Does it Pay to Buy Generic?
Whether you call them generics, store brands or house brands, buying “no name” grocery, household and health & beauty products can help you save and stick to your budget. But it can be confusing to know when to cut ties with your old familiar favorite brands and try their generic counterparts. We’ve put together a list of generic products that are definitely worth trying:
Dairy Products – Milk, butter, cheese and yogurt are all staple items in many refrigerators, and guess what? There’s no reason to buy the most expensive versions. Milk tastes like milk and butter tastes like butter no matter the name on the package. Cheese and yogurt will have some taste and texture differences, but it’s worth a little trial and error to see if you can find generic versions that match up to your favorites and cost less.
Pantry Staples – Keeping a stocked pantry is a great way to save on food costs. Stocking that pantry with no-name pantry staples will help you save even more. Things like flour, sugar, oats, cornstarch, baking soda, vinegar, and basic spices are all perfect items to buy generic. Just remember to store them in airtight containers marked with expiration dates to ensure they stay fresh and tasty.
Paper Towels, Toilet Paper & Facial Tissue – The commercials will have you believe otherwise, but most paper products perform similarly in terms of absorption. The biggest difference you’ll notice is the degree of softness. So if you’re in the middle of a cold or a bout of allergies, consider sticking with the softer choice, otherwise, save some money and go generic.
Over-the-Counter Medications – Those brand-name pain relievers or allergy pills cost so much more, they have to work better, right? Nope. With over-the-counter meds, the much higher price is directly related to their marketing costs. In fact, the FDA has strict guidelines for OTC medications which state: a generic’s active ingredient, dosage, and strength must be the same as its brand-name equivalent. If you’re still not convinced, read the ingredients on the packaging side-by-side for a brand-name and a generic medication, then let your budget be your guide.
Cotton Swabs, Puffs and Pads – These one-use disposables are used and thrown away so quickly, there’s just no point in spending a penny more than you have to. Just be sure what you’re buying is 100% cotton; anything blended with a synthetic won’t be as absorbent.