Choosing Between Generic and Name Brand

We have all been there, standing in a store aisle comparing the name brand product to a generic, usually less expensive, version. This is a guide about hoosing between generic and name brand.
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12 found this helpful
May 27, 2011 Flag
My Frugal LifeMy husband insists on buying name brand foods, etc. He thinks the generic brand of food is "nasty tasting". I can agree with him on a few items (very few), but I am a penny-pincher!

I have learned a few secrets from being a cook's assistant at a couple restaurants, and I brought them home to try out on my husband. (Sad but true that many restaurants do just what I am about to tell you).

I buy a bottle of name-brand ketchup to put in the fridge and a couple of store brand bottles to stash in the cabinets. When the one in the fridge is about empty, I fill it up with the store brand. I rarely have to purchase name brand items this way. I just keep refilling with the store brand. No one seems to notice!

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Ketchup is just one example. I do the same with flour, salt, sugar, mustard, mayonnaise, etc. I also add a few instant potatoes to my mashed potatoes, and no one ever knows the difference.

I will admit that there are items we buy that cannot be generic. Almost everyone will agree that toilet tissue and coffee are two such items. But, I buy the cheaper toilet paper and put it out for when guests are here - stashing the good stuff for my husband and me! I know this seems a little mean, but it is just how I do things.

In this day and age when prices are sky-rocketing, and yet you live with a picky person, you have to figure out ways to save.

By AuntieAnn from USA

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June 1, 20110 found this helpful

Lemon crystals and a tiny bit of sugar does wonders for vegetables. Should be able to taste a difference, but not the ingredients added.

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August 21, 2011 Flag

I like to clip coupons for products I use regularly. I've noticed that even with a coupon, the name brand item may still be more expensive than the generic store brand. It always pays to compare prices on name brand items minus the the coupon versus the generic store brand.

By Rachel's Mom from Wilkesboro, NC

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September 29, 20140 found this helpful

I'm finding the same thing. Coupons, while it's an incentive, most likely the item costs more than store brands.

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March 4, 2009 Flag

When my 3 boys hit puberty, they wanted name brand hair products. I bought one bottle and as it emptied, I added about 1/4 cup Dawn regular dish detergent and then filled with water. It thickens and I never bought another bottle of expensive shampoo again. Inexpensive shampoos and conditioners, like the Suave brand at Walmart, can have water added to them and they thicken and work very well.

Also I took the labels off the Walmart clothes I bought them and put them in old "acceptable" store bags. They never suspected.

Source: Many people know this and many don't. I have been a frugal mom for nearly 40 years.

By Jeanne from Elysian Fields, TX

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March 11, 20090 found this helpful

I used to buy my daughter name brand clothing from department stores, but since I found Ross and Marshall's,& TJ Maxx, I never set foot in one of those expensive stores. My daughter is not terribly picky, and she loves the clothes from Ross. The only thing name brand that she likes is handbags, and I find them for less than half the amount they cost in a pricey dept. store at one of the stores listed above. I buy thrift store clothing for myself, and she is not opposed to it, but I do buy her new clothing before school starts and at Christmas. She doesn't get them any other time unless it's an emergency.

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0 found this helpful
June 9, 2008 Flag

I just wanted to throw my two cents in about the generic Zyrtec. My husband does real well on Zyrtec, the allergy medicine. Well we tried to save a little money and bought the Walmart brand equate, there are some differences in the ingredients but we didn't think a lot.

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February 20, 2006 Flag

Does everyone know that there are generic heartworm pills? Just ask your vet and you will be very pleased with the price difference between generic and name brand...

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October 6, 2005 Flag

A generic just became available for the brand name Allegra. The generic name is Fexofenadine and it comes in the 30mg, 60mg and 180mg.

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1 found this helpful
June 16, 2014 Flag

Del Monte is the producer of Great Value canned fruit, I worked for a trucking comapny that hauled it, and it comes for various DelMonte plants around the country but, a lot is from California.

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September 4, 2009 Flag

At least once a month, name brand stuff is on sale. I buy brand name products like; dish liquid, laundry soap, cereal; then I mix it with my generic. I put 3/4 of generic and 1/4 of brand name.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
February 27, 2011 Flag

Do you buy WalMart generic (Great Value) products? Have you found that's just as good as name brands? I just tried their peanut butter and found it to be just as good as the major brands. Some things I've been reluctant to try, but being the economy the way it is I'm having to really stretch my dollars.

By Betty

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March 1, 20110 found this helpful

I firmly believe generic products in general are as good as name brand. The only exceptions I make are for Marie Calendar and Campbell's. Why pay more for a name? When I was sighted I compared my multivitamins and ibuprofen with the store brand, side-by-side, line by line. Generics may have a tiny bit more filler, but the active ingredients are the same.

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March 3, 20110 found this helpful

I find most of the WalMart brand items are good. One thing to watch out for though. The popular Great Value items are sometimes priced higher than the brand name items. They are counting on you just grabbing the brand and not looking at the price. A WalMart cashier told me about this and I've found it to be true when I started looking.

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March 5, 20110 found this helpful

The only generic brand I consistently do not like is Always Save, but Wal-Mart does not carry that. If you are near an Aldi store, they have great prices on most things and almost all their food is wonderful. I don't particularly care for their mayonnaise and their milk has started getting fat deposits near the lid. It wouldn't bother me, but when a teenage boy opens it, it becomes a "yuk" factor for him. It is wise to look at their prices as there are a couple of things one can get cheaper at Wal-Mart (eg., pistachio nuts). Good luck.

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March 16, 20110 found this helpful

Many stores offer a "store brand as good as name brand" guarantee. They will give you your moner back if you dislike their store brand. Not sure if Walmart does-ask them. I know Costco, and Trader Joes will do so.

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May 13, 2011 Flag

This is a question that is often asked and debated. Not all generic brands are created equal and not all name brands stand up to the hype. Share which generic brands you use and which name brands you can't live without.

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Anonymous Flag
May 16, 20110 found this helpful

I almost always purchase generic when buying non-food items but when it comes to food items I am picky because there is usually a huge flavor difference for many types of foods. For example, Hunts tomato sauce and generic tomato sauce are shown in the photo here. I have tried just about every generic brand of tomato sauce there is and in every case I couldn't stand the difference in taste when the meal was ready so I don't even bother to waste my money for generic now and it's Hunts 'only' all the way!

Items like grocery store brand dry pasta or jam and jelly passes the taste test with me and Safeway store brand capers pass the taste test with me too. Guess the bottom line is choosing item by item and deciding whether taste quality for a particular item will make a difference overall in the recipe or whether saving some cents is more important.

Oh, and among many other brand names I can't live without Hellman's Mayonaisse, Vlasic Zesty Dills, assorted Ortega products, assorted Rotelle products, and on and on and on. LOL ;-)

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May 16, 20110 found this helpful

No name brand vegetable juice cocktail has a way more taste then Campbell's V8 juice, and is half the price.

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May 16, 20110 found this helpful

I have just a few products that I only buy name brand. They are Q-tips, Crest toothpaste, All Free Clear, Kiss My Face deodorant and Cottonelle/Northern t.p. Otherwise, I stock up on pantry staples at Ali and shop at Kroger where I use generic brand unless I have a coupon which is doubled. I haven't found a generic that doesn't turn out as well as name brand. I save a lot of money and feed two growing teenage boys, my husband and myself for $500 a month.

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July 31, 20110 found this helpful

For me, brand-name products are usually more effective than generics but of course this high quality drugs comes also with high cost and because of this reason, more consumers prefer to use generics since these are relatively cheaper than the brand-name products. But with today's recent news, that reason will be deleted since a growing list of brand-name prescription drugs will become less expensive as the patents for the drugs lapse. Some of the best-selling drugs on the market are integrated, so Big Pharma's loss will be the public's gain. I read this here: Brand name medications to get cheaper as patents expire.

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March 4, 2010 Flag

Which one works better, generic versus store brand bleach?

By Ama from Worcester, MA

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March 4, 20100 found this helpful

The only difference is the bottle. Clorox claims to have a spill proof bottle. For the difference in price, I prefer to just be more careful pouring out of the generic bottle!

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March 5, 20100 found this helpful

I buy generic also for just plain chlorine.

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March 5, 20100 found this helpful

The bleach ingredient in bleach is a 5-6 per cent solution of sodium hypochlorite. I've read labels and all seem to be around that percent. Perfumes and water, possibly something else are the remainder, but that's the bleaching agent. You can increase the effectiveness of bleach [I've read] by adding a few tablespoons of baking soda to wash water. I don't bleach all the time, but use baking soda or borax or both with hot water and recommended amount of detergent for that particular load.

I usually use less than recommended detergent measure for most loads. Hanging things in sunshine helps as well, but it's winter for most of us now, but sun is great bleach.

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March 7, 20100 found this helpful

I have been using & diluting granular chlorine for over 30 years. I talked to a chemist many years ago & found out the dilution amount to use. Bleach is nothing more than watered down chlorine.

For 1 cup bleach, use the granular chlorine & measure out 1 tsp. into the wash tub as the water is filling. Let it completely fill & I use something long handled to make sure it's mixed, then load clothes & it works great.

I've never had a problem with this. I have even found some chlorine marked down from time to time.

The only thing you need to be careful with is to not get any moisture into the chlorine container. Sometimes the container gets old & needs to be replaced. So I'd use something like heavy duty plastic to put it in, if needed.

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