According to a recent study by WSL Strategic Retail, 80 per cent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 — referred to en masse as “millennials” — value price over brand when making a purchasing decision. The divorce rate among consumers and brand names is on the rise largely due to the age group’s struggle to make ends meet, with 25 per cent barely able to cover basic needs.Being unencumbered by brand loyalty opens up numerous options to experience other products that are otherwise lost in the mix. However, it’s important to factor in the lifecycle cost of a product before going the super cheap route.
Here are seven ways to divorce those favourite brand names effectively without sacrificing product quality.
1. Compare Ingredients
Generic alternatives to name-brand products and prescriptions are excellent money savers, but only if they offer the same quality as their schmancy counterparts. Be sure to compare ingredient lists side-by-side before purchasing. There are some things you should always buy as generics, so check out this list from MoneyTalksNews for details.
2. Online Price Check
The same WSL Strategic Retail study found 57 per cent of millennials look online for discounts on desired products. Since brand is a non-issue, shoppers who compare online offers from deal sites may find better deals at online-only retailers compared to well-known brick-and-mortar stores. For example, products like batteries can sometimes be found for a better price online, as the up-and-coming BatteryBabe.com will reveal later this year.
3. Drugstore Bennies
Drugstores and grocery stores have great return policies for health and beauty products, making it easy to try less expensive brands with minimal risk. Additionally, you can score great savings on eggs, cereal and other food staples by purchasing them at the drugstore during discount time. Consult this article from Good Morning America for more information.
4. Review Return Policies
Some stores that offer affordable clothes and merchandise may have stricter return policies. For example, Forever 21 offers unbeatable prices on trendy styles sold for triple the cost at department stores. However, their return policy is less-than-stellar and only offers exchanges or store credit.
5. Quality vs. Price
There’s frugal and then there’s cheap — savvy shoppers know the terms are not interchangeable. You may find items for super cheap, but they get more expensive if they fall apart within one use. While this isn’t a big deal for clothes, you likely want some level of quality in cookware, electronics and appliances. In addition to comparing costs, look for user reviews on sites like CNET to determine what you’re willing to sacrifice — or not — for price.
6. Take Care
Even the cheapest items benefit from proper care and will provide you with even more value. Dollar Store decor will benefit from being stored in a dry place and inexpensive clothing will last longer when care instructions are followed closely.
7. Unit Price Rules
Be sure you’re actually paying less for something before grabbing the lowest priced item off the shelf. The unit price dictates how much product you’re getting for the cost, and ultimately defines the best value. For example, a 11 oz. bottle of olive oil priced at $6.99 may seem like the best price at first glance, but if you compare the unit costs between it and the 14 oz. bottle for $7.49, you’ll discover that you’re paying 15 per cent less per ounce by opting for the “pricier” version.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognised consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, Dr. OZ, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.