Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bargain Hunters: Name Brand Discounts

As a Cheapskate, I am not much for name brand items when the generic ones are just as good and cost much less. But there are a few that I am committed to that I just cannot replace with other substitutes, such as Chocolate Chex Cereal, Tillamook Cheddar Cheese, and Tom's of Maine Toothpaste, to name a few. Also, there are some that I am just plain obligated to buy regardless of "wants" such as $50 bags of prescription dog food for my overly sensitive stomached dachshund. She's just lucky we love her as much as we do.

But just because you are willing to spend the extra cash for these few luxuries, doesn't mean you have to. The key to saving money on these name brand splurges is to plan ahead and take stock. Make a list of these special splurges that you like to keep on hand. Take a note of what stores carry these items. Then create a bookmark folder on your internet browser where you can store quicklinks to the online published sale ads for these stores and flag these specialty items when they go on sale. Then it is time to stock up when they are at their best value. For example, this week Science Diet Lite Small Bites Dog Food is on sale at Petco for $8.00 off the regular price. It's still an expensive bag of dog food but why pay the extra $8.00 when you don't have to. Even though we have another several weeks' supply left from our last purchase, I'll be stopping by the pet store this weekend to pick up a another bag before the sale ends.

I also highly recommend that you do this with your medicine cabinet. Whether you go for name brand or not, cold medicines are expensive and they can rack up quite a bit of unexpected costs since no one ever plans to get sick. Last month, Don and I both came down with a nasty cold and spent over $35 in various medicines between sore throat losenges, cough suppressents, and nasal decongestion. What I should have been doing was keeping a simple inventory of our medicine cabinet and as we start to get low on certain supplies, add it to my list of weekly bargains to watch for rather than waiting until we have been claimed by the germ warfare and had no choice but to pay the high costs for immediate relief. After all, one of the fundamental principals of saving money involves planning ahead. The less time you have to purchase something, the more money you are likely to spend as you are more likely to pay extra costs for convenience, won't have time to shop around and compare prices, and may miss out on inopportunely timed discounts.


emilie said...

Cosmetics too! With a FEW recent exceptions (I've tried, but more expensive foundation really does work better for my sensitive skin), I am drugstore devotee for mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and blushes. I've stayed with the same brand of mascara for years, and I always buy it on sale.

Cindy said...

Well, don't leave a girl hanging. What is this favored brand of mascara you speak of, Emilie?