Store shelf with generic foods.

To Generic Or Not To Generic

If you are looking to save money, generics can help you on the way. They can be as much as half of the price of the name brand. Unfortunately, not all generics are good products. Here are some things that you should buy in generic form and some that you should not.

Generics are not all created equally. Some are just as good as the major brand and some, leave a lot to be desired. Let’s take a look at some that you should consider and some that you should stay clear of.

Buy : Generic Baby Formula

Baby formula is almost half of the price of the name brand when you buy it as a generic. I raised three kids on generic formula, particularly Member’s Mark sensitive stomach formula from Sam’s Club. No ill effects, no digestive problems and all my kids are doing great. If you are already formula feeding, you know just how much of this stuff you will go through. If you can cut your cost nearly in half, it is a huge deal.

Don’t Buy :  Generic Diapers

There is nothing worse than a generic diaper. They are ill fitting, they don’t stay attached and they do not hold as much fluid or anything else for that matter. You might be guaranteed to save a little money when you buy generic diapers but you are also guaranteed to lose a lot of outfits. What you save on the cost of the diaper, you will spend on replacing the clothing that is ruined. Spare yourself the trouble and stick with name brand diapers.

Buy : Generic Drugs

Generic drugs are heavily regulated and perfectly safe. They come in at a fraction of the cost of the name brand and you will not notice a difference. They are the result of the drug creator losing a patent which happens automatically after 20 years. Once they lose the patent, it is open game for production. Take advantage of the opportunity to save.

Don’t Buy: Generic Cotton Swabs

Generic cotton swabs are really mislabeled. What they should be called is sticks. There is virtually no cotton on them and what is there is a puffed illusion. We all know that you are not supposed to put cotton swabs in your ears but definitely don’t let this generic anywhere near your ear canal. As soon as you use one, you will see the difference and will run screaming back to the name brand.

Buy : Generic Window Cleaner

Window cleaner is a very simple product to make. Buy  one with ammonia and you are pretty much guaranteed to get a generic good product. Don’t pay for the advertising on that name brand despite what the talking crows say on the commercial. At about a dollar a bottle for the generic and three dollars for the name brand, generic all the way.

Don’t Buy : Generic Dish & Laundry Soap

The generics of thee products are incredibly watered down. You are not really going to save any money because you will be using twice as much of the product. You might even use lose money with the generic because you have to use so much. Save yourself the trouble and get the good stuff.

Buy : Generic Bottled Water

Just as good as the name brand stuff at about 70 percent of the cost. Most generic bottled water comes from the same source as the big name brands, the public water system. It is essentially tap water and that is okay with me. They treat it, add some minerals for taste and then sell it to you for a tidy profit. Yes, I really should be using a reusable water bottle but bottled water is so convenient and in the generic form, cheap.

Don’t Buy : Generic Soda

Most big brand soda is made from recipes that are decades if not a century old. These companies have had time to fine tune the product and we have grown accustomed to their particular tastes. Are they good for us, probably not but if we are going to drink something bad, it shouldn’t be a generic. The generic sodas just do not taste the same and will leave you wanting.

Buy : Generic Vegetables

Frozen and canned vegetables are pretty much all the same. I have never been able to tell the difference. The recipe is the same no matter who makes them. Take veggie, freeze veggie, bag veggie. There is no seasoning or special recipe, so why buy a name brand vegetable when you can just buy the store brand and get essentially the same thing and drastically save on your food budget.

Don’t Buy : Generic Bread

I don’t know what they do to generic bread. Maybe they add more yeast to get it to rise more and stretch out their product. In any case, it is very light. While light and fluffy sounds good in theory, when bread rips from spreading peanut butter across it, there is a problem. Stick to the major brands for your sliced bread needs.

Buy : Generic Paper Towels

I have never really noticed the difference between the generic paper towel and the one that claims to pick things up quicker. Well, that is not true, I have noticed the difference in price, almost twice as much. Generics work pretty much as well and you don’t have to buy them in huge 8 packs.

Don’t Buy : Generic Toilet Paper

Do I really have to explain why? Even if you could save 1000 dollars a year going with a generic toilet paper, it just isn’t worth it. Some things you just have to splurge on.

Wrapping Up

Overall, generics are a great way to stretch out your budget. Having said that, you have to be smart about when you do and don’t use them. Some will save you money, some will cost you money and others might just frustrate you. Choose carefully.

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James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.