Do you purchase many generic items? While I love pinching pennies with coupons, there are a ton of easy ways to save simply by choosing to shop generic.
But are all things created equally? Here are 8 items that you should always buy generic ~ I'd love to hear if you agree or disagree!
1. Over the counter medications.
Choosing to purchase the generic version of acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and other name brand medicines can save you a bundle, and include the same active ingredients as the more expensive name brands. Unless I have a very high value coupon that I can match up with a great sale, I never pay full price for the name on the bottle. I've found the lowest prices on these to be at Walmart, but watch your drug and grocery stores as well to get a great deal!
2. Cleaning supplies.
Most (not all), cleaning supplies work well, whether they're generic or name brand. While there are a few items that I really do believe in (Dawn Dish Soap, Tide, and Scrubbing Bubbles), most store cleaners work just as well. To save even more, try out homemade cleaning products (a few of my favorites are homemade window cleaner and carpet cleaner.)
3. Baking products.
While I've heard White Lily Flour is absolutely the best, the truth is just about all flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt are made the same, and adhere to FDA requirements on their ingredients. So, unless those name brand items are on sale at a deeply discounted price, make your life easy and pinch a few pennies by picking up the store brand!
4. (Sometimes) diapers.
I won't say that all diapers are created the same (because they're just not, at least from my experience!) However if you have an older baby or toddler, using generic brand diapers at least during the day can save you a bundle, without clipping any coupons. Also try out Luvs (much less expensive than Huggies or Pampers), offers good quality for a fraction of the cost.
The gas from your local Kroger or Walmart station will fill your tank just as well as the name brand kinds, and you can always save by skipping premium gas! If you have a car that requires premium gas, then you may be in a different boat, but for most folks regular gas works just fine. (Read more HERE.)
6. Baby formula.
Okay, I'm going to be honest with you all and tell you this is one I don't know perfectly, so I'd recommend a good conversation with your pediatrician as a possible way to save money here. I nursed my kiddos until they were between six months old and one year old, and at that point did supplement with store brand formula. At that time (it's been eight years!), my pediatrician felt that using the generic brand was fine, as typically manufacturers sold off the right to “last year's” formula recipe to the generic company. I was totally okay with this (and have three healthy children!), but this one's worth having a conversation with your pediatrician to decide if it's worth saving there.
As long as the sunscreen you're purchasing has the UVB protection you want, the store brand or name brand are virtually the same. Purchasing the store brand (especially on sale), can save you between 40-50%, and will easily save you quite a few pennies over the summer months!
If your family drinks soda, save a ton by choosing the store brand version of Coke or Pepsi. This literally will save as much as 50% off the retail price, which can add up quickly during the course of a year if you regularly drink soda products.
So what would you add to (or take off of) the list? I'd love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment to share your tips!
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My 7 month old had to be on soy formula so I tried the Walmart and Target brand on both made him have screaming pain verses using name brand. Spoke to other moms in the church and they had same problem.
We love Tide pods for convenience and cleaning. I love Dawn dish soap takes the grease off. We love using Mr Clean sponges to clean glass and remove grime.
Jamie P. says
A word on the formula, I have a 10 month old and when we had to add formula for supplementation to her diet our pediatrician straight up told us go with the cheapest and/or store brand. She said that by FDA regulation all formula has to meet the same requirements. She was also pregnant at the time and said that would be her personal choice. Also, I did my research and just about all store brand is actually one brand. One company makes probably 80% or more of all national chain branded formula, you just aren’t footing the bill for the advertising campaign that comes with name brands. Also, another I buy strictly store brand on (specifically the Wal-Mart Parent’s Choice) is the cereal puffs and yogurt bits. Gerber uses sugar as a main ingredient in theirs, PC uses natural fruit juice (pear juice) to sweeten theirs. It pays to check labels on the store brands, sometimes they are the smarter choice from an ingredient stand point.
Linda Johnson says
I only use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol for a glass cleaner. Anything will soap at all will leave streaks. I have recently fallen in love with the generic oxi-clean from Dollar Tree. Works just as well if not better than name brand. As for soda, can’t replace my Pepsi with any other…including the red can.
Homemade glass cleaner is all I use anymore its great. As for floor cleaner I have used the “off brand’s” and all I have tried leaves a film on my floors. As for fabric freshener the off brands work well but I now male that myself and its MUCH better than anything I could bye. Now not all flour is the same if I am making biscuits I have tried off brands and ne brands and I think the name brand is much better.
Unless coupons/sales give better pricing, I always go with store brand pasta, paper towels (Big Lots), peanut butter (Wal-Mart), yogurt (Kroger) and shredded cheese. I agree with the above except for some cleaning supplies such as window cleaner. Many off brands are mainly water…making your own is the best value.
I agree with most of this list. I would never switch out my Dawn Dish Soap(original). That stuff works wonders and not just dishes. Tide, not since I discovered Costco’s Kirkland brand laundry detergent. Works just as well(at least the liquid). Pampers only..but my children all had sensitive skin and that is the brand that worked without diaper rash. Oh, Laurie! How can you even compare coke to anything else. I love that red can way to much!!!
I agree somehow Cola doesn’t compare in any generic brand, but the others aren’t bad.
Jewell M Schaefer says
I drink diet coke or diet pepsi. I have to drink diet (diabetes). Generic diets, if you can find them, just don’t have that good taste. There’s a strong metal after taste. Now, Dawn and Tide, I agree with wholeheartedly! 🙂 I agree with buying rags and washing with towels. I have been buying generic for 35 years!
One thing I would add as a HUGE money saver would be cleaning rags. I buy 2 bundles of the cheap white washclothes-you know the 18 for $4 kind. I use these instead of paper towels. Even tho I buy these twice a year taht is $8 year for “towels”. Just throw in the load of towels and reuse.
Great tip Brandie – thank you for sharing!