brand loyalty

As my readers know, I believe in stockpiling to save money.

When products hit rock bottom prices, I am there with coupons in hand to purchase months or even a year’s worth. In fact, I have recently scored 4 bottles of Purex liquid detergent (a year’s worth of laundry for us) for just $1.46 in total! When I was at the grocery store the other day, I priced same-sized bottles and found the following: Tide $8.23 per bottle and All $5.32 per bottle.

Depending on which brand I would have bought over the course of this upcoming year, I saved myself $19.82 – $31.46 (and that is just on one household product!). Would I have preferred to purchase either Tide or All Detergent, money aside? Well, sure.

But in my experience Purex detergent does the same job for a fraction of the cost, and now I have an extra $20-$30 to spend on something that I want versus something that I don’t care about.

Look at the End Result

I have very few products that I am brand loyal to mainly because I typically look at the end result that is offered by products. For example, I need dish soap that cleans dishes, I need ibuprofen to relieve body ache, and I need toothpaste to clean my teeth. Does the product need to whisk me away to a tropical island with its scent, or have micro-bursts of cleaners such that I should question whether or not I even need to clean in the future? No; I just need the product to work. Typically most of the products on the store shelves—no matter how expensive or cheap—will result in what they are supposed to do. Because of this, I will flop between most brands depending on what I can find cheaply.

Flop Around for a Bargain

The stores reward (usually unknowingly) people who are not brand loyal. First of all, many stores have now come up with their own private labels that sit side-by-side with major manufacturer labels. If you look at the ingredients, chances are, they are identical or close to it. The only difference seems to be the price. The only downside to private store labels? You can rarely use coupons with these. If I pair a sale with a coupon, generally I can get a manufacturer’s product cheaper than the private label product, and so I mainly choose brand names. Just not the same ones…

Also, I have discussed before the 12-week sales cycle that products are on. If Tide is on sale one week, chances are that it will not be on sale again for at least another 12 weeks at the same store. But you know what will be on sale next week? Perhaps All detergent, or Purex, or Gain, and maybe the sale during the next week will be much better than the sale for Tide. If you choose to be brand loyal and frugal, it means you need to plan things out more in advance in order to reap the same cost savings as frugal people who are less brand loyal.

Superior Products

There are products out there that are superior to competitors, and therefore a higher price or brand loyalty is justified. Honestly, if a product can convince me of its extra benefits, then chances are good that I will become brand loyal (well, I should add the caveat that it has extra benefits and those extra benefits generally will have to save me money down the road). Examples include a battery that lasts longer than others or a pair of sneakers/ tires that will give me more mileage. However, like I discussed in my previous article about marketing, many products tout benefits that they just cannot deliver on in order to charge consumers extra money. Examples of this include receiving more kisses (‘Every Kiss Begins with Kay’), discovering your inner beauty (Dove), and getting women (Budweiser, Axe, etc.).

It seems to me that people become more brand loyal as they age, which makes sense, as people will have tried out many brands and settled on their favorites over the years. I have also thought that perhaps it is because people generally earn more money as they age, and so they are not as cost-conscious. For now, at the age of 27, I have very few brands that I will purchase no matter what the cost because I simply have more important things to accomplish with my money.

Tune in tomorrow for my short list of brands I am loyal to (more like products of specific brands that I am loyal to). I’d love for you to share the brands/products that you are loyal to!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
2 replies
  1. Amanda L. Grossman says:

    Hello Mary Ann!

    Thanks for your comments. I remember hearing once the answer to the question of “why do towels get stinky if you only use them to dry you off once you are clean?” The answer was that our dead skin cells come off with the water! Makes sense, but I had often wondered the same thing myself.

    Have a great day!

  2. Mary Ann says:

    Great post. I really enjoy your blog. I tend to consult Consumer Reports for product reviews to find out which brands come out on top. I’m pretty brand loyal to Tide for clothing, but I’ll use whatever is cheapest for towels. I figure that towels usually only get wet, not dirty, drying off clean bodies, so high-powered stain relief doesn’t matter with towels. But it does matter for visible dirt/stains on clothing.


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