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Save Money with Generic Brands & When Spending More is Worth It

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Stephanie MialkiGuest Blogger
July 03, 2016 · 9.3k Views

Most of us have our splurge purchases when it comes to brand-name items, but we tend to opt for generic to save a few pennies at the store. If you’ve done this a few times, you’ve probably found a few generic gems...and a few generic junk pieces too.

It’s true: Not all generic items are created equal to their brand-name counterparts, but some are truly better than others. If you’re looking to cut down on your costs, you can save significantly when you choose off-brand items. And the savings can really add up over time!

Unfortunately, if you opt for generic and get a dud, you may end up rebuying those items more frequently - or rebuying them immediately to replace what you just purchased if it isn’t doing the trick.

Grocery stores are packed full of generic options. From fruits to flours, here are the best times to choose generic -- and the best times to spend a little more for brand-name.


Top 5 Generic Options:

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady 
  1. Applesauce: If you have children, you’re probably in the packaged fruit aisle at every grocery outing. Applesauce is a pantry essential, and you can save significantly with off-brand here. In fact, you’re likely to save on average half of the cost when you choose generic! And here, the healthiest option is the simplest: pureed apples with no sugar added.

  2. Chicken Nuggets: Okay, here we have a case of buying the ‘story’. Typically, cage-free, farm-raised, free-range, white meat nuggets (add any other phrase here -- you get the gist) will run you a heftier price tag than the generic versions. With that being said, if that matters more than the savings, then opt for the brand-name. But if we’re looking at the cost alone, then generic options here can save you significantly with each shopping trip.

  3. Soda: If you don’t find yourself fiercely defending Pepsi or Coke, then you may be satisfied with a generic cola equivalent. They’re substantially cheaper, and for regular soda drinkers, those savings can really add up.

  4. Juice: Fruit juice drinkers rejoice! Juices can rack up quite a cost over time, but generic versions will help to save some change. On average, folks can save ⅓ of the price when they choose generic juices over the brand-name.

  5. Milk and Eggs: These two refrigerator staples are some of the biggest money-savers when you’re shopping for generics. On average, you can save from ⅓ to ⅔ of the cost! As an added bonus, shopping for these essentials at a discount store like Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's Wholesale can help you buy in bulk if you go through these items quickly - and at even bigger savings.

We love the affordability and quality of the generic brands at Safeway, Ralph'sTarget, and Walmart.


Top 3 Times to Choose Brand-Name:

Source: The Krazy Coupon Lady 
  1. Cheese: This refrigerator essential pops up in most meals of the day, but opting for generic isn’t going to save you too much. Instead, buy in bulk or shop for sales on this one.

  2. Frozen Breads: A waffle is a waffle, right? Some folks may disagree, but choosing generic simply because of savings isn’t likely to save you too much at the register. Instead, consider brand-name for frozen bread items like waffles, Texas toast, and the like.

  3. Ketchup: If you’re at all picky about taste, then off-brand ketchups can be a waste of money. Here, most of us have become accustomed to a certain flavor, and anything other than brand-name tends to turn up noses. It’s probably best to splurge on brand-name with condiments like these.


Aside from these recommendations, you’ll also want to take into account your preferences. Sometimes, we just have our brand-name favorites where nothing else will do. Try to pare down your must-have brand-name items to 3 or less, and opt for generic with the others.

At the same time, you’ll never know you like the generic unless you try! The best part here is that they’re cost-savers, and if you don’t like them, then you can easily go back to brand on your next shopping trip. Who knows - You may find some hidden gems in the generic section.


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Stephanie Mialki is a mommy of two under two, a fitness enthusiast, and a digital marketing guru. She spends all of her spare time….oh wait, what spare time? She has a passion for business building and has successfully assisted more than 20 entrepreneurs start their own companies.

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