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MoneyFail #8 – Don’t Be A Dummy, Buy Generic

by Charles on February 21, 2012 · 8 comments

Generic products are cheaper for a reason. They’re not name brand. That’s probably the only major difference, and of course, the price. So if two products are virtually identical, why choose the name brand and pay more? Generic products on average are about 35% less expensive than their brand name counterparts. In fact according to Harris Poll of 2010, Americans saved the most money by switching to generic products in 2010. I was shopping at Target the other day and noticed a 200 count Advil bottle priced at around $13. By contrast, a 500 count Target brand ibuprofen was priced at under $5. That’s a big difference for virtually the same product. Not only was it two and half times cheaper, you received two and half times more pills.

Some people insist on buying name brands only believing that they are always of superior quality. It is true that some brand name products may be of better quality but in most cases, they really are exactly the same. If you compare active ingredients between the two products, you will see that the first few key ingredients are so are identical. Take Advil and ibuprofen for example. Ibuprofen is practically the only ingredient in an Advil pill. Why pay more when you don’t have to?

I like to shop for generics at everywhere I go. If I’m at Target, I will first look at Target brand and then compare it with a brand name counterpart. If I’m shopping at a grocery store, I will always look to buy the store brand cereal as opposed to Kelloggs or Post brand cereal. It’s just simply cheaper! The only time I will buy the brand name over generic product is if the price between the two are either identical or if the brand name is cheaper due to a sale. Otherwise, I will opt for the generic product every single time.

I’m not sure exactly how much money I have saved over the course of my life by buying generic products, but I know it’s the smarter financial choice. My favorite store brands are Costco and Target. They have excellent quality products as well as excellent affordable prices.

Here are some items you should always buy generics over brand names:

  • Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen
  • cereal
  • soda
  • toilet paper and paper towels
  • cleaning products

What’s your favorite store brand? Which products do you absolutely refuse to buy generic?

This is the latest edition of our new series called MoneyFail.

Photo: Cereal, Morguefile

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet February 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM

We buy a lot of Kirkland brand (CostCo) stuff, and we’re always willing to try a store brand, but some times, there really is a difference. We bought the Kirkland brand Mac & Cheese- after one box, the rest went to a food drive and we bought Kraft (though also at CostCo).
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krantcents February 21, 2012 at 7:22 PM

In addition to buying generic, you can give up sugary soft drinks. That willsave even more.
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Robert @ The College Investor February 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM

It is so true. I recently had a discussion with a vendor for our local milk brand. I asked him about the store brand, and he laughed and pulled out his camera phone. On it, he showed me a picture of a rack that had labels for the national brand, Costco brand, and about 5 store brands. He said they just put the labels in the machine, and it slaps them on the gallon jugs!
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Super Frugalette February 22, 2012 at 12:44 AM

I stick with some name brands. I love my laundry detergent – Charlie’s Soap. I do not think there is a generic equivalent. I like Oberweiss chocolate milk, I cannot find a store brand that tastes as good. I haven’t found a generic equivalent for Nutella either.
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Maria@moneyprinciple February 22, 2012 at 2:22 AM

Like some said before me we do stick with some brands. For sometime now we have been shopping in ALDI for basics, and local small shops for ‘the finer stuff in life’. Most stuff from ALDI is great except Cornflakes – the not branded ones taste like cardboard (not that I have eaten cardboard recently but I have developed imagination). And yes, on sugary drinks I am with KrantCents – give them up; better for your health and for you wallet.

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Nicole April 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM

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