USE THE UNIT PRICE, NOT THE SALE PRICE, TO FIND THE BEST DEAL
Do not assume that just because something is on sale, it's the cheapest product available. I am frequently surprised to see smart, normally savvy people make the mistake of thinking that SALE always means a bargain.
Often that's not the case at all.
It is actually fairly typical for a store or generic brand to be cheaper at its regular price than many name brands are at their sale prices. Don't be misled by "sale" signs or marketing when trying to judge the best purchase price.
And the same goes for coupons, by the way. Most name brand items are still more expensive, even with a coupon, than regularly priced generic or store brands.
So, be sure to check the unit price labels to see which product is actually the best deal.
And if your store does not offer unit price labels, calculate it yourself. Just take the price of the product and divide it by the number of units of measure it contains (ounces, pounds, pints, quarts, etc.).
Do that with each item you're considering, and you'll see which one is actually the best value for the money.
BUY GENERIC OR STORE BRANDS
Let me stress the importance of avoiding brand loyalty or developing expensive tastes.
If you're serious about staying on a budget, you must turn a deaf ear to marketing campaigns or peer pressure. Companies have big budgets dedicated to trying to separate you from your money.
Maintain your savvy budget consciousness and don't be taken in or led astray by slick advertising. Stay focused on your bottom line and value shopping, using the unit pricing strategy I mentioned above, and you'll find that there are often some serious bargains presented by store and/or generic brand products.
I have found that most of these products are excellent and can represent major savings over brand names.