This is a question that I hear often — “Can I still save money with coupons if I am brand loyal?”
Actually, the “question” is usually more of a statement; i.e. “I’m not gonna give up my Charmin!” or “I won’t use Colgate, even if it is free after coupon!”
The good news for those of you who are super brand loyal is that you don’t have to give up this loyalty in order to save money.
At least not entirely.
(You knew it wasn’t going to be that easy, didn’t you?)
You see, while you can still be brand-loyal and even store-loyal and successfully use coupons, you may have to be more patient and you may see less savings than someone who isn’t quite as brand loyal.
And it’s okay to save a little bit less than we otherwise could. If it’s something that you really, really prefer.
After all, that’s why we build margin into our budgets with couponing in the first place. We save on what we need, so we can splurge on what we want!
I could care less, for example, about the kind of toilet paper I use, so I just get the best deal. Charmin, Cottonelle, Scott’s, Angel Soft… if I can get it for less than $.25 per roll, I buy it!
If you will only use Charmin, odds are you will still find a decent sale every now and again – but you will have to wait longer. And you may not save as much as someone else will who buys Cottonelle or Charmin, for example.
By and large, I appreciate the broader horizons couponing has given me. In fact, I’ve actually come to prefer some brands that I never would have thought about twice – like Purex laundry detergent.
At first, I tried Purex because I could get a bottle for less than $1 with a sale and coupon – which sure beat the price of Tide.
After taking Purex for a test run, though, I realized that I really like the smell – and my clothes come out just as clean as before. So now I’m a Purex fan, for all of those reasons – plus the fact that I routinely pay under $2 for a bottle!
The same thing happened to me with ketchup. I had previously always just bought Heinz. It never even occurred to me to try another brand. Talk about market share! They’d nabbed it with me.
But I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the fact that Heinz ketchup had High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. I had started buying the even more expensive organic variety of Heinz, which is HCFS-free.
Then one day, I was decided to pick up a bottle of Hunt’s for $.50 with a coupon. Lo and behold – it turned out to be cheap and HFCS-free. And best of all, we like it just as much, if not more, than Heinz. Now we only buy Hunt’s – even when we don’t have a coupon.
I haven’t totally eschewed brand loyalty, though.
There are still some products – a select few – to which I am fiercely loyal. Take Tropicana, for example.
I love orange juice in the morning. But not just any OJ. It’s got to be Tropicana.
Tropicana is always fresh – and you know what, I can taste the difference over the other “frozen from concentrate” brands.
Of course, I’m paying for this freshness, since Tropicana is usually $.25 – $.75 more than the other brands, and I almost never have a coupon for it.
But when it comes to substitutions, I’m just not willing to go there. I’d rather skip the OJ altogether.
I’m the same way, incidentally, about soft drinks. I love Coke. I don’t love Pepsi. At all. I just won’t drink it. I would rather not have the caffeine at all (and that’s saying something).
I know I could pay a lot less for other products (or just stop drinking my calories altogether ;-)), but rather than lament the “lost savings”, I just do the best I can with sales, coupons, and/or Costco purchases.
Have you found that couponing has introduced you to new brands that you like even better than your former favorites? Has saving money trumped brand preferences in your home? Or have you stuck to your preferred brands whether or not a similar product was less expensive?