FF8: The Brand Name Game

Financial FridayWelcome to another edition of Financial Friday.  A series of weekly posts where we share some of financial gold with you on our personal finances, savings, and investing.  Once again, these are just things we have done ourselves and might not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try a new way to pan for your own financial gold!

For the last four years, Mrs. PFG and I have played the Brand Name Game.  Now you may wonder what the Brand Name Game is.  I bet there are times that you have also played this game without even knowing you are playing it.

brand namesHow is the Brand Name Game is played?
You walk into a supermarket, drug store, large box store, clothing store, etc. and you go down the aisle looking for a specific bag of chips, toothpaste, meal helper, soup mix, makeup, cheese, and milk.  For some “game” players, there is only one brand that you will pick for each of these items.  And some of these items were passed on from your parents.

When you grow up there are certain products that your parents buy that become staples in your life.  While there are “alternatives” to these products, your parents always buy the “name” brand.  The one brand that makes the “best” or “only” product for your family.  

As you grow older, you believe that these brands are the only ones that exist and you too only buy those items.  For other products, our society has gotten to a place where the name brands become the name for that product.  These items include Band-Aid, Kleenex, Coke and more.  For me, these products include my Crest toothpaste and my Speed Stick deodorant.

The Generic Products
However, there are other game players including myself… and slowly Mrs. PFG who have begun looking past certain name brands.  For the last four years, I have looked at many items in the grocery store that actually have a store brand item that has the same ingredients, same calories, and same flavors as their name brand counterparts.  And many of these items are a lot cheaper.  Additionally, many of these generic items state on the packaging (especially in the pharmacy) that they have the same ingredients as the name brand.

These game players have made the switch to the store brands for many of their everyday products and the stores have begun to take notice.  King Soopers, our grocery store of choice, has even begun releasing more and more organic store brands under their label Simple Truth.  In the last month, they have released an additional 100 products under this label alone.  Additionally, they have thousands of other items under their parent company, Kroger.

For the PFG family, there have been numerous products that were easy to make the switch (ie. Kirkland Paper Towels, toilet paper, potato chips, almond milk, cheese, ibuprofen, bandages, tissues, cleaning products, diapers) while other products have been harder including cereal.

Cost vs. The Quality
At the end of the day, we are saving $50-$150* each month on everyday products by buying the generic items. But there are still some name brands that Mrs. PFG is still “loyal” to and will never make the switch.  And there are other items that we have tried that just aren’t close to the same quality.

*Note: The biggest savings for us currently is on diapers, wipes, pull-ups, paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues  We buy generic brands at Target and Costco where we are saving $4-$5 per package which adds up on the savings very quickly.

For the PFG family right now, we are willing to play the brand name game on certain products to save some money but we will also go out of our way and pay more money on certain items that make us feel better, taste better, or are just made better.

What about for your family?  Do you play the brand name game?  What are some of the products that you wouldn’t ever switch?  Where do you find the best generic items?  Leave your answers by clicking on the comment button at the top of this post.

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