Splurge or Save?: Saving Money by Shopping

Saving money by shopping? There’s no way! Actually, there really is a way to do it. It’s just by doing simple price comparisons. Everybody knows that name-brand products tend to be better. At least, that’s what we tend to think. In some cases, they’re similar if not exactly the same as house-brand or knockoff items.

Let’s take a quick trip to the grocery store and see what I would save by switching three common household items bought at the grocery store!

Shampoo and Conditioner

Trust me, I completely understand when you say that you absolutely need the more expensive $10 bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Let’s say you like to use Nexxus Therappe Moisture Rebalancing shampoo and Nexxus Youth Renewal Restoring conditioner. Respectively, they are $12.15 and $12.82 at Walmart. When you buy these 13.5 oz bottles together, you’re spending $24.97. Yes, it’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make. But have you tried something less expensive like Suave Professionals? The shampoo and conditioner come in 28 oz bottles and they’re both $2.88 a piece at Walmart.

$24.97 or $5.76? It sounds like a simple choice, right? Of course, it’s not. You have to get over the fact that you really like Nexxus products. However, if it’s money you’re trying to save, Suave and other brands make a lot of great low cost products that are usually just as good as the expensive products. It’s trial and error, but seriously, give it a try sometime!

Total Savings: $19.21
Savings this Trip: $19.21

Garbage Bags

I hate to admit it, but there’s even money to be saved on garbage bags. I’m a sucker for the Glad bags with the fancy scents. They keep the trash smell down to a minimum, they’re strong, and… Well, you get the point. But $8.46 for 40 trash bags might be a little ridiculous when you notice that Walmart’s Great Value brand has 96 odor control bags for $12.52. There’s a huge 8.2¢ per unit difference that help you last a little longer. If they work for you, great! If they don’t, there are still plenty of options. Keep looking!

Glad makes an 80-bag pack for $14.98. Not a big difference, but every little bit helps, right?

Total Savings: $2.46
Savings this Trip: $21.67

Baby Formula

Oh, yes. Every parent knows that if their child is on formula that it’s going to cost a lot of money. Well, if you’re picky, it can be. If you’re okay with house-brand products, I suggest up&up brand at Target. My wife and I used to buy Enfamil in the tub and then buy the refill packs. But that was annoyingly expensive. Sure, Enfamil is a great product. But we don’t have a lot of money and I’m in college. Tubs of Enfamil are 22.2 oz for $25.99, the refill packs have a total of 33.2 oz for $36.99. In total, that’s 55.4 oz for $62.98. It does not have to be this way!

Target’s house-brand, up&up, makes 40 oz tubs of formula and is actually pretty darn good stuff. Especially since it’s a 40 oz tub for $23.49. For less than Enfamil’s purchases, you can buy more for less. The initial purchase of Enfamil is more than $60, sure. But for 6.8 oz less, you’re paying $13.50 more whenever you buy the refill bags. Need I say more?

Total Savings: $13.50
Savings this Trip: $35.17

Big Savings in Little Places

There really are big savings in little places. I only used three examples and saved over $30 in one trip! Even with baby formula, there’s a lot of money to be saved. When you think about it, we buy an average of two tubs of formula each month. If during the first six months, we bought three tubs per month, then two tubs per month for the next six months, that’s a total of 30 tubs during our baby’s first year of life! We could’ve saved $405 this past year and we didn’t even know it! We’ll remember for the next baby!

How much would I have realistically saved in one year? We already know the $405 from the formula. But I would realistically buy that Suave shampoo and conditioner one per month, since my wife would probably use it, too. I would most likely buy the trash bags once every three months. So, in total, we would save $230.52 on shampoo and conditioner, $405 on baby formula, and $9.84 on garbage bags (can’t win them all). In total, this is $645.36 that we would save.

What About You?

What could you do with an extra $600? How much are you saving by using coupons, freebies, and product switches? Comment below with what you do and what you save. Most importantly, be sure to share this will everyone you know who could use an extra $600 in their bank accounts next year.



  1. Hi!
    I’m loving this post, I completely relate to all you’re saying. Personally, I don’t like to spend a lot on individual products any way, but even what I do spend I know I could make savings from simply trying different things, we get so easily stuck into brands which we label as ‘better quality’ but often, it doesn’t make a difference! And even when it does, does it really make enough of a positive difference to our lives that we would sacrifice so much money for it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment! Glad you liked it.

      There’s something I learned about in managerial economics called the “snob effect.” It simply means that there are people who buy something because they think it’s a status symbol to buy expensive items. While this is a small part of it, I think the bigger reason for it is that people think that you get what you pay for.

      This notion is usually true, it’s not always true in the US. In Japan, it’s very safe to assume that this is true 80% of the time.

      I hope this gives a little insight as to why people spend more on products that are priced higher for whatever reason.


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