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31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget: Don’t Be Brand Dependent

One way to save a great deal of money on your grocery budget is to learn to like and use a variety of brands. The sooner you can get over being a brand-snob, the more your pocketbook will thank you.

Be Brave; Try New Things!

I have a confession to make: when we first started shopping at Aldi, I was really leery of buying their products. I figured they’d taste icky and cheap.

But since my husband and I were living on a beans-and-rice budget, we had to make a meager budget work. It was either that – or pretty much starve! So we hesitantly started trying different items from Aldi.

And guess what? We were pleasantly surprised! Not only was most of it not icky or cheap-tasting, we actually liked some of the food better than the brands we were used to buying.

Base Your Purchases on the Price Rather Than the Brand

Let’s say your shampoo stockpile is running low and it’s time to build it back up. If you’re stuck on only buying Herbal Essence shampoo, the cheapest you may be able to buy it is for $1.50 by combining a sale with a coupon. If, however, you’re willing to look for the lowest price on any brand of shampoo, you may very well be able to find shampoo priced at $0.50 per bottle after coupon and sale.

While the savings of $1 per bottle of shampoo might not seem too significant, think about how the savings could add up if you saved $1 on 15 different items each week at the grocery store because you choose price over brand. That would be a savings of $60 per month — or$720 per year. And in most people’s cases, the savings would likely be much more than that.

Don’t Stockpile 35 Bottles of Something If You’ve Never Tried the Brand Before

While I’m all for trying new things and looking at the purchase price rather than the brand, I do want to caution you not to go overboard. If you’ve never tried Cheeseburger and Cream shampoo before and it’s on a great sale and there’s a good coupon out for it, I’d suggest you buy a bottle or two and determine whether you like it or not before you stock up for the rest of the year.

It’s not saving money if you get a sweet deal on 30 bottles of shampoo and then they stay in the stockpile closet for five years because no one will use them!

Yes, Brand Does Matter Sometimes — But Not Much of the Time

Okay, before any diehard brand-dependent person flips out on me, I must clarify that I believe it’s totally acceptable to have a few items where you are stuck 100% on a certain brand.

For instance, we only use Pampers diapers. I have two children with extremely sensitive skin and we’ve tried multiple brands of cloth diapers, Huggies, Luvs, store-brand, you name it and Pampers are the only diapers who don’t break them out in severe diaper rash. So it’s worth it to me to spend the extra money on Pampers (though, since the advent of Swagbucks, I’ve not been paying for diapers out of pocket, so the extra costs don’t hurt as much!).

We also use Shout almost exclusively for stain removal. We have three young children and oh do we have need of a good stain remover! Shout is the only stain remover I’ve found which consistently gets out pretty much 100% of the stains. However, I can usually get it for under $0.75 per bottle by matching a coupon with a great sale, so I’m not really spending much more on it.

Other than Shout and Pampers, we try to keep a pretty open mind when it comes to brands and shopping. And we save so much money by doing so!

What brands are you non-negotiable on? Have you been pleasantly surprised when trying new brands?

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224 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    We don’t have a dishwasher and therefore do a LOT of dishes for our family of 4. We’ve tried many different brands of dish soap, but none of them compare to Dawn. We’ve found using other brands, it takes more soap to get the dishes clean, then to use one squirt of Dawn. So, I don’t even try other brands any more!

    • Lysa says:

      @Rachel,
      I totally agree about the Dawn! I moved out on my own last year and went to the dollar store to buy a bunch of household stuff (this was before I was a ‘serious’ couponer), and bought a big bottle of generic dish soap- and as you said it’s just like water and it was gone within a few weeks- which is really bad because it’s just me and my boyfriend’s dishes!

    • Kelly says:

      @Rachel, Ditto Dawn is the best!! Luckily, there are always coupons for it and I can usually get it free or cheap.

    • Doreen says:

      @Rachel, I think it’s interesting that so many like Dawn. I personally don’t at all. With the exception of Dawn Hand Renewal, it dries out my hands terribly. And it doesn’t cut grease very well. I will stick with my favorite. . . original green PAlmolive. 🙂 I buy it from the dollar store for half the price I would pay at Walmart!

      • Rachel says:

        @Doreen, I always wear rubber gloves when I wash dishes since my hands are sensitive too! My grandma always used Palmolive – brings back memories of doing dishes by hand at her house!

    • emma says:

      @Rachel, Dawn is the best, I always buy a ton when I have a coupon. Nothing works better.

    • Larena says:

      @Rachel, I love dawn and get it for free at CVS when the small bottles of dawn hand renewal are on sale for $.98.

  • This is the biggest way we are able to spend $75 a week for 6 without using coupons!

    Hubby DID NOT want to try Aldi’s at first but now he loves it.

    The things we are brand snobs about:
    Dawn!!!! I totally agree with Rachel!!!
    Hershey’s syrup
    Crest, Hubby loves it!

    I think that’s it!

    • Angela says:

      @Tawra@Living On A Dime, Funny thing, like your husband with the Crest, almost the only person who gets away with being a brand snob is my husband. In some areas I really enjoy pampering to him. Of course, I always try to find a way to save money elsewhere to make it fit well in the budget!

  • Lindsey Thompson says:

    We’re only brand loyal on macaroni and cheese. We like Kraft. The other boxed mac and cheese tastes nasty, and we prefer the orange powder even to homemade macaroni and cheese.

  • Becky says:

    DH must have Jif peanut butter, original solid Sure deodorant/antiperspirant, and Head & Shoulders shampoo. Other than those 3 things, we are a very flexable and thrifty family.

  • Sarah says:

    I used to be a diaper snob, but I have learned to buy whatever is cheapest, and as long as they don’t leak I’m thrilled! Fortunately my baby’s bum isn’t sensitive at all. Also…ritz crackers. May sound silly, but I’ve tried the store brands, and there is just nothing like a ritz :). Fortunately I have been able to stock up for cheap. I’d pay full price if I had to though. I love those things.

  • RuthS says:

    Maybe it is just me, but if I use brands I know I can get on sale and with a coupon, it is easier to be brand-loyal than to shop around. If I know we only use Herbal Essence shampoo (for example), then I clip coupons for that brand and watch for a sale. If I tried to clip ALL the shampoo coupons and watch for ALL the sales, even at just one or two stores, I would go nuts. Instead I buy one (usually more like 2 or 3) brands, and then only watch for sales and coupons on those. There’s also stuff I just buy whatever I can get the cheapest, like noodles.

    • Christy says:

      @RuthS, Have you read Crystal’s posts about the clip free organization method?

      • RuthS says:

        @Christy, Yes, but I still think my way works better for me 😉

        • Christy says:

          @RuthS, I just thought maybe it could help! We all have our favorite organization methods that work for us! I personally flip through the coupons and clip the few things I am brand loyal to (will use the coupon anyway even w/o pairing it with a sale). Then I file the rest of the flier and only cut what I need as I need it (i.e. whatever cereal I can get for $1 this week or whatever bar of soap I can get for free w/ coupon this week). Long ago I used to only clip out a few coupons for our favorite brands and mostly bought store brand. Then when I started couponing I cut them ALL out and filed–way too much work for me!! Everyone has their favorite methods!

      • RuthS says:

        @Christy, It won’t let me reply to your last comment, but the idea of clipping the coupons I know I’ll use and filing the rest of the inserts is an interesting one. I might consider trying that. Thanks!

        • Marie says:

          @RuthS,

          Yes, Christy, I really like that idea. I am currently clipping everything and I am starting to get “coupon burn out” from all the clipping, filing, and sorting. I’m gonna try it. Thanks!

        • Dani says:

          @RuthS, Its really easy to no cut out the coupons, since most of the time they insert date is written next to the coupons on the blog. I only cut the coupons I know I will use for sure all the time. Like Luvs diaper coupons, or Huggies wipe coupons. (I would say I am brand loyal to Huggies wipes. Best wipes ever. If there is no coupon, no sale, and I only have $1.50 left for the next two days and I am out of wipes, then yes I get the Walmart brand ones, but we prefer Huggies.) Then I write on the insert the date and stash it in my coupon bag. Then if I see a great deal on here, I just refer back to that insert and find the coupon then. I carry a coupon bag (Got for $2.00 at Target with the Merona coupon a couple months back). In this bag I have my binder, my inserts, and a pair of scissors. When I go to the store it just looks like I am carrying a purse, but if I see a sale for something that I know there is a coupon for to make it cheap or free, I’ll whip out my inserts and scissors. I have a two year old and a one year old, so yes it’s a pain sometimes, but most of the times I have the coupons I need for that trip cut out and ready to go.

  • Elisa says:

    I LOVE Heinz ketchup, but will use other name brands if I can’t get a good deal on the Heinz — I don’t like store brands. Also, Claussen makes the BEST dill pickles, but since the huge jar of Vlassic is only 3 something at Sam’s, we eat those instead. I love coupons because I love brand names best and coupons let me get them because you rarely see a coupon for Meijer flour or Kroger coffee or whatnot.

    • Melissa McTiernan says:

      @Elisa,

      They did have a special at Walmart for the 40 oz Heinz ketchup for 1.00 on the rollback.. not sure if it is still going on.. but I agree that is the ONLY ketchup to buy! 🙂

  • Michelle Z. says:

    My husband is very picky about toilet paper, so we use just Angel Soft (plus, it breaks down better and doesn’t clog the toilets and that is worth almost any price!). Toilet paper is one thing that I get frustrated comparison shopping for, anyway – there are so many varietys and sizes of rolls and different packs…I never knew if I was getting a “deal”, anyway. It makes it so much easier to just look for deals on this one brand, I know when I’m getting the best price on this brand, and hubby is happy (priceless, IMO).

    Also, Helmann’s mayonnaise.

    Those are the only two things I can think of that we are really brand loyal to.

    • Lysa says:

      @Michelle Z.,
      I know what you mean about the toilet paper- with the ‘double rolls’ and ‘mega rolls’ etcetera. What I do to get the best bang for my buck is read the total feet of tp. On the bottom corner of the bag it will tell you how many feet total of tp is in the bag. Then usually it just takes some simple math in my head to find out what’s the best deal with a coupon and so on…

    • @Michelle Z., I’m with you on both of those brands…Angel Soft, even though there aren’t usually great sales or coupons, is our toilet paper of choice. Occasionally I’ll buy Scott or Charmin if it’s cheaper, but switching between TP brands is rather uncomfortable. 😉 And yes, Helmann’s mayonnaise is the only good stuff!

  • Ginger says:

    Charmin or Northern toilet paper—no cardboard stuff

    • Kim says:

      I agree with Ginger on this one!

      • Debby says:

        @Kim,

        It is so funny and comforting to know that I’m not the only one that feels this way about certain brands. We used to try everything once, but after many failed frugal attempts we have to use Dawn and Crest. With Rite Aid nearby I can usually get these free still. But the biggest one of all is the Charmin. My husband put up such a huge stink about the toilet paper that I don’t even bother looking at other brand deals. I even tried a different cheaper type of Charmin and he made me promise to only get the one in red…

        • Shanna says:

          @Debby, I used to be a Charmin snob, but then they changed it and I didn’t like it as much, Now I only buy Quilted Northern Ultra Soft. I’ve tried a bunch and it’s the best! Also, Kleenex Ultra Soft tissues. We go through a lot and they keep our noses soft. Q-Tips- the cotton always comes off the other brands.

          I have a bunch of other brands that I WON’T buy, but not too many that I’m loyal to.

          I’ve shopped at Aldi a few times, but overall, I do better at Publix.

        • Misty L. says:

          @Debby,
          My husband is exactly the same way. He’ll put up with almost any brand I bring home, except his toilet paper HAS to be the Charmin in the red package!! And he will only use Old Spice deoderant, but the others give him a rash, so I forgive him this preference.

    • @Ginger,

      Cottonelle is the BEST!! not too stiff, not too crumbly!

  • rachel says:

    the only brand i’m loyal to is pampers baby wipes! any other wipes give my baby diaper rash, but she can wear any brand of diapers, thankfully! 🙂

    oh, and kraft mayo. it’s simply the best & i always buy it on BOGO w/ coupons!

    everything else…whatever is the cheapest is just fine!

  • Rae says:

    I’m not brand loyal on anything except my deodorant. I have tried TONS of different brands and the only kind I have ever liked was Dove. Luckily Unilever releases good coupons for Dove deodorant quite often plus they go on sale a lot so I still usually get it free (though I have paid up to $.50 for the 2 packs before). Much better than the normal prices of up to $4 a piece.

    I do like Dawn best and luckily that is the kind that I get free or almost free most often. However if I can get another brand free or up to $.30 (must be a big bottle if I’m paying for a non Dawn brand) and use it for the less tough jobs or mixing with water and a tad condtioner in a pump bottle to use for hands.

    There are other things that I am type loyal if that makes sense. Like I will only use free shampoo for myself (and because of the sales I do not have to use the real cheapo kind because I’ve gotten tons of Pantene, LOreal, etc free) but my husband needs dandruff preventing kind. So for him I will pay up to $.75 a bottle (if it’s that much it needs to be a BIG bottle or Head and Shoulders) but usually keep it around $.50 for H&S or the dandruff kind of Herbal Essence, etc.

    • Jodi says:

      @Rae, I have to admit, my senior year of college, (last year), I did pay full price for dove deodorant a few times. College dorms don’t lend themselves to stockpiling well. But now that I’m in an apartment, I have a stockpile of about 15 dove deodorants that I got for between free and 50 cents. I’ll skimp on a lot of things, but the consequences of deodorant not working are just too high. I always buy brand name shampoo, but I don’t really care which brand. Fighting with my hair is just not worth it. But then again, I’m a single girl living in an apartment with no kitchen (only a microwave). I think my grocery money is the same as for most of the people who read this blogs is for a family of like seven. Right now I’m working full time and make more money in an hour at work than I would make in an hour couponing. But this season, as a teacher, I’m watching the back to school sales like crazy! I’m loving these sales.

    • Tara says:

      @Rae, Yes to the Dove deodorant!! If I wear any other kind I stink in just a couple hours, plus they leave a glittery residue on my clothes that DOES NOT come off – yuck! Dove all the way!

      My hubby prefers St. Ives apricot scrub. I use store brand of the same stuff, but he must have the real thing. *sigh*

  • Joy says:

    We are brand loyal on Tide for Coldwater HE laundry detergent, since we have an HE washer we need to buy HE detergent. I love Tide for Coldwater because it gets out stains in our clothes without me having to make an effort using only coldwater. 🙂
    I am brand loyal to Oreos, there is no cookie like the brand Oreos.
    Also brand loyal to Crystal Stone Deodorant for me and Old Spice for my husband.
    We are also brand dependent on softdrinks as my husband does not like the cheaper brands when we get a treat.

  • Denise says:

    I have a very, very, very severe case of eczema over about 85% of my body so I’m brand loyal to Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap. The generic brands KILL my skin!

    • Christy says:

      @Denise, Same with my husband! If you have a Publix, they sell their own version of Dove, which may not be as cheap as some other brands with coupons but is cheaper than buying the Dove, which we hardly ever see deals for (only at CVS every now and then and you can’t really stock up since they set limits)! The Publix version does not bother his skin.

  • Courtney says:

    Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, Cetaphil moisturizer and Tropicana orange juice…other than those, we get whatever is cheapest. The only bad experience we’ve had with store-brand items were cottage cheese and frozen whipped topping – yuck!

    • k and b's mom says:

      For OJ – it’s Simply Orange. And for stain removal Oxy Clean spray bottle – I do buy Shout at BJ’s but that is just for the non-tough stains.

  • Sharmin R. says:

    C&H brand brown sugar. Any other kind has the consistency of white sugar dyed brown.

    • Elizabeth says:

      @Sharmin R.,
      This is very true! Store brand brown sugar isn’t real brown sugar at all – it’s dyed with beet juice. After I learned this I became loyal to C&H, and since I bake a lot I stock up when it’s on sale. I’m down to 3 bags now, so I hope there’s a sale soon 😀

  • Amanda says:

    My family members have a wide variety of food allergies and I have extremely sensitive skin. Because of this, we do get stuck purchasing certain brands that are “safe” and allergen free. This is one of the major reasons I love couponing. If I am going to be limited to certain brands, I need to be diligent to use coupons and stock up when my brands are on sale. I look to thecouponclippers.com to buy larger quantities of coupons for our safe brands.

  • Jane says:

    We are not brand Loyal to many items either for us two things can never be substituted Premium crackers and Dove deodorant. And thankfully I get then on sale most of the time. The other name brand items I get I can usually get for free or cheap like Dawn or mac&cheese. So we do pretty well.

    Thanks to Crystals and Tawras websites I have learned how to shop and enjoy cooking at home. SO we have saved tons. And trying something before you stockpile it is key. I made that mistake when I first started couponing with Pop Tarts. No one in our house eats them ( thought for some reason my husband and child would boy was I wrong). I was stuck with 35 free boxes of tarts until I got wise and donated them. Same thing with cereals. We only keep cheerios and rice crispies handy for snacks and homemade treats.

  • Brandy F says:

    We use whatever I get free or cheap for everything. I must admit we like Cottonelle and Charmin toliet paper better but, have used whatever kind is a good price if our stockpile is out of those brands. We love Legos at our house and we don’t think others compare if that counts.

    • Deanna says:

      I agree with Brandy about the legos. My bos LOVE Legos and nothing compares, they too are always on sale at TRU especially around the holidays and if you have a Lego store near by they have a card that you can earn points towards free gift cards. I am not brand loyal about a lot of things but will ONLY buy Hellman’s mayo and my husband will only use Old Spice deodorant.

  • Amber says:

    Dove deodorant and Annie’s Mac and Cheese! Ironically I am now brand loyal to Cottonelle toilet paper BECAUSE I combined sale and coupon and got a great deal on it, and now it’s all we buy (with coupon and sale, of course!

    • Laura says:

      @Amber,
      Yes to Annie’s!!! My daughter’s friend came over yesterday, and she was so happy at lunch because we buy the “good mac & cheese”!

  • Tammy says:

    I will always stick to Purex laundrey soap, Venus Divine razors,and Ladies Speed Stick.

  • Jen says:

    Tide and Scott TP.

  • cheryl says:

    Miracle Whip and hubs only likes Prego. Of course with coupons and sales I can always find a good deal and stock up on these.

  • Heather says:

    HEINZ KETCHUP!!! I’m screaming that because there is NO ketchup like Heinz ketchup! 🙂

    We’re also brand loyal to Old Spice deodorant, but that is usually on sale , and I use some expensive hair products. My hair becomes too much of a mess and makes me crazy if I use cheap products so I shop CVS to cut down on the price as much as possible with all my ECBs!

  • Jessica says:

    I only use Dawn, and I also only use Scott toilet paper. We don’t have double coupons here and even if I can get Charmin or another brand on sale, we go through rolls lightning fast and need more in a week. I buy a 12 pack of Scott for $8.50, cheaper if I have gotten a sale at Walgreens and stockpiled it, and it lasts a month. Well worth it.

    • Angela says:

      @Jessica, I agree about Scott 1000 toilet paper. I refused to buy it for years (I thought it wasn’t soft enough) but finally one day decided to try it to see if it really did last as long as my girlfriends said. I can’t believe how long it lasts and I have five children! I think I’ve decided that it’s the best deal for us even if I have to pay full price.
      My other brand loyalties are:
      Huggies diapers (I’ve always despised Pampers!; Crystal, isn’t that funny how different babies/moms need different brands? Why is that?!)
      Dawn (although I recently tried Seventh Generation for the first time and I like it fairly well!)
      Shout
      All Free and Clear (we have major skin allergies at our house, so our dermatologist recommended this)
      I’m grateful that there are regular coupons for each of these items!
      And I am so grateful that I decided to try Aldi’s! I have been happy with most of their products and they save me a bundle.

  • Risha says:

    Irish Spring soap and Brut deodorant for my husband, although, the deodorant has been hard to find lately, so he agreed to try out some SpeedStick. Venus razors, Dove or Oil of Olay soap for me. I’m not totally brand loyal, but I am picky about my shampoo/conditioner. I find that some of them irritate my scalp and make me itch like crazy. I usually stick with Pantene, which has coupons and is on sale often. I buy a lot of store brands. I prefer Pampers, but will buy Huggies when I can get a good deal.

  • Jan says:

    Good points! I can only use Dove deodorant and Dove soap or I get a rash. My daughter used to only be able to use Huggies diapers- Pampers gave her such a rash because they are scented.

  • Rebecca says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is a “Shout snob.” Crystal is right–nothing gets the stains out as well as Shout. That’s about the only thing I’m brand specific on–although we have preferences on a few things (I’ll pay a little more for a brand I really like, but will take any brand if the price is right) and I do have a few things I avoid (for example–nobody at my house likes Kraft mac-n-cheese except me and I can live without it). It definitely pays (in most cases) to NOT be brand loyal.

  • Karen says:

    Wow! Compared to everyone else, I’m feeling that I’m waaay too brand-loyal. Yet, I’ve never thought of myself as being that way. Anyhow, I have sensitive skin and so am loyal to Tide, Downy, and Dove (bar soap and deodorant). I’ve tried other detergents which all made me itch for weeks! I’m also loyal to Cheerios. I’ve tried all the store brands and they’re just not right to me. It has to be the yellow box. Also Crest is my toothpaste. I’m pretty open with much everything else.

    • Laura says:

      @Karen, Totally agree with the Cheerios!! Best thing is that there always seems to be coupons out there for them!
      I’m also loyal to Crest and Brawny paper towels. My husband can only drink Tropicana OJ.
      I just recently heard that Consumer reports rated Walmart Sunscreen as the Best sunscreen you can get so we switched to that. And we’re thinking of subscribing to stay informed of other instances where cheaper brands might beat out the “name brands”

  • martha says:

    PACE picante sauce – Hidden Valley Ranch – and TIDE – I make my own detergent, but I use TIDE when I need to bring out the big guns. I think that’s it. My family has learned to tolerate whatever is cheapest always being in the cupboard. With coupons I am always trying new things, and finding it fun and frugal!

  • Ms.M. says:

    It’s Jiff Natural, Maier’s Bread, and Yoplait yogurt and Secret Deodorant for us here – luckily all but the Jiff is frequently on sale with coupons.

  • Amy R. says:

    The only brand loyalty we have is Arm n Hammer laundry detergent…everything else we’ve tried have made the kids’ faces break out when they go to bed. Especially Tide. We really like Oxy Clean for stain treatment, but I only buy it on sale or with a coupon, etc.

    • Amy R. says:

      @Amy R., PS we do enjoy quite a bit of Aldi’s products as well, except the meat and bread.

      • Shanna says:

        @Amy R., I’ve actually had great success with Aldi’s meat and will go there if I desperately need something. The only problem I’ve had is their Pizza rolls- Blech!!!

      • Doreen says:

        @Amy R., we love aldi wholegrain bread. And the kind we usually get there is dairy free so my 3 year old daughter who is completely lactose intolerant can handle it fine!

      • Angela says:

        @Amy R., Do you mean their fresh meats? I buy frozen ground turkey, ground beef, and chicken tenderloins from them and have been very happy with those. (I was scared of Aldi’s at first; just sure we were going to end up sick…no problems for the year that I’ve used them!) I had been warned about the bread so I haven’t tried that and don’t really plan to. Which meats did you have a problem with?

        • Amy R. says:

          @Angela, Well don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big meat eater. But I have found MUCH better deals on meat at Butera or other stores. But when I do try the meat, it just tastes and looks funny to me. I guess I’m sqeemish when it comes to meat. My husband noticed no difference and ate everything. The bread all has HFCS, that’s all that’s wrong w/that. 🙂

    • Carolynn says:

      @Amy R.,

      where do you get Oxy Clean coupons, I’ve been doing this for a few months & only come across coupons once!!

      • Elisa says:

        @Carolynn, You can get Oxi Clean coupons from their website right now. Just search them in the moneysavingmom coupon database — it will show you where to get them.

      • Amy R. says:

        @Carolynn, I don’t remember where I got it…but then when I went to the store to use it, there were some sitting there as if people had left them there, so I used those too!

      • Rae says:

        @Carolynn, Coupons are regional sometimes which might be why you don’t get them. We get coupons for them (usually 3 different types) every couple months. My dad buys the big tubs of it when they go on clearance at Target so I give my coupons to him.

  • Kara says:

    Pampers and Luvs diapers (we can use different brands of wipes), razors (we love shick and gillette brands), Dh wont use anything else but Herbal Essence (I found them at a good price about a month ago and stocked up), mac and cheese.
    All our cleaning and laundry items come from Melaleuca.

  • Christy says:

    We have a few:

    1. Dove soap for my husband, just like Denise mentioned above (excema). My son also inherited this so at 3, we still use baby soap or Aveeno. I have been thinking about trying Dove on him too. The Johnson’s Buddy’s Bar that is always free with coupons makes his excema flair up! I use any soap or bodywashes that we can get for free, including the Buddy Bar on myself!

    2. Aussie Moist conditioner. I started couponing about a year ago and tried to not be brand loyal. I used whatever shampoo and conditioner I could get for free. I have very dry, naturally curly hair and live in a humid climate. Not only was my hair frizzy all the time and not looking so great, but the frizziness and dryness caused my hair to split and break and after a few months, I had to get A LOT cut off. So now I use other shampoos that I can get free but only use Aussie Moist Conditioner. I use the free samples of shampoo and conditioner that I get in the mail, but usually have to mix in some Aussie conditioner since the small packets are way too small for my thick hair. Conditioner is one area I refuse to skimp on–the shorter my hair gets, the harder it is to manage. It is much easier to make it longer, wash, and let air dry with gel–I am the opposite of most in this way!

    3. Classico pasta sauce. I have a lasagna recipe that is just too watery if I use other brands. I use other brands in other recipes but my husband loves lasagna so I make it a lot! You do add a cup of water to the meat sauce so I am going to experiment with leaving out the water with some of the other brands but only when I make one, not when I double it for a friend or for the freezer (don’t want to double 2 watery ones)!

    Everything else I can think of we are not brand loyal too; I agree with using a variety of brands to stockpile and save money–I bought Piggly Wiggly brand tall kitchen trash bags the other day because we were out and they are not tall enough for our trash can (but the other brands are–hmmm!)! Oh well, we are using them for other trash round ups. We have never been disappointed in Publix brand anything. In fact, we prefer Publix brand ice cream over any of the name brands. I will buy some of the other brands when they are cheaper than $2, but stock up on Publix when it is on sale for $2.50 (get 4 containers)–even better when paired with $1 off baby club coupon!

    I attended an Extreme Couponing class. The teacher used an example of Pop Tarts as something she is brand loyal to. They went on sale and she went on e-bay and bought 40 coupons and bought 40 boxes to last her a year! I have not been able to do anything like this with the Dove soap or Aussie b/c you usually only get the really good deals on them at the drugstores and I only CVS (Walgreens got too complicated for me and they never let me use half of my coupons). So, of course I get the deals on them when I can at CVS but otherwise just get the Aussie at Target with or without a coupon and the Publix version of Dove soap at Publix. I also buy the biggest thing of Aussie because it is cheaper per ounce and lasts a while even though it is close to $6. I of course get the smaller bottles when they are a good deal at CVS.

    When you are able to not be brand loyal to most things, you are able to save money on your total grocery/toiletry bill allowing you to splurge on the few things you are brand loyal to (like a $6 bottle of conditioner–although I have friends that pay $20 for a bottle that is half the size, but that is a whole other issue)!

  • I love reading everyone’s lists. Ours is Crest toothpaste, Jif or Kroger Natural Peanut Butter, Breyers Ice Cream (natural) and my husband loves Mountian Dews.

  • I was such a brand snob before couponing…and we really can’t afford to be snobs. I have expanded my repitoire. I love Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, but I have bought Crest and Colgate (it was free). However, I eas able to get free Tom’s of Maine toothpaste at Rite Aid…so now I’m stocked up on both…lol. My children and I have sensitive skin. I’m trying different body washes I got for free, but I still will only use Burts Bees for my children. Luckily I’ve been able to get a good deal on those at my Rite Aid, and with SCRs and coupons creating overage, I got the Burts Bees for free too! Love Rite Aid! My husband doesn’t care, so he gets whatever is free =)
    I was just talking to my husband about brand loyalty earlier today with regards to baby wipes. My children are allergic to lanolin, and the store brands I have looked into so far use lanolin. But with all the good coupons for Huggies and Pampers wipes lately, I think I have a good stock pile for really cheap =)

  • Kerry Boles says:

    We are only brand loyal to a few things also. My husband can only wear speed stick and it must be the anti-persperent (sp?) kind. Everything else makes him break out. I have also found that Lady’s speed stick works best for me and I have tried many others. We also love Lever soap and Colgate toothpaste(and I normally use coupons for these). Food wise the only thing that I have found that I must buy name brand on is refried beans. Must be Rosarita. The store brand is just not the same.

  • Lu says:

    I have to say I am very brand loyal to COLGATE toothpaste. I will settle for cheaper brands if they are free, but Colgate is the only brand I am willing to pay for or at least as little as possible.
    I also love Listerine. I have tried the Crest rinse and all the generics and they are just not the same. I’ll take them if they are free but otherwise its Listerine for me.
    I also prefer Downey Fabric Softner. I just for a good deals a few months ago on Snuggle with a sale, a target coupon and a manufacturers coupon, but as I am using it I keep thinking “i wish it were downey!”

  • Tovah says:

    My husband swears that he can tell the difference in the real Cool Whip and Phili cream cheese. =)

  • Stacy says:

    I”m always mystified by people who say that Dove works on sensitive skin. I have sensitive skin and I HATE Dove. I can’t even stand the smell.
    We are loyal to a free and clear laundry detergent (Tide or Arm & Hammer) when we aren’t using soap nuts. DH prefers Gilette body wash (fortunately I’ve gotten tons of them for almost nothing). I prefer Pantene shampoo (doesn’t make me break out). Oh, and Iams dry food for both our cats and dog. Usually cheapest in the huge bags at PetSmart.

  • Emily says:

    Crystal, would you mind sharing with us the type of Shout you use for stain treatment? I am usually loyal to Oxi Clean spray, but I have had several stains not come out lately. I am looking for advice on the best remover! Do you use the spray or the bottle with the scrubber on top? Thanks for the advice!

    • peever says:

      @Emily,

      Not Crystal, but the Shout Advanced spray rocks.

      • k and b's mom says:

        I think Oxy Clean Spray Bottle works better than Shout.

        • Emily says:

          @k and b’s mom, I usually love it & never had problems getting stains out. I think this summer I have been a little lax about treating stains right away, and so it hasn’t been working as well. Thanks for the advice!

      • Emily says:

        @peever, Thanks so much! I haven’t tried that kind, because I was disappointed in regular Shout. I will definitely have to use a coupon & give it a try. 🙂

        • Doretta says:

          @Emily, I use Resolve (used to be Spray n’ Wash) for my 3 little farmer boys’ jeans! Shout does not work well for me. Our well driller informed me a few years ago that “brand name” or “expensive” does not mean “effective”. Different mineral contents in well water makes a HUGE difference in how well detergents work. For me that meant switching from Tide to Oxydol for regular laundry soap when we dug our new well.

    • Tara says:

      @Emily, My 3-month-old just had the Blowout Of the Century yesterday. I almost threw away the outfit (it was new, of course!) until I went on FB and asked my friends about stain-removal. One person suggested that I rinse the stain, spray it with Dreft or Shout or whatever, sprinkle baking soda over the stain, and let it sit in the sun to dry and the stain will fade. I was like, yeah right but I’ll try it. I’m telling you, the stain covered the entire back of the white onesie but once I tried the baking soda and sun trick, it looked BRAND NEW! Not a trace of yellow poop anywhere!!! Cheapest stain removal I’ve ever heard of!

  • There are a few brands I would say I’m loyal to, but even then I’m not 100% loyal to those 100% of the time. For instance: *I* will only ever eat Jif peanut butter. But if I get a tremendous deal or am given a jar of some other brand, no one else in the house will care. Ditto Hellmann’s mayo. I buy Purex 3 in 1 sheets because I can get them pretty regularly for a good price and I don’t worry about them in my front-loader. We are a Coke family, NOT Pepsi. lol And a few things I’m sort of forced to be brand loyal to, things that my mom “requests” that must be just so. Yoplait yogurt, Gulden’s mustard, Honey Nut Cheerios, to name a few. Shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, body wash? We get whatever is free that week. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    I have psoriasis so I use cetaphil! Prefer to use Johnson’s babywash with oatmeal. They are the best for my skin!! A1 for my husband it’s apparently the only for steak. Oh and we prefer Charmin extra soft!!! Luckily I can normally find it on sale for a great deal or there is always sams club! I once bought toilet paper from the dollar store and it fell apart in my hands. Other then that we are not brand dependent.

  • alyssa says:

    Cheeseburger and Cream Shampoo…lol!!!!!!!

  • Best Food Mayo and any type of aluminum-free deodorant. Everything else is fair game.

    • Tami says:

      @Marisa Stone O’Brien, My husband is brand loyal to SpeedStick because it’s aluminum free, but I haven’t been able to find ANY ladies’ deodorant that’s aluminium free. What do you use?

      • @Tami,
        I use Tom’s of Maine, Crystal Body deodorant(Whole Food’s, too expensive) or Earth Science natural deodorant.

        I am trying to find coupons for these, however, it seems to be a challenge.

        Do you have any ideas for that?

  • I have a lot of brand loyalties, but luckily for most items there are 2 -3 brands that I really like so I clip coupons accordingly. The few items I can’t live without — Hellman’s Mayo, Heinz Ketchup, and Suave Shampoo (which I usually get for free or for under $.50).

    As for the diapers & wipes thing, I am lucky that even with 2 in diapers at the same time, and both with sensitive skin, I can use Luvs or Pampers without any problems. Wipes are the same way as long as I buy “sensitive” formulas.

  • Leah says:

    I’m only brand loyal to Burt’s Bees for my son’s bodywash. I don’t buy it that often, so it’s worth it to spend $7 every 6 months for that great smell and the (mostly) natural ingredients.
    There are a few brands I will not buy (White Cloud or Suave conditioner, for example, I find to be worthless), but other than that, I’m pretty flexible!

  • Cely says:

    More perspective on brands – by taking my children to Aldi’s, they are not visually assaulted by 50,000 brands (the average amount in a grocery store) which increases the “I gotta have it” attitude. They’ve learned that food can taste good without being attached to a brand name. I’ve also used the quarter for the cart as a reward for helping with sacking our own bags.

    • Amy R. says:

      @Cely, that reminds me…they are also not visually assaulted by all of the magazines either, which are truly offensive! Another good reason to shop at Aldi! Thanks for the reminder!

  • CAROL says:

    I am a Nabisco Vanilla Wafers (reduced fat) snob – store brands don’t even come close. I will also pay more for Light Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

  • tamika says:

    i will not budge when it comes to my dawn. other dish detergents we end up using a lot more of for not as good results. i either get it at sam’s, it’s like a gallon (almost a year’s worth of detergent) for less than $10, or get a really good sale, like last week at wags, it was $0.99 and i had a $1 off coupon!! it might have been a little bottle, but it’ll last 3-4 weeks (for free!)
    also, i have to use either all, arm and hammer, or publix brand free and clear laundry detergent. my middle daughter breaks out in hives if i use anything else.
    my husband will not use any other deodorants besides his right guard. i actually got them when they were bogo @ publix, had $1.50 off coupons, for less than $0.50 each. i have to use clinical strength deodorant, but i can use pretty much any brand as long as it’s clinical.
    there are a few brands i personally will NOT use, but i will at least try some new brand if it’s a really good deal.

  • Julie says:

    Crystal, I used to be a Shout loyalist till I realized that Tide can be thinned down a bit in a shout bottle for a fraction of the cost and works fabulous! I only buy it on sale with a double coupon, of course!

    • Emily says:

      @Julie, Can you tell us the ratio of Tide to water that you use and which type of Tide you use? I need to find a great stain remover!

      • Julie says:

        @Emily,

        I use the color SAFE bleach Tide (not HE). We just mix up a bit in the bottle with water till it is thin enough to squirt but not so thin that it doesn’t work; that helps you a lot, hmmm. <<>>

        • Emily says:

          @Julie, 🙂 Actually, it does help. I will just use trial and error until I figure it out! I have heard people mention Tide for pre treating, so I will have to give it a shot. Thanks!

  • Bethany says:

    Funny how SOOO many people love Dove – I can’t stand their deorderant because it is the only one that I sweat with! My husband has to use old spice but it can’t be anti-persperant. I can’t buy generic peanut butter, but any of the regular brands are good. I am totally NOT brand dependant and save so much money by willing to use anything 🙂

  • Anitra says:

    Sometimes I wonder if we’re not so much brand-loyal as brand-stuck.
    * Tide (Free&Clear HE) – We have to use free/clear detergents for my husband’s allergies. There aren’t many that work in an HE washer… and even fewer that seem to work on our cloth diapers. So Tide is it. It looks like they recently reformulated it (or at least repackaged it) so I hope not too much has changed.

    * Teddie peanut butter. It’s the only PB we can find without added sugar. Even the big-name brands’ “natural” versions still have sugar in them – yuck!

    * Old Spice Red Zone deodorant for my husband. Not only does it have to be Old Spice, it has to be the “Red Zone” formula and a specific scent. He’s so specific that I just give him any Old Spice coupons I find and let him buy it himself.

    * We love Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I like Kraft and even most store brands aren’t bad, but I feel better when we eat a more natural version… we eat it a lot! I need to make homemade mac & cheese more often.

    * Schick Intuition razor for me and Gillette Fusion for my husband. Is it still brand loyalty if you have to go look up the name? 😉 I just love the way I can actually successfully shave in the shower with the Intuition razor. I complain about the price, but it’s still worth it to me to avoid shaving cream and needing to turn the water off and put my glasses on to see my legs well enough to get a good shave with a traditional razor.

    • Angela says:

      @Anitra, You might want to try Smuckers natural p.b. I have had gestational diabetes with several pregnancies and ended up reading all of the labels to find that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean no sugar. I’m pretty sure that Smuckers doesn’t have any sugar at all. You do have to stir it and I kept it in the frig to keep it from separating again. It is still my very favorite peanut butter, although I don’t get it very often right now…not pregnant at the moment!

    • Marie says:

      @Anitra, Aldi has a natural peanut butter for $1.75 or so. You have to stir the heck out of it, but it’s pretty tasty. Just nuts and salt!

    • Laura says:

      @Anitra, Also, if you have access to a Trader Joe’s, theirs is wonderful and very inexpensive. Another one you have to stir, but it comes in four varieties: smooth and crunchy, either with or without salt!

  • Erin says:

    I hate to say it but we’re pretty brand loyal. My husband used to be a Tide only person, but I’ve gotten him down to Gain. I still buy Tide if I find a great deal though. Other brands for us are: Huggies (diapers, pull-ups, and wipes), Dawn, Cascade, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Prego spagetti sauce (that my husband doctors up), Ragu pizza sauce, and the list goes on. We are trying to use more and more store brands though. Pasta and Oatmeal are two that we’ve found are fine…..

    • Kim says:

      @Erin,
      I’m with you on the Huggies- all the way! Pampers made every diaper smell horrible (even plain pee-pee ones) and they left this weird gel-bead residue on his skin- yuck! And Pampers wipes are so smooshy soft that it was impossible to get the poo off; they just kept smearing it around. All the other cheaper diaper brands leaked horribly. We used Huggies exclusively til he was potty trained. The bonus is that the deals always seem better on Huggies products!

  • ann says:

    Loyal to only a few brands… Tropicana Pure Premium OJ and Cetaphil face moisturiser. Other than that, we are pretty flexible.

  • Julie says:

    Velveeta – except that Dollar General and Aldi brands are okay in melted dips as well. Otherwise store brands taste different. I was also a Shout loyalist, but got Spray & Wash w/ Resolve cleaning action for nearly free and it cleans MUCH better than traditional Spray & Wash. I took the Kroger brand back it was so bad, which is a point in itself when it comes to trying generics. Aldi products have a guarantee and I know all of the cleaning products at Kroger do (maybe everything store brand???). Try w/o a lot of risk.

  • Twila says:

    I will only buy Kraft Velveeta. I’ve tried the cheap ones and haven’t found one I like. Unfortunately I usually can’t find a very good deal on it, but save enough money in other areas that I can buy it. I also only use Bounty select-a-size paper towels, and usually buy these pretty reasonable at CVS. I also have used Shout for years, and now thanks to couponing, can get it pretty cheap. Oh, and Scrubbing Bubbles. Nothing like it. Thanks to all the sales recently I’m stocked up!

  • Christine says:

    Johnson & Johnson’s baby wash & shampoo (daughter also has sensitive skin and Aveeno gave her rashes, J&J didn’t)

    Finish dishwashing tabs and Jet Dry (recommended by the company we bought the dishwasher from. We used Cascade before but it leaves the dishes dirty).

    Pedigree dog food. I believe in not switching dog foods as I don’t think it’s good for the dog’s tummy.

    Stride Rite shoes. At least for the first few years for my youngest daughter. After she turns 3, I’ll be open to buying less expensive shoes. We usually don’t spend more the $20 on Stride Rite when they are on sale.

  • Joy says:

    I am a ketchup snob so Heinz ketchup is non-negotiable. Although for the next few months I am stuck using the brand dh brought home from work. It’s their house brand they sell to restaurants and we have two big gallons of it.

    All Free & Clear and Angel Soft tp also are non-negotiable. I have tried switching tp a couple of times based on sales/Qs but dh and boys complain every time. Right now I have a cheap pack of Cottonelle that I’m trying to use up ‘cuz we ran out of Angel Soft and they have been complaining ever since.

    Also, my Aveeno clear complexion moisturizer is an absolute must ‘cuz it’s the only thing that works on my 40-something acne prone skin. 🙁 Ugh!

    Right now, we’re experimenting with the Scrubbing Bubbles daily shower power sprayer. It was free after Q at Target a few weeks ago. But I did not stock up on it ‘cuz wasn’t sure if it worked or not.

    And one brand that I def. love now is the Olivia’s Organic salad mixes. Paired with Qs and sales, it beats Dole bagged salads any day and lasts much longer. 🙂

    • Joy says:

      Forgot to add that for my boys we only use the Suave free and gentle body wash and the free and gentle 2 in 1 shampoo. Dyes in body wash and shampoos irritate their skin.

      • Joy says:

        Also forgot that we only use Blue Lizard sunscreen (either sensitive or baby). It works great. Back when my boys had eczema it was the only sunscreen that didn’t cause a rash. Plus, I love how the water beads off the skin when you use it. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder to find because of its popularity (thanks to some national TV talk shows). 🙁

  • Jessica says:

    Cheerios! The store brands just don’t do it for us at all.
    Also, I get horrible scalp itch and dandruff if I don’t use my very expensive shampoo. 🙁 🙁 I’ve tried lots of things, and thankfully my hubby will use anything, so every now and then I try the stuff we get cheaply to see if it will do. So far… nothing else works.
    I’ve been pleasantly surprised with most of the store brand products we have purchased.

    • Leah says:

      @Jessica, I agree about the Cheerios. Also, when I compare nutrition info, I find that often store brand “cheerios” are not enriched, where Cheerios are. I prefer enriched (especially since my son is refusing to eat almost everything but Cheerios and fruit– he needs the extra vitamins!).

  • Mary says:

    I agree that Ketchup and Dishwashing detergent have to be brand names or they just aren’t worth it!!! Toilet paper is just toilet paper 🙂

  • Kelly says:

    Shout we must have as well as Tide. We are also loyal on deoderants due to senstitive skin. I have to use Secret or else I break out! Other than that I am flexible!

  • Diana says:

    I have yet to find a dishwasher detergent that gets my dishes consistently clean. But if I did I think I would be brand-loyal to it! (Any suggestions, anyone?)

    Also, I use All Free and Clear Laundry detergent because it doesn’t break me out, and if Ritz Crackers aren’t on sale, I go without 🙂

    • JessieLeigh says:

      @Diana, This is the only thing I’m brand loyal on- I will only use Cascade! Nothing else has worked for me, but Cascade has gotten my dishes clean in all four of the different dishwashers I’ve had over the years. I “forget” sometimes and try to score a deal, but I’m always sorry… 🙂

  • Brittany says:

    I have a piece of toast for breakfast every morning with peanut butter on it. One day, not too long ago, I found that my toast just didn’t taste right. I could barely make myself eat it! On the second day I was suffering through my morning toast, I discovered that we changed jars of peanut butter from Skippy to Peter Pan. Lo and behold, we have like 6 jars of Peter Pan that I can’t stand 🙁 It was not easy to buy the peanut butter without a coupon, but I got a jar of Jif for $2 (eek!) and am soo much happier to eat my toast. We also splurge on quality wheat bread, often $2.50 to $3 per loaf, but it is very healthy and full of fiber, but we don’t go through bread too fast and freeze it when there’s a good deal. I’m sticking to my Jif and Skippy peanut butter and quality bread for breakfast!

    • Brittany says:

      @Brittany, but the Peter Pan will be put to good use by my less-picky family members and for baking, so it isn’t a total loss!

    • Doreen says:

      @Brittany,
      We also love our quality bread too and have discovered (quite by accident one day!) that there is a bakery store that has excellent very high quality bread for 1.29 a loaf. Hooray! Actually our city has 3 or 4 different “bakery thrift” stores so we get a choice of brands. You might have some near you too!

      • Brittany says:

        @Doreen, Thanks for the tip! We did have a store like that, but it closed. Saving money on other things allows us to not worry too much about overpriced bread. 🙂

  • Kristine says:

    Wow!! Lots of brand loyalty out there! I’m not really brand loyal, but I’m married to a really brand loyal guy, until they change it. He used to love Safeguard until they went to smaller bars (typical) and he couldn’t keep hold of them anymore. I could go on and on with his list. I think my only loyalty is really to Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo for my dandruff/itch. I actually manage to get $2 off coupons for this once in a while, and then I stock up!

    For the non-believers, The grocery food generics really ARE (in most cases) the same products as brand name with a store label. My hubby worked for a national spice manufacturer for several years, and one day they’d package products for themselves, next day for Safeway, or Kroger, or some other chain–using the same exact products/ingredients.

    • CalamityKate says:

      @Kristine, Thanks, it’s always good to hear confirmation that many products are marketed like that.

      As for me, I’ve got lots of strong brand preferences, but the ONLY chicken I will buy is Foster Farms boneless skinless breasts, or the big frozen bags of tenders. Of course, I’m just starting with couponing.

  • Laura Jane says:

    For most things, I’m completely open to whatever brand is the cheapest. However, here’s what I’m completely brand loyal to:
    #1 CRISCO shortening – I tried a cheaper generic store brand once and ended up having to throw out the biscuits I tried to make with it. It’s horrible, not even the same thing at all. I just threw it all away.
    #2 No Aldi “Cocoa” – I tried Aldi’s version of cocoa powder for baking. Could barely eat several of the things I attempted to make with it.
    #3 Charmin or Cottonelle toilet paper. I just don’t like suffering through bad toilet paper. I’ll splurge on it.
    #4 Viva or Bounty paper towels – the cheap generics are not nearly as absorbent. Besides being annoying that they don’t absorb too much, I also might end up spending more money on them because I have to use more.
    #5 Head & Shoulders – this is the only toiletry item I’ve paid full price for.

    • Kristan says:

      @Laura Jane, Funny about Aldi cocoa – I use that every single day to make homemade chocolate milk for my girls, and I’ve never had a taste problem. I guess I haven’t tried baking with it though.

      • betsy says:

        @Kristan,

        We use the Aldi cocoa a lot, too. At the end of the season last year, I got 11 cans of it for 69 cents each. I was so happy–clearance at Aldi! Best of both worlds. LOL

  • Jacqueline says:

    Kraft marshmallows and Scott extra soft toilet paper. Though its not a brand it has to be real butter and sour cream.

  • elizabeth says:

    Cottonelle toilet paper. I have Crohn’s disease and good toilet paper is a must. 🙂

  • Becky says:

    I am only brand loyal with a couple things but my hubby is a different story! For me, Neutrogena Oil Free Face wash is a must- I tried using the Equate brand when I ran out last time and it was awful! For my hubby, Heinz ketchup, Miracle Whip, Hershey’s syrup, and Colgate. I buy up when these are on sale and if we run out then he deals with what I can get cheap/free.

  • It’s funny…when I first got married, my husband was brand loyal to just about everything. We spent soooo much money that way. So, slowly but surely I would introduce my “cheaper” alternatives as I picked up other brands for free or really inexpensive. Now…three years later, he only asks for Tabasco and Cetaphil moisturizer! He actually likes trying out new brands now!!!

  • Catherine says:

    For me it’s Reese’s brand peanut butter! I just wish they hadn’t stopped making the crunchy variety. I stock up when the local grocery store has it on sale for less than $2 a jar.

  • Karen says:

    The things I am brand-loyal on have to do with my food sensitivities…I HAVE to stick to certain brands because of ingredients. I also have sensitive skin and am honestly still looking for a good shower soap. For DH and DD1, I will buy whatever is on sale, shampoo/soap/deodorant-wise. DD2, unfortunately, seems to have my skin, and we are still searching for a good bath soap for her. :-p

  • Karen says:

    I used to think of Aldi brands as being the same as a generic until I went to Germany. Aldi is a German grocery store which is why they have some of their unusual-to-Americans methods. For example, in Germany it is the norm for people to bring their own grocery bags & put a deposit on the grocery carts. Actually, most people I saw brought what is more like a fabric basket for groceries & only bought what they needed for the next day or so; therefore most people didn’t use carts at all. You will also notice that Aldi often carries German cocolates & deserts. That’s because it’s a German store. Once I realized that, I no longer felt cheap shopping there. It is more like an extention of my European vacation!

  • Kathy says:

    People! You are forgetting coffee!! I must have Maxwell House or Folger’s (really don’t have much preference between the two) but I’ve tried Eight O’ Clock and Chock Full Of Nuts, etc. Yuck! Coffee is something I will not sacrifice on.

    Other than that, Land O’Lakes spreadable butter and Paul Newman Marinara spaghetti sauce (hubby’s preference) are all we are really loyal to.

    I’ll have to check out Aldi again. It’s been a long time.

    Enjoyed all the comments 🙂

    • Laura says:

      @Kathy, I agree, coffee is the most important to me!!! Unfortunately, the only type I really like is Starbucks, I like it really dark and rich. Thank goodness for swagbucks gift cards or I buy it from Costco in a big bag and grind it myself, sometimes Costco has a coupon for it in their coupon books and I stock up, I go through a lot!

      • betsy says:

        @Laura,

        We like coffee, too, and for us, that means, no Maxwell House or Folgers. LOL. We prefer Eight O’Clock or the Cuban brands that Publix carries. Starbucks works, too, but it’s not our favorite.

  • Lisa says:

    I tell my family all the time not to get stuck on any one brand. lol. I do however always get Velveeta cheese if I’m going to make cheese dip, because nothing else that I have tried will melt right. And the off brand mac and cheese is so bad that my little girl, who would eat “mackanoni an cheese” every day if I’d let her – won’t even eat the off brand stuff. So mac and cheese has to be Kraft or Velveeta. We used to always buy Prego spaghetti sauce, but I have found that the Food Lion brand is actually better!

    • Jacqueline says:

      @Lisa, Gotta love velveeta, for Mac-n-cheese,I buy a big box of macaroni noodles and a block of velveeta, when the kids want some I just microwave a handful of noodles for each and mix in the velveeta.

  • deanna says:

    Charmin Ultra Soft!!!! Bought a huge pack of Cottonelle cause it was on sale plus coupons I got 12 double rolls for $3! Now that is hard to beat for toilet paper. But my whole family hates its and complains. I”m not a fan either. Other than Charmin Ultra Soft (which is never ever a bargain) I will try anything!

  • Shelly :) says:

    I will only buy Tillamook cheese. 🙂 Thankfully it goes on sale for under $5 a loaf frequently.

  • Tiffany says:

    I think I’m echoing items that most people stated above….. I have to have these brand items. The generic are NOT the same!!!
    Crest toothpaste
    Jif peanut butter
    Dove body wash
    Dawn dish detergent
    Coca Cola
    Cheerios
    Huggies baby wipes
    Dove deodorant

    • Amanda says:

      @Tiffany, I love my Huggies baby wipes!! But, Walgreens has a very similar baby wipe. If you get Walgreens brands wipes, they have some packages labeled as “compare to Pampers wipes” and others labled as “compare to Huggies wipes.” They really are comparable to Huggies wipes. In all honestly, I prefer the Huggies, but the Walgreens wipes go on decent sales quite often. When my stockpile of Huggies is empty, Walgreens wipes are a money saver without sacrificing quality.

  • Cathe says:

    Q-Tips
    Kraft Miracle Whip

  • Emily J says:

    I splurge on Clinique face moisturizer. It’s very expensive but I’ve tried 5 or 6 other brands of face lotion and nothing else even comes close. But I buy the men’s version…it’s the exact same product but cheaper than the women’s.

  • Patrice says:

    I was pretty hesitant to try any detergent other than Tide, but have been pleasantly surprised that I really can’t tell a difference between Tide and even the cheapest of detergents. There are only a couple of things that have to be a certain brand with our family and they’re both at the request of my husband. Mac and cheese has to be Kraft and there’s no substitute for real Dr. Pepper.

    • Kim says:

      @Patrice,
      Woo hoo for Dr Pepper! That is our big “splurge” item, though I try to aim to get a 12 pack for $2 or less. When I find it under $2, I stock up!

  • Patrice says:

    Oh, yeah….and we have to use Crest toothpaste. Oddly enough, we have a copper sink and for some reason, all other toothpaste brands tarnish the copper. Many have suggested to us that we brush at the kitchen sink, but hat just grosses me out. :p

  • Allison says:

    Yoplait, which I can get as cheap as .30/cup sometimes; Venus razors, but only because I haven’t snagged any of the free disposables yet; Charmin Ultra Strong, for my hubby, I will also use Quilted Northern or Cottonelle; I’m also pretty much brand loyal to Purex (which is cheap to begin with) and the Target Up & Up baby wipes!

  • brookeb says:

    We use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste (which I’ve been lucky to find at Big Lots or on clearance in drug stores when the packaging changes), All or Method free & clear detergent, and I have specific product preferences for makeup items. I was brand-loyal to my Aveeno fragrance-free body wash, but recently found that family dollar has a great generic of it for $1.50 vs. the regular $4-5! With many other things I’m not so much brand dependent as I am ingredient or packaging dependent (ketchup without hfcs, eggs not in a styrofoam package, etc.)

  • Amber L. says:

    My husband used to be brand loyal with a few things. Little did he know he was eating some store brands that had been filled into the “big brand” boxes! I know, I’m mean, but it was worth the time for me to see if it could be done. Once he found out he wasn’t so brand loyal anymore! I actually LOVE the Wegmans brand of most everything, I find the quality is far above the big brand. Wegs are big into quality so I trust the items with the Wegmans name on it!

  • Maria says:

    I’ve found that I’m loyal to a lot of store brands. (We only like Safeway toilet paper, Trader Joe’s ketchup and hand soap, etc.)

    There are a few exceptions:
    Dawn
    Oreo’s
    Huggies diapers
    Tillamook yogurt

  • Nicole says:

    q-tips Have to to be the Q-TIP brand I hate any of the other ones, my husband will only use colgate, and you should of seen his face when I bought home the perts plus 3 in 1 for men (got for like .25) he was all worried b/c he has only used head and shoulders since he was 13, but he hasnt complained lol…so only 3 things q-tips, colgate (which doesnt both me I will use what ever) and head and shoulders…

    And I loved when we lived in Milwaukee, we were very low on money and shopped at Aldis all the time, when we move back up there I will be shopping there again 🙂

  • Lindsey says:

    I’m with you! You’ll find the most savings when you’re willing to let go of your comfort zone and not be brand-loyal! I get whatever’s free or close to it! If you don’t like the deodorant or shampoo or whatever – then do without! Haha, kinda harsh, I know. But, seriously, come on! Luckily, my husband and children are all very laid back and don’t care. 🙂

  • Kelly says:

    My husband is a brand snob. Once he finds a brand he likes he will not change. He will only use Degree deodorant , Sheer Infusion lotion, colgate toothpaste, Oral B toothbrush, Angel Soft toilet paper, Dunkin Donut coffee, …..

  • Sara says:

    If you like McDonalds hotcakes and sausage, try the Aldi’s frozen sausage patties in a yellow tube. They are a dead ringer for McDonalds. Can’t vouch for the other flavors – I think one is maple – but the regular ones are awesome when you get a craving for McDonalds hotcakes.

  • Lisa says:

    I have been using Sure unscented DEO since I was 12! It works… but it is also cheap. With coupons and deals, I can get this for free!

    We tried some different TP brands when I first started couponing. My family BEGGED me to never buy Scott again! We did find that the new Cottonelle ULTRA is awesome and I have been getting that very inexpensively!

  • Stephanie says:

    We have a few brand loyalties- Neutragena 100 SPF sunscreen since everything else makes me and our daughter break out in a rash, Aussie shampoo/conditioner for my husband, Shout stain remover and Seventh Generation free and clear detergent for cloth diapers so my daughter doesn’t get a rash. Most other stuff we have preferences but we don’t really care and will happily eat the generic- my stepson just discovered that he prefers the store brand to regular Crispix (it was a treat since it was on sale for $1.50 a box) and wants us to get that next time.

  • betsy says:

    We have a few brand loyalties, too. I love some Duke’s mayo. Nothing else will do–I got a jar of Kraft recently for free, and I threw it away cause it was so bad. Next time I will leave the free Kraft mayo there. LOL

    We also like Del Monte ketchup, real Coke, and Ivory soap.

  • Breanne T. says:

    I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building and there is no elevator so I will only ever buy Glad ForceFlex trash bags. I learned the hard way that those suckers are the only ones I can really rely on.

  • A.S. says:

    Another person whose husband is brand loyal to TP (Cottenelle). This probably sounds absurd, but I go through so much TP that I use my own (whatever is on sale).

    The other two bigs ones are Glad ForceFlex bags and Annie’s Mac and Cheese (we’ve found the cheapest ones here in the suburbs of Boston at Target and Trader Joe’s).

  • We shop store brand for most items (Trader Joe’s is my fav store brand – LOVE, LOVE their ketchup, mayo, uncured hot dogs, sour cream, salsa, cheese sticks, sprouted bread, orange juice and lemonade concentrates, all purpose cleaner, dish detergent). The brand name items we don’t budge on are

    Gain laundry detergent
    Oxi-Clean (my mother lives with us and does the laundry, so I buy according to her preferences)
    Kerrygold Irish butter
    Ziploc freezer bags

    I also have a preference for local only when it comes to beef, chicken, pork, eggs and milk.

    Mary Ellen

  • Kayla says:

    The only thing we are brand loyal about here is tinfoil! I got generic tinfoil once and it was absolutely terrible and thinner than thin! Reynold’s all the way! 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    We are not very brand loyal at all, in fact we’ve tried a TON of stuff in the generic version. The only thing that I can’t do in a generic is canned soup like Campbell’s Spaghettio’s or chicken noodle soup. I don’t purchase these items very often but when I do I have to get the brand because the generic canned versions NEVER taste the same and I’ve tried a couple store versions but they never compare to Campbell’s. I loved that I was able to get Spaghettio’s for FREE at Kroger this week on the mega event and they put out coupons for canned soups and cooking soups too, so there’s definitely opportunity to save on the brand! 🙂

  • Mary in Ohio says:

    Since I have to be VERY careful with certain things like laundry soap I am brand dependent on these Tide (Only laundry soap that I can use and not break out in hives from and I have tried them all), cascade (actually gets the dishes CLEAN), dawn or 7th generation dish soap, Pampers or Huggies diapers (everything else leaks for my kids and I have tried them all!), Kraft Mac’n’Cheese (kids prefer this one the others are nasty and they will not eat homemade), Purina ONE for sensitive stomachs dog food (everything else gives our mastiff horrible gas) and Shout for stain remover (for the reasons Crystal said) everything else I just buy what is on sale or I have coupons for or store brands.

  • Courtney says:

    For us, we don’t care about the brand for almost everything. I only use Dove Deodorant. I’ve tried just about every other brand out there and it’s the only one that keeps me dry and doesn’t break out my skin. I love it! It’s not too hard to get good deals on it though, between the trial size at Target and CVS I can usually get it for less than $1. We also buy Horizon Organic milk, but other than those two things, I can’t think of anything elser we’re brand loyal to.

  • Emily says:

    I have found that the Kroger brand restaurant style chips ($1 a bag) are just as good as the “Across the Board” and other brand name chip brands. HEB brand jumbo shells are much less expensive than the name-brand shells (I use these to make spinach stuffed shells). On a side note, I love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and recently 99 Cent Only started carrying it ($1 instead of $2.89)! I buy a lot of groceries at 99 Cent Only so that I’m able to buy the name brands that I like (Lean Cuisine meals for when I don’t have time to make my lunch).

  • Kellie says:

    I’m not brand dependent on razors, but I have become a razor snob. Thanks to this website, I found I can get high quality razors cheap, and have been using them instead of the 12 for $1 kind. I can’t stand the cheap ones anymore! My only other brand name loyalties are to Dawn and Scott TP. Everything else, I’m open to.

  • Megan says:

    Yuck, yuck yuck, I LOATHE Aldi’s! The only thing I’ve ever found palatable was their cinnamon raisin granola cereal and they discontinued it! Thanks to smart couponing, I never have to compromise. I enjoy the generic brands from the major stores but there’s just something about Aldi that I hate.
    Things I don’t compromise on:
    Diapers – Pampers or Huggies. My DD is allergic to Luv’s and pees through generic diapers. (rarely do I spend more than 6 dollars per package due to coupons)
    Shampoo – I prefer Infusium (and always seem to find a coupon for 2 or 3 dollars off when I’m close to running out – pair with a sale at Wags + my sister’s discount and I get darn near free shampoo!)

  • Preparedmom says:

    I find it interesting how some people love a certain brand while others cannot tolerate that very thing! I think it shows once again that there is not a one-size fits all solution when it comes to shopping and budgeting. We each need to figure out what works best for us and our family.

    I have lived in various parts of the USA and have found different products perform differently depending on location. Part of that is the hardness or softness of the water. In NW Indiana I couldn’t use the same brands as in CA. The brand I used in CA worked great, but in IN it lathered up like crazy and woudn’t rinse clean. I think that is why some love Dawn and others love Palmolive…they perform differently in different locations.

    Our bodies are all unique and react differently to different ingredients/chemicals. What works great for one person causes a rash or reaction for another person. I’m one who can’t use Crest…it gives me canker sores. Other people love crest! We’re all created uniquely, aren’t we?

    We all have different things that are important to us as well. My dh used to love Heinz ketchup, but I’ve switched over to Hunts because it has no HFCS and he doesn’t mind at all. I used to buy whatever meat was cheapest, but now we buy local grass fed beef whenever possible as that is a priority for us.

  • CJ says:

    The thing I like best about Aldi is its easy to choose what to buy – if you want french fries or corn flakes, there’s only one brand so you dont have to stand there and compare brands or prices. I am only brand loyal to Hellmans mayo, Jif peanut butter and Mountain Dew.

  • Sara says:

    Aldi’s is great! I wasn’t too sure about all their stuff to begin with either. There are a few things there that we don’t get for taste reasons but not many.
    Peanut butter is what I’m a snob about. I can’t do the store brand from anywhere. It has to be Jif or Skippy for me. =)

  • Mary says:

    I am totally loyal to Cottonelle toliet paper! My sister and I were talking about this recently. She doesn’t care what kind of toliet paper she buys but is brand loyal on ketchup and peanut butter.

    I have also been pleasantly surprised by Aldi products. But don’t give up if your first product or two doesn’t work out. I find their regular bacon much too thin, but their “premium” is tasty! And it’s $1 cheaper than bacon at other stores.

  • Carol says:

    I’ve got to have Hershey’s Cocoa, but other than that, we’re open to non-national brands.

    We’ve found we like store brand crackers–almost any store brand–more than Nabisco crackers. They have more substance and don’t break as easily.

  • Janell says:

    My husband has to have Mitchum, Safeguard & Extra soft Scott TP. He works really hard, so he deserves it. I do buy others for the kids bathroom though. We also love Tide & Pantene.

  • Janell says:

    Also, I’ll only use Cetaphil face cleanser. I love it!

  • Andrea says:

    Tide I can not live with out Ive tried and wasted my time and money on other brands or having to pretreat entirely to much, of course I love the coupons and stockpile heck I hoard Tide I mean it cant go bad right:)

  • Merlin says:

    I had to chuckle at this: Cheeseburger and cream shampoo! Is there really such a thing as that?!? LOL….

    I do have a few brands I prefer, but other than that, not brand specific either.

  • Marsha says:

    Until recently I’d been pretty brand-flexible about most things, but new health issues at my house have forced me to be more mindful. Some of you would faint dead away, I think, if I told you how much I know spend on hot dog buns just to get a type that my husband can safely consume (You might rightly ask, “Why not just give up hot dog buns?” – it’s not the buns, it’s everything. Our house is now wheat-, beef-, most poultry-, pork-, soy-, legume-, cow dairy- and nightshade-free. Really, it’s just Too Much. But the dear is cute and kind, so I guess I’ll keep him.)

    One thing to keep in mind about discounted or off-brands is to always check the ingredients. My sister liked a particular off-brand of soup more than the mass-market version and found out later that it had MUCH more sugar and salt added. Sugar, salt and fat are often added to products to make them more palatable and they can be used in abundance in discount brands to “fool” us unto thinking that they are tastier than we’d otherwise believe. Where ingredients between brands are comparable, by all means go for whatever taste/cost balance makes sense, but do be careful.

  • Amy says:

    We use shout in our household, but I’ve found another awesome stain remover: M30. I get it at the dollar store and it works great. I had gotten popcorn butter on a light jacket of mine about 3 years ago. The shout wouldn’t take it out. My mom told me about M30 and how she used it on my dad’s greasy work clothes. I tried it last year and popcorn butter stain – GONE! I’ve used it on several things since then and most of the stains are gone! Just thought I’d share :)!

  • Natalie says:

    Oh wow. I got to thinking about, and my gosh I really AM a brand snob!

    Heinz ketchup
    Pantene (good thing there’s lots of coupons / sales)
    Hershey’s syrup
    Campbell’s soup
    Axe body wash (for my husband – and 6 yo lol!)

    But, after several failed attempts on my part the ABSOLUTE, ONE thing I can NEVER compromise on again (or risk a complete veggie boycott) is HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH. Whoa!! Learned my lesson on that one… Yikes. ; )

  • Terri says:

    Dawn and Tide and Tide Stain Release. I love all of these products and only use them. I can always get the Dawn either really cheap or free and the same with Tide, and have so far been able to get the large Tide Stain Release for around $4.00 by stacking store and manufacturer coupons.

  • Nicole S says:

    Bounty and Charmin-we never use any other paper product brands!

  • Ginni says:

    I’m non-negotiable on my dishwashing detergent. I tried a cheap brand and was having to rewash the majority of my dishes. I switched back to Cascade Complete powder and no more rewashing!

  • Susan says:

    We used to always buy Gorton’s or Mrs. Paul’s fishsticks for my son, but when they were all gone one day at Walmart, we bought the store brand (Great Value), and now buy only those – they are much higher quality, and cheaper!

  • Carrie says:

    Tide laundry detergent and bounce fabric softeners. I have extremely sensitive skin. If I use a diffrent detergent I get itchy. Very itchy, and sometimes get a rash

  • Rachel says:

    Gotta be Old Spice deodorant for my husband (the only one he’s found that works for him, and now I’m a sucker for the scent), Dove deodorant for me, and Charmin TP (we find we use much less of it versus the cheaper brands). The only other things are Pace salsa and when we buy soda, it’s gotta be genuine Coca Cola.

  • Tara says:

    I haven’t seen this mentioned yet…feminine products. Tampons, I buy whatever’s on sale, but pads/panitliners, I will only buy Always brand. Also, my kids will only eat Ragu Marinara Sauce and husband will only eat Activia yogurt. Pretty much everything else is fair game.

  • Tara says:

    I just have to say, what’s up with all the husbands being so brand loyal?? Not fair!

  • We are brand snobs at our home about saltine crackers. Only Zesta will do according to my husband. No store brand for us on that one.

    Also, spaghetti sauce you must use Ragu Traditional. Although on that one we are starting towards making our own sauce which is awesomely good!

  • Traci says:

    So funny to read all these comments! It reminds me of my very first attempt at doing my own grocery shopping. I was scrutinizing all the prices – comparing brands, different sizes, etc., to try stock my pantry starting with nothing. I chose a less-expensive brand of peanut butter than what my mom had always bought. It was so bad I couldn’t finish even one sandwich. To this day, I have been a Jif snob!

  • Glenda says:

    Now that I think about it, I’m a brand snob for a number of things–Jif pb, Helman’s lite mayo, 7th Generation detergent, Diet Dr. Pepper, & Claussen Garlic Pickles to name a few. But I buy them on Publix’s BOGO sales and stock up (even more fun if I have a coupon). Great deal ESPECIALLY on that pb!

  • Kathleen Feller says:

    I’m so glad to hear that someone else couldn’t use cloth diapers. My youngest son would break out in a yeast rash everytime I put one on him. It didn’t matter what I did or which ones I used. He is allergic to almost all disposable too. The only brands that don’t give him a rash are 7th Generation, Earth’s Best, Huggies Pure and Natural, and Nature Babycare. Right now 7th Generation is the cheapest so we’re using them.
    We are also brand dependent on laundry detergent and kids bath soap. This is again because of sensitive skin.

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