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15 Products You Should Always Buy Generic

MissesSunshine profile picture
February 05, 2016 · 5k Views

Budgeting is always a battle. You give a little here and take a little there to perform life’s toughest balancing act. This month, you might pass on eating out weekly in order to afford a Valentine’s Day gift.

More often than not, consumers experience this pinch when they go grocery shopping. With many brands to choose from at different prices, some will opt for saving a few dollars here and there by purchasing 'generic' or store brand products. These products are usually on the cheaper end of the spectrum and there are a few that continue to match the quality their name brand counterparts.

So, here are the items that you should always buy generic if you are looking to save some extra money:

1. Over-The-Counter Medication

You probably see these quite often as every drugstore has their own brand of pain relievers, cold, and allergy medicines. If you've ever been unsure of the safety or effectiveness of store brand medicines, don't fret. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all medications and ensures that the active ingredients are the same across the board. The reason for costing less is likely due to the fact that drugstores don't have to pay for any marketing or research costs that these types of products would usually incur. That being said, it's always smart to talk with your doctor before switching any medications.

2. Pantry Staples

Sugar, flour, corn starch, baking soda, spices, seasonings and all of the other one ingredient staples are in the clear. You can't really go wrong with these, as they are almost always exactly the same, besides any differences in the production process.

3. Paper Products

Not all paper products are made equal, but there are some paper products that are easy to switch out for store brand. These include paper plates, napkins and even paper towels. They are just going to end up in the garbage, anyways, so why spend extra money for fancy designs? 


4. Cereals

Brand name cereals are known for agressive marketing tactics. Most of the time, that's mostly what you'll be paying for, too. Store brand cereals can give you around twice as much for a cheaper price, and many agree that they taste the same- if not better in most cases. This includes hot cerals too!

5. Laundry Detergent

I've never had a complaint about clothes not being clean enough when using store brand laundry detergent. The only difference is that store brand laundry detergent doesn't have as strong scent.

6. Fruit Produce

Instead of looking for the recognizable sticker, focus on the smell and the feel of the fruit. Brand-less or store brand fruit is more likely to be grown locally, anyways.

7. Gift Wrap

Always head to Dollar General for this purchase. Besides, the wrapping paper gets ripped off and all that really matters is what's inside. 

8. Cleaning products

Everyday cleaning products can easily be swapped out for store brand. You can find a generic version of just about any everyday cleaning product, and the ingredients are pretty much the same as their brand named counterparts.

9. Sunscreen

As long as the SPF is the same, and it reads 'broad spectrum' to protect against both UVA and UVB radation, go for it!

10. School & Office Supplies

Most of the time, you can just head over to the dollar store for things like pens, pencils, paper, staples, etc. Or if you are shopping at Office Depot, they even have their own private brand of just about everything from basic supplies to networking and cables.

11. HDMI Cables

You'd be surprised to see the markups on some brand name HDMI cables. Go for the store brand one, they get the job done just the same and will likely save you up to $10 or even more. For example, Office Depot sells their private brand HDMI cable for $14.99, while the brand name cables start at $22.

12. Clothing for Infants

Don't waste your money on buying expensive brand name clothes for your little one who will grow out of them as quickly as you can buy them. Ask other new parents for hand-me-downs, or buy clothes from stores like Target or Walmart.

13. Bottled Water

It's all drinkable and it's all water. Instead of paying extra for fancy labels, stick to store brand. That is, if you MUST buy bottled water. Tap water is always the better option.

14. Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Brand

This brand in particular is almost always marked at a lower price. And from my own experiences, the products always taste just as good as the more expensive brands sold at Whole Foods. Sticking to the store brand can save you a ton of money if you shop here often. Best of all, Whole Foods 365 products are either organic, natural, and in some cases even Non-GMO. The line is so respected and well-liked that Whole Foods plans to open a smaller marketplace called 365 by Whole Foods Market.

15. Anything Costco Kirkland Brand

Similar to the Whole Foods store brand, Costco's store brand is very popular among those who are familiar with it. They make everything from clothing to peanuts. Rumor has it that the Kirkland Brand repackages existing brands and labels them as premium. Many critics believe Kirkland vodka is actually made by Grey Goose. In either case, taste tests can't differentiate the quality between the two.


Now, go forth and save!

MissesSunshine profile picture
I'm Florida native who relocated to California in 2014. When I am not exploring the beautiful scenery of the West Coast, I enjoy seeing live music of all types, doing acrobatic yoga, and helping others save money!