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Loyal to brand name products? It might be time to make a change

Being loyal to a brand name can make your taste buds happy, but can be more costly. It’s worth it to compare prices, even when you have a coupon, because some store brands are made by the same companies that make name brands. In this 2011 file photo, Evan Olmstead, 2, looks at Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal at Piazza's grocery store in Palo Alto, Calif.
Being loyal to a brand name can make your taste buds happy, but can be more costly. It’s worth it to compare prices, even when you have a coupon, because some store brands are made by the same companies that make name brands. In this 2011 file photo, Evan Olmstead, 2, looks at Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal at Piazza's grocery store in Palo Alto, Calif. AP

When using coupons, one major rule to follow is not to be brand loyal. And even if you’re not using coupons, the same may be true.

Some people might tell me that they buy store brands to save money. But a good coupon will save you money on a name brand. So how do you know what to buy? And do you get the same quality on store brands as on name-brand products?

Probably. After all, many national manufacturers also produce “private label” or store-brand products for major grocery chains. When it comes to aluminum foil, spices and frozen vegetables, for instance, it might surprise you to know that Reynolds, McCormick and Birds Eye, respectively, are producing goods for the same stores they sell their brand lines to.

I’ve done plenty of grocery shopping, and I think it’s fair to say you can save money by buying store brand products. So when should one shy away from store brands? When the name-brand product is noted to have a distinct flavor and recipe use.

Another good thing to know: If you try a Kroger store brand and don’t like it, you can return it. Some other larger store chains might have the same offer.

Other savings

▪  College students can score a free six-month Amazon Prime membership. The free membership will give you free two-day shipping on millions of items, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, free unlimited photo storage and exclusive offers and discounts. Even better, through Sept. 14, new Prime Student Members can save $15 off a $40 purchase when you use the promotional code COLLEGEOFFER at checkout.

▪  On Sept. 8 get a free pumpkin spice original glazed donut from Krispy Kreme. This is for one day only from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. while supplies last.

▪  Download or update the Chick-fil-A app and create a Chick-fil-A One Account to get a free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit, egg white grill or hash brown scramble bowl. To grab your free breakfast item, just place a mobile order or head to Chick-fil-A during breakfast hours and scan the “My Card” QR code via the app. This offer ends Sept. 30th at 10:30 a.m. and is limited to one per account.

▪  At Long John Silver’s, get a free platter when you buy one at regular price with this printable coupon. Good through Sept. 8. Check out Long John Silver’s Facebook page for more information.

▪  Get $3 off a $5 or more order at Panda Express. Use promo code SWEET at checkout.

▪  Looking for a fun and free activity for the kids? Head to Toys R Us from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 9 to participate in a free Grandparents Day event. Celebrate with free activities, including crafts and photo opportunities. There will be giveaways and savings.

▪  Free health screens, administered by a professional staff, will be available on Sept. 9 at Sam’s Club. The screenings are as much as a $100 value. Check with your local Sam’s Club for participation. You do not have to be a member to get the health screening.

▪  Sept. 23 is free museum day at participating museums. Check out the websites of museums in your area for this offer. Fill out a form to receive free tickets via email. Present your tickets at the museum to receive your free admission.

▪  Get two free issues of Rachael Ray’s Every Day magazine, courtesy of ValueMags. All you have to do is fill out a short form. No strings attached. You will never receive a bill.

Deborah Morris’ every-other-week column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get more for less. Go to her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.

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