Generic groceries are great. They are low-cost and, in most cases, just as good as their name-brand counterparts. Heck, one of the ways I save tons of money at the grocery store is by buying generic!
But “most cases” doesn’t mean all the time. You should splurge on some items and buy the name-brand version. Here are the top five things you shouldn’t skimp on at the grocery store.
What Are Generic Foods?
Generic groceries are store-brand items shelved right next to the name brand. Walmart has its own Great Value brand of many things, which are generally cheaper than the name-brand alternatives. Most grocery stores also have store brand offerings designed to offer shoppers more affordable options.
These generic grocery items are cheaper than their name-brand alternatives, and in most cases, they are just as good.
Generic groceries aren’t just limited to food. The word “groceries” encompasses household items like cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and anything else you stock up on at the grocery store.
Why Are Generic Brands Cheaper?
Generic groceries are cheaper than name-brand goods because the store brand doesn’t pay anything to market them. How many Doritos commercials have you seen versus store-brand nacho chip commercials?
The marketing team makes you want to buy Doritos, but advertising them is costly.
Marketing is a top reason name-brand items are more expensive than generics, but there are others. Prestige, supply chain, labor costs, and product development all play a part.
5 Generic Groceries to Avoid
Here are the top five generic products to avoid at all costs!
Have you been to those chain stores that fill their stalls with the cheapest industrial toilet paper imaginable? It’s single-ply, thin, scratchy, and a hassle to use. No one would want that in their own homes.
Generic toilet paper is never the answer. Pay the premium for a soft, durable brand that gets the job done.
not all pickles are created equal. You can find reasonably cheap pickles in the canned fruit aisle or on some non-perishable shelf, but these offerings are not the answer.
I had an ex-boyfriend question my pickle-choosing skills. He said we could get a massive jar of pickles for about the same price as my favorite brand, and we’d have tons more pickles.
But does it matter if you have twice the amount of pickles if they aren’t as good? He thought I was stubborn and that all pickles were created equal.
So, we got both, and I told him that he could do a taste test and tell me if I was just being stubborn, but other than that, he had to eat the big jar and couldn’t have my name-brand ones.
We never bought the big jar of pickles again.
Head to the deli aisle and grab the Kosher Dill pickles in the refrigerated section. You’re welcome.
There’s something immensely satisfying about the salty crunch of a potato chip. There are so many flavors and varieties, each pairing well with different meals. Consider eating Flaming Hot Cheetos with your bagel and cream cheese and choosing sour cream & onion with your roast beef sandwich.
There’s a perfect chip for every occasion.
But store-brand chips just taste a little off. They are either too crunchy, too salty, or too something. They just don’t have that special little something present in name-brand chips.
And oddly enough, this applies to all the different types of chips. Doritos, Lays, Cheetos, etc., are far better than any generic brands. I don’t know why, but I just can’t enjoy generic chips.
Aim toothpaste is dirt cheap and the worst thing you can put in your mouth. It’s disgusting. Close-up is cheap too, but the cinnamon flavor is so strong that it tastes like burning.
I have sensitive teeth, and the only thing that helps is Sensodyne. It’s way more expensive (almost six dollars a freaking tube!), but it does help my teeth not to hurt.
Colgate and Crest are great brands if you don’t have sensitive teeth. I’ve even used Colgate’s sensitive teeth formula when I desperately needed to save on groceries, and although it’s not as good as Sensodyne, it’s better than spending six bucks on a tube, and it works in a pinch.
I only buy Tide liquid laundry detergent. It smells good, and it works well to keep my clothes clean. I hate powdery options, as they often leave a crusty powder trail on freshly washed clothing.
I haven’t tried a lot of generic laundry detergent, but I like it when my clothes smell like Tide, so I don’t think I will change brands on this soon.
Most Generics are Great
Most generic groceries are just as good as their name brand counterparts. Opting for the generic option can save you loads of money at the grocery store, and it’s well worth experimenting with different brands to see what works best for you.
But keep in mind, not all generics are equal to their name brand counterparts, and sometimes paying the extra money is well worth it.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.