I have minimal allergies during the summer that aren't that major for the prescription stuff, so I stick to Benadryl during that time. The 100 capsule bottle is also pretty cheap for $15 and lasts me the whole season.
When it comes to keeping allergies in check, Benadryl works great at it. No more runny nose, itchiness, etc. However the side effects kick you in the teeth. Althoguh Benadryl serves it's purpose, it'll make you pretty drowsy or knock you right out. I avoid taking this stuff during the day since it's so sedative and makes me drowsy, (better safe than sorry) so it's more optimal for nighttime relief.
Benadryl is effective and much cheaper than Claritin, but like I've mentioned before, be careful when you're about to take it.