15 June 2012

Guerrilla Shopping - Part 3: Go Generics!

Be brave, don't be afraid to try new brands, even if they are generic!

I will confess to being a bit of a brand snob - for the things that matter to me.

And I struggled a little when Aldi first opened, then again with Costco, because I didn't recognise the brands.  But when you are shopping on a tight budget you can't afford to not try something to find out if it is going to meet up to your standards and save you some money.

Let's face it: sugar is sugar, flour is flour. For these basics I haven't noticed a difference in anything but the price. Try it, if you don't like the product you don't have to keep on buying it. But if generic white vinegar is $1.09 for 2 litres and the brand name is $1.89 for 2 litres you'd be nuts to be paying the extra 80 cents just for a fancier name on the bottle.

Yes, brand matters - sometimes. I have a brand of coffee that I will not budge on. I have tried others and I don't like them and frankly life is just too short to drink lousy coffee and be miserable. I stock up when it's on sale (coffee has a few sheets in my pricebook) so I never pay full price for it. And every morning as I take that first sip, I smile, knowing I have my favourite brew at a budget price.

It is totally OK to have a couple of favourite brands that you stick with. Savvy Cheapskaters know how to get them at rock bottom prices. But for everything else, don't be brand loyal.

Keep an open mind when it comes to brands and you'll save money.


  1. Of course, some people have no room to move financially and must buy the cheapest of everything but for everyone else there are other things to consider. Supermarkets' own brands are taking up more shelf space and squeezing our farmers and manufacturers (see Fight Back website or free publication distributed at IGA). Generic brands invariably come from overseas, again threatening the livelihood of workers in local industries. The Commonwealth government regularly publishes a list of foods from overseas that contain chemicals not permitted in goods produced in Australia - items, such as rice, garlic and prawns, which may be cheaper to buy but not good for our health. I do quite often buy a brand name,especially for products made in Australia, because in doing so I am contributing to keeping struggling manufacturing and primary industries alive.

  2. If you are really concerned about helping Australian farmers and manufacturers then you need to buy Australian owned. Made in Australia is nice, but often the companies are foreign owned and the profits go out of the country.

    As to the safety of our food supply - the only way to be absolutely sure that what you eat is safe is to grown your own food - including meat, poultry, fish and grains - and then process it as you need it.

    1. Yes, well, I think this is the absolute purist position and in reality we all compromise. I agree about Australian owned compared with Australian made, nonetheless if the goods are produced here it means jobs for locals, even though profits go overseas.It's all a matter of degrees, we grow the produce we can in our urban plot and we are living in a global economy. I greatly appreciate the information received each day from Cheapskates. Thank you for all your hard work.

  3. For pantry staples check out http://www.onlyoz.com.au/

    For frit and veg, if you can't grow your own find a farmer's market, at least then you know the money is going to an Australian farmer, you're getting fresh in season produce, and usually cheaper and tastes better than the supermarkets

    Meat, well I have no intenton of raising beef cattle or breeding sheep on my suburban block so the butcher will have to do. You can buy in bulk and save money using a meat wholesaler, just look into if they are an Australian owned company if it's a deciding factor for you.

    When we were on 2 incomes I would actively seek out the Australian made and owned products but have had to compromise on some items.

    As for the original blog post, I do the bulk of our shopping at Aldi for the cost, but have a few select things that we get from Coles because we just don't like the Aldi version and it's better for us to spend a few extra cents and use the product than go the cheaper route and having the product sit there unused, or worse go bad and have to throw it out


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