Posts Tagged ‘financially fab’

Why brand names aren’t worth it?

Not worth the brand price

Brand names aren’t worth it if I’m paying for extra bells and whistles that I didn’t want in the first place.

I pay for extra brand names only when the brand adds something that’s necessary to meet my requirements.

For example, I buy store brand canned foods, frozen veggies, laundry detergent, and just about anything else that isn’t important to me.  I could buy Tide detergent. Tide makes a great product. But the cheapest detergent on the shelf also washes my clothes just fine. Why spend more money on Tide if a cheaper product meets my requirements? Why pay more for bells and whistles that don’t matter?

Traveling abroad has made me appreciate fresh produce.  Now, I avoid buying fruits and vegetables from your standard American grocery store because the produce is neither delicious nor fresh.  I usually buy produce from Trader Joe’s, (which has higher quality produce than most grocery stores but lower quality than Whole Foods).  Occasionally, if I want something that isn’t available at Trader Joe’s or the quality there is subpar, I go to Whole Foods. For example, I’ll go to Whole Foods for a good mango. Other groceries stores don’t meet my requirements for a juicy, fresh, delicious mango. Hmmmm.

Delicious mangos worth the extra dollar!

Notice that I don’t go to Whole Foods for all my produce. I know that Whole Foods and farmer’s markets have the best fruits and vegetables available to me.  I don’t need best.  I just want food that meets my taste requirements.

To use a shopping analogy, when I want Macy’s quality produce (Trader Joes), I’m not going to Neiman Marcus (Whole Foods and farmer’s markets) for groceries.

How do you decide when to spend extra on brand names? For which items do you buy the store brand? Or always buy the brand name?

How I stayed at the Hilton in Bali with ocean views and a private beach for free!

Private Hilton Beach in Bali

Traveling is part of the FinanciallyFab lifestyle.  It’s an expensive hobby, but when you’re FinanciallyFab, you can do it on a budget!  In descending order, the 3 largest costs are usually lodging, flights, and food.  The key to traveling in style while cutting costs is managing at least 1 or 2 of these large costs.  For my Asia trip last summer, I cut costs from all 3 buckets and paid $Free.99 for hotels!

Flights – book early, save $100s

  • I bought the flight on 3/14 and departed on 5/17. Notice the dates. By flying after the 14th, I got the 2-month advanced purchase price, saving over $100.
  • I normally book flights 2-3 months in advance.  Flight prices go in waves: booking too early (4+ months) or too late (within 1 month) is usually more expensive.
  • When I travel internationally, I prefer foreign airlines. They are usually cheaper and often have more leg room and better quality food. Don’t be afraid to fly non-Western airlines.  I flew ANA, a Japanese airline and had a blast.  The food was good and the customer service was wonderful!

Hilton Pool in Bali

Lodging – pool resources with friends

Lodging is usually where I save the most cash.  On this trip, I stayed at the Hilton for FREE!

  • Singapore: My friend was living in Singapore as part of a 6-month rotation program with his company, which housed him in a 2-story loft apartment in a fancy downtown hotel!  I stayed with him for free.
    • Benefits: $Free.99 for pool, prime location, breakfast, and house keeping
  • Bali and Malaysia:  I was traveling with four friends and one of them used his hotel points with Hilton to book the rooms.  We stayed at the best hotels in South Bali and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for $Free.99.  🙂
    • Benefits: Private beaches in Bali, free dinner appetizers & wine, free breakfast, gorgeous pools, gyms, internet, and downtown location in Kuala Lumpur

Food – enjoy lower cost of living

  • Since every place we stayed offered free breakfast, I only had to think about 2 meals a day. I bought a few snacks from the grocery store to use for day-time snacking and cut down on lunch costs.  We chose reasonable restaurants for lunch and dinner, splurging occasionally.
  • A fancy meal at the Hilton may cost $75 / person in the US and only $20 in Bali. A key reason I started traveling abroad is that my dollar goes much farther.

You can trim costs traveling anywhere in the world! Let me know where you want to travel in FinanciallyFab style?