I recently bought a personal hygiene item that I hadn’t needed for a while (I don’t want to get into TMI territory here), and it got me thinking about brand loyalty because it looked a little different (we’ll call this brand “Brand A”). I’m sure the manufacturer would call it “new and improved,” but it was enough of a difference to make me think about how long I’d been using Brand A – 15 years – and why I was so loyal to it. Fifteen years ago, I’d tried the different brands’ version of this item and liked Brand A the best. And I’ve been using it ever since. I’ve always been happy with it and I have been so convinced that it’s superior that I’ve never considered even trying a different brand to see if they’ve caught up. I always clip the coupon for Brand A when I see it in the Sunday paper and I always try to combine a coupon and sale for the best price. But there have been a few occasions when I’ve run out of Brand A and had to buy the product at full price.
How much has this cost over the years? Well, Amazon’s price for Brand A’s version of the item in question is almost 33% more than its price for Brand B’s version. So I’ve possibly spent 33% more than I’ve needed to over the last 15 years simply because of brand loyalty.
To put things in perspective, this is not an item that puts a noticeable dent in my budget. But this experience has been an eye opener for me. You can bet I’ll be looking for coupons and sales for competing brands’ version of the same item and giving them a try (actually, I’ll look for free samples online first). I’m also going to think about other brand loyalties I have that are causing me to spend more money simply because I’m operating on auto pilot.
What do you buy on auto pilot that you might be able to get for less money if you paid more attention to your spending?