National Grocery And Food Brands Compared to Store Brands
Comparison of store brands or private labels to name brand supermarket products for taste, quality, expense
Frugal Living Tips
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May 5, 2005 Issue

Cheaper: Insiders' Tips for Saving on Everything by Rick Doble and Tom Philbin OUR NEW BOOK! Just published
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Vol. 11, May 5, 2005

Here is the latest issue. Enjoy.
Editor, Rick Doble

    ABC's 20/20 finds that people are paying extra for nothing
  2. WHAT ABC'S 20/20 FOUND
    Most people cannot tell the difference
    Company lowers my bill from about $70 to $58 with no difference in service
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ABC's 20/20 finds that people are paying extra for nothing

Why would millions of families in the US spend about $1000 a year more for products that are virtually identical to lower priced products? These items are available in the same stores where they always shop, come with the same or better money back guarantee, and take no more time to buy or prepare than the more expensive products.

To make the problem even worse most of these households have crippling credit card debt and virtually no savings. Yet this same $1000 a year invested for forty years at the average stock market return of 9.5% would equal a savings of $406,117.

Readers of my newsletter and web site will already be familiar with the answer to this question, but on April 22, 2005, on the news program 20/20 ABC-TV confirmed most aspects of what we have been saying for about ten years now. They compared eight different products at three different stores. In each case customers taste tested the national brand and the store brand but were not told which was which.

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#2. WHAT ABC'S 20/20 FOUND
Most people cannot tell the difference

What ABC's 20/20 found was that there was virtually no difference between store brand and national brand foods. People believe that there is a difference, but in the blind taste test, most people could not tell. And this included even die-hard name brand fanatics.

We were one of the first publications and web sites to make this a major theme of saving money. ABC also confirmed other aspects of our research: that people tend to favor certain brands because they have been conditioned since childhood to prefer particular products.

This is not to say that there are no differences. In the 20/20 report shoppers were able to tell the difference between two of the eight products they tested, peanut butter and cheese.

The purpose of the email newsletter and web site is to make sure that people get value for their money. If you can tell difference between a name brand product and a store brand and definitely prefer the more expensive product, please by all means buy it. Just don't make the assumption that you are getting a better product because it costs more and has a nationally famous name. Give your food budget the same careful testing that you would give a car before you buy it, because it the end you will spend as much money as you spend for a car.

The price difference is often quite large. ABC found a gap of about 30% more for the national brands that they tested. We have found that when shoppers fill a full cart with store brands vs. national brands the difference is closer to 20%. With an average family food budget of roughly $5,000 a year this equals $1,000 a year.

Yet even the 20/20 report did not point out how much could be saved annually or for retirement. We are not talking peanuts here. As USA Today is pointing out in its on-going "Financial Diet" series that we reported on in the last issue of this newsletter, families in the USA are facing a financial crisis especially when it comes to savings.

Buying store brands is the easiest way to cut expenses with no extra work and no change in your lifestyle. Start you financial diet today, and get into the habit of trying a store brand each time you go to the supermarket. It you don't like it, get a refund on your next trip back to that store. After a year the savings will be dramatic.

See our list of ways to cut your budget with no extra work or change in lifestyle
Cut budget 5000 dollars a year

Company lowers my bill from about $70 to $58 with no difference in service

My cable bill has been slowly creeping up. It started out at about $20 ten years ago and is now up to about $70. Yes, I am getting digital service and a lot more channels, but many of the channels show the same programs and the same movies so that the illusion of 100+ channels is just that, a myth.

Finally I called my cable company and asked if there was any cheaper service. I asked if I could drop some channels since I pay for lots that I do not watch but that come as a package. I kept asking the worker at the cable office if there was not an alternative. Finally out of the blue, she said that they had a lower priced program with no change in service. It was good for eighteen months. Right there she dropped the price from about $70 to about $58. (Annual savings = about $144.)

She must have read my mind, because my next call was going to be to a satellite provider. Yet the cable company dropped the price just enough that it would not be worth it to me to go through the hassle of making the change to satellite.

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