Thursday, October 14, 2010

Name-Brand vs. Store-Brand

Time's are tough these days. That's not the first time you've heard (read) that phrase and it certainly won't be the last. I have yet to meet someone who has not been affected in some way by the dwindling economy whether it be job, school, house, children, marriage, or leisure activity-related. My husband and I are, by choice, living on one income. It means the world to me to be able to stay home with my children. It is not, however, always easy to figure out where and how to cut costs so that we don't dig ourselves even deeper into the black hole known as DEBT.

Before having children, I never considered myself to be a label or brand-name kind of person. I bought clothes that made me feel good and it didn't matter to me that Mr. No Name had designed them. I've never owned a Coach bag, Seven jeans, Manolo Blahnik heels, or anything that would make decent money if I were to sell it on Ebay. In a silly way, I'm actually proud of that fact. There really is some truth in the saying, "More money, more problems." I feel that by living a more simplified lifestyle, I might be able to better appreciate that which is truly important in this world...

After having children, however, I quickly realized that I am, in fact, a label snob when it comes to a certain topic; food. I used to go grocery shopping and throw my favorite foods into the cart without thinking about it. I didn't compare prices, clip coupons, or buy what was on sale. I was working, after all, so I had enough money to spend on food. Now that I am not working and there are more mouths to feed, I have had to rearrange my priorities. I won't lie; at first it was quite painful.

I was convinced that the brands I bought were the ultimate in flavor, taste, texture, and overall quality. How in the world would I be able to settle for anything less? After taking my husband's advice (with minimal kicking and screaming), I have come to find out there are less expensive versions of food and drinks that actually taste good! And they're often on sale! Imagine my excitement when I was able to cut our grocery bill almost in half by buying the store-brand items instead of name-brand items. It was pure bliss. :) I figure when we hit the lottery (or when I go back to work, whichever happens first), we can once again by the pricey, name-brand marketed-around-the-clock by XYZ celebrity products. The question is, however, will I still have a taste for them by then?

Here are some of the items I used to buy but have since switched to the Shop Rite brand:

Jif peanut butter
Welch's grape juice
Mott's applesauce
Betty Crocker cake mix
Barilla pasta
Dole canned fruit
Nabisco crackers
Land 'o Lakes American cheese
Campbell's soup
Quaker oatmeal
Quaker rice cakes
Tropicana orange juice
Eggo waffles
Smuckers grape jelly
Orville Redenbacher popcorn
Hunts ketchup
Kellogg's corn flakes

I encourage you to try it for yourself and see how much money you save. If you find that you MUST stay with a certain brand name on a specific product, see if you can buy the store brand version of something else. Any little bit helps. And if you happen to hit the lottery before we do, maybe you could send me a bucket of Jif. I wouldn't know how to contain myself. ;)

3 comments:

  1. I've found that some store brand products actually taste better than the name brand. Campbells.com, pillsbury.com and coupons.com always offer good coupons for food

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  2. I buy everything store brand except orange juice and spaghetti sauce. Some stores even have an "organic" label that is significantly less expensive than the organic version of the name brands.

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  3. Like you, we are living on one income by choice. When I stopped working 3 years ago, I made it my full time job to raise the children, take care of the house, and save our family money any which way I could. The first thing I did was pledge to never pay full price for anything unless it was an emergency. From there I decided to start coupon clipping into a better and more reasonable grocery budget.

    I have found that when it comes to groceries, name brands can actually be cheaper than the store brands! Ok, so this goes against everything that we've been taught, but it can actually be done. The trick is couponing & only shopping when items are on sale. If you don't have the time or desire to do such, then shopping store brands works out to a great savings (check out Aldi & Trader Joes for some awesome no frills brands) but, for the cost of a Sunday paper (or a few Sunday papers), and maybe 2 hours a week, you can easily shave 50% or more off of your grocery bill.

    Let me know if this is something you'd be interested in and we can talk coupons so you can have some of your name brand favorites while keeping to your grocery budget. I'm currently working on several couponing workshops in our area for January.

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