As someone who has a hefty regimen of herbs and supplements to take for two chronic conditions (Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ulcerative Colitis), I decided that purchasing them at the local health food store or Whole Foods was prohibitive.
Although I was never fond of ordering over the Internet, I succumbed when I discovered that I could get all of my supplements often for far less than I could at brick and mortar stores. I started by googling the products I take and discovered two online venues that consistently had the lowest prices: http://www.vitacost.com/ and http://www.luckyvitamin.com/. I have used both of these for years, depending on which had the lowest prices for the supplements I needed at the time. When they varied by a few cents I would then factor in shipping costs. Lucky Vitamin has free shipping for orders over $100.00 (my orders are usually well over $100.00 per order) and Vitacost had a flat rate for all orders, but has had a free shipping for orders over $49.00 for a while, though that might end soon.
If your monthly needs are low, then it's probably not worth ordering online, after you factor in the shipping costs. Then again, it still might be worth it. I have saved a ton of money over the years ordering online, and sometimes there is a huge difference in price between ordering online and purchasing a product at a vitamin or health food store.
Recently, I started checking http://www.amazon.com/ for some of my items, and have found some great prices on there, as well. I have ordered a few things, but still find the two above mentioned websites to have the best prices.
For example, I have started using Kal's Cox-2 Control Body Comfort, as a replacement for Zyflamend for pain. Whole Foods sells it for $21.95 or so. On amazon.com you can get it anywhere from $13.19 to $18.74. I purchased it for $11.10 on luckyvitamin since I bought 4 of them (they give price breaks for larger quantities) and since I ordered more than $100.00 worth of products I paid no shipping. That's a 50% discount for the exact same item. Vitacost does not carry it.
Now you might think the herbs and supplements that you order from an online vendor are old and possibly expired, or they're a generic brand- they're not, at least not from the vendors I have ordered from. These are the exact same brand items.
There might be some new sites that have cropped up since I did my research five or so years ago that have better prices, and perhaps I will do another search, but for the time being I will continue to order from any of the companies that I have mentioned. I will update if an when I do make any changes.
FINDING THE BEST PRICE:
To get the biggest bang for your buck you need to compare prices. Find out how much it costs you to purchase a product in your local health food store, vitamin shop etc. Then check the prices on any of the places I have mentioned above (I am not an affiliate of any of them) or google the product name and 'discount'. It will give you a list of websites that sell that product and their prices. Then check what their shipping charges are, if any. If there is a charge, factor that in to figure out the total cost of the item. More often than not, you will save yourself a heap of money. I know I have.
You do have to make sure you order well in advance, before you run out, or you will wind up having to pay premium prices at retail stores, as I have, until the shipment arrives, and that can vary greatly.