I was once under the belief that generic products weren't as good as brand names. I was wrong. In the days when soap was boring and bland, brands like Bath and Body Works were a refreshing break from the normal. Now, almost every brand has followed through with similar products from foaming pump soaps to body washes. The store brands follow through with the same fragrances and textures at cheaper prices. Often, the store brands skip the additives as well, making for an even better product at less of a price.
Forget Dreft and other expensive fragrance and dye free wash additives. Stop at your local pharmacy and look for their generic store brand laundry soap. Often the offer a 'free and clear' product for far less than brand names.
Similarly, look for store brand fabric softeners and bleaches. They all get the same job done for a far different price. Save our money for stain fighting products that might not be offered at store prices. (However, there are clever ways to use household products to fight stains.)
If Motrin and Advil are the brand names of ibuprofen, look beside them for the store brand. Ibuprofen is ibuprofen regardless of the name on it. Similarly, Tylenol is the brand name for acetaminophen (paracetamol), and Aleve is the name of naproxen.
Vitamins are another way to save greatly in the generic department. Centrum can be upwards of $7 a bottle for 100 caplets, while the store brand multi-vitamin can be purchased for $3. Some store brands actually have more of certain supplemental elements such as calcium and iron, making them a much better deal.
I get frustrated when my medicine cabinet begins to overflow with medicines. It's frustrating because not only is it an organizational mess, but it means I spent a lot of money for a lot of products I don't need. For instance, Mucinex is an expensive brand name medicine that controls coughs and chest congestion the same as Robitussin; there's no need to have both. However, the convenience of Mucinex's long lasting doses has a cost. I'd much rather fill my medicine cabinet with a store brand of Robitussin.
Along that line, find the one cold medicine that works best for your family and stick with it. It's not too often that I have a head cold that doesn't include a sore throat. While treating symptoms that aren't present isn't a good idea, the variety of cold medicines available is exuberant. Select a medicine for a head cold and a medicine for a chest cold, keeping acetaminophen on hand for fevers.
Be wary of products that do the same thing as products you already have, and keep the medicine cabinet stocked with a minimal amount of expensive products.
I would also suggest that you READ the contents of a medicine listing on the packaging. Often you can combine 2 ingredients which you already have on hand to produce same result. For ex.: taking ibuprophen (or Tylenol) & allergy med = sinus medication! Also watch for caffeine content of meds and don't add to it with coffee, etc. OR skip meds with caffeine added and just drink coffee, etc. instead. (But not BOTH - makes you too jittery.)
I and other family members have worked in several canning, bottling, food industries, and in general, there's no difference in brands vs. generic! One factory I worked in bottled shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. All the "ingredients" were mixed in one huge "vat", came out the same filler tubes, and many were bottled in the exact same bottles but had different labels put on, or we may have bottled 100 round bottles, then 100 oval bottles - each going to different companies, but were the exact same "product".
Same as vegetable canning, the cans are all the same size & shape, get filled the same, but go down different chutes for different labels.
You'd be surprised at the cheese making "biz". One vat/batch of cheese could have as many as 10 different bags used in packaging, yet it's all the same cheese.
The only real difference in products, (generic vs brand) I have found, is paper products--toilet paper, tissues, paper towel....parts of the body like "cottony" vs tree bark!
At home we use castle soap. It's not very expensive and comes in many scents. We wash our bodies as well as hair. We also mix it with water in a spray bottle to clean our house with. As for over the counter meds, we usually just buy house brand Tylenol. Our Dr. told us cough syrup is really bad for kids and to use a humidifier instead.
I found two great articles about 1) extending the time between beauty treatments 2) product and salon promotions. Doing everything for less these days...
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