No matter how much money you make, if you’re not careful, you can waste quite a bit of it, especially on name brand items.
It’s no secret that you can save money by opting to buy off-brand items instead of major labels. ClarkDeals.com Managing Editor Charis Brown has been saving money for some time now by choosing lesser-known brands.
“We post all kinds of deals from brands and off-brands over at ClarkDeals.com,” she says.
“Typically you can find off-brand items that will work just fine, but it depends how you’ll be using the item and your preferences.”
For example, Charis says she wouldn’t pay for a Yeti-brand cooler because a $16 Igloo cooler would work just fine for her needs.
“But, outdoor enthusiasts might be willing to pay more for a Yeti-brand cooler because it offers an incredible amount of insulation for several days of camping or boating.”
And, she says although money expert Clark Howard is not a fan of iPhones due to the price, she loves the usability of iOS, ” so I am glad to drop a few hundred on a used model.”
Here are some things you may be wasting your money on
Here are some of items that Charis and her team have identified that you may be spending way too much money on:
1. Name-brand TVs
Charis shares Clark’s sentiment that brand isn’t as big of a deal when it comes to TVs.
“The failure rate regardless of brand is really so low on TVs that I’m really unconvinced that it’s worth spending extra because it says ‘Samsung,’” Clark says.
Charis says ClarkDeals sees many great deals on off-brand TVs from stores like Fry’s Electronics, including a a 50” 4K model for $199 recently!
2. Major brand smartphones
“The biggest considerations when it comes to smartphones are the processing power and memory,” Charis says. “But, you can buy a name-brand refurbished smartphone for hundreds less than a new one.”
EBay is a great place to find used smartphones, she says. “You’ll just want to be sure the seller has a decent return policy and warranty. Clark says the new Moto G7 is a great buy and rivals the features and functionality of the latest Android smartphones.”
3. Big-name computers
“So many people overspend for a computer by overbuying on the features,” Charis says. “If you just need something for web browsing, email, and staying connected on social media, a Chromebook should work just fine. We’ve seen 11.6” 4GB Chromebooks for as low as $120!”
4. Name-brand diapers
Grace Del Rio of Team Clark is a big fan of Kirkland Signature diapers. “They’re not only a great deal but they’re high quality,” she says. “They have all the features Pampers have but with much better quality!”
“Though Kirkland Signature are Costco-brand diapers, this is one instance you’re not exchanging a lower price for a lesser-grade item,” Charis says.
5. Top-brand athletic shoes from traditional retailers
“We see all kinds of deals on athletic shoes from Nike, Asics, New Balance and Puma from $25 to $35 at online sellers like Rakuten and eBay,” Charis says.
“Though traditional retailers may be selling them from $70 to over $100, most of the time you can find a deal on name-brand athletic shoes that could be 50% to 70% less than the sticker price by shopping at stores like these,” she says. “Though name brands tend to be higher quality, you can still find a deal!”
6. Expensive new cars
“Automobiles is definitely an area where Americans overspend,” Charis says. “The average car loan is just under $31,000, making the average payment at $530, according to CNBC.”
“We could get by with a two-year-old used car with similar features for half the price,” she says. “Because car payments tend to eat up so much of a monthly budget, it’s definitely smart to opt to spend less.”
3 steps to not wasting money on brand-name items
So, as you can see, buying name-brand things can bust your budget. Charis says the best way to save is to put together a strategy. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Comparison Shop: Generally, you’re paying too much if you do not comparison shop using a tool like Google Shopping to help you understand how much items are selling for from different stores.
2. Check the price history: You can check the price history of items sold on Amazon.com using Camel Camel Camel, for example. This often gives a good indication of what the price has been at other stores, since Amazon tries to stay competitive — but not always.
3. Use Consumers Reports: If you’re curious how the experts rate the quality of off-brand vs. name brand items, Consumer Reports is a fantastic resource. Especially if you have a big purchase in mind like an appliance or a car, it’s worth it to pay for a month’s access to research the options you’re considering!