“I tricked my daughter into downshifting”

For years, I’ve banged on about the Downshift Challenge – trying one brand level lower of everything you buy to see if you can tell the difference. If you can’t, then you stick with the cheaper version.

One of the most powerful areas for this is in non-food items like cleaning products, shampoos, bath products, etc. After all, you’re not tasting them.

Yet whenever I’ve done programmes on this, it’s always been the teens who object the most – after all, branding is always boosted by peer pressure. 

So I love the email and photo Nicola W just sent me (she’s given permission for me to reproduce it).

My 16-year-old daughter insists I buy her Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner.

"The last two times she needed new ones, I bought Morrisons own brand at a fraction of the cost and refilled her bottles. Has she noticed? Not a chance."

"I tricked my daughter into downshifting"

"I tricked my daughter into downshifting"

Update: I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and reading the feedback, which suggests many people do this. In which case, is it not worth revealing this to your kids? Explaining they didn’t notice the difference and talking through branding with them?

You could explain how one reason branded goods are more expensive, is because of the huge promotion and cost of brand-building. Teach kids to be independent-minded in their purchases and test them to do this, rather than believing the hype. This way, hopefully you get to keep saving money, but also give a valuable bit of financial education.