Thursday, February 4, 2010

Okay Savvy Shoppers, Let me Hear From You

I just went to Kroger. I went in for grape jelly and milk. But then they were running one of their buy 10 items on this list, then you save $5 off your order. I came out with only three Kroger brand products ( milk, jelly and hot dog buns) and every item was on sale ( with the exception of Valentine cards). I saved a total of $17.79 on my order and spent $39.75.

Here is my question and this has always been something I considered. Is it better to save money on name brands with coupons or buy the store brand when it is cheaper than the name brand product is with the coupon? When I lived in the apartment by myself, I only bought Kroger brand and I usually wouldn't buy that it if it wasn't on Kroger Plus sale. I think I did really well moneywise then but I also see where it is very exciting to get the name brand things for cheap.

What do you think?


Christina said...

Here's my novel of a response. I used to be a store-brand girl also. But, as you may have noticed, our husbands are a little skeptical because they grew up on the national brands. I only converted after I realized I could beat the store brand prices (almost always).

Usually, you can get name-brand products cheaper if you wait until you can pair a sale with a coupon. The same items tend do go on sale consistently, and the same items tend to have coupons - so it's pretty easy to predict if you just start noticing which brands are going on sale. For instance, Nutri-Grain bars. Let's say the name-brand ones are $3.49/box, no sale and no coupon. Maybe the store brand is (I'm guessing here) $2.49 per box. Well, the Kellogg's will be BOGO (at least at Publix) about every six weeks. There also often are coupons in the paper for them. So if you can hold out for a few weeks, you usually can get the name brand for $1.75 minus coupons (I got some a couple weeks ago for $1.25 per box by doing just that). You'd have to get the store brand at 1/2 price to match it.

So for items that don't go on sale (meaning 50% off or more) consistently, or that you can't wait to buy, then store brands work out better. But if you can wait, gather coupons and hold out for a 50% off or BOGO sale (or a Kroger mega sale), then you're better off. Some items still are hard to beat: flour, sugar, bread, etc. The store brands usually don't carry organic or whole-wheat versions of those products, but the national brands rarely go to a deep discount (except some breads that go BOGO, and then I buy like 4 loaves and freeze them).

Southern Savers has a list of the lowest prices you can probably get, if you are able to combine coupons with the lowest sale prices. Whenever you can get an item for this price, it's time to stock up - because that's as low as it goes.

Also, I see your Ro*Tel. I used one of our cans (from Kroger last week) to cover chicken breasts. I sprinkled shredded cheddar on top and baked them - they were really flavorful and low-calorie.

Christina said...

Another thought . . . in order to use the "wait until it's at its lowest price" game, you really have to change the way you look at grocery shopping. You have to keep your pantry and freezer stocked with items that you can use as a base for meals, so that you only have to buy when these awesome deals come around. For instance, if you only buy one week's worth of cereal at a time, then each week you're forced to pay whatever the going rate is. But, if you buy a six-week supply when it's really cheap (or get the store brand just to get you buy while you get up and running), then you don't have to buy any more cereal until you can get it at a really good price. And when you can, go ahead and buy another six or eight weeks (or more). If I can get cereals we like for $1-1.50 per box, I will buy as many as I can get for that price. When Crispix was on sale and had a coupon, I bought like 8 boxes for $1 each--because that cereal NEVER has coupons, but it did during that sale. Or my infamous Mayfield ice cream purchase. 16 half-gallons (err--1.75 quarts) over the course of two weeks because I got them for $.49 each. That's like a year supply of ice cream for us, but had I bought less of it and then bought store brand in a few months, I'd only have gotten like 3 containers for that price.

So, you have to make sure you have the basics on hand - or that you can get creative with what you have, until you're able to stock up.

Christina said...

And by "basics" above, I of course mean cereal and ice cream. ;-) Just kidding. Stuff like stockpiling bread and freezing it, helps a lot . . . get bulk PB&J supplies and you can get by if needed, while you build your stock.

And I think three comments is officially too many, so I will stop. Maybe we'll just talk on Saturday if you want. :)

Sarah West said...

I think whichever way saves you the most money is the best! :) I don't have any kind of loyalty to either store-brand or name-brand. I just buy whatever is cheapest at the time.

Staceybby said...

You can almost ALWAYS get the name brand for MUCH cheaper if you pair coupons with sales. It has taken me awhile to figure out this system, but if you noticed my post earlier in the week from my Kroger shopping trip, I spent $83 and saved $116 and got ALL name brand stuff.

The Rayburns said...

Definitely brand name; a sale and a coupon will beat a brand name's price by a long shot!