Is Brand Loyalty Okay for Couponers?

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?


  1. I just came back from shopping at Target where I used a fistful of Target coupons I got in the mail. I bought several products that were not my usual brand. I’m picky about laundry detergents, so we’ll see how that works out. I also bought different garbage bags–that may bother my husband. Other than that, I don’t care about the brands. I saved $22 off the regular prices with my coupons today! I read a little about couponing on your blog, and was inspired to give it a go. In reality, I saved a little more than that, because both the laundry stuff & garbage bags I usually buy are terribly expensive. Thanks, Mara, for giving me the resources to try this. It did take me a lot longer than usual to shop; I’m hopeful that will get easier as I adjust. Also–I thought the checker would groan when she saw all my coupons–she was fine with it.

  2. Too funny – my experience is EXACTLY the same regarding Hunts v Heinz , and also Tropicana!

    This means I now have to try Purex if they make it in an HE version.

  3. I still have to use Heintz but my kids know the hunts is all theirs. One product I was always brand stuck on was feminine products. You don’t want to mess with that. I did try a new kind because it was a great deal, but I think I am going back to my old brand. Most other things, not brand loyal.

  4. Belinda Solomon says

    I wanted to comment on your love of Tropicana “freshness”. All commercial orange juices, from concentrate or not, have their own “special” taste. That’s because they are all chemically added. The great taste we all prefer in Tropicana is a carefully concocted chemical perfume. Did you ever wonder how it was possible for all batches of juice, any time of the year, year after year, to taste identical? Thank the wonders of modern chemistry. We would do better to eat a fresh orange (for the fiber) or squeeze our own if we really want the benefits of real juice. Check out for more insights on Nutrition and Health. I really enjoy your blog and read it every day but just had to write you on this issue.

  5. Hi Mara, I haven’t written in for a while, but if you remember I’m the one who sent you that black bean soup recipe forever ago! I love your blog as much as ever.

    I will try any product that I can get for free OOP or after rebate. This has introduced me to tons of brands that I never tried before! Take all the cold medicine deals at Rite Aid last week for instance. Another thing I’m willing to try now is generics like Up & Up, CVS brand, etc. Before I got into coupons, I thought all generics were inferior. So not true! A great cheapie out there is nail polish. I used to think only Essie or OPI would do. Ladies, I assure you NYC quick dry and Sally Hansen Xtreme wear (bought on sale and with a coupon) are just as good.

  6. I have to weigh in on the Tropicana. Recently purchased Simply Orange cause it was on sale and w/ coupon came to $1 for a 59 oz bottle- how could I go wrong?!
    Motzei Yom Kippur, with just 1/4 cup on the bottom of Simply Orange and a new Trop waiting to be open… my husband did a taste test on me. First cup, yum, amazing. Second cup, eh. So I identified the first cup as Tropicana. WRONGO! It was the Simply Orange. So, I will now go for that if its cheaper or the same price! (I find there are actually more sales on Trop than other brands in my area, prob bec of consumer bias)

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