Michael Haltman Former fixed income analyst/trader and institutional salesman for some of the largest firms on Wall Street, some of which no longer exist. Was a proprietary equity trader for Opus Trading for fifteen years until opening my own commercial lending firm, and mortgage title insurance firm.
Contribute articles to many publications including Money Crashers, and have had articles picked up by The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times and Houston Chronicle to name a few. Also created and write The Political Commentator which examines the world from the right.
In the current economic environment, with the quoted unemployment rate above 10% and the real unemployment rate closer to 18%, more and more people have either lost their total household income, their spouse’s income or had their income cut down due to reduced hours.
At the same time that income is dropping, expenses either stay the same, or may even increase due to things such as a child heading off to college, unforeseen medical expenses or the need to help a parent as they age.
The question of whether or not it is worth saving the money buying pure generic products at the supermarket or paying more to buy the “name” brands is one that we all struggle with. Still another option is to purchase the store brand, whose price will typically fall somewhere between the other two. What is the answer?
In my house, the responsibility for going to the supermarket falls on my shoulders (my wife gets the laundry), and from growing up the way that I did my bias will typically push me towards the pure generic names. I started slowly by buying the store brands, and then moved to many of the pure generics when I saw the potential savings to my bottom line. On average I will buy some of each type, but the savings are very real.
This past weekend I was in my local appliance store buying a television. When checking out I was asked the question that people are always asked in this situation, but it’s a question that most people don’t typically know how to answer:
Sir (Madame), would you like to buy an extended warranty?
We all know the drill from there. The salesman will tell you that the manufacturers limited warranty is good for one year parts and labor, but that most problems surface after that. You can buy a one, two or three year extended warranty that covers everything including your first born child, and they will come to your house to do the repairs.
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