Old habits are hard to break.
Especially money habits.
Some money habits might keep you frugal. For example, being broke for years has me in the habit of thrift-store shopping for clothes.
Even as my income has grown, I still seriously contemplate whether to buy a pair of jeans for more than $10.
But some habits might actually be costing you money.
You might be stuck in a rut, going to the same grocery store without comparing prices, or defaulting to popular brands because you don’t know any other options.
We want to pull you out of that rut.
Here are alternatives you might not even realize are cheaper than seven popular brands:
1. Workout Wear
High Times Pant from Lululemon: $98
Brogan Legging from Fabletics: $79.95 ($49.95 for VIP members)
Lululemon is notorious for its $100 yoga pants.
Sure, they make your butt look great — but they’re not so flattering on your wallet.
Launched last year by actress Kate Hudson, Fabletics may be the next big thing in athletic wear.
Fabletics makes clothes you can wear from the gym, to the store and back home for lounging with the kids. It’s meeting increased demand for athletic wear that’s not only practical, but also super cute.
And it’s on a mission to do so at an accessible price.
Register here by taking their Fit Quiz to receive customized outfit recommendations from Fabletics style experts, based on your workout needs and fashion trends.
And if you register as a VIP member, you’ll get your first outfit for under $25, and an exclusive discount on all products.
As a VIP member, you’ll pay $49.95 each month, which becomes a store credit you can use toward future purchases on the site (orders of $49.95+). You can skip any month you want.
So you stay registered, pay towards store credit when you want and get a VIP discount on everything you buy.
2. Organic Food
KIND Bar Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, 12 count at Whole Foods: $19.99
KIND Bar Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt, 12 count at Thrive Market: $15.99
If “organics” top your grocery list, “affordable” may not be your highest priority.
But, come on — you can do better than Whole Foods!
The grocer may be easy to love for its selection of craft cheeses, organic produce and more olives than you knew existed. But their prices are tough to love.
A one-year membership is $59.95. That breaks down to less than $5 a month, so it doesn’t eat away at your savings.
And this isn’t a subscription to a box of random stuff each month.
You do your own shopping, so you get to choose what you want and have access to a lot of hard-to-find organics for way cheaper than specialty stores like Whole Foods.
Marketside 5-ounce spring mix at Walmart: $2.98
Little Salad Bar 5-ounce spring mix at Aldi: $1.49
Boca Original 4-pack veggie burgers at Walmart: $3.22
Season’s Choice 4-pack veggie burgers at Aldi: $2.49
When you’re looking for low prices, Walmart is probably comes to mind.
Walmart does beat competitors in most categories, and even a lot of other grocery stores in price.
Aldi’s uniquely-efficient, no-frills grocery stores usually offer what you’re looking for at prices even Walmart can’t beat.
You won’t have the convenience of knocking out your pharmacy, clothing, home furnishings, office supplies and new iPhone purchases along with your groceries like you could at Walmart.
But Aldi’s low prices make an extra stop worth it.
4. Baby Stuff
Delta Children Bennington 4-in-1 crib at Babies’R’Us: $279.99
Delta Children Haven 4-in-1 crib at Target: $199.99
You’ll find a range of offers for baby at both Target and Babies’R’Us.
While Target generally beats Babies’R’Us on price, there’s actually a better reason to go with Target.
Target will reward you for creating your baby registry with them.
When you set up your gift registry, Target will give you a gift bag loaded with free samples and coupons.
And it’s not just junk. It’s real stuff you and your baby can use!
Included among $60 in free samples and coupons are items like a MAM pacifier ($5.99 at Babies’R’Us) and a Philips Avent natural bottle ($10.99 at Babies’R’Us).
You’ll also get sample packs of free diapers, wipes, vitamins, diaper cream and more.
Vogue black square-frame glasses at Lenscrafters: $119 + cost of lenses
Muse Funk black square-frame glasses at GlassesUSA: $89, lenses included
We aren’t too subtle around here about how badly our boss needs glasses.
You can probably also guess “The Penny Hoarder” doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on this necessity.
We like Glasses USA because they tend to have frames of equal or better quality than those sold in stores like Lenscrafters — at a steep discount.
And for those of you who don’t enjoy the shopping part of shopping, buying glasses online offers additional perks.
There’s no pressure from a salesperson trailing you around the store.
Virtual try-ons help you see what the glasses will look like on your face — without taking off your old glasses (and prescription lenses)!
An online “storefront” has unlimited space, so you can browse a wider selection of frames than you might see in a little mall store.
Did we mention price?
A pair of glasses from Glasses USA — lenses included — can save you up to 70% off other retail stores.
Gillette Venus Swirl women’s razor with two blade refills from Walgreen’s: $14.49
Dollar Shave Club membership, with one handle + five blade refills: $3-$9
Don’t buy your razors at the pharmacy.
Have you heard of Dollar Shave Club yet? Do you know it’s not only for men?
Okay, now you’re up to speed for watercooler chat. Here are the details:
Subscribe to DSC and you’ll get one free handle to start, plus an automatic monthly shipment of five refill blade cartridges
The basic shaver costs $3 a month.
Three dollars a month! That’s $1 + $2 for shipping.
Upgrade to The 4X or The Executive shavers for $6 or $9 per month, respectively, for a better shave.
I’ve been subscribed to the basic razor for about two years, and I love it.
I would never spend the money, time or mental energy remembering to buy a fresh razor every week at the pharmacy.
This subscription service takes care of the remembering for me, and it’s cheaper than in stores.
7. Party Supplies
20-count Paper Plates at Party City: $4.99 ($0.25 per plate)
18-count Paper Plates at Dollar General: $2 ($0.11 per plate)
48-count White Plastic Forks at Party City: $4.99
48-count White Plastic Forks at Dollar General: $1
For some things, you’re better off shopping at the dollar store.
Party supplies are a perfect example.
These are usually one-time-use items you don’t want to keep around the house after the party. So why spend a lot?
Party supply stores are tempting for holiday decorations, and all the little stuff you need to perk up a space for a celebration.
But you can usually find the same items a lot cheaper at a dollar store.
Things like paper plates and plastic utensils are virtually the same product at either store, too. You won’t sacrifice quality (or look cheap) saving money.
Your Turn: What brands do you find yourself turning to without thinking about alternatives?
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Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more.