Before I started using coupons, I thought that a good way to save money was to always buy the off-brand product. Whether I was reaching for peanut butter, cereal, toilet paper, garbage bags or cleaning products, I bought the generic brand and congratulated myself on saving money. By using coupons, I started saving enough money that I could buy “brand name” groceries and household supplies.

After a while, I started to realize specific differences between products and their name brand equivalents. For lots and lots of products that I use every day, I don’t really see a difference. When I can’t get the item on sale, I buy the off brand and feel confident that I’m getting a good product. But for other products, I realized that the quality was significantly lower, which caused me to use more of the product. In my family, the two biggest offenders were coffee and toilet paper. To compensate for the lower quality, we ended up using a lot more generic coffee per pot and a lot more generic toilet paper per … you get the idea.

When I’m comparing prices, I take this fact into account. Pay attention to how you’re using your household products and use coupons to experiment with new brands. By doing so, youou can make smarter purchases for your home, which is a huge money saver.