If you love your brands, your weekly shopping can add up. But with some clever switches, you could make big savings. Here, we’ll let you in on some brand secrets and show you how to save cash every time you shop.
There’s a good reason why companies spend millions on advertising and branding. They’re paying for customers to ‘buy in’ to their brand and trust what it stands for – whether that’s quality, originality or simply a better flavour. Higher costs for branded products can sometimes even reassure us that we’re spending our money on something better!
Perhaps you’re convinced that nothing will live up to your favourite branded coffee, toilet rolls or cornflakes. That may be down to ‘brand buy-in’— you’ve built up a relationship with your chosen brands and they mean something important to you.
The Pepsi Challenge: can you tell the difference?
Blind taste tests can show us how much of our brand loyalty is down to the packaging, and how much is about the product. Famously, the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ asked customers to taste both Pepsi and Coke, to see which they preferred.
If you’re in the habit of putting the same branded items in your basket week after week, it could be worth doing a taste test of your own, just to keep an open mind about which you like best. You could end up surprising yourself and preferring the budget option!
Basic and premium supermarket brands
We saw earlier how paying more for a product can make us feel it’s of higher quality. The same can be true of unbranded, supermarket lines, too. Many supermarkets have a budget range, a mid-market product and a premium selection. But in some cases, the premium you pay is just for the packaging – journalists have reported that the same factory line is simply put into different boxes. You could find yourself paying twice the price for the same product!
Which to switch: how to shop smart on a budget
We’re not saying that brands are never better than budget choices. Sometimes, nothing but the best will do. If that’s true for you, a good tactic is to think about which brands you won’t scrimp on, and which you’re OK to switch for supermarket alternatives.
- Branded store cupboard products like rice and pasta are unlikely to have any benefits over their supermarket equivalents – so stock up on the basics range.
- Sometimes investing in one particular ingredient can take your cooking to another level. You might choose to cook with cheaper ingredients but add fresh herbs to the finished dish.
- Save premium products for times when they will be properly savoured. For example, there’s little point in buying an expensive cheese if it’s going to be melted into a sauce, but it may be worth the extra cost if you’re eating it as part of a cheese board
- Some branded products are worth the extra cost because they last longer. If you only need a tiny squirt of washing-up liquid each time you do the dishes, the more expensive product might actually be better value.
When unexpected costs crop up throughout the month, the weekly shop if often still a priority, especially for families. If you need a temporary loan to tide you over, read more about our affordable cash loans.
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