Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's in a Name Brand?

Whenever we go shopping, we are bombarded with options of things to buy.

It's not as simple as it was back in the day of the General Store when there was only one kind of everything to choose from. If you needed black beans, you would grab a sack labeled "black beans" and be done with it.

No longer... Now we've got to choose between Bush's, Campbell's, Hormel, Van Camp's, Amy's Organic, B&M, Rosarita, Ortega, Old El Paso, S&W, and even Taco Bell brand beans. But when it all comes down to it, they're all beans... right? Yet, the prices are all so different.

So how are we supposed to choose? Well, one way to do it is to skip all of those name brands and go straight for the "Great Value," "Member's Mark," "Kirkland," or whatever the local generic store brand is. If you were to switch out all of your name brand purchases and switch them to generic brand purchases, I guarantee you would save a bundle. But is it worth it?

It depends.

And it's also a matter of preference. For me, I'm ok buying generic tooth brushes, cottage cheese, saltine crackers, milk, and a host of other items. But when it comes down to soda and treats - Dr. K just isn't the same as Dr. Pepper and Kroger Kid's O's just don't do it for me like Oreos do.

Until recently, I was scared of generic brands. I bought almost all name brands. I really don't know why, other than the comfort of a name brand. I guess seeing a smiling little boy down a warm bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup gave me the idea that I should buy Campbell's even if it was $1 more than the generic brand.

Additionally, the store brands aren't typically in plain view. You have to "stoop down" to the store brand levels which are typically found on the lowest shelves. But I decided I would give it a whirl on items I regularly bought, and I was pleasantly surprised with the result.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on this. Have you ever had any bad experiences with store brands? Which products shouldn't we scrimp on? I'll be anxious to hear what you have to say... I'm out - YCC

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About Me

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I'm just a young guy, working hard (but not too hard) as a full-time teacher. I survived college without accumulating a penny of debt and have a decent nest egg saved up for retirement. Like my father and grandfather before me, I've been raised to earn, save, and spend wisely. I'm always on the look out for bargains, deals, promotions, financial tips and advice, economic news and anything else related to money. My goal is to let you in on everything that has served me well over the years financially, as well as all of my latest money discoveries. Enjoy!
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