To Buy Generic or Not?

This is a question that is often asked and debated – would you buy a generic item over a brand name item just because its cheaper? Not all generic or store brands are created equal and not all brand name items stand up to their hype.  When everyone is looking to cut corners, including their weekly grocery budget, does it make sense to purchase generic items?  They will lower your final bill, but do they leave you feeling a bit bland about your purchases?

The thought of moving into a new apartment means that we have to buy all the essential items that one never thinks about until they completely move into an empty apartment.  The things like glass cleaner, tile cleaner, wood floor cleaner, etc.  When we left our last apartment, it would never occur to me to take any of the cleaning supplies because they were all half used and they are honestly rather “cheap” in my eyes.

Well.. now that we have moved in and need clorox wipes, swifers to clean the floors, windex to wash the windows, etc. I’m realizing just how expensive these items can be.  Notice that in each of those cleaning supplies listed I used the brand name of each item.  Sometimes I feel like brand name products are better in quality, but is that really the case?  With manufacturers pushing to gain market share on the brand name providers, do generic brands do the job just as well?   Just because another product is produced to look exactly like the brand name product does not mean that it is as good or better than the brand name product. The only way for you to figure that out is to do a trial and error process for your self.  You might think that a generic brand tastes, smells, feels exactly the same, but someone else might bawk at the thought of it.  To each their own, I suppose!

Transitioning this into every aisle of the grocery store, are there other items that you can save a few pennies on by buying the store or generic brand items?  For instance, I will be honest – I will NEVER buy store brand or generic toilet paper.  I’m sensitive and just think that I would rather a nice comfortable tissue instead of some of the cheaper brands.  I will pay the extra $ on purpose to know what I’m getting.  In addition, any sort of health and beauty item, I would prefer the brand name.  I have very sensitive skin and eyes, I will only buy certain items and stick to them after years of trial and errors.

On the flip side, I never buy name brand milk.  In the local Boston area, I found out that Garelick Farms produces most of the milk for the local markets here and it would be silly to pay a “premium” for brand name milk when it is the exact same thing with just a different label on the milk jug.  In addition, I’m a generic brand when it comes to medications.  Whether its over-the-counter or not, I think that most medications have a generic version that is pretty much manufactured in the same plant as the brand name medication.  I’m fine with saving a few bucks here.

Which side of the fence do you fall on – do you buy mostly brand name or generic items?  Is there anything that you absolutely will not buy generic on?

20 Responses to “To Buy Generic or Not?”

  1. Such a great post and topic!
    For no particular reason, I was always a brand name girl. Also for no particular reason my boyfriend was a “generic brand all the way” kind of guy. Makes for an interesting shopping dynamic, that’s for sure. We’ve both since caved, and I’m realizing for the most part, the generic brands do the trick. The only name brands I’m still holding onto are orange juice (Tropicana or Simply Orange), yogurt(Chobani or Fage) and granola bars (Kashi).

  2. Oh, HECK YES, I buy generic. Yesterday, Mom and I went to Costco. In Canada, a big jug of Tide detergent is $25 while it’s generic twin is $15. This weekend, Gain was on sale for $13, so Gain won! x2.

    Food is another item that I am always willing to buy generic. If the ingredients are the same, why wouldn’t you want to save the money? :)
    LC recently posted..Weekly Spending Report

  3. Like you there are cretins items I will buy generic like medications (def prescriptions but also some OTC too), certain foods items like canned or dry goods, most household cleaners I find work just as well as name brands too! Things I do not buy generic: tp, tissues, q-tips and basically all beauty products. I don’t splurge on things like shaving cream though.
    Katy Mary recently posted..Back to Reality &amp Beach Giveaway Winner

  4. I never buy name brand milk either, however I am partial to Publics organic milk over other grocery stores. I will always try the generic brand before I commit to the name brand.
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  5. Great post! I definitely have things I won’t buy generic (similar to you with makeup, etc.) but I’ve had a lot of luck with generics in terms of food and cleaners. Particularly if you’re cooking something, you’re nuts to pay an extra .50 for brand name cream cheese, sour cream, butter, etc. It all adds up very quickly. Also of note, I do not cook healthy things.

  6. Interesting topic! I will buy most things generic, now…except for toilet paper (well, does Costco brand count as name brand?), most prescription medications, paper towels, Kleenex, yogurt (when we don’t just make our own), and a couple of cleaning products (which probably are no better than generic, just what I’m used to). Now to start thinking of what things I could get cheaper and don’t even realize it…
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  7. What a great topic! Its funny because I am a bit name brand particular, but I never really realized how much until I read your blog! I am okay with generic food and medicine, but not beauty or health products. To me generic toilet paper is too thin, the laundry detergant is too watery and doesnt leave things smelling fresh, and the q-tips bend too easliy.

  8. […] prices a lot more affordable than your average convenience or grocery store.  Even a lot of their generic items have passed my tests and are now staples in my eyes.  Customer Service is generally a good process […]

  9. I almost always buy generic for almost anything. To me, it really doesn’t make a difference and I’m really not that loyal to any brand as far as food goes. There are only coupons on branded things, so if you find the right coupons, you can get brand names for the same amount as generics.

  10. […] you buy generic brands, or stick with the real […]

  11. I think it’s all about learning to distinguish between high quality and low quality. That way you can buy high quality cheap none-brand products. However for every type of product it takes a while to learn what makes for high quality.
    Alice Dunn recently posted..Crucial Signs of Debt Revealed

  12. of course it is still best to buy the branded one, but there’s nothing wrong about buying/using generic products. if you think it has the same quality then why not? but i think it depends on what product it is though, we need to be extra careful too. oh by the way that toilet thingy crack me up…lol
    suzane recently posted..How to Get a Cheaper Sports Car Insurance Policy

  13. Buying generic product is more practical than buying those commercialize product. But It doesn’t mean that I don’t buy commercialize product. There are product that you always love right?
    Arianne May recently posted..I want to win the lottery

  14. I agree with you that there are always going to be items that you will buy at brand name, but I feel like the more generic products that I try, the more that I like those products and am happy to switch! It saves me a few $$ too!

  15. I am totally agree with you that brand named items are not always ok but,I am used to with to try new products and cause of large no of option in a single product, I am happy to switch! And sometimes its beneficial also.
    neha recently posted..Pregnancy Miracle: Great Way to Get Pregnant Naturally

  16. Intriguing topic! I almost always buy generic – unless it’s something that I’m…I guess you’d call it “passionate” about. Like…Chocolate! :)
    amy recently posted..How Much Water Should I Drink to Lose Weight?

  17. @Amy – generic chocolate sounds terrible :)

  18. […] To buy generic or not to buy generic […]

  19. my husband and I have been buying local grown organic food. we have noticed a big differencein our energy levels. :)
    marge recently posted..chicken whirligig

  20. Why what’s wrong with buying generics? beside it was not approved by dept of trade or medicine, drug and cosmetics by our government if it was not safe. It is not because it doesn’t have a name then we have the notion that it is not good.
    kenyagirl recently website

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