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July 15, 2009


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Not only do you save money, but in many cases the Kirkland brand is actually better than the name brand. Kirkland brand laundry and dish soap, coffee, butter and when available the seasonal beers are all top notch. I have yet to find a case where the Costco brand was of substantially less quality than the name brand.

The Kirkland brand is very good and we've been pleased with the products. The only exception being the dishwashing detergent which left a film on our dishes. We returned it for a full refund and now use Cascade. It costs more but does the best cleaning of any detergent out there.

I agree 141%.

With most products, I don't see a drop off in quality. In fact, many times generic re manufactured by the name brand companies...they cost less because there is less packaging and marketing on the generic versions.

I am not name brand exclusive but sometimes they are better than the store brand. Just recently bought some store brand ziploc bags with the slider. They are the worse things ever because when you use the slider it doesn't close the bag correctly and they are always popping open.

Of course it may pays to *try* store brands, but switching permanently? It depends! Some store brands are great (Target's Market Pantry frozen dinners for example).

But many store brands are just awful. Buying cheap junk doesn't save anything no matter how cheap it is!

My list of pet peeve cheap store brands that aren't worth it:
- canned veggies (beans, corn) that contain very poor quality produce (beans that aren't trimmed and/or are covered with black spots, corn kernels with parts of the cob still on them--yuck!).
- chicken nuggets that are apparently made of the worst parts of the chicken, containing gristle and unidentifiable stuff (feet?).
- crackers that turn out to be stale, soggy, tasteless or tough.
- oreo-type cookies: sorry, the frosting on the imitations is awful! We don't eat many--so we eat the original yummy cookies only.
- ersatz ziplock bags: I agree with YeaYuh--they mostly don't zip completely, they're hard to seal, and/or they open and tear along the top mostly when you don't want them to. Same for kitchen garbage bags---cheap and low quality are worse than worthless!
- plastic wrap that doesn't seal, that melts onto your food in the microwave, or that splits if you try to stretch it over a dish.
- facial tissues that are so rough they shred your nose and that fall apart if you breathe on them.
- No name window cleaner: Guess what? It's cheaper because it's diluted relative to Windex! But you have to use twice as much to actually clean anything, so it doesn't really save you anything.
- Any cleaning product sold in a can or a bottle with a sprayer--it pays to buy the expensive stuff so the spray mechanism doesn't break before the product is used up.
- breakfast cereal sold in bags: If it's not stale the day you open the bag (which it usually is), it sure will be by the time you finally finish it months from now!

I agree with MC 100% that no store brand will effectively replace Oreos. Some foods just aren't going to be as good as brand name versions.

I think over the counter drugs are the best bet for store brands. 200mg of aspirin is 200mg of aspirin as far as I'm concerned.

Reminds me of a case I once read. Duracell was trying to defend its status as a premium brand, but many of the "private label" batteries were manufactured in the same factory, on the same equipment, and to the same specifications as duracell.

Since then, I've always stuck with Kirkland batteries!

And how much would those name brands cost had they been purchased on sale and with coupons?
I do buy store brands, and I even have a Costco membership, but I'm selective about what I buy -- when I've just paid $4.50 for 6 boxes of cereal at the supermarket(using sale/coupon,) paying almost $8 for the same amount of cereal at the warehouse store doesn't appeal.
To me, buying store brands is just one tool to use in keeping my costs down.

Kirkland brand water tastes terrible. Poland Spring is MUCH better.

Kirkland (and often other store brand) stuff is awesome. However, with coupons and such, you can often get name brands for much less and sometimes even free. And, of course, there are things that I just don't buy the store brand of because it's just not as good.

Kirkland coffee beat a lot of the national brands in a taste test. It is the only coffee I use! When at Costco, I always double check the national brand with coupon (from Costco) compared to the Kirkland brand. Most of the time, it is still cheaper to buy the Kirkland brand. Most of Kirkland brand products are produced by the national brand, so you are getting the same product.

As usual, price comparison is the way to go. I do the coupons, but there are some things that just aren't the value compared to buying it in bulk at Costco!

We shop at Costco about once/month. To start with they have the lowest price on gasoline in our area, plus by using Costco's American Express card we also save another 3%. The card also saves us 3% in restaurants, 2% on Travel, and 1% on everything else. We always buy the Kirkland brand wherever possible. Does it really matter what kind of toilet paper or tissues that one uses? The Kirkland brands of vitamins and nutritional supplements are also the equivalent of the name brands but are much cheaper. We have also found a fantastic French style bread at Costco with a wonderful crust and whole cloves of garlic baked inside. They also bake Noah's Bagels on the premises. If you have never tasted a perfectly ripe, home grown, Black Krim or Brandywine heirloom tomato, on a toasted Noah's cheese bagel you have no idea what a flavor treat you have been missing.

With a very high net worth and high six figure retirement income we don't need to be frugal, but being frugal helped us become wealthy and now it's part of our DNA. This may be hard to believe but we actually prefer the Charles Shaw wines from Trader Joe's that are $1.99/bottle. Their Chardonnay has a nice fresh, crisp flavor and is our house wine and we like it so much more than those $25+/bottle wines that have been aged in oak barrels and have that heavy oak taste. Unfortunately many people are "Name Brand" SNOBS and buy products to convey the idea to their friends that they are very sophisticated, very wealthy, and have such a fine taste in everything they buy. I guess our primary aberration from frugality is that we both drive Mercedes cars because we have found them to be very reliable and a lot better built and with more safety features than cheaper, lighter brands. Two areas where we don't compromise are safety and healthcare.

I have a Costco membership, but I barely use it anymore. I retrained myself to use coupons and price-match all of the local grocery ads to Wal-Mart Supercenter. It saves me time and money, and I get to buy tons of brand items because they are cheaper with coupons than the store brand.

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