Coupons vs. Store Brands – Why Not Both?

Okay, hands up out there. How many of you are horrified at the idea of buying store brands? Quite a few, I bet. I know an awful lot of people who equate store brands with the depths of poverty.

But where exactly do you think store brands come from? I’ll tell you where. They come from the exact same processing plants that make those name brands you’re so fond of. Many of them are made with the same formulations and ingredients.

I’ll be honest. Not all store brands are as good as name brands. I can think of one grocery chain, for instance, that has the nastiest peanut butter I’ve ever eaten. And another whose canned soups have a very funny aftertaste. But many are very good, and certainly worthy of trying.

That’s the key. Give them a try, and see if you like them. If you look in my pantry, you will find macaroni and cheese, pasta and rice mixes, canned vegetables, and so forth that my family feels are tasty. And cheap!

“But Gail,” I can hear some of you cry, “what about coupons? You can”t use coupons on store brands.” And I can also hear the chorus from the other side. “See, we told you coupons were useless. Just buy store brands instead.” What is my answer? Use both.

The store brand is almost always the cheapest option, but not always. I’ve seen plenty of situations where the store brand is twenty cents cheaper than the name brand, and I’ve got a fifty cent coupon for the name brand. Or maybe a coupon by itself won’t it the better choice, but a coupon plus a sale will. The key is flexibility.

Flexibility. That’s a word you’ll hear a lot on this blog. So many books and websites will talk about developing a system, but every system breaks down under the right conditions. What you need to do is position yourself to take advantage of every opportunity that you can.

This was originally posted on my old blog, Middle Class Poor.

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