Spend It Wisely: Brand Familiarity

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When you shop, how do you choose which brands to buy? I’ve spent years training myself to consider prices when I shop, yet I still gravitate toward familiar brands. But, those familiar brands can cost so much more!

Take a look at the picture above. It’s part of my store’s sugar options. If you were shopping here, which would you choose? I can tell you which bag I’d grab if I wasn’t price checking: the pretty pink one, of course! I know that brand. I’ve seen advertisements for it. I probably have a few coupons for it. Plus, it’s a bright, friendly color.

Now, look at the prices underneath: $7.39 for a 10 lb bag of C&H sugar or $5.89 for a 10 lb bag of store brand sugar. That’s $1.50 savings just by picking the store brand — no sales or coupons necessary! And, since it’s a basic ingredient like sugar, the store brand is not significantly different than the more familiar brand. If you’re feeling especially thrifty, you could go for the 25 lb off-brand bag, which works out to $5.15 for 10 lbs, though the initial 25-pound purchase could be a bit much if you don’t bake a lot.

For some items, it’s important to me to choose the same brand every time. For example, I don’t bargain shop for shampoo since I know what kind I like — and I know that other kinds can do weird things to my hair. And, when my hubby wants a Ritz cracker, he wants a Ritz cracker — not some store imitation. But, many things are just as good in a less-known brand.

So, I challenge you to resist the pull of that familiar, bright package next time you’re grocery shopping. Even if the kids are fussing and you just want to get home, take a few seconds to check the unit price of everything you’re buying. You might be surprised at the cost difference.

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