Brand recognition. We all fall victim to this marketing ploy. Companies spend a lot of money to serve you commercials and ads to get you to buy the best of the best. However, sometimes the best of the best comes at a greater cost, and sometimes expensive things…are worse. We know, it can come as a shock, but just because you dropped a lot of money on that jar of pickles doesn’t mean you got the best pickles in the grocery store. That’s why we’re here to give you some insight on things it’s ok to cut costs on so that you won’t have to worry about sacrificing quality.
Pantry Staples: When it comes to the kitchen, everyone has their favorites. We’re not even going to get started on the Cola Wars, but we are here to tell you it is ok to buy generic when it comes to pantry staples. Things like sugar, flour, salt, and pepper can be found in most people’s kitchens. However, these simple items are all the same whether you buy a name brand or the generic store brand. The flavor of your cooking will be the same whether you have a shaker of Morton Salt or a store brand. This may not sound like a lot, but you’d be surprised at how quickly these products add up and run out, especially if you are an avid chef.
Canned Fruits & Vegetables: It’s a myth that canned vegetables don’t have any nutrients. A can of tomatoes can contain as much as four times the amount of cancer-fighting lycopene as fresh. That being said, this goes for any brand of canned tomatoes. You can carry this fact across most canned fruits and vegetables. The generic brands will contain just as many vitamins and nutrients, but for a lower price. This is another instance where the brand also doesn’t influence the taste of the product as all companies use similar, if not the same ingredients.
Storage Items: Getting organized can be expensive. Everything needs to go in its own place. However, the place where things go doesn’t have to be pretty. If you need totes, caddies, hangers, or other organizational items, you should feel free to cut costs. When was the last time you heard someone brag about their fancy plastic tote? These items will most likely be tucked away in a closet or attic, so as long as they store your stuff, then their mission is accomplished.
Makeup & Personal Care: This one comes with a caveat. If you’re a beauty guru or have an extensive skincare routine, this one isn’t for you. However, if you aren’t as stringent with your beauty routine, then you’ll be completely fine with generic makeup and personal care items. Studies have shown that Walmart’s beauty brands use the exact same ingredients as some of the bigger brands. You’re getting the same beautifying ingredients for a fraction of the cost. This also extends to products like soap, eye drops, and shampoo.
Tools: We’re not saying power tools, but simple tools that you keep stashed away in the pantry. A hammer is a hammer is a hammer. If you aim to pound a nail into a piece of wood, any hammer from Lowes or Home Depot will do. You can save even more money if you buy these generic tools in “bundles” that many stores offer. For instance, if you buy a Stanley Black & Decker or Husky bundle from Lowes or Home Depot, you can save upwards of 30 percent on what you would have spent on an individual higher-end tool.
Yes, there are brands we all love, and you don’t have to give those up. By making a few simple switches when you shop, you can save money. As with everything, it is about balance. If there is a facial cleanser brand you have to have, then go for it. However, the next time you are buying eye drops, consider grabbing a generic brand. If you need more advice on saving money, or if you’re looking to open a savings account, we here at Columbine Federal Credit Union are happy to help!
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