Subscribe for 99¢
jill_cataldo.jpg

Think about your favorite brand of soap for a moment. How about the brand of laundry detergent you buy most often? I’d bet you’re also partial to certain brands of juice, cereal or snacks. Everyone has brand preferences and our decisions to choose one brand over another also affect how much money we spend at the supermarket.

Brands love loyal consumers. A shopper who purchases the same brand of paper towels, regardless of price, is a marketer’s dream. Manufacturers must work harder to entice shoppers who aren’t as specific. If you’re not picky about the brand of orange juice you drink, you may make your purchase based on the volume of juice in the carton or the selling price.

Price-conscious shoppers tend to consider the sale price as the most crucial deciding factor in making a purchase. To them, orange juice is just orange juice. Ketchup is ketchup. Frozen pizza is frozen pizza. Price is king to the price-conscious shopper and, more often than not, the product with the lowest price will be the one this shopper adds to his or her shopping cart. If these super savers have coupons to further reduce the prices of the items they’re buying, they’ll save even more.

It’s true brands aren’t terribly fond of shoppers who cherry-pick the best deals in the store. These shoppers’ loyalty is to prices and their own budgets. Marketers must work harder to grow loyalty with this crowd, especially if their products are not terribly different from their competition’s product.

However, if you want to save as much money as you possibly can at the store, being flexible about the brands you buy will give you more opportunities to take products home at the lowest possible prices.

Sale prices at many supermarkets and drugstores operate on a pricing cycle that typically spans 12 weeks. During this cycle, products’ prices will cycle both low and high. My goal as a coupon shopper is to buy when prices are at the lowest point in this cycle and then, whenever possible, use a coupon on that low-priced item to save even more money.

When you start paying attention to pricing cycles, you’ll notice a $1.79 jar of pasta sauce may drop as low as 99 cents when its price is at a low point in the cycle. A 50-cent coupon for that sauce nets you a much better price when you use it during the 99-cent sale versus using it when the sauce is full price.

Now, if you’re not terribly brand-loyal to a specific manufacturer’s sauce, you can save even more by buying whatever brand is currently cycling lowest in price overpaying a higher price for a brand you’re fiercely loyal to.

I’ve often joked the shelf in my laundry room looks like a cocktail bar of detergents! I have a couple brands that are my favorites, but I primarily shop on price. If the price is low, I’ll buy just about anything — from the premium detergents down to the value brands. Bargain detergents may not have all of the clothes-preserving and fabric-softening ingredients of the premium brands, but they’re great for washing things like beach towels, our dog’s bed covers and small throw rugs. I save the premium brands for our professional work clothes, dark-colored outfits and fabrics that require special laundering.

I do understand different brands’ products do vary in quality, features, flavors or styles. It’s human nature to prefer one, or a couple, over the rest. If you aren’t interested in being flexible with the brands you buy, there’s nothing wrong with remaining a brand-loyal shopper.

To remain brand-loyal and still save money, you’ll need to get in the habit of stocking up on your favorite products when their prices cycle low, as well as when you have coupons for them to make their prices even lower. When competing products cycle low, you can let their sales slide by, waiting for your favorite items to go on sale once again over the next sales cycle.

© CTW Features