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Jill Cataldo

Jill Cataldo

Have you ever stopped to think about brand loyalty?

Most of us have favorite brands, whether it’s a laundry detergent that smells great, the dish detergent that gets your glasses sparkling clean, or the cereal you enjoy each day while watching the morning news.

However, you may not have considered that your brand loyalty may actually be costing you money.

Nearly everything in the supermarket fluctuates in price. These price fluctuations aren’t random though – they’re often part of a predictable pricing cycle.

At most grocery stores and drugstores, these pricing cycles span a 12-week period.

During that time period, the prices will fluctuate through a range that’s both high and low.

Ideally, we want to purchase that item when its price is at the lowest point in the cycle – that’s our “right time” to buy.

Here’s an example.

A bottle of ketchup may sell for $2.49 one week, but a few weeks later, the same bottle may be on sale for .99.

My goal as a shopper is always to try to cut the price of an item in half, whether that’s by shopping during a sale, using a coupon on the item, or both.

The easiest way to know when it’s the right time to buy is to look at an item’s price tag on the shelf. This is the regular, non-sale price.

In the case of our ketchup example, it’s $2.49. Ideally, we want to pay half that — $1.25 – or less. If I’ve got a .50 coupon from the newspaper, I can use that when the ketchup is $2.49, and I’ll pay $1.99.

However, if I hold onto that coupon and wait until the same bottle goes on sale for .99, I’ll pay .49!

This is an even better deal, because the same coupon, paired with the lowest sale price, yields the deepest savings.

Now, I’m paying just one-fifth of what the ketchup sells for when it’s not on sale.

What does this have to do with brand loyalty?

Well, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that you have one favorite brand of ketchup that you like more than all other brands.

If you will only buy that brand, regardless of price, then you will likely spend more money in the long run versus someone who is willing to bounce between different brands to save even more money.

If you run out of ketchup, and your favorite brand happens to be $2.49 this week, but its competitor is $1.49, of course you would save more by switching brands.

I do understand that not everyone is willing to switch brands to save money, but it’s a solid strategy.

I have long joked that the shelf in my laundry room looks like a cocktail bar of detergents!

I have all kinds of brands, from the low-cost bargain brands to the premium detergents that promise to keep my colors bright and my black clothing dark.

I buy whenever the price of each cycles low and whenever I have coupons. I select my detergent off my laundry room shelf based on what’s going in the machine.

Work or dress outfits may get the quality detergent. Washing garage towels or the dog’s bed? The bargain brands work just fine too.

If you are highly brand-specific, it’s important to pay even closer attention to sales on your favorite brands and items so that you can stock up on them.

As I mentioned before, most supermarkets operate on a 12-week pricing cycle.

If you see the price take a significant dip, you can estimate that it will be another 12 weeks before you see a similar low price in the same range.

So, it’s a good idea to stock up on that item, buying enough to last you until the next 12-week pricing low.

My household uses about one bottle of ketchup each month, so when it goes on sale, I typically buy three – enough to last until the next time I can reasonably expect another low sale price on the same product.

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