Nov 18, 2008

Why buy the store brand when you can get a name brand for free?

Free Money Finance wrote today about Americans finally "getting a clue" that store brands are generally as good as name brands, and a lot cheaper to boot. The example given was of a woman who bought the CVS brand of facial scrub instead of the name brand, and was pleasantly surprised that she couldn't tell the difference.

Now I know those of you who also play The Drugstore Game are probably laughing, just like I was. Because what the woman doesn't realize is that she could be getting the name brand version for free. Especially since she's shopping at CVS, where a combination of coupons and ECBs gets me almost all of my toiletries for free. In fact, the only toiletry I haven't been able to find for free in the last three months is Dove body wash (my preferred shower soap because I know it won't irritate my pemphigoid gestationis-afflicted skin). And even then I paid at most $3 for two bottles at Rite Aid after the sale price and coupons.

I certainly have nothing against store brands, and there are many store brand items throughout my house. And other than toilet paper and paper towels, I think I've found every generic item I've tried to be acceptable, at least for the price.

But just because something is generic does not mean it's the cheapest. This is especially true if you play The Drugstore Game. If your goal is to save money and spend less, then you should always make the most of the resources available to you, including coupons, sales, store rewards programs, and your calculator. (Why do you need your calculator? For your price book.)

What's the best or favorite thing that you've gotten for free in The Drugstore Game?


Anonymous said...

My best free drugstore game items have been high quality razors. Before I discovered the art of the coupon deal I bought the cheap one that cut and burn. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! This has convinced several of my friends that coupons are worth a go - I will NEVER go back to cheap razors and with the drugstore game I won't have to.

Tara said...

I also love the razors, and the Johnson's buddy soaps!

Anonymous said...

My best stuff that I got for free is the time I got 4 glade candles, 4 glade glass scents and a box of efferdent for TOTALLY FREE.

The post will be coming out on my blog later this week. I love CVS.

Anonymous said...

I have gotten so much free stuff in the year or so I've been doing the drugstore game that I don't know if I could pick a favorite. I love the convenience of having a stash of free stuff in the basement. If, for example, my husband runs out of deodorant, he can just go to the "store" in the basement and grab a new one. I get higher quality items than I would often pay for, and I rarely run out. Plus, I have lots of fun doing it.


Jennifer said...

But for people not willing to spend the time and mental energy on coupons and sales and matching the 2 up, the store brand is usually cheaper. I prefer name brand free though.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Jennifer - That's a great point, and you're absolutely right. I was just trying to make the point that if your goal is to save the most money (and it seems people are really looking to do that these days), then there are better ways than just blindly buying generic! Of course, like you, I prefer name brand for free so I'm a little biased ;)