapid Relief FilmCoated Tablet (10s) $13.40 (current promotion 2 for $22.75 , 3 for $32.10) $13.40 $13.30 (currently on promotion, 2 for $22.60)
L’Oreal Ever Pure Moisture Shampoo (250ml) $15.90 (currently on sale for $12.70) $15.90
Sunplay Watery Cool Lotion SPF75 PA+++ (35g) $17.20 (currently on sale for $13.70) $17.70 (currently on sale for $13.27) $16.90
Redoxon Triple Action Efferverscent Blackcurrant (30s) $22.40 $22.40 $22.40

 

Verdict: which pharmacy in Singapore is the cheapest?

There are quite a few malls with all 3 pharmacies (like Clementi Mall, Great World City and Jurong Point), so I suppose it’s not impossible to compare the prices of all the items on your shopping list… But I mean, I doubt the few cents difference is worth the effort of going up and down all the escalators.

The prices of all 3 chains seem very similar. The three personal care stores have proven to be very competitive not just in terms of price, but in terms of their promotions as well. At regular price, Unity seems slightly cheaper. However, Guardian and Watsons’ many promotions make up for it.

Sales at one store tend to be matched by similar special offers by at least one of the others. Hence, it’s quite difficult to predict which store will carry the cheapest version of a product you want to buy at any one time.

That said, it should be noted that there are over 100 Watsons and Guardian outlets each, but only 60+ Unity Pharmacy stores. The smaller Unity outlets also typically have quite a limited product range so you may not be able to get everything there. Watsons and Guardian also have online catalogues (and e-stores) so you check the prices and ongoing offers before you head down.

In conclusion: Since the prices are pretty much the same, you should probably chose 1 chain to stick to. That way, you can earn loyalty points and get additional rebates off your purchases.

Here are the best memberships and credit cards to make the most of your chosen chain.

 

Guardian Singapore – PAssion Card for shared rebates across Cold Storage & Giant

There is no “Guardian membership”; instead, the points card to have is the PAssion card. It’s a good one for sharing rebates across Cold Storage, Giant, and Guardian.

Under the TapForMore (TFM) programme, you earn 1 point for every dollar spent, and can redeem your TFM points at any of the participating merchants (Cold Storage supermarts, Guardian and Giant). 150 points ($150 spend) is $1 off your purchase.

There’s already a POSB PAssion debit card, but you might want to use either of these 2 credit cards for earning cash rebates at Guardian:

Maybank Family & Friends Card

Maybank Family & Friends Card


Card Benefits

    • Up to 8% cash rebate at selected merchants
    • Merchants include Cold Storage and NTUC FairPrice (Singapore) and Giant, TESCO, and more (Malaysia)
    • Get 0.3% cash rebate on all other spend with no cap on cash rebates

    Maybank Family & Friends Card – You get either 5% or 8% cashback on your purchases (either $500 or $800 minimum spend). The earn rate is high, but rebates are capped at $600 per year, which averages out to $50 per month.

    UOB Delight Card

    UOB Delight Card


    Card Benefits

      • 8% or 3% cash rebate at Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Giant and Guardian stores. Minimum spend: S$800/S$400 per month respectively.
      • 10% discount on house brands at Cold Storage, Giant, and Guardian
      • Up to 3% rebate on ALL contactless payments and selected recurring bills
      • Free home delivery at Giant IMM, Parkway, Tampines, VivoCity with S$150 min. spend in a single receipt
      • 0.3% cashback on spends less than S$400 and on all other spends

      UOB Delight credit card – You earn either 3% or 8% (minimum $400 or $800 spend) on all Guardian purchases, plus 10% off house-brand products. Rebates are capped at $50 per month.

       

      Watsons Singapore – Watsons membership & credit card cash rebates

      Watsons is the only of the 3 pharmacies to have their own rewards programme.

      Watsons membership is free, and the basic earn rate is $5 = 1 point. If you spend $50 in a single receipt, you get 10 + 10 bonus points and double the earnings on house-brand products. Every 20 points ($100 spend at the base earn rate) is $1 off your bill.

      In addition to earning Watsons points, you can use the following cashback credit cards for additional rebates:

      Maybank Family & Friends Card

      Maybank Family & Friends Card


      Card Benefits

        • Up to 8% cash rebate at selected merchants
        • Merchants include Cold Storage and NTUC FairPrice (Singapore) and Giant, TESCO, and more (Malaysia)
        • Get 0.3% cash rebate on all other spend with no cap on cash rebates

        Maybank Family & Friends Card – You get either 5% or 8% cashback on your purchases (either $500 or $800 minimum spend). The earn rate is high, but rebates are capped at $600 per year, which averages out to $50 per month.

        Citibank SMRT Card

        Citibank SMRT Card


        Card Benefits

          • Up to 5% savings on on Groceries. 4.7% (For transactions above $50. If transaction is $50 and below, 2.7% awarded instead) + 0.3% (If monthly card spend is at least $300)
          • Grocery - FairPrice, Giant, Sheng Siong, FairPrice Xtra Kallang Wave (up to 7.3% savings) only
          • Savings awarded in SMRT$. 1 SMRT$ = S$1 of vouchers. Vouchers available for Giant, Sheng Siong, Popular, Watsons, Shaw Theatres

          Citi SMRT Card – There is no minimum spend for this card, and you will earn at least 1.7% cashback on your Watsons purchases. If you hit $300 spend, you get another 0.3% to make it 2% cashback.

          POSB Everyday Card

          POSB Everyday Card


          Card Benefits

            • Up to 20.1% cash rebate at SPC
            • 5% cash rebate at Sheng Siong. S$50 cash rebate cap per calendar month.
            • 3% cash rebate at Watsons, and local medical spend (dental, clinic, hospital)
            • 1% cash rebate on recurring utilities bills from SP Group and recurring StarHub mobile/digital cable/broadband bills and ins-tore purchases
            • Get 0.3% on everything else
            • No minimum spend required

            POSB Everyday Card – There is no minimum spend and cashback cap, so this a great card for toiletry shopping. You earn 3% on all Watsons purchases.

             

            Unity Pharmacy – Sign up for NTUC membership

            As Unity Pharmacy is part of the NTUC Group, you should sign up for NTUC membership and get the NTUC Plus! Card to get the most out of your shopping experience. Membership costs $10, and the earn rate is $1 = 2 LinkPoints, but you must spend at least $20 each time. If you’re an NTUC member, you also earn 4% rebate at Unity.

            Senior citizens get 2% off on Tuesdays and the pioneer generation gets 3% off on Monday and Thursday. Expenditure is capped at $200 for each purchase.

            There are a few credit cards for Unity:

            OCBC NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card

            OCBC NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card


            Card Benefits

            • Enjoy 12% off everything at FairPrice with salary credit
            • Free delivery for groceries at www.fairprice.com.sg
            • Earn 0.22% LinkPoints rewards on all Visa spend

            NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card – Earn the highest rebate of 12% at not just NTUC, but Unity as well. The minimum spend is $400, and the expenditure cap (for earning rebates) is $500 per month.

            There is also the OCBC Plus! credit card that gives you a 7% cashback, but the minimum spend is higher at $500. If you shop at Unity and NTUC, there’s really not much reason to not to get the NTUC Plus! one.

            Maybank Family & Friends Card

            Maybank Family & Friends Card


            Card Benefits

              • Up to 8% cash rebate at selected merchants
              • Merchants include Cold Storage and NTUC FairPrice (Singapore) and Giant, TESCO, and more (Malaysia)
              • Get 0.3% cash rebate on all other spend with no cap on cash rebates

              Maybank Family & Friends Card – You get either 5% or 8% cashback on your purchases (either $500 or $800 minimum spend). The earn rate is high, but rebates are capped at $600 per year, which averages out to $50 per month.

               

              Which of the three personal care stores do you like best? Tell us in the comments!

               

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              Joanne Poh

              In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

              Comments (1)

              1. At this point of time, you use dash to pay at watsons to earn 5% rebate.

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