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View Full Version : Do store brands really save you a lot of money?


DisneyAddict_M
04-04-2005, 02:20 PM
I went to the grocery store with my brother on Saturday. He's used to budgeting, because he makes less than I do and his fiancee (whom he lives with) doesn't work (she's a full-time nursing student). Anyway, he was remarking over how many name brands I buy. I never really thought about it before. :confused3 Would I save a lot of money just buying store brands when possible? Does anyone do this?

Btw, I'm a pasta snob and will never buy store brand pasta, but the rest of it I don't mind. ;)

cbrfan
04-04-2005, 02:25 PM
You can actually save quite a bit. However, I NEVER buy store brands if I don't like them as well as my regular brand. I'm not that cheap. But there are actually some items that I think the store brand is superior to the name brand. So if I can get a better product for less money it's a win-win situation.

CMKN
04-04-2005, 02:32 PM
I agree that you can save money by getting store brand, but make sure to price shop the items! Numerous times I have found some items store brand have been more expensive than name brand (excluding sales). Ice tea seems to be one of the items that I always find be more expensive

CLEO Z
04-04-2005, 02:39 PM
You can actually save quite a bit. However, I NEVER buy store brands if I don't like them as well as my regular brand. I'm not that cheap. But there are actually some items that I think the store brand is superior to the name brand. So if I can get a better product for less money it's a win-win situation.
I totally agree. There are some things that are fine store brand and others that are terrible. I have found that there is no substitute for real Cheerios. Other things like canned mushrooms and dairy products can save you quite a bit.

deltachi8
04-04-2005, 02:43 PM
I am cheap. There I said it. I buy whatever is lowest price until that products proves to be awful. The only thing I tend to be name branded on is beer - and i only buy that about twice a year.

Yardbird
04-04-2005, 03:01 PM
I have found that certain store brands are better than others. I usually shop at Giant, and most of their store brands that I have tried, I actually like as much as name brands. However, if there is a name brand product that I really like, I don't usually try the store equivalent.

disneysteve
04-04-2005, 03:03 PM
You can save a ton of money buying store brands. Yes, store brands taste different than brand names. But one brand name tastes different than another brand name too. Coke tastes different than Pepsi. And Acme cola tastes different than Coke. That doesn't make it bad - just different. We buy lots of store brands. And there are also store brands we've tried and not liked so we stick with the name brand. I buy almost exclusively store brand breakfast cereals. There are some that I actually prefer to the equivalent name brand. And they are about half the price.

Store brand items that we avoid are ones where function is important, not taste - stuff like dish detergent, laundry detergent, etc. For those things, we've always found brand names to work better.

Keep in mind that most store brands are made by the same companies that make the brand names. Sometimes they just use a slightly different recipe or a lower grade of ingredients. For example, all the peas that are pretty and equal size go in the Del Monte can. The ones that are less than perfect or not the right size go in the store brand can.

Don't be a brand snob and you can save a lot.

CinderellasMama
04-04-2005, 03:12 PM
I tend to only buy store brands except for a select few things (Miracle Whip, Dr Pepper, Colgate). I either buy Wal-Mart brands or Surfine. It blows my mind to see someone with a whole cart of name brand stuff when I know that I could save so much more buying store brands. I even buy my detergent, dryer sheets, cleaners, etc in store brands.

There a store brand that is also sold in my Surfine brand store. It is a lesser than store brand that I can't stand. When it was on sale one time I bought some can good and it's just not as good as the regular store brand. If I were you, I would try some and see what you like and don't like.

Brenda

Editing to add~~about tea bags. We ONLY buy Wal-Mart Great VAlue family tea bags. There are 24 in a box for $1.25. My husband will only drink this kind of tea at home. When we go visit my parents (who only have a small W-M) I have to take tea bags to make there. Lipton is usually 2 times as much for the same size box.

EthansMom
04-04-2005, 03:14 PM
We always buy generic (store brand) medecine also -- can be quite a savings and is exactly the same stuff!

mrsbornkuntry
04-04-2005, 03:15 PM
I agree that you can save money by getting store brand, but make sure to price shop the items! Numerous times I have found some items store brand have been more expensive than name brand (excluding sales). Ice tea seems to be one of the items that I always find be more expensive

I agree, you can't just assume that because it's a store brand that the price is cheaper, sometimes you have to compare the price per unit as well.

disneysteve
04-04-2005, 03:54 PM
I agree, you can't just assume that because it's a store brand that the price is cheaper, sometimes you have to compare the price per unit as well.
This is true. Also, don't ignore sales on brand names (store brands rarely go on sale). We went shopping yesterday. Kellogg's Mini Wheats were buy one get one free. We usually buy the store brand but with the sale, the brand name was much cheaper this time.

Another tip - don't assume larger packages are always cheaper unit pricing. They want you to think that but sometimes it pays to buy multiple smaller packages instead of one big package, especially if just the smaller size is on sale.

pjlla
04-04-2005, 04:03 PM
Like several people have mentioned, CHECK THE UNIT PRICES! That is the only way to know for sure if the store brand is cheaper or not. After that you will just have to try them to see if the quality/taste is okay for you. And sometimes, one store in an area will have much better "store brand" items than another. For example... our main grocery stores around here are Hannaford (formerly Shop N Save) and Shaw's (Stop N Shop is popping up though). I shop almost exclusively at Hannaford because, in my opinion, their store brand items are MUCH better than Shaw's. I buy LOTS of storebrand items. And for the most part I have been very happy.

And Hannaford has had a policy in the past (don't know if it still stands) that if you buy a "Hannaford" brand product and are dissatisfied, you can return it for double your money back! I've only done it once, but it was an expensive item! It was a 9.99 box of nonfat dried milk. I thought it smelled terrible, compared to the regular brand. They gave me back double! I was excited! So I have no fears of buying the store brand because the return policy is so good.

So far I have found just a few items that I won't buy store brand of.... Cheez-it type crackers, toilet paper, yogurt, salad dressing (we have specific preferences). But other than that I buy lots of store brands... but you have to compare prices, especially when there is a coupon involved. Even with a GREAT coupon, I won't buy the brand name item unless it will cost less than the store brand with the coupon. Sometimes I leave the coupon behind on the shelf for the "name brand buyers"..........................P

my3kids
04-04-2005, 04:13 PM
I buy a lot of store brands, including pasta! :flower: My DH refuses to eat generic peanut butter, so that is always name brand. Again DH, his mayo has to be a certain brand. But other than that, all is fair in the grocery game.

I think I remember reading in Consumer Reports that W-M powder automatic dishwashing detergent was a best buy. Lately I have been buying the Cascade/Dawn Gel Packs though because tey are so easy.

I hate name brand bagels but love the store bagels. Their coffee cakes are up there with Entemanns. Parmesan Cheese, frozen vegetables, chedder, etc. I have never had isues with.

Give them a try. If you aren't satisfied the store will probably refund your money. In any case the worst that happens is you go back to the name brand.
Oh, one more thing W-M brand did not 'equate' to was contact lens solution....they came out with a no rub which I thought would be lke my Opti-Free. It wasn't! pirate:

MrsPete
04-04-2005, 05:36 PM
Store brands definitely save money! A store brand item is almost always less expensive than a name brand item even with a coupon! I see no reason to spend more money on a consumable product that'll be gone next week.

Having said that, I don't necessarily shop by price alone. Like most people, I tend to buy the same items over and over again, and I always give the store brand a chance --usually I like it, sometimes I decide I won't buy it again. Canned veggies and juices are identical to name brands. Ditto for salsa, pickles, sugar, and sandwich meat. I don't like store brand sodas though (but my FIL prefers Walmart brand diet soda over Coke or Pepsi), and I use only White Lily flour or Bisquick. I find that store brand soup is fine to use in a casserole, but I prefer name-brand soup if I'm eating it as soup. The moral: give store brand a chance -- sometimes you'll win and sometimes you'll lose.

As for unit prices, I'm amazed that people don't know how to use this little piece of information. It's printed right there on the shelf for you!

JDarling
04-04-2005, 05:44 PM
Yes, it does save money. Here's the thing I noticed: On cleaning goods - compare the BEST coupon on a name brand item to the comparable item of "generic" or store brand item. If you see a savings, you're in luck!

But - on another thought, why limit yourself to one store? I live in a town where there is an Albertson's, Von's, Ralph's, Henry's, Major Market, Trader Joe's, and Jimbo's all within about 15 minutes of my house. I shop where ever there is a good sale. When Albertson's does thier "10 for $10" deal, I pick up a few things I need cheap.

Usually, I shop at Henry's because it has the best prices, and the freshest produce. I've saved a TON of money and become a lot healthier by eating fresh. Our grocery bill is about $60 per 1 1/2 weeks. For snack foods, we have fresh veggies and fruit around the house. For dinner, it's whatever meat was on sale (lately turkey has been cheaper than chicken and lamb has been cheaper than beef) cooked up whatever way we choose and veggies (steamed or in a salad, or roasted). They do carry name brands like Dole on a couple things, but mostly it's just the name of the farm the goods came from. :)

battricia
04-04-2005, 07:09 PM
I buy store brand canned products (beans, chick peas, etc) almost exclusively because they are always cheaper than the name brands, and they are the SAME exact thing. A chick pea is a chick pea. Also we buy name brand cheese and I actually find that I like it MORE than kraft or other brands. And it is WAY cheaper. (I'm talking shredded mexican, shredded mozzerella, shredded cheddar, and block mozzerella, also ricotta). Taco shells we buy store brand, and fajita shells. We also buy sponges and wipes at the dollar store (similar in situations), unless we have a coupon for sponges that makes them less than 1 dollar. We always buy store brand flour and sugar which seems to be a bit cheaper than domino shugar and name brand flour. Also our grocery store has really cheap spices in big containers that we buy and they seem to be really decent (stuff like curry powder, cumin, cinnamin, etc). Also Giant has store brand bagels that are JUST LIKE the pepridge farm bagels which are soo good (surprising), AND store brand whipped cream cheese, and store brand butter.

Some things I refuse to buy store brand: Soda, because I only like coke products, laundry soap because it makes me break out, most cleaning products, though I did buy the target brand fabreeze which was alot cheaper and I actually do like it!

tricia.

Aidensmom
04-04-2005, 08:58 PM
We are definately store brand afficianados! One look in our pantry and you know where I last went grocery shopping. I do agree that there are some things that you should always buy brand name: colas (other soft drinks do not seem much different to us), laundry detergent, beer :teeth:, dog/cat food, and definately Cheerios!!! If you cut coupons, sometimes the brand name will be the better value (the only time I buy brand name on a lot of items), you really have to pay attention to size of the product, unit price, etc.

Some store brands will surprise you: my son has never leaked out of a store brand pull up at night (he's daytime potty trained), but the one time I bought Huggies (had a good coupon), he leaked 75% of the time. I actually like store brand potato chips better (they are greasier, which to me makes the ultimate chip, I am not eating them for their nutritional value!!!).

On the whole, I would say store brands are about 1/4 - 1/3 cheaper than the name brand.

va32h
04-04-2005, 10:57 PM
I buy store brands all the time - Wal-mart has the most store brands it seems. At my Super-Walmart, Wheat Thins are over $2.50 per box - store brand - $1.

I can't think of any name-brand product that I must have. Not even Cheerios! Store brand Toasted Oats do taste different - but aren't all foods an acquired taste? Everything I eat now, I had to try for the first time, at some point.

Cindy's Mom
04-05-2005, 11:02 AM
I agree with most of the posters, I buy plenty of store brands but am loyal to certain brand names, Pepsi, Helmans Mayo, French's Mustard and Uncle Bens Rice.

I used the house brand formula for both my kids, I did my research on it and found that formula by any manufacturer is regulated by the FDA, so I'd would buy that for $12 a can vs. the $25 for the name brand and I saved a ton. I also use store brand medicine without a second thought, unless the name is on sale and still cheaper than the store brand.

My favorite store brand find is: Sam's Raisin Bran w/ Extra Raisins that is sold at Walmart. IT BLOWS THE NAME BRANDS AWAY, The Bran flakes are huge!

MEM
04-05-2005, 11:57 AM
We almost always try the store brand first, except for mayo and laundry detergent. I can only use Tide-Free but that goes on sale periodically.

Fox25 news here in Boston did a taste-test of name brand cereals vs. store brand and Malt-o-Meal brand. With the exception of the Lucky Charms, the testers could not tell the brand name from the store brand. In some cases, they liked the store brand better. DS loves Froot Loops and the store brand (Shaw's) was rated just as good so now I plan to try it since it costs half as much.

I can remember being told that the same factories make both the brand name and store brand items, but just slap a different label on them. I believe that to be true at least for some items.

4fordisney
04-05-2005, 12:09 PM
My brother-in-law says NO WAY to store brands. My penny pinching sister buys the store brand and puts it in the empty name brand bottle or box. :rotfl: He has never caught on. Those two crack me up!

We buy store brand for almost everything. Actually it's Aldi where we buy most of our food. The only name brand I can think of that I MUST have is Miracle Whip....and the other day when I tried the new Whipped Salad Dressing from Aldi it was hard to tell the difference...so I think most store brands are getting better.

CinderellasMama
04-05-2005, 12:44 PM
My brother-in-law says NO WAY to store brands. My penny pinching sister buys the store brand and puts it in the empty name brand bottle or box. :rotfl: He has never caught on. Those two crack me up!


My Dad used to be the exact same way! My Mom did this to all kinds of stuff. My ex-husband used to think he could only have orange juice out of a big orange container (don't remember the brand). I would buy concontrate and make it right up in the container. It took him a really long time to catch on...lol! :rotfl:

Brenda

MUFFYCAT
04-05-2005, 02:40 PM
Certain items store-brand are fine for me.
Except for:
Ketchup (Heinz)
Cookies Although my Dh swears they are just as good.
all cleaning materials. ex. dishwater liquids are so cheap they are just colored water

kfeuer
04-05-2005, 05:21 PM
My favorite store brand find is: Sam's Raisin Bran w/ Extra Raisins that is sold at Walmart. IT BLOWS THE NAME BRANDS AWAY, The Bran flakes are huge!

I agree, their Bran Flakes are very good (and at $1.50 per box vs. $4 for Kellogg's, there's no contest).

If you're willing to try store brands, be sure to see if there's an Aldi's near you. They mostly stock their own brand, and they have some of the best prices going. I don't get in there as often as I used to because we're eating healthier and they don't have a big variety of health food items, but they're great for anyone on a serious budget.

MrsPete
04-05-2005, 07:49 PM
Changing the subject slightly . . . if you're really trying to reduce your grocery bill, I suggest that you read the article on a food price book in The Tightwad Gazette (I think it appeared in the first edition -- she wrote three books -- and also the Total Gazette, which was all three books in one huge volume). She explains it in detail and shows how she organized hers, which is worth reading, but here's the gist of the idea:

You get a small notebook and over several months you build up a list of the items that you buy on a regular basis. Using your receipts, you write down the price of those items at each of the grocery stores convenient to you. You also keep up with the sale papers and you keep a record of when things go on sale. It'll take some effort, but after a couple months you'll figure out which stores are good for which products; this book could easily cut your grocery bill by 25%, and if you work at it it could reduce your bill much more. You'll also catch onto the pattern for when things go on sale in your area so you'll know when to stock up. Once you've figured out a pattern, you can start to plan your grocery shopping around the best prices. Perhaps this week you're planning to go to Store A, which you know usually has good meat prices -- so you plan to fill your freezer. Next week you shop at Store B, which you know is good for canned goods, so you buy a month's worth for the lowest possible prices.

Another idea for rock-bottom grocery prices . . . search out non-grocery store sources for food. It's convenient to make one stop and get everything you need, but you pay for that convenience. I shop at a food salvage store (food that was destined for restaurants, but its packaging is damaged), where I can always buy meat for $1/pound. In the summers I shop at a farmer's market; the prices are a bit better than the grocery store and the quality is much better. A friend just told me she buys salsa from On the Border restaurant, and it's cheaper than the jars at the store. I dont' buy food at Big Lots (yuck), but I do buy cleaning products there. Don't forget the day-old bread store (where the bread is NOT day-old -- go figure); I can buy three loaves of name-brand bread for $1.50. Start looking -- you'll find plenty of foods outside the grocery store.

luv2nascar
04-05-2005, 09:06 PM
I prefer to buy name brands on sale with coupons. You'd be surprised at how much stuff you can get for really cheap or free with coupons. I will use store brands if they are cheaper than I can get with coupons. Have to have my Tide though. :teeth: