Are You Loyal To Brand Name Goods? Are Name Brands Better Than Off Brand?

Growing up, we always had the off-brand everything.  From cereal to pasta, shampoo to razors, we never bought any of the name brand items.  It was normal for me and shaped my buying habits as I started to earn my own money.

I started to realize the impact of name brands when I went to college.  Would you believe there were students that actually bought name brand things?  “They’re wasting their money” I’d think to myself.  All this changed when I started dating one of the ‘name brand shoppers’ – I eventually married her.  Shopping at the grocery store was certainly interesting for a while, but I eventually learned a thing or two about brand name items – and so did she.

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Name Brands Vs Generic

Off Brands: Real Brands In Disguise?

Some off brands are actually manufactured in the same facilities as the brand name goods.  This is true for cereals, pastas, and other goods you can find in your grocery store.  If you check the back label, most items have the exact same ingredients – but this won’t change the fact that many people claim a taste difference.

For some items, I agree that the taste just isn’t the same.  Nothing can beat a real OREO (or can it?), but when you’re feeding four year olds, does name brand really matter?  I know there are other examples, and would love to hear them in the comments!

Real Brands – Coupon Potential

Recently, my wife has been clipping coupons from the Sunday papers and has saved quite a bit of money on name brand items like deodorant, toothpaste, and shampoo.  In fact, each time we use the coupons, it brings the price well below the generic brand (sometimes the items are even free!).  This is because of manufacturers coupons – the off brands don’t have coupons in the paper, so we get quite the deal with name brand items.  For those wanting more information on savings tips, Peter just wrote an article about finding the best prices using Google.

Making The Compromise

We had to learn to compromise about buying branded goods and non-branded goods, especially for items that we share.  Unless we’re using a coupon and driving the price below the off-brand alternative, we try to stick with off-brands for pastas, cereals, crackers, and bread.  There are certain things that my wife won’t budge on for brands – peanut butter, tomato sauce, and toothpaste are good examples.  The good part is that most of these things have been discounted lately with her new couponing efforts, so it’s actually beneficial financially to go name brand.

What about you?  Do you have certain brands that you could never ditch?  Or, have you found alternatives that are ‘just as good’ as the name brands?  Share in the comments – I’d like to find out for our next shopping trip!

Last Edited: 10th February 2014

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  1. says

    When it comes to most food I’m not very picky about brand name vs. generic. In most cases I’ve found that I enjoy both versions of the product equally, or one just a bit more than the other than the other. I can remember growing up – we’d always get the generic – and I actually preferred some of them like the cereals – possibly because the generics had more sugar?

    On occasion I have found that I enjoy a name brand better – and have stuck with it. For example, most of the generic brand ketchups taste funny to me. I’m not sure why. For most other things though, generic will do just fine.

  2. says

    When buying food items at the market, I’m not loyal to a particular brand. I look at the ingredients, and if they’re the same, I usually pick the cheaper one.

    And I’m not a coupon-clipper. I guess I don’t completely see the value in it, or think I can do more valuable things with my time. Perhaps in the future, if I purchase more food items, it’ll make more sense to consider coupons.

  3. Olivia says

    We have the advantage of living very close to a bump and dent grocery. They don’t take coupons but generally have better prices. We’re not brand loyal though both my husband and I grew up in fiercely brand loyal households. DH still has his preferences, (which I try to accomodate), but he realizes the bottom line determines what we actually get. There are certain oddball brands we avoid, gritty peanut butters, diluted dish soaps, etc. We avoid the inferior stuff by keeping a pantry, buying bulk when a good deal comes along. As mentioned, some non name brands aren’t any better or worse, just different.

  4. says

    Starbucks. I absolutely love Starbucks. I know that it’s just coffee, and honestly, I can tell the difference between Starbucks brew and the Folgers that I make at home only very slightly. I even have my own personal finance blog and know better than to spend money on things that aren’t really worth it, but to me Starbucks is worth it, and I know it’s because of the branding. There’s just something about sitting in and soaking up the atmosphere of a Starbucks coffee shop and sipping coffee out of that white-and-green cup that I just really enjoy.

    • says

      Ross, starbucks is one of those things I can’t stop indulging in as well. It used to be Dunn Brothers coffee, but they went out of business in our area. Starbucks was the closest thing to it. I use a little bit of my “blow money” every month for a starbucks stop here and there. :)

      • says

        I’ll drink Starbucks, and can definitely tell the difference in their coffee – but I’d rather go to a local shop that I love. They don’t have off branded coffee and aren’t any cheaper, but I like the difference in taste. All a matter of preference and sometimes the difference is worth paying a little extra for!

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